Testimony of Bill Swope

Looking back at my life, there are thing that I wish I could have changed. The one thing that I would not change is going to church. I remember going when I was younger. I just wish that I would have been more involved.

I grew up not trusting people; being leery of what others wanted. This came from being picked on, bullied, being made fun of at school, and especially by my older brother. I was also sexually molested from the ages of 9 to 13. The first time I was molested, left me confused and thinking that I was broken or that there was something wrong with me. This is because someone else who got molested by the same person told me that it would “feel good.” It didn’t. It felt weird and icky. I didn’t understand why, and I was afraid to tell anyone.

It was at age 12 that I discovered how good sexual pleasure felt and shortly after that I started doing to others exactly what was done to me, not thinking about how I was initially affected and how it was affecting and hurting others. It was just so that I could “feel good.” It was during that time that I also started being rebellious and finding excuses and ways to not go to church. Because I started thinking that God didn’t care, and others didn’t care, so I just looked out for myself. Even to the point where I avoided my parents and others who went to church or those who were a healthy influence. Part of me felt or feared that they could or would be able to sense that I was up to no good and figure out what I was doing. So, I hung around people who were unhealthy to me – alcoholics, drug addicts, and people who were indulging in sexual immoralities. Because like me, they had a secret too. A secret life that they were living.

I eventually went to prison for my crimes. One consequence of my sins. And then I was sent to a facility for sexual offenders in Illinois. Even then, I still avoided church. Even though I had my mother and my grandmother trying to encourage me to turn back to God. Part of me struggled for a long time, thinking that I could never be forgiven, because of the crimes that I committed. My life, in “my mind”, was so miserable. I contemplated suicide and started saying that I was going to do it. Each time I started down the path of suicide, something happened that stopped it. After the third time, I said, “okay God, I give in.” Then I started praying and reading devotionals.

After this my life started getting better. There was still struggle, oh yes, but the struggles didn’t affect me the same way they use to. I don’t react to them the same way that I use to. I turned my life back towards God. Jesus has been the best thing ever in my life. He has helped me and sent people to help me, people who truly cares about me. Part of me sometimes wonders if I have been forgiven by the Lord. Sometimes I still doubt. But then I am always shown otherwise.

– Bill Swope