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Here’s the story of Rusty Woomer. Rusty was also a cold blooded killer. In one of South Carolina’s most notorious murder sprees he killed four innocent people and sat on death row for them. In 1990 Bob McAlister, a Christian and Prison Fellowship volunteer met Rusty. What happened between them exalts the forgiveness and life changing power of Jesus Christ for a man who had committed senseless, brutal crimes. Let me allow Bob to tell it.

“Late in the evening, as I walked up to the last cell, I saw a sight I will never forget: Rusty, his face the color of chalk, sitting on the floor - motionless. Crawling aimlessly like so many drunks, dozens of roaches covered the walls and the floor. But what froze my soul were the roaches crawling on the man - his lap, his shoulders and such was his despair that he did not flick them off. I sat down on the floor and tried to talk to him. He could not talk back. He just stared. It was the perfect picture of sin: filthy, degrading, and hopeless. In vain I tried to rouse a response. Frustrated and scared, I prayed aloud that God would cut through the evil in that cell and pierce the heart of its inhabitant. “Rusty, say the word Jesus,” I pleaded. With much effort, he pursed his lips together and whispered, “Jesus.” “Just look at you,” I gently chided. “Your cell’s filthy and so are you. The roaches have taken over and you’re spiritually a dead man, son. Jesus can give you something better.” I asked Rusty if he wanted to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Through tears, he nodded, then prayed. “Jesus I’ve hurt a lot of people. Ain’t no way that I deserve You to hear me. But I’’m tired and I’’m sick and I’’m lonely. Please forgive me, Jesus, for everything I’ve done. I don’’t know much about You, but I’m willin’ to learn, and I thank You for listenin’’ to me.” Late that same night Rusty was baptized into Christ. “I went back to see him the following Monday. I walked up to his cell; it was spotless. Gone were the dirt and roaches and porno magazines. The walls were scrubbed, the bed was made, and the scent of disinfectant hung in the air. “Bob, how do you like it?”exclaimed a smiling, energized Rusty. “I spent all weekend cleaning out my cell ’cause I figured that’d please Jesus.” “Rusty,” I blurted, “it took all weekend to clean out your cell, but it took Jesus only an instant to clean out your soul!” Rusty and I became brothers in Christ, He loved to sit and listen as I read the Bible. During these quiet times of Bible reading, talking, and praying over four-and-a-half years, I hope I taught Rusty something about living. He taught me how to die.

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