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Walter R. Zinkiewitz's Testimony

The quest to fill the emptiness in my life has led me through gambling, drugs, booze, sex, and pretty much anything else I thought could make me happy - nothing worked!

In 1985, while on trial for burglary and assault, I raised my hand to God and asked His help. When the jury came back with a guilty verdict, and the judge sentenced me to 9 to 18 years in prison, I figured that God didn't help or He didn't hear my prayer. How wrong I was.

After I entered prison, it wasn't long before more trouble came my way. A weapons fight on the basketball court at Clinton, Dannemora; landed me in the box for two years. My life was getting worse.

After seven months in the box I finally understood that my way of living life was not working. What I mean by my way of living life was simply living according to what I thought was right. That is, pretty much, a morality that says: look out for #1, and if it feels good, do it. Those are the rules I lived by - the same rules that led me into prison.

It was in the box that I heard a Billy Graham offer for a free Bible. Shortly thereafter a free Bible and a book called How to Be Born Again arrived along with it. I understood Dr. Graham's Gospel presentation - mainly that repentance is necessary - and God's message activated the process of salvation in my life.

God certainly didn't provide the type of help I had wanted, but He surely came through with the help I NEEDED. No one would think that a long prison sentence could work for good in a person's life, but this prison time has changed my life. This prison time has played a major role in bringing me to Christ - and for that I'm thankful. In fact, becoming a Christian is by far the best and the most important thing that has happened in my life. So, God did hear my prayer, and He provided true help - the help that I needed.

Yes, I'm still in prison and away from my family, but Jesus Christ strengthens me daily to comfort me day by day.

As a Christian my desires have changed. I've started to attend college in an effort to gain an education so that I can be better prepared to become a success when released. I have a large family and hope to finally live up to some of my responsibilities.

Lastly, if I had one wish, it would be to have become a Christian before I was married. This way, my dear wife would have received the love and respect she so rightly deserved. Plus, my parents would have been spared much grief; plus, my sons would have grown up with God in their life.

After understanding that repentance was necessary, the portion of Scripture that was most helpful to me was Luke 6:27-38: "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you."If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners' do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even `sinners' lend to `sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (NIV)