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From a 23 year drug addiction to a life with Christ . . .
I started using drugs in the 7th grade. I started out with pot which I was addicted to since my first high. By high school I was doing cocaine, acid, hash, weed and drinking heavy. Getting high is what I was living for. I was involved in a life of crime. I went through a lot of trouble at school finally quitting in the 10th grade before they could kick me out.
My family was a really good family. My mother was a true Christian who did all she could to get me to do right. Thank God for her prayers all through my life. My father, a hard worker, provided well for our family. All my sisters were doing well, but here I was addicted to anything that made me feel good—sex, drugs, drinking, selling drugs and taking things that didn’t belong to me.
By 19, I was married because she was pregnant. So after moving out from my family my lifestyle really got worse. I stayed in trouble with the law and my wife was tired of all the troubles and wanted me to stop. However, I was already living to get high and that was my only goal. A move from Illinois to Tennessee was what I thought might help me and my wife because we didn’t know anyone in Tennessee, but it didn’t stop me. It just led to many trips to Illinois and before long I was divorced.
I was heavily involved in drugs in Tennessee before long. Soon I had a DUI in Kentucky and drug charges which I got out of too easily. After making bond I got another DUI and more drug charges in Tennessee. And soon I got another charge in Kentucky again for the same thing and I got out of everything too easily.
By now I was using more cocaine than I was selling. Going in the hole and needing another high I stole $23,000.00 from a store and took off to get high. The law was after me. After a couple of weeks and getting down to the last $7,000.00 I needed to go and buy more drugs. When I arrived to buy the drugs, the police came in to bust the seller and caught me while there, so off to jail I went. And again I got another break—after 120 days, I was released on house arrest. I never stopped getting high though even in jail.
About a month after getting out I ripped off a drug dealer and left town again. Soon I ran out of money and went back to Tennessee where I did some praying before turning myself in, but God knew I wasn’t sincere. I took drugs in the jail when I turned myself in but lied to my family trying to make them think I had changed. Again I got out.
I went through a couple of rehabs and got married again. No matter what I did though in life I still kept getting high. I had many breaks on house arrest as long as I was paying money. During this period is when I was introduced to meth and this drug kept me up all the time. I soon went through another divorce and got in more trouble with the law.
I kept on the move as much as possible. I soon moved to Mississippi and left there to go back to Illinois where I was raised. I had my own body shop and all the drugs I wanted and I thought life was going really good. I began selling heroin, cocaine, meth, and weed by the pounds. Again much partying led to more trouble with the law and I finally had to sign the shop back over to the man I was buying it from. I went to Missouri, Tennessee, and Mississippi causing trouble. In Mississippi, I was living on a house boat and I got involved in killing two people over drugs. Not willing to face these charges, I began to run again. At this time I had been on drugs for 23 years and sure wasn’t going to go a day without them. I have left much out of this, a lot of trouble, and so many times I should have been dead. I stole money from my mother. During this process I lost my father and had a close friend killed. My life consisted of sex, drugs, drinking, and many good jobs that I let go.
However, I have told you enough bad to know what I was about. Now is the time to tell you the most amazing part of my life. First of all, I thank God for a praying mother and sisters. When these killings went down my thoughts were that I could get to Southern Illinois and sell enough meth to get me out of the country, but my plans didn’t go as I had intended. I ended up in Heyworth, Illinois, on my knees, crying out to God to forgive me and to help me to change my ways. At first I didn’t feel anything and the devil kept saying it’s too late and that I had done too much and that God didn’t love me. But that made me cry out all the more. Two of my sisters were there with me and one of them came over to give me a hug. As she touched me, God touched both of us. I went one way a-shouting and she went the other way a-shouting. The Spirit of the Lord God was upon me. When I finally realized what I was saying I was yelling, “God is Real.” I felt a great burden lifted. I felt clean. I felt love. I felt peace. I felt great joy. The only thing on my mind was to be baptized in Jesus’ name. Before the preacher had the tank full, my sister and I both were baptized in the name of Jesus. We then prayed some more and God touched me again. That very day God took my drug craving away and give me a craving for His word. He also gave me a desire to share with others that there is hope and help.
I went from running from the law that day to turning myself in. God has given me a new life. He has shown mercy upon me by allowing me to experience the new birth experience of water and spirit, being baptized in Jesus’ name and receiving the Holy Ghost through the power of Jesus Christ. This power helps me to overcome the things of this world. Everything about me has changed. II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.” When I was born again I no longer wanted the things I used to want. I no longer did the things I used to do. I am indeed a new creature.
By staying in the word of God, praying, and fasting I find myself growing closer to God each day. The more I have Jesus in my life the more I want of Him. I have tried everything this world has to offer but it all failed. Jesus Christ lifted me up so much greater than anything this world has had to offer and filled me with love, happiness and peace. This is what I want to share with everyone. Jesus Christ has set me free. I am a child of His and this gives me the rights to the great inheritance of heaven being my home forevermore. He set me free from the bondage of sin that was dragging me to hell. I may be in prison, bound by the law, but I am freed by Calvary.
Praise God! The judge gave me a life sentence but Jesus has given me life more abundantly. I am born again and am a heaven-bound believer. It has been six years now being locked up but I have to tell you I count it a joy to have the time I have each day to study and pray and the great chance to tell many about Jesus. I have learned to live today for Jesus by doing His will and obeying His word. I can lay down in any part of any prison and have peace. I can sleep like a baby knowing Jesus is with me and will never leave me nor forsake me. Without a doubt in my mind I know if I should die or Jesus should come tonight, to heaven I would go. Glory be to God! So I tell you—God can take the drug addict and make a preacher. He can take hate and turn it into love. Remember—the devil is a liar and the father of all lies. Jesus is our Savior. Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened.
James Edwin Hogancamp 109079
MCCF 833 West St C-1-35
Holly Springs, MS 38635-1412
Brother James is serving a life sentence in Holly Springs, MS. He has a call of God on his life to preach and to teach Bible studies to the other inmates and he prays that his testimony might help others.