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CBN.com It plays like a scene out of Prison Break. Instead, it’s a real-life scene from Ricky Sinclair’s life.
“They ended up chasing me for 56 days in the woods with bloodhounds,” Ricky recalls. “[I was] eating raw armadillo, frogs, turtles, blackberries, thistles and anything else I could find.”
Running from police was a far cry from Ricky’s near-storybook childhood. He grew up in Wayfield, Louisiana, with wealthy, loving parents who gave him anything he wanted.
“Raised on Wayfield plantation, 1900 acres of land, 600 head of cows… I’m a country boy,” Ricky says.
But Ricky’s life was far from perfect.
“My mom and dad were both alcoholics, and I watched them drink a fifth of alcohol every day of my life,” Ricky says. “I took on that lifestyle.”
Alcohol wasn’t the only addiction Ricky inherited. His father had always told him to stay away from drugs. Then his father contracted cancer, and when the radiation treatments made him nauseous, he ignored his own warnings.
“One day I caught him smoking marijuana, and that was the very thing he told me not to do. It devastated me. Then he smoked marijuana with me, and I just lost respect for him.
“As a result of disrespecting my dad, I took on the same lifestyle of drugs and partying and then I took it to the extreme. I went crazy. Started dealing drugs at school, smoking marijuana…”
Meanwhile, Ricky married Jeannie, a 17-year-old girl from a single-parent home. She was desperately searching for stability in her life.
“Ricky was a source of security to me,” says Jeannie. “He was everything that I wish that I had.”
But marriage and the arrival of a baby didn’t settle Ricky down. He did whatever he could get away with until his luck ran out.
“Ended up getting busted in 1982 for distribution of cocaine, marijuana, and diazepam,” Ricky says. “[I was] 17 years old, busted in school."
Ricky spent nearly nine months in jail. During that time, his father died, an event that Ricky says put him “in another tailspin going downward.”
Neither Ricky’s first jail sentence nor his father’s death made him change the way he was living.
“They let me out of jail. I went right back into the drugs because I acquired that kind of lifestyle and that’s all I knew. I really thought life was about getting high, partying, and doing drugs.”
Ricky started smuggling hundreds of pounds of marijuana across the Rio Grande River at the US/Mexican border. Once again, the law caught up with him.
“They actually rammed the door down with a 50-60 pound ramming bar,” Ricky recalls. “What I hear is the door come off the wall, and it was skipping across the living room floor. Police everywhere.
“Now in 1987 [I was] busted with possession with intent to distribute 14 pounds of marijuana and an ounce of ecstasy. They’re talking about giving me a life sentence and putting me in the largest state penitentiary in Louisiana for the rest of my life.”
Ricky did not want to spend the rest of his life in prison. Bail was set at one million dollars! His family couldn’t come up with the money. So Ricky went to plan B.
“I ended up escaping,” he says. “They fingerprinted me. I asked them if I could wash the ink off my hand because I knew the bathroom was right next to the front door. I waited until the jailer turned his head and when he did that, I reached down, and grabbed the flip-flops off my feet. I hit the door as hard as I could.”
Ricky ran as fast as he could straight into the woods and managed to elude the police. There he stayed for close to two months.
When the filth, fire ants, and vile food finally got to Ricky, he went to his mother’s house. His stepfather discovered him and turned him in. Facing life in prison, Ricky thought about what his choices had cost him.
“I felt like committing suicide,” Ricky says. “I felt like it was the end of my life. I have wasted my whole life over something stupid like drugs and alcohol. I found out what really mattered was not the party, not drugs, not alcohol. What really mattered was my wife and my little baby.
“Then God started dealing with my heart: ‘That’s some kind of father you are. Look how you’re taking care of your wife and your kid.’ That’s when I really started seeking answers.
“Ernest James, the man that I ran from, brought a Bible back to the jail cell. He said, ‘Ricky Sinclair, you need Jesus Christ. He’ll change your life. Every answer that you need for every question you have is in this book.’
“I grabbed the Bible. My heart was open for the Word of God. I started reading. I could not get enough. I read the Bible 18 hours a day. I read the Bible from Genesis to Revelations twice, straight through.
“As I read the Word of God I realized that God has a vision. God had a plan. God had a purpose for life. He didn’t call me to be a junkie. He didn’t call me to be a drug smuggler. He called me to be a mighty man of God.
“Something miraculous happened. God changed my heart. He changed my life. All of a sudden now the desire to live for drugs and the desire to party and the desire to chase women and all the things of the world was taken out of me. Now I had a will and a desire to do God’s good pleasure.”
There was another miracle. Instead of a life sentence, Ricky served less than four years in prison.
After prison Ricky went on to become one of the top ten life insurance salesmen in the nation! He made wise investments that earned enough money for him to start and fund his own ministry.
“So I took the money from my investments and started traveling as an evangelist preaching all over the world,” Ricky says. “God started dealing with me and Jeannie’s heart about planting a church.”
What started with a prayer meeting in their home grew into a 900-plus member church in Baker, Louisiana.
“God is just a remarkable God,” says Jeannie. “He does things with people that you’d never think He could do, and He does things in ways that you wouldn’t conceive. He’s unbelievable."
Ricky says, “When I gave my heart to the Lord, He came to live in me and now I have life. Life has meaning, and it is exciting. Life is fun. So you just start to live when you give your life to the Lord.”
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