Twice Pardoned

It was a mystery to his teachers how Andrew Michell could earn such good grades while, at the same time, be the cause of so much trouble in school. Although a straight-A student, the brown-haired boy was often the ringleader in fights, thefts, and other malicious behaviors. By junior high, Andrew had been suspended dozens of times and expelled from two different schools.

As Andrew’s downward spiral continued, his propensity for stealing increased. Every day on the way to school, he stopped at a local convenience store, bought a candy bar, and nonchalantly walked out — with his backpack secretly stuffed with stolen candy, gum, and soda.

“What was stolen was unimportant,” he says. “It was the act of stealing that I sought; the thrilling, cold satisfaction that I was taking something that did not belong to me.”

It would take a special gift from his mother, a Walkman, and an Amazing Facts radio program to utterly transform this stubborn, dangerous mind …

Crushing Consequences

AndrewAndrew grew up in a home with loving parents who tried to instill moral values, but Bible reading, prayer, and faith were absent in their household. Andrew, without a knowledge of Jesus, saw life as hopeless. As far as he could tell, death was the only end, a gloomy outlook that left him with little incentive to achieve and even less reason to follow society’s norms.

“My anger and disgust with life grew to such a degree that there was nothing I looked forward to more than the thrill of crime,” he says. Even his parents felt he was a real threat to their very lives.

It’s no surprise then that just a few weeks after his 16th birthday, Andrew was arrested for driving the getaway car in a series of armed robberies and kidnappings. The criminals he was arrested with were known drug dealers. Prosecutors were not inclined to be lenient: Although a minor, Andrew was tried as an adult and sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison.

“Having committed so many without getting caught, I was oblivious to the seriousness of my crimes,” he explains. “But now I was about to learn the bitter consequences.”

Soul Searching
Andrew had to spend his first two years in solitary confinement — prison’s way of protecting him from the older inmates.

To help him pass time and convict his spirit, Andrew’s mother sent him a Bible. With seemingly endless, empty days on his hands, he finally began to read the Word for the first time. Conscience-stricken, a tidal wave of horror, shame, and guilt surged through his troubled mind.

“It was a horrible experience,” he confesses. “Every chapter and verse seemed to crush me. I was only 16 and had just lost everything, yet it didn’t compare to the anguish that engulfed me as I read. My soul was squeezed, reduced to nothing, as I realized the greatness of God and how I had lived so long without Him.

“Alone in solitary confinement, I knelt down and begged God to hear me say that I was sorry. It didn’t seem possible I could be forgiven. I didn’t expect it. I only wanted Him to know I was sorry.”

During this time, Andrew was also allowed to have a Walkman. It proved to be a vital spiritual lifeline. One night, he discovered the Amazing Facts Bible Answers Live program with Pastor Doug Batchelor, introducing him to the last-day remnant message at just the right time. There he learned new, hidden truths about the Sabbath, the state of the dead, real Bible prophecy, and more, when his mind and heart were open to biblical truths.

The topics on the program fascinated Andrew, and he was impressed that every answer given was taken directly from the Bible. “I thought, ‘Wow, this guy really knows his Bible.’ It was exciting to be reading the Bible and know that someone else actually read it from beginning to end and believed everything in it to be inspired by God.” He even requested the Amazing Facts Bible Studies.

A Life of Gratitude
When he turned 18, Andrew was transferred to a prison on McNeil Island in Washington. For the next eight years, he took classes offered to inmates by a local community college to prepare for a productive life outside of jail, whenever that might be. Then three years before he was even eligible for parole, he was miraculously pardoned.

Andrew is determined to live a life of gratitude — gratitude for his pardon and for his new life in Christ. The first Sabbath after his release, he attended the Puyallup Seventh-day Adventist Church. While being introduced to the congregation, the pastor explained that Andrew had been studying the Bible two years with Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Not long after, his overjoyed mother watched him be baptized into God’s remnant church and a new life in Christ, and now she attends the same church too!

Andrew is also putting his new faith to work, doing mission work in places like Venezuela and Mexico. And in Thailand, he's helping a church college start a language school to build bridges to the local Buddhist community. He says, "It's an amazing opportunity to teach English to the local police, buddhists monks, and children from the community." He also spends time sharing his testimony with prisoners, churches, and youth groups.

“Amazing Facts has been like dew on withering plants,” says Andrew. Lost and locked up without hope, he was able to hear a message on a Walkman that gave him the assurance of God’s grace and a firm foundation in God’s last-day church. In His power, through a Bible and an Amazing Facts broadcast, Andrew found pardon not only from the state, but also through the power of Christ’s love.

“There is nothing I want to do more than help other people. I wake up in the morning often feeling like I’m bursting at the seams with a desire to help more people know God. I have such a great sense of urgency, so my plan is to get closer to God by reading more of the Bible so that I can know I am doing every day exactly what God wants me to be doing.”

Thank you for your faithful prayers and support that allows Amazing Facts to continue to spread the good news of salvation to people like Andrew. Because of you, countless lives around the world are being transformed by the God’s grace through Amazing Facts.

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NOTE: If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.


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