“I’ve spent more than half my life behind bars. It’s where I learned how to survive. Today, I’m the pastor of a church, and God has blessed me with a beautiful wife and a beautiful life.”
Learning to Lie
“My father was a pastor, and my mother was a housewife,” said Roscoe. “When I was 11, I remember my dad taking my siblings to church, but left me at home with my mom. He was paranoid and accused my mom of being unfaithful. So he left me at home to keep an eye on her.”
When his father got home, and Roscoe told him nothing happened, his dad didn’t believe him and would beat him. Eventually, Roscoe realized if he said what his dad wanted to hear, he would no longer be beaten.
“I learned how to lie to keep him from hitting me,” said Roscoe. “But I felt a lot of guilt over the pain it caused my mom. I begged her to call the police or leave. She said she didn’t want to break up our family or be the reason someone turned away from the church and God. So she took the abuse. We both learned how to survive.”
From the Boxing Ring to the Penitentiary
Ultimately, this took a toll on Roscoe, and he began experimenting with drugs and alcohol. “I tried to medicate the pain away,” said Roscoe. “I had a lot of hatred in my heart. I was rebellious and got into trouble. I eventually found my way into the boxing ring through a program run by the local sheriff. I told myself that when I got big, I was going to whoop my daddy. My anger motivated me. I went all the way to the Nashville Golden Glove. I participated in 110 fights, won 97 of them, 78 of them by knockout.”
But his drug use got the better of him, and he went from the boxing ring to the penitentiary. He’s been arrested 92 times, been to prison five different times, and spent more than half of his life behind bars.
As Low As I Could Go
When he wasn’t behind bars, Roscoe sometimes slept under bridges, eating out of trashcans. He tried ten different rehabs over the years, but none of them seemed to help. “I was doing it for the wrong reasons,” shared Roscoe.
“In 2015, I was as low as a person could get,” shared Roscoe. “I was running around with a married woman who would put me up in a hotel, get me high, and let me drive her car. One night she tricked me into selling some fake pills to a dealer. As soon as he realized he’d been duped, she drove away and left me standing there. Before I knew what happened, they came at me with steel pipes, chains, sticks. They busted me up and left me for dead. The next morning, someone found me and called an ambulance.”
When he was finally released from the hospital, Roscoe had nowhere to go. Having stayed at the Mission a couple of times many years before, he knew he could go there and at least get some food and shelter.
On My Knees
“I sat down and heard two men discussing how long they’d been homeless,” recalled Roscoe. “Both men were in their late 60s. One had been homeless for 30 years, the other 27. Tears started falling down my face. I was 50 years old and realized if I didn’t do something, that would be me.”
“I walked up to the security desk and explained that I was messed up, and I really needed some help. Then I was introduced to Monte, who told me about the Mission’s Life Recovery Program.”
“I came into the Mission broken. I stayed in the prayer room, on my knees, and in the Bible. I tried to erase everything out of my mind I thought I knew about God, and I was willing to learn. I started applying what I learned, and things began to change. I began to change.”
A New Life in Christ
“The Mission taught me humility, discipline, and most importantly, how to trust God. When we had the opportunity to visit churches, I made my way to my mom’s church. The pastor was 90 years old and had been pastoring since he was 25. They welcomed me with open arms. After I graduated I also made it my church home.”
Roscoe developed a close relationship with the pastor, who continued to mentor him and offer him encouragement. “I finally felt like I had something to do, something to give back. I started praying and asking God to show me my place in ministry. The pastor kept telling me I had work to do and I couldn’t let God down. They even asked me to join the church board.”
Since graduating from the Mission’s program, Roscoe’s life has been completely transformed. He started his own business making and selling donuts. He got married and he also became a pastor.
God has continued to transform Roscoe’s life. Two years ago, he and his wife stepped out in faith and started a church. “We bought this old warehouse and gutted it. Friends and neighbors donated all the things we needed to get started. It’s called Holy Ground Church.”
Roscoe makes a point of coming back to the Mission, whether it’s to bring by some donuts or speak to men who are just getting started on their recovery journey.
“I visit the Mission because I will never forget this is where it all started. I thank God for this place.”