For years, the non-profit ministry God Behind Bars has shared the amazing testimonies of prison inmates who have experienced transformations through giving their lives to Jesus Christ. And their latest compelling documentary about a young man who died, came back to life and encountered Jesus is now going viral.
“What was God in my recovery? Everything,” 23-year-old Ty Bateman describes in the video.
“It’s been a supernatural thing. It’s been something eternal that He’s done in me. He’s flipped the switches. Christ Jesus is my Lord and Savior. He is my success story. He’s the reason I am here today. I put in the work. I put in the effort, but He did the transformation of my heart and I am only here and alive because of Him,” Bateman continued.
In a video posted to Instagram that has more than 180,000 views, Ty explains how a suicidal drug addict found Christ in prison.
The young man explains that he grew up in a Christian home, but was sexually molested and raped for a year at the age of 9. He was bullied at school and eventually started having seizures because of the stress of everything.
“I eventually started hating life,” he shared. “I started hating God. I started just cursing and hating everybody.”
Bateman attempted his first suicide at the age of 10.
From the age of 11-13, Bateman was continuously in and out of mental hospitals because of cutting himself and his attempts to kill himself.
At the age of 13, he began using drugs. It started with smoking marijuana but that eventually led to the use of harder drugs like meth and heroin.
By the age of 16, he was going to rehab and clinic.
“Everything they tried to do, didn’t work,” he shared.
Bateman also became increasingly violent.
“I was constantly verbally abusive to my family. I would constantly bicker with my mom. I had to be restrained multiple times because of my aggression. I’m punching trees…punching walls…punching holes in my wall. Just causing massive amounts of mischief,” he described in a video posted to God Behind Bars’ YouTube.
As a teenager, Bateman was excelling in sports and school, even making the honor roll. But those achievements did nothing to help him cope with the pain.
“Sophomore year I dropped out of high school,” he shared. “[I] went to several different other little schools to get back on track but that didn’t work out. So I officially dropped out.”
On May 11, 2017, Bateman decided it was time to end his life.
“My mom went to take my little sister to school,” he shared. “It gave me enough time. I ran down to the basement. I already had a cord ready and braided. I tied the noose and I remember looking back at my friend and [saying], ‘Hey, this is it, bro. I’m done.'”
“I kicked the ladder from underneath myself and I died,” Bateman recalled.
He said his mom and his sister came back home and opened the garage to see Bateman hanging from the rafters.
“[My mom] cut me down, cried out to the neighbors, and the neighbors called for help,” he recounted.
Bateman was transported to the local hospital, where medical staff reported that he was dead for 8 minutes.
The emergency staff was able to resuscitate him and he recovered in the ICU.
Bateman said he wanted to escape the misery, but was upset to find out he lived through the suicide attempt.
Figuring, that killing himself didn’t work, he then turned to drugs to escape.
By the age of 18, Bateman “chose to go to the streets.”
“I was just a straight fiend, I would do anything except sell my body to get high,” he shared. “I just wanted to be high. At that time I was shooting meth. I never really smoked it, but I used an IV needle and put massive amounts of dope into my veins.”
Bateman lived on the street as a drug addict, homeless for years.
The one constant was a weekly visit with his mother. At one point, he told his mother just to forget him.
“She said, ‘Boy, you are my baby boy and I am not going anywhere.’ I just broke down crying and didn’t know what to do with that. I’ve given her every reason to give up on me and she hasn’t,” he said.
In April 2020, Bateman was arrested and sentenced to four years in prison.
When he arrived, he tried to kill himself, again.
“I tried to take the towel and choke myself out,” he shared. “I really didn’t want to die but I was just so done, and so hurt, and so mad at myself that I was done and just threw in the towel.”
He was transferred to Jefferson County Jail in Golden, Colorado and he says that is where everything changed.
“I ended up in a pod with a guy named Trivy,” Bateman recalled. “And he held a prayer circle one night. It was a prayer circle about forgiveness and in that moment I lost everything. I just broke down crying.”
Bateman tells God Behind Bars he didn’t know where to begin to forgive. He shares that hate and anger consumed him so much that there was no room for any other emotions.
“My heart was so hard. I was so mad at God. Every time my mom said that God loved me, I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “But when He took my hardened heart and turned it into flesh, he transformed me.”
He continued, “When I heard that Jesus forgave me in that jail. Everything changed. I couldn’t believe that with all I had done, Jesus still loved me just as much as anybody else. I couldn’t believe it. Jesus transformed me. He allowed me to feel again. He has healed my hate.”
“My first step of faith was forgiving other people who had hurt me. I don’t hate the man that molested me anymore, I pray for him. I found everything I was looking for in Jesus. I felt full because of Christ,” Bateman shared.
God Behind Bars is a national prison ministry that is working to restore the lives of inmates like Bateman, by building their faith, during incarceration and after their release.
The ministry is strategically working to reach the more than 2.3 million people in the prison system.
“We create satellite campuses in prisons and our whole mission is to introduce inmates to Jesus,” Isaac Holt, Director of Innovation for God Behind Bars, told CBN News.
“We will stop at nothing, ensuring every inmate in the U.S. has direct and personal access to the gospel and spiritual resources to not only help them grow their faith, but heal trauma and wounds, break addictions and cycles, and allow them to step into their calling as sons and daughters of the Most High,” reads their website.
They are helping thousands like Bateman.
“I found everything that I was looking for in an instant. Instantaneous. I was consumed. I felt worthy. I felt full. I felt satisfied, for once. All because I surrendered my life to Him.”
Bateman says from that day on he has been “on fire” for the Lord.
“God can heal any wound,” Bateman testified. “You have to have faith and trust that it will be healed. There is a greater thing on the other side.”
He added, “Trust in Him with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding and He will direct your paths…I was dead and came back to life. I was an addict and almost died multiple times and I am still here. I’m healed.”