JOY Stories

Jamie Scott: Sparrow's Nest

A Story of Redemption


I grew up in the projects. At times we only had cereal and powdered milk, or Government cheese and toast. Lack was a big part of my life but so was violence. I learned at an early age that if I wanted to survive, I was gonna have to be the toughest kid in the neighborhood. I didn't know my Dad, but once I saw a pair of boots and my Mom said, "I’ll tell you about him when you’re older". Even though I didn't know him, my Dad was my role model because he had the respect of our neighborhood for being someone you didn't mess with.

I was exposed to drugs, alcohol, and shoplifting at a very young age. The first time I was incarcerated was at 14 years old when I stole a car. At 17 years old, I found myself addicted to crack cocaine and looking at two life sentences. During my lifetime of arrest, I had been incarcerated 54 times.

I went to church once when I was a kid. It was to go to a family funeral. My aunt had killed my uncle right in front of me when I was five. The only other time I was in church was for her funeral a few years later when my aunt was also murdered. I had never had the Gospel preached to me. One day I was playing cards in my jail cell when a guy came in with a prison ministry and I heard the Gospel for the very first time. He came to my cell and asked me, “If you died tonight, where would you go?” It was like the Holy Spirit paused time for me. I was stuck in a moment of facing the truth. I knew at that time my bad outweighed my good, and I didn’t know how to answer him. He told me, “Let me help you”. He then introduced me to Jesus. God met me behind bars. There was no distance, no depth, no width of God getting his non conditional love to me. If God’s love could reach me, how much so could He reach you.

I’m now an ordained minister and the Executive Director of Sparrow’s Nest, a Christian center whose goal is to help break the poverty and incarceration cycle. One of my neatest relationship from my past is working with the judge who sentenced me to jail multiple times who volunteered at Sparrow’s Nest until his death last year. People who are caught up in the darkness like I was need to be given hope, life, and transformation that is only found in Jesus. People who I minister to say, “if Jamie has changed so much, then surely there must be a God in the Heaven who can change me too.”

-Jamie Scott

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