This is the story of two men from different backgrounds that found friendship in prison. Yucel is originally from Turkey; Darrell is a lifelong Georgian. Here is their account of God working in their lives, as told to our Director in the prison yard one hot afternoon.
Darrell: Mine is the story of a young man who was very lost. I am youngest of seven children and my mother worked all the time to keep us alive. Consequently, I did what I wanted when I wanted. I never went to school or church and never learned to spell my own name. But I did learn a lot about drinking and drugs!
As an adult, I had a wife and a son that I worked hard to take care of, but the drinking and drugging began to take over my life. What I thought was bringing me happiness was really destroying me and ultimately landed me in prison!
Yucel: I don’t talk about my past, but I am so very far away from home here in this prison. I was sure no one cared about me and no one was even concerned about where I am. I have never been so lonely. But then I met Darrell.
Darrell: I had lost everything that I thought would make a man happy – all I had left was the hate! But I was still searching and I began praying and studying. When I met Yucel, it was like a breath of fresh air or a gift from above.
Yucel: Darrell didn’t know how to read or write, so even though English is my second language I was able to help him with some things. It made me feel good to be able to help someone in this way.
Darrell: Yes, Yucel helped me to fill out my store list and write a letter to my mother. It was good to have a friend but I didn’t give God much credit for it at the time.
Yucel: I was just glad to have someone to be friends with. It is hard to make friends in prison but now I had someone to walk the yard with, someone to workout with, and someone just help me through the tough times. But it ended too quickly.
Darrell: I agree. I was released from prison and had to say goodbye to my new friend. Once I got out, I stopped praying and went back to looking for answers in the bottom of a bottle. As it had done the first time around, that lifestyle landed me back in prison in just a short amount of time.
Yucel: I knew I was going to miss Darrell because he has such a good heart. I was transferred to Waycross SP and was certain that I would not find another friend like Darrell.
Darrell: When I went back to prison the second time I was sent to a place far from where I lived – Waycross SP. No one was coming to see me there and I expected to do my time quietly. But I was on the yard one day and would you believe it, there he was…my friend from another country!
Yucel: Yes, we picked up right where we left off, just like old friends always do – walking the yard, lifting weights, and hanging out. It was great to see my old friend again!
Darrell: It was refreshing to see an old friend when I was at another low point in my life. I began reading, studying, and praying again only this time I started to see what I had been missing. I started to understand that God had a hand in all of this and He will for my life was not to be found in a bottle.
I was released again but this time I kept my nose in God’s Word and continued praying and reading. I found my happiness in God and didn’t need to go back to drinking. But make no mistake, sin has consequences! For a third time I found myself going back to prison. It is hard to explain but it was a legitimate reason for sending me back. This time to a prison I had never been to.
Yucel: And then it was my turn to leave Waycross. I wasn’t released but I was transferred again, this time to Dodge SP! I walked in to the cafeteria for lunch one day and there sits my old friend Darrell! What a blessing to see him in just my second day in my new surroundings.
Darrell: That’s right – three times in three different prisons God brought us together! I began wondering if he was really a man from another country or an angel sent by God to keep me straight!
Yucel: I thank God every day for having us meet; good friends in any life are hard to come by but to have a good friend in prison is an incredible blessing!
Darrell: I would like to leave you with this thought:
I was blind, but now I see; I was lost but now I’m found
God has shown me blessings and He has shown me miracles.
Is he a friend or is he an angel? Call it what you want
I’m calling him a miracle by the grace of God!