Prison Musician Finds Hope Behind Bars
By Randy Rudder
The 700 Club
CBN.com-“These voices in my head were saying ‘You’ve got to do it now. You’ve got to do it now. You’ve gotta kill.’ It was demonic,” Mark Jenkins says when he recalls the night in 1982 when his life changed forever, and an innocent woman was murdered.
Mark Jenkins was born into a military family of eight. Although his mother was a Christian, his father was an alcoholic who verbally abused his wife and children. “I was more accustomed to seeing an alcoholic father more than a regular father,” Mark says.
When Mark was young, a female relative sexually abused him. “I can remember her forcing me into certain situations, and I didn’t know how to respond to it. I didn’t how to respond, or what to say.”
Mark never told his mother about the incidents. “She was unapproachable,” he says. “Once she would leave her job, she would go to church. It seemed that she didn’t have any time for me.”
A similar situation happened when he was a teenager. This time it was a woman in leadership at their church. Mark talked to the elders, who handled the situation, but the scars remained. Mark remembers, “It really fanned the flames of anger toward women.”
In high school, he began using alcohol, cocaine, and other drugs regularly. When he was 17, one of his neighbors, a married woman who didn’t have a driver’s license, asked mark to teach her to drive – but she had other things on her mind.
“We would sit down for sessions of learning going through the drivers’ manual, and she would begin to tell me more about her personal life,” Mark says, “and from that, an inappropriate relationship flourished.”
The neighbor gave him gifts but also tried to control his life. “When I would act as if I was giving my attention to someone else, or going somewhere else for affection, this neighbor would give me money and credit cards. I felt that I owed her something being that she was giving me money,” Mark says.
During this time, Mark also says he started hearing demonic voices telling him the world was going to end, and to kill his neighbor, even though he tried to shut them out. “I had been talking to those voices myself. I was trying to throw those voices off,” he says.
One evening, Mark and the woman had an argument. He went to see her, but she locked the door. “Knowing that she would not let me in, because we had just had harsh words a few minutes before, I cut the screen door. And I walked throughout the house, and when she saw me, she said, ‘Mark, I’m gonna call the police.’ And when she said that, I just lost it. I was thinking, ‘I don’t want to go to jail. I hate you.’ Everything that was inside of me just came out in a matter of seconds,” he says.
He then took a kitchen knife and stabbed her several times, killing her. Then he fled the home. “It was as if I was floating in the air, looking down on someone, or looking down on myself, committing this horrific act. Upon coming out of the house, I said to those voices, ‘Now are you satisfied?’ I said, ‘It’s done. I’ve taken an innocent life. Now are you satisfied?’ It was a cruel and heinous act.”
Mark was arrested a week later. He was convicted of first-degree murder, and sentenced to life in prison. There, Mark developed a reputation for his violent behavior. He sold drugs, and was involved in racketeering and other illegal activities. “A lot of the staff told me, ‘You’re an animal.’ So I began to act like an animal.”
A prison worship leader asked Mark if he would play bass for the chapel band, and he reluctantly agreed. This, however, gave him a chance to hear the Word of God on a regular basis. He also began reading the Bible, and his heart began to soften.
“One day and a guy asked me, ‘Man, are you saved? Cause you look like you’re a Christian.’ And I cursed him, but my mind immediately went back to when Peter denied Christ. But it was at that time that I knew a transformation was taking place.”
Other people started to notice, too.
“People saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself. People would say that there was a godliness about me, and I guess the minister of music, that’s what he saw in me,” Mark says.
One Sunday morning, a pastor gave an invitation, and Mark knew it was time. “This preacher said, ‘There’s somebody here that God’s been dealing with. And I went up, and once I’d gone up, he said, ‘God’s been waiting on you.’ And he prayed the sinner’s prayer with me.”
Mark repented of his sins and says he was set free from his anger and the demonic voices in his head. “That was June 3, 2001. That day is forever etched in my heart. That’s when I committed my life to Christ.”
Mark was released after serving 26 years, and now lives in the Augusta, Georgia area, where he works at a manufacturing plant. He also serves faithfully in his local church and speaks to men every chance he gets about the transforming power of Christ. “The devil meant it for evil, but God has turned it around for the good,” Mark proudly proclaims. “What I would like to say about God’s grace and his unmerited favor is that it is sufficient. And if he can do it for me, He can do it for you.”
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.