Year of Disciple-Making: Begging God to Save from a Prison Cell

Jun 09, 2017

Geno Eaves was on track. He had moved to the Triangle from Charlotte and decided to stay after receiving his degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. After spending some time in a hip-hop band, he became a manager at a local restaurant.

With a solid education and a good job, Geno appeared to be doing everything right. He was on par with societal expectations and taking the “normal” track of life.

The inside, however, was broken. In 2011 Geno was sentenced to five years in prison. And life, in ways that Geno would have never predicted, changed course.

But God wasn't surprised, and he lovingly continued pursuing Geno until a single question settled in Geno's heart: “Could God have something for me, even here?” Soon Geno started attending some church services in the prison.

After being transferred to another facility, he met a man, sentenced to 88 years, who expressed more joy and peace than Geno had seen in a long time. That facility eventually faced a lengthy lockdown due to stabbings. Geno was confined to his cell for days on end, so he started reading Scripture. God's Word began to weave its way into the broken places. Geno kept taking it in, and God kept speaking. The words of John 6:28-29 bounced off the walls of his cell and settled in his heart: “Then they said to him, 'What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’”

Could it be that simple?

On February 23, 2012, in a prison cell by himself, Geno got down on his knees and through tears begged God to save him.

From that day forward the Holy Spirit began working in Geno. He was moved to a different facility, where God placed him in a community of believers. From Bible studies to fasts to communion to foot washings, these inmates got the gospel. And they daily lived in this early church-type relationship.

After three years Geno was moved to a minimum custody facility. He got a good job there and established himself as not just an inmate but a person. His time with the Lord there was sweet, and he continued growing in the Word.

On March 23, 2016, Geno was released. His friends and family, including his friend Chris, were waiting to celebrate. Through Chris and other members of The Summit Church, God provided Geno with housing, food, clothes, and a job.

After visiting the Summit with Chris for the first time, Geno knew that was where God wanted him. He realized that he was hearing the same gospel that had changed his life, only in a different context. Jesus' name was being proclaimed in the church as it had been in the prison.

Today Geno attends the Downtown Durham campus, where he serves on the First Impressions team. He's also actively involved in a local small group.

He has a heart for those around him who don't have a voice. He talks to some friends in prison every Sunday. He leads a Bible study with others through letters. Any chance he gets, Geno shares the gospel and God's story of redemption.

“I'm not going anywhere,” he shared. “God is watering me and feeding me and keeping me afresh.”

Psalm 1 is the passage Geno claims for his life: "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish."

by Tiffany Pollard