Stephen Arrington did not grow up as a Christian. On graduating from high school, he joined the navy. As a young man, he started selling marijuana, influenced by friends. He destroyed a 14-year old naval career.
Then a childhood friend hired him as a pilot but forced him to start running cocaine. Stephen was terrified and alone, he could not run! Finally, he was arrested in a DEA raid. He saw his arrest as being saved. At age 32, Stephen was tried as co-defendant with John Delorean — in the drug trial of the century. He was in prison for 10+ months, waiting for trial and would likely be convicted to a life sentence. His family and friends didn’t care and had abandoned him.
One morning, having just cleaned up the blood after a violent incident in prison and terrified that he himself would die there, he fell on his knees to pray. He remembered a sign he’d seen at a church “The blood will set you free.” He cried out “God, are you there for me?” God’s resounding answer was “Always!”
He kept praying and when he went before the judge, he was convicted to just 5 years. In prison, he became chief engineer of the inmate fire crew. He went from wearing a garment of shame to a garment of honor. Isaiah 61:10. He knew God had a plan for him. His sentence was reduced to 3 years.
When he was released from prison, he saved a young boy from drowning and was commended by President Reagan. He then joined the Jacques Costeau diving expedition and had five and a half years of incredible adventure with whales, sharks, and dolphins. He left that job to keep a promise to God to talk to youth everywhere.
In 2008, Stephen applied for a presidential pardon. He did not surrender hope though it seemed almost impossible. In 2016, President Obama granted him a pardon. This is a great tool to use in his testimony to youth, in reminding them that they are always loved by Jesus.