John Turnipseed's turbulent life story is the epitome of redemption and personal transformation. A former drug dealer, gangster and pimp, he took major steps to profoundly change his life — and now he wants others to realize that they, too, can find renewal.
Turnipseed, who will release his autobiography "Bloodline" on October 1, recently told the Christian Post that his faith in Jesus was the catalyst for him eventually leaving crime and embracing the Bible.
In his testimony, the former criminal described having a troubled childhood in which his father beat his mother daily, striking fear into both him and his siblings. Turnipseed believes that the negative behavior he observed and experienced helped lead him onto a destructive path.
His upbringing was apparently so traumatic, in fact, that he turned away from prayer and reliance upon God — elements his family at one point valued — to embrace gangs and drugs. By age 12, he was running errands for pimps in exchange for sex with local prostitutes, according to the Post.
From there, Turnipseed fully immersed himself in a life of crime, ending up going to jail for a total of 10 years. He was among four generations of Turnipseeds in his family to be "shot, in prison, high school drop outs, violent, deadbeat dads [and] unfathered," according to a description of his life.
But despite his seemingly never-ending pattern of destruction, one day something profoundly changed. After one of his sons was shot at a party, Turnipseed said he woke up, rediscovered God and began living a Christian life.
And he has never looked back, working full-time today as a nonprofit leader who helps hundreds of at-risk youth each year. In addition to this calling, Turnipseed is also a licensed pastor.
This fascinating journey from criminal to a faith and nonprofit leader was depicted in a short film a few years back titled, "Turnipseed: A True Story." His transformation has inspired scores of individuals, making it known that change is possible.
"In a 17 year journey John has transformed into a community leader, pastor, speaker, facilitator," reads a description of the film. "John’s life-changing turnaround fueled his passion for rebuilding relationships between fathers and their families."
Watch this touching film below (caution: adult subject matter):
Turnipseed, whose faith is evident, told the Post that he believes God answers prayers, though not always in the way we might expect.
"I always try to tell people to look for the evidence of God because it's always there and sometimes we just ignore it. We look past it [because] it doesn't look inviting to us," Turnipseed told the Post. "God is always in evidence (sic) in our lives, but we pay no attention to it because we tend to pray for things and tell God exactly how we want it to be done."
Today, he works for Urban Ventures, a nonprofit in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he's the vice-president of the Center for Fathering, a program that deals with the negative fallout from children not having fathers.
The organization operates in the very same neighborhood he used to "terrorize" when he was a criminal, according to an official description of "Bloodline."
Read more about Turnipseed here.
(H/T: Christian Post)