Editor, The Times:

I read your article “Our Testimony- A tool for Christ” in The Blackshear Times dated March 1, 2023 and I thank you for sharing your testimony. I found it uplifting. I agree with you that we can always share our testimony, no matter where we are.

I am serving a life sentence. I have been incarcerated since April 1998 when I was 17 years old for participating in taking the life of a person who only loved me and wanted what was best for me, my grandfather.

I was a lost soul at an early age. I became so fascinated with black magic I got into satanism and opened myself up to a world that turned me in to a kid full of hate. I was a lost soul who only used people to get what I wanted and then left them in the dust. I truly only cared about me.

I have hurt many people directly and indirectly. Never did I think of the ripple effects of my actions to my family, my community, my friends and the future. At the time, I didn’t care.

It’s been a long hard road. I’ve grown from a boy to a man all in prison due to all the choices and how I wanted to live my life. I am here.

I thank God daily for saving me. He could have ended my life years ago and I would be where I deserve in hell, where there’s no pardon, no parole and no max out date. I would be burning for eternity.

I truly came to God after many years of running away from Him and gave Him my life and He forgave me and saved me from the punishment I so deserved.

One of my favorite artists is Lauren Daigle and she has a song called How can it be? The chorus says “You plead my cause, You right my wrongs, You break my chains, You overcome, You gave Your life to give me mine, You said I am free. How can it be?”

This is exactly what Jesus has done for everyone despite what we’ve done. I could have been lost forever.

Years ago, I battled demons I could never slay, the nightmares, not able to forgive myself, I spiraled into a state of depression so dark I attempted suicide several times by cutting myself, swallowing razor blades, taking cups full of pills. I always asked how did I get to the point I wanted to take my grandfather’s life and why.

Well, God has truly given me the strength to overcome a lot in my life and I have forgiven myself. I hope and pray that all the people I have hurt directly or indirectly will forgive me for all that I have done.

I have come to know a love and peace I never knew existed. I am not perfect, no where near it, I stumble and mess up daily, but God has brought me further than I could imagine. If He could do this for me, then I know for a fact that He can do it for anybody, no matter what they’ve done. God loves you.

I got to steal Paul’s statement, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst (1 Timothy 1:15) NLT.

There’s a lot I have left to learn, but what I do know is I have to trust God daily even when I don’t want to. If I take my eyes off of Him then I’ll surely trip and fall.

He is my all and He’s been there with me my entire life and I know He has a special purpose for my life.

Phillip Kerch

Wilcox State Prison

Abbeville, GA