Meet Marvin. A man of gentleness and grace, soft-spoken and wise. A man who spends his time seeking and soaking in God’s word and presence which shines through him. To know Marvin, you would never believe his past.
Marvin was born in Odessa, TX, and following his parents’ divorce, he moved around a lot with his mother. He had to drop out of high school and when he was 20 years old, his cousin came to visit from Houston. Soon after, police officers were banging on Marvin’s door with a warrant for his arrest. Following a guilty conviction, Marvin was sentenced to ten years in prison for a crime he did not commit. It turns out that Marvin’s cousin committed the crime, although Marvin did not know it at the time.
He made the most of his time in prison, earning his CDL through a local college. And after about five years, he was paroled. When his parole was through, he began moving around with his mom again, until he was arrested again. He was sent to prison for the second time, and he lost his CDL. After five years, he was paroled again. He began using drugs and wound up on the streets. He struggled to get clean, and despite an encounter with God, he continued in rebellion. He violated his parole, more than once, leading to serving more time.
After he got off parole, he graduated with a CDL again, moving to Alabama to be with his mom until she passed away. Then, he returned to Wichita Falls where he met Gloria with whom he had a daughter. Not long after she was born, he was arrested again. His charges were enhanced due to his record, and the state was seeking to give him 25 years to life. Fearful and afraid, he prayed. God strengthened his faith, and he only received five years of probation.
Just before his probation ended, a neighbor called in false charges on Marvin. He was sent back to prison. Separated from his family, Marvin sought out God. A book he found led him to find deeper hope and faith. According to Marvin, “One word from God can change your destiny.” For him, that word was “expectation.” He spent the rest of his time incarcerated studying the word, learning to trust God, and growing in his faith. Soon he was released on parole, and after being sent to Pampa, came to Amarillo where we had the pleasure to meet him at the PARC.
Today, Marvin is committed to getting his life back on track and to providing hope to others. I have seen him walk through many trials with his faith and his joy never wavering. Marvin is a new man, steadfast. He brings peace and kindness with him on his days at the PARC. I recently got to watch him graduate from the Christian Men’s Job Corps at the top of his class and celebrated with him as Marvin found a full-time job the very next day. God has big plans for Marvin’s life and testimony, and I am grateful to get to walk beside him along the way.