Gerald Jones: Dead Man Walking
By Michelle Wilson
The 700 Club
“The last time I used drugs was in 1996, and I was 56 years old.”
For 40 years Gerald Jones of Indianapolis, Indiana, was hooked on drugs.
He recalls, “All these may look like burns but this is from needle marks where I would stay up day and night just using drugs. Just injecting myself.”
Sadly, he was influenced at a young age by those closest to him.
“My dad worked for the city and he grew marijuana out in the fields. And when he came home he would smoke,” says Gerald. “That always stayed with me the smell of marijuana and jazz being played in the house.”
When Gerald was five years old, his mother died of tuberculosis, and then his father abandoned him. After years of being shuffled between family members, he felt like he didn’t belong anywhere. The world of drugs became an easy escape for him.
Gerald says, “At the age of 14, I began to smoke marijuana, and at the age of 16, I became addicted to heroine unfortunately. I tried it. Even though I became sick, it seemed like all of the other problems and things that I had came up under… it just took it all away, and so I easily became addicted.”
To supply his growing habit, Gerald began selling drugs. At 19 he was arrested for possession and went to prison.
“I was young. I was a little curly head guy. I did a whole lot of stuff but the prison experience that I had was very rough,” he says.
In order to survive Gerald sought out a place to fit in. That’s when he became a prime recruit for the nation of Islam.
Gerald says, “They made sure that nobody messed with me.”
The Muslims not only provided a safeguard for Gerald, they also taught him a new way of thinking.
Gerald recalls, “I easily received the doctrine that the White man was the devil, and the Black man was the original man. All this fitted my mind, and it gave me a reason to understand why my behavior was like it was. And somewhere to put the blame.”
Gerald began to study the Koran, the Torah and the Bible. For the first time in his life he developed a discipline in something he thought was worth living for.
“I would get up each day and I would say all of my prayers. It’s five prayers a day. I would say all five of them. When it come to the month of Ramadon, I would do the 30 day fast from sun up to sun down.”
After a year in jail Gerald was released -- only to return again. Over the next 15 years he spent his life in and out of prison systems.
In spite of it all, Gerald remained a loyal follower of the teachings in the nation of Islam, in particular Malcolm X.
Gerald remembers Malcolm X as a “grassroots speaker.” Gerald says, “He had a way of reaching the Black man in a way that had never been taught or spoken before.”
But drugs continued to dominate and dictate his every move.
“I really felt it was all right for me to deal the drugs, to get high and to do the things I was doing as a Muslim long as I went to prayer five times a day. I looked good on the outside but inside I was a dead man.”
After years of drug abuse Gerald contracted HIV by sharing needles with other heroine users. Within four years the HIV turned into AIDS.
Gerald says, “The lowest point was when the HIV had become AIDS, and the doctors had given up on me. I had went down to maybe 112 pounds.”
That’s when Gerald received a phone call that would change his life forever.
“My brother called me from Indianapolis, and he ministered to me. He said, ‘You’ve tried every way. Are you ready to accept the Lord Jesus Christ?’ I knew that his life and my life had been similar. I knew his life had changed, and that was one testimony that I could never get out of my mind. He had changed. Prophet Muhammad, Allah had not done it for me. When he called and said, ‘Are you ready to accept the Lord?’ I did. When I prayed over the phone with him, I broke. The Lord came into my life and met me right there on the phone.”
Even though Gerald gave his heart to God, he still had a difficult time giving up the disciplines of his Muslim faith.
“I was reading the Bible, and I was saying to myself, ‘Jesus if you are real, then You need to show me because I can’t keep going in between like I’m doing.’”
God did just that. He began to open up His word to Gerald. Eventually God started to transform Gerald’s thinking and strip him of Islamic practices.
Gerald says, “It was when I got to the Lord Jesus Christ that I began to understand that all of mankind was under the dominion of demonic activity. The whole race as a whole and only through Jesus Christ who was manifested to destroy the works of the devil was that gotten ahold to in my life.”
And over time the healing power of Jesus Christ broke a 40-year addiction to drugs.
“Some people such as myself, there’s a process that He takes you through because of the deep-rooted desires that I had down in me for drugs,” he says. “I didn’t know how to function without drugs. But I do know that even going through the process the Lord will stay with you all the way. He won’t let you go.”
Today Gerald Jones is 65 years old. The HIV and AIDS that nearly took his life are in total remission.
“I can’t express the liberty and freedom that I feel in getting up and wanting orange juice and eggs and a breakfast,” he says. “Things like that they may seem so natural to people wherein my first thought was drugs.”
And wherever he goes he loves to tell others about the healing power of Jesus Christ.
Gerald explains, “I enjoy seeing a life change. Not just to get them to the Lord but to see the transition to see the Lord at work in their lives and to see them go through the process. Once you come to God and you surrender your life to the Lord he is faithful and he is able to do exceedingly abundantly all that you can ever ask or think. And it’s true. It’s true.”
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