Were There Not 7 Baptized in Prison? 1 Was Set Free and is Free in Jesus

13 Apr 2018 | NCC Staff


Brother Joseph Rogers’ journey from a life behind bars to freedom in Christ is riveting. “I was seduced by the lifestyle and I never want to go back there,” Joseph shared as he recounted a life of horror that landed him in prison for twelve years. Prison was not a part of his plan when he arrived on St. Croix in 1965. His intention was to work hard, be productive and, one day, return to his country of birth - St. Kitts. Sure enough, Joseph Rogers started out well and his skill as a heavy equipment operator brought him money and friends.

He summarized his journey from 1965 to 2005 in a single statement, “I had it all but I gave it all away . . . making poor choices.” He regretted the turn that his life took and somberly reflected that social toxins brought him pain and eventually a 12-year prison sentence in 2005. Yet, it was there in prison that he encountered some godly men from the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church who conducted worship services on Sabbaths.  Joseph faithfully attended  the weekly services, learned all he could and  three years later, in 2008, became a Seventh-day Adventist, through baptism, in prison. 

He reminisced: “I will never forget the day.  Seven of us at the time and Pastor Hesketh Matthew did the baptism. I encountered God in the “godly men” I met in prison and Jesus gave me hope to succeed . . . Salvation is for everyone. I wanted a new life for me, my family, and people around me.  I understand now that the only way is following God’s way.” Some of those who were baptized with Joseph returned to their former way of life but he has remained faithful and is celebrating his transformed life in Christ.

Brother Rogers recalls that his life in prison took a turn for the better, after his baptism.  Strains of music from his guitar regularly provided a melodious backdrop for the worship services conducted by various religious organizations which visited the prison.  Also, he pioneered a choir as well as the Magnificent Seven Band which delighted several audiences.  “The Holy Spirit gave me boldness to sing and I use it for the Lord,” he explained.

He discussed his release: “Four times I went before the parole board seeking early release but was turned down.  I decided that I would not go back - opting to serve out the long sentence handed me. Looking back, I do not believe God was ready for me to go out as yet.” A recommendation from his auto-mechanic supervisor attested to the change in Joseph Rogers. Finally, he was released from prison to live a transformed life for Jesus in the community and in the church. He is grateful for his accountability partners, Brother St. Martin, Brother Elliott and Brother Roberts, who ministered to him while he was incarcerated and have continued to express care during the seven months of his release.

Brother Rogers regrets losing his family because of poor decisions, and reflected, “I have been in jail for 12 years. I lost my wife but I never lost Jesus’ love.  I thank Him for this opportunity.” He attends the Bethel SDA Church, on St. Croix, and enthusiastically participates in the worship services by singing and playing the guitar.

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