Ed Lawrence, A sincere follower who has been forgiven much and loves much. My life is devoted to exposing people to Jesus and His love. Married 20 years to a very understanding woman who is second only to Jesus. Please welcome Ed as he shares Part 2 of his testimony of Salvation.
I spent the next 3-4 weeks in the hole reading the Bible, praying for everything that came to mind while reading. The time came for my escape trial. I pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 5 years. I now had to face the prison disciplinary board. I did not care. For the first time in my life I felt love and peace. Days just drifted by and every waking moment was spent seeking God, wanting to know more of Him. To my surprise, my disciplinary action was to be released from the hole and placed on the general population of the prison I was in. I was surprised as it was a medium security prison. No one gets there after an infraction as serious as mine. God was at work and I didn’t even know it!
When I hit the yard, I had some old friends come up to me. These were hardened cons and immediately I noticed something different. The littlest and deadliest guy I ever knew, (Randy) hugged me and said, “Brother, God told us you would be coming and we love you!!!” They each did the same thing and started telling me of how God touched them and what they do now. I was stunned! I have seen these guys stab people, run rackets, deal drugs…here they were speaking of Jesus and His love! They were on fire. My new Brothers gave me the royal tour of the prison and at each place there seemed to be a Christian hanging out talking about God. BUT, it was in the Library that I felt God’s presence. As we walked in, there were a few guys and they had all kind of Bibles and concordances laid out. I asked Randy what was up with this and he said his job here was the library and since he was in charge of it, he decided to make it a place of prayer and study. They met everyday there at 8 am and studied till lockdown at 10pm! He asked if I wanted to get involved in it. I immediately said yes! Little did I know what seeds would be planted there in that Library!
So it was day in, day out pray, read, study, discuss the Word 12-16 hours a day! I was like floating on all God was showing me. We discussed Baptism, and Baptism of the Holy Spirit, neither had I experienced. We had a Chaplin there and I asked to be baptized in water. He asked if I understood it and I was surprised when I started pouring out of my mouth the teaching of Baptism. He explained how it would happen and what he would say, I was good with all of it except…he wanted to say , “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost” when I got dunked. For some reason that did not sit well with me and I went to the Book of Acts and it says ‘in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ’. If the Bible said it then that is the way it was going to be! So, I got baptized, the most wonderful thing I ever felt in my life! It seemed as if eternity passed and time stood still when I went under the water! That got me started in deep study of the Book of Acts, the Spirit was speaking to me all through it and I marveled at how we were just like them in prison, we met daily, broke bread together, shared our faith, and saw miracles happen. I was missing something; my brothers were speaking in tongues and knew things I didn’t. I started talking with them and they explained the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. Wow! was all I could think, I wanted that! So, they laid hands on me and prayed over me to receive Him. Nothing happened. I was expecting a lightning bolt at least! But…nothing.
One night, about three weeks later, I was in bed, meditating on the Word and something was happening inside me. Not inside my body, but, I became aware of a deeper place inside of me, I think this is the first time I became aware of my spirit. There was a bubbling up through the core of my being. Like carbonated drinks have the bubbles rising to the top. This was accompanied by waves and waves of passion, Love, the most intense I have ever felt. I thought I would die it was so concentrated and forceful! If that was not enough, I felt words, really felt words that didn’t sound right to my inner ear, but, because of my study I knew this was tongues and I was being baptized in the Holy Ghost! So I whispered it out, the feelings got even more intense with each sound I made. I finally had to say “stay your hand Lord or else I die”. That night and the following nights were the beginning of dreams and visions that the Lord showed me His will for my future. Night after night, and when alone during the day, the Holy Spirit would preach to me. If I was insane I thought this is how I wanted to be!
It was during one of those alone times I was sitting out in the yard and I realized, I didn’t care if I ever got out of prison! Never had I experienced such joy and peace, even in the midst of this prison where so much evil was going on daily. I was at peace! So I asked of the Lord, “When will I have to leave here and go out into the world again?” I then for some reason, unknown to me, picked up a twig and wrote in the dirt 06/90. I looked at it and went ‘hmmm’. Didn’t really think about it after that. My days were filled that year with intense Bible study and prayer with my brothers. I was learning to go deeper into the Word by using a concordance and it was richly rewarding to understand a rich meaning of picture languages that the Bible was written in. I read The Book of Martyrs and they became my heroes. God was just drawing me and I was running to Him with all my strength.
Every year, a prisoner is reviewed and rated on their behavior. If they were good, then sometimes they were transferred to a lower security prison. It was my turn. I had no expectations as it had been almost a year since I went to court for my escape. Besides, I loved it where I was at! How strange that must sound to some of you as you read this! But, it is not half as strange as it was for me to hear the Classification Board tell me that they were recommending me to minimum custody and placed at a prison with one chain link fence! I was hurt and scared by this decision. Not only would I have to leave the only place I ever felt such peace, but I would have freedom thrown in my face every day. This was not a good thing to me…
So a week later I was packing my bags, (soap, shampoo, toothbrush and Bible) and boarded a prison bus to my new home. Once again, I met Brothers there who were long-termers like me, but had gotten to know the Lord and lived for Him. One was an ex-biker from the Outlaws who was doing 100 years for blowing up a Hells Angels Club. His name was “Meathead”. Another was a good ol’ boy that was doing time for killing a guy who sunk a crowbar into his head, ex Airborne Ranger named Pete. We all knew each other when we were at the Walls and the Farm. Coincidence? No, I now knew God was reaching out to some of the meanest, ugliest people He could find in prison. I just didn’t know why! Mt. Pleasant is the name of where I was at, the convicts there called it ‘Mt Misery’. After going to chapel service there the first night I found out why! This chapel was a church building, I mean steeple pews the whole nine yards. The nightly services there were conducted by outside churches, during the day, it was open to Bible study courses! It did not take long after getting to know the people coming in that they were not only coming to minister to the prisoners, but also receive ministry from the prisoners. People were coming in and getting saved, filled with the Holy Ghost. Healings were common as were prophetic Words spoken over them came to pass! These brothers were moving in the gifts of the Spirit. If it were raining and it was on a visitation day, you would see brothers lined up commanding the rain to stop so they could visit outside with their family. And it did EVERYTIME! I wanted that!
One night, a ministry volunteer named Frank Adams, who has an excellent gift of exhortation and still a wonderful mentor to me, brought a sharp dressed fellow in to speak to us. This brother did not speak smooth words, believe me. He said things in a way I had never heard before about responsibility, excellence dedication and commitment to God. He spoke with such authority that only a Moses could speak with. That was my first encounter with Aaron Evans who was to be used by God in teaching me by example kingdom principles and exposing me to the ministry of the Prophet. The second time Aaron came and ministered, he came up to me and said God had told him to lay hands on me and pray for the gifts and calling to be manifested in my life. As he prayed, it felt like oil being poured over me and that was all. We shook hands and we went our ways.
The next morning, I was serving food in the chow hall. Just another morning as usual, guys coming in slow, getting ready to head out on work release. But, something was weird… for almost every guy I served, I heard a voice telling me something they were doing or had done, or a quick picture of a situation would come into my mind! I had been given a gift, but what to do with it, I knew not! Later on that month, Aaron came back and I excitedly told him what was happening. He seemed bored by it like I had just told him I won a six pack of Pepsi. He said the Lord had given me the gift of the word of knowledge, prophecy and gifts of healings. I was astounded, but he was nonplussed and matter of fact. I told him I did not know what to do with all this. He gave me scriptures to pray over, study of the lives recorded in the Bible of those God had so gifted. He told me not to be presumptuous and wait until the Lord instructed me to use what He had given me. I was obedient studied and waited.
Aaron started coming once or twice a week and was teaching heavily on Apostolic ministry. The Five Fold Ministry as it is called. He went through the revelation of the gifts and callings and commissioning of each ministry gift. We had a social order there that was set up like the Book of Acts and we held those who were in those positions with respect. Aaron was regarded as our local Prophet as his gifting signified his designation although he did not ever refer to himself with that title. Our meetings were not going unnoticed by other prisoners there who were not saved. We reached out to them and witnessed to them and many were saved. One time, I remember I was approached by a group of those who called themselves “Islamists”. They started to warn me (warn me was to beat on me some) to not preach salvation to those who were of their clique (a few of them converted) or they would kill me. Anyway, I stood my ground there and the most unbelievable words came out of my mouth. I said “You serve the devil, but I serve the true God. Let’s settle this in this manner: If you serve a true God, then we will agree on a prayer, whoever’s God answers will be God and you will leave us alone!” Straight out of the Book of Kings! They didn’t know what to say. They were very confused, and finally their leader said “leave this crazy white boy alone” and walked off! I just thanked God!
to be continued…
Ed’s Testimony Part 3
- Testimony Of A New Creature by Ed Lawrence, Part 1
- What’s Your Song?