From Gangbanger to Hope Dealer: The Story of Myron Pierce (Part 1)
While facing a life sentence of prison time due to a life of gang banging, drugs, and crime, something major changed in Myron Pierce: his heart. He’d surrendered his soul to the Lord Jesus. And Jesus had plans for Myron. This is Part 1 of Myron Pierce’s story.
Q: Myron, let’s talk about when you were in prison. Talk to us about how you grew up, what led to you going to prison, and how God radically changed your life and gave you a vision of hope.
The reason hope is such a big deal for our ministry is that I lived hopelessly. Some people have the luxury of saying they grew up in the church. But my church was the streets. My pastors were pimps, prostitutes, and hustlers. My big brothers and the people I ran with were the moneymakers, the real deal. They were killers. So, I got discipled in what it meant to be a gangbanger.
“I got discipled in what it meant to be a gangbanger.”
Ultimately, however, we reap what we sow. So, I started going in and out of jail. At 16, I was facing a hundred years in the penitentiary. At age 18, I was facing two hundred years. And facing that is where really where God got my attention. The only spiritual paraphernalia I had in my life was that whenever I would lose something my mom would tell me to pray this prayer: “Saint Anthony, look around. Something is lost and can’t be found.”
But when I started doing these prison stints, I started sitting at the back during the chapel times. I was searching for something. I was spiritually bankrupt, unaware of how to actually change. And over time, those deposits of hope became the sprouting, the flourishing which finally led to a harvest: On March 21, 2002, at 1:00 a.m., I made a deal with God. I said, “God, I’m destroying my life. But if you change me, I’ll serve You for the rest of my life.” So that became the turning point for me.
Q: And then the Holy Spirit spoke to you. Tell us about that.
So, I sat in county jail for months, and that was really my Moses-in-the-desert experience. In county jail, I got to know three things: God, myself, and the plan He had for me. So, one day, while I’m in jail facing 200 years, I’m on the telephone talking to somebody, and I overhear a conversation. It’s a conversation about a guy who had given his life to Jesus, stood in front of the judge, somehow all the charges were dropped, and he went home free. And this was one of the early times when I clearly heard the voice of God. I get off the phone and ask these guys, “Hey can you tell me what happened to this guy?” And that’s when I hear that still, small voice say, “That’s going to be you.”
“That’s when I hear that still, small voice say, ‘That’s going to be you.'”
Fast forward months later to where I’m standing in front of the judge. He looks me in the face and says, “Young man, today I’m going to make an example out of you.” So, my heart sank. He gave me my sentences which added up to a total of 16-33 years. And then I heard the voice of God again: “Myron, I’m going to get you out of prison to plant churches for my kingdom.” So, I held on to that promise even though I was headed to the penitentiary.
Q: And you ended up getting discipled in the penitentiary, correct?
I liken it to God sending different people my way. One of the guys that helped disciple me is a man named Clint. Clint had a life sentence plus sixty. When I met him, he said, “I’m a missionary to prison.” This was my first time hearing that language. And he would sit down with me every week, and his favorite Scripture was John 15. Right before I exited the penitentiary, he asked me, “What reassurance can you give me that you will never come back to this place?” He looked me in the eye and said, “Myron, the only reassurance you can give me is John 15. You’ve got to stay connected to the Vine.”
“Myron, the only reassurance you can give me is John 15. You’ve got to stay connected to the Vine.”
I wasn’t supposed to get out of the penitentiary until 2019. But six months after my sentencing—six months of trusting God, trusting His promises—I get a letter from the state of Nebraska. They say they are pleased to announce that they had changed the law. According to their sentence structure, I was now eligible for parole. God had essentially begun the process of opening up the doors so I could come back to my neighborhood and provide hope.
Q: Thank God! It’s the grace of God that works within us, but we put in work too (1 Cor. 15:10). So, thanks for putting in the work of, by faith, listening to God’s voice.
I always say that an education in hope begins at the point of crisis. We don’t know how much faith we have until we’re faced with our greatest challenge. God taught me how to actually live by faith and live with a sense of expectation. So, I wouldn’t take back the experience of walking with God in the penitentiary and seeing miracle after miracle. I could tell you stories of miracles where God saved my life amid death threats that were made against me. I saw the glory and goodness of God from a prison cell.