22 Years and Counting

22 Years & Counting...

I was born into a family of believers in Cleveland, Ohio. I have always had the privilege of hearing the teachings of Christ and being raised by God-fearing adults.

Yet, as a child I struggled because my mother was saved, but my father was not. He had many issues that led him in a direction that seemed too difficult to endure on his own.

It was like living in a house of good and evil.

After being exposed to this spiritual confusion, I began to drink alcohol at the age of nine. This started me on a downward spiral. I fell to every temptation there was, from sex…to drinking until I passed out. My life was clearly in shambles, and consequently, my drug use prevented me from graduating from high school.

Furthermore, from a very early age I knew that God had given me the gift of song. When I was a youngster this was both a blessing and a curse. As a singer, I was allowed into some very dark places that were dangerous for a teenager.

As I continued down this terrible, treacherous road, I was introduced to crack cocaine.

Throughout my teens and twenties I never thought my life could be anything other than a very sad and shameful existence, with a tragic ending. 

While searching for a drug one cold and stormy night in the month of January, I found myself in a center of confinement. That night I was arrested. This was not the first time I was arrested, but it was my first time I was arrested by God.

I was tired, weary, and worn out at the age of thirty years old.

I went to prison in 1995 and was sentenced to five to fifteen years. While in there I prayed,

“Lord, don’t let me leave here the way I came. I’m tired and I’m ready for you to take control of my life, and I can’t make it without you.”

That was when God went to work in me, and never stopped.

I was released from prison after serving three and a half years. Shortly after, I joined New Salem, where I developed sound doctrine and found a pastor that lives the life he preaches.

Eight years after being released from prison, I realized that God wanted to get more glory out of my life. I could hear the voice of God calling me to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  

I received my General Equivalency Diploma (GED) while in jail, yet I knew that I needed to pursue higher education and gain a higher understanding of the Word of God.  The Lord spoke to me many years before, but I could not hear him.  He had given me a vision, but I could not see it because I was blinded by the drugs and alcohol.

Once I was separated from negative friends, drugs and destructive relationships I was introduced to Ohio Christian University. As a teenager, I never thought I would have a college degree, let alone be involved in ministry. Now I have both a Bachelors and a Master’s degree!

New Salem Baptist Church and Ohio Christian University have changed my life forever.

Yet ALL the glory goes to God for showing me my life’s purpose and helping me to remain sober for 22 years!

I hope that if you are reading this testimony and you are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, or you believe that you have made too many mistakes, that you will take a few minutes to pray the simple prayer above, and get connected with people who can lovingly help you take steps towards freedom.

- Min. Eddie B. Sands, Jr.

About New Salem

We are a growing and relevant community oriented church, with global impact through inspiring worship, holistic ministry and effective discipleship.


Daily Devotional

October 04, 2017
September 27, 2017

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New Salem Baptist Church
2956 Cleveland Ave.
Columbus, Ohio

(614) 267-2536


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