Drug Dealer Transformation

Drug Dealer Transformation

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Jerad Stevens, 33, of Two Rivers Church Ithaca in New York proclaims the gospel in the city where he previously sold drugs.

Two Rivers Church launched the parent-affiliated church Ithaca location on Easter with Stevens as the community pastor. Aug. 25 marked three years of sobriety for Stevens, but he felt a call to ministry over 12 years ago.

At 19, Stevens went to Teen Challenge in Rochester, New York and also completed the full program at The Farm in Rehrersburg, Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, he attended Elim Bible Institute with the goal of becoming a pastor. However, he left school to marry. He met the family’s financial needs by joining the steamfitters union in Ithaca.

Stevens remained sober for seven years, but he fell back into old patterns when he saw no more goals on the horizon.

“There was no higher certification I could get for my work,” Stevens says. “There was nothing else to achieve. I started to smoke pot again.”

Within three months, Stevens began taking prescription pills, growing marijuana, and selling drugs on the streets of Ithaca. After a couple of years, he began selling cocaine again and quit his job to work for himself, raising all the money he needed through illegal sales.

His relapse lasted five years. In that span, federal authorities placed Stevens on probation for committing insurance fraud.

“I would stay awake for three days at a time, strung out on meth, cocaine, and prescription pills,” Stevens recalls. “I would do opiates in order to sleep after I couldn’t stay up anymore.”

Although he had two children, 8 and 5 at the time, he stopped coming home at night, and his marriage fell apart. His relapse came to a halt when his probation officer ordered him to attend a rehabilitation program.

Stevens entered rehab and consumed the Bible during his 58 days there.

“The Lord let me feel the weight of my decisions until I was fully ready to surrender,” Stevens says. “Finally, I was prostrate on the floor and I repented.”

Following rehab, Stevens reconnected with Dave M. Quigley, pastor of Asbury Church, an Assemblies of God congregation in Lansing, New York. As a youth, Stevens sat under Quigley’s ministry, and he views him as a trusted spiritual mentor.

After Stevens spent a year being sober for the second time, Quigley connected him to Will W. Hampton, who invited Stevens to a Church Multiplication Network Launch event. Hampton, who is a CMN representative, says he has confidence in Stevens, even though he has a difficult past.

“If we are going to get behind the underdogs we have to have a team culture of confession and healing,” Hampton says. “I feel better about underdogs who live in continual repentance than the elite who never open up to live in real accountability. So we focus on creating sons and daughters that we care for and love instead of employing hired hands.”

Stevens loves sharing about all that God has done in his life.

“I’ve never been so free,” Stevens says. “I am financially free, emotionally free, and spiritually free.”

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