Stephan Wants To “Grow Up” For His Kids
While prison was certainly a scary place, Stephan knows there was a reason he was sent there.
“My parents raised me in church, so I’ve always been a believer, but I don’t think I ever had a personal relationship with Christ until 2011,” he said. “That’s when I went to state prison, so I was kind of freaked out. I read the word a lot and prayed a lot and I saw that he was there with me the whole time.”
Stephan has been using meth since he was 15 after moving to a continuation school as a result of comprehension issues. “Growing up, I could read, but it was hard to comprehend the curriculum,” he said. “When it came to understanding what I was reading, it was hard.”
Stephan connected with the only other new kid at the school, who he quickly found out, was using. “We started hanging out and one day I saw him do it, so I figured I would try it. It wasn’t peer pressure or anything, I just … it was something to try. After a couple years I was really into it.”
In 2009, Stephan went to jail for eight months, but after failing a drug test, he returned, this time to state prison at 23. His faith began to grow, and he started considering a program last year. “I could’ve gone to another program,” he said. “At nine months, the mission’s program was longer than many, but I knew—that’s what I need. That’s the one.
I want to beat this.”
Stephan has two kids, an 11-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter. “I just knew it was time for me to grow up. So here I am, 4 1/2 months in, and I love it here. Everybody here is really, really cool, really nice. I love the fact that it is faith-based and we do devotion every morning, Monday through Friday. It helps out so much.”
Stephan will be off parole this year. He sees his kids, who live with their mom, on the weekends, taking them to the park. “Thank you, Jesus, it’s good,” Stephan said of his relationship with them. “They’re both super smart and I’m so thankful.”
Stephan will graduate in July. “I’m so thankful for this place. I’m really thankful for everybody here; they are so genuine. God is good.”
Stephan said his focus is simple: Loving people more. “Actually showing it,” he said. “I’ve said it, but I need to work on showing it. I realize I’ve been a selfish person in my past. I thought, ‘Oh, I’m not hurting anybody, I want to do this,’ but honestly, I was being selfish, to my kids, and to my family. So I’m learning.”