FROM TRAGEDY TO IN TRIUMPH
My name is Jacob Carter, and I am now 24 years old. I was born in the great state of Alabama (ROLL TIDE ROLL) and raised within the small community of Locust Fork, where football is a religion. Around three years ago, I was dying from a severe drug addiction and facing possible prison time. But even worse than my criminal offenses against the state of Alabama, were my criminal offenses against the state of God’s holiness. This is my story, a story about how God pulled me from tragedy and sent me to In Triumph.
My family was a middle class family, my dad a principal, my mom a nurse. Even though I was the typical small town kid, I tried hard not to be, but I think my cravings for diet cokes and burnt pizza kind of gave me away. I really loved sports, and in my youth, strived to be a great athlete. Funny how a few touchdowns can raise your social status. But by the time I was 15 years old and after a few football injuries, a lot of things in my life started to change. My friends went from jocks to druggies, and by the age of 21, it happened. I was a full blown drug addict.
Enslaved to drugs, my master began to tighten his chains. His demands increased, and my temper became violent as hope waved good-bye. Panic came in forms of envy, hatred, selfishness, and lust. Those closest to me absorbed it all. Scheming and lying kept me occupied, as death moved in for the kill. I was a user of people, places and things, and everything I touched seemed to die.
Around March of 2010, I pled guilty to felony burglary and domestic violence charges. I can remember sitting in the courthouse, staring at my hands, thinking to myself, “How did I get to this point in my life?” My insurance wouldn’t pay for a fourth trip to rehab, so I was overwhelmed by desperation. I could not believe it. I was hooked, in torment, and I could not find relief. I knew that if something didn’t change quickly, I would be dead or in prison.
One day I received a call from an old friend of the family, who had recently moved from Alabama to Texas. He shared about a man who had spoken at his church, with an unorthodox program that was specifically designed for those whom the system had failed. I didn’t know much about the place, other than it was free, and despite my charges, I would be taken in. But little did I know at the time, that when I called In Triumph, the man who was on the other line would later become my pastor and best friend.
In Triumph’s founder and pastor, Pete Orta, helped me make the big move from Alabama to Texas. The Austin airport was my first encounter with Pastor Pete, and that initial meeting would set the stage for just how unorthodox the program would be. But that’s another story. I didn’t even have a chance to settle in before his wife, Mrs. Kelli, had to take me to the emergency room because my kidneys had shut down from all the pills I had taken the previous days. I was on the brink of certain death, and God was using this program as a means to preserve my life until I came to salvation.
In Triumph has been an amazing experience for me. My worldview was challenged against Scripture, and as a result, the Lord has given me a new heart, a new spirit, and a new life. I thought In Triumph would be just another drug and alcohol program where I could get my charges dropped and receive a certificate that would appease the courts, but God’s thoughts were higher than mine. It was not only a place where I would receive a balanced structure, useful life skills, and the discipline that it takes to be an effective leader, but it would also be the place where I would meet my Lord Jesus Christ – a place that would raise me to biblical manhood. I am fearful that words would lose the nuances of how this program actually works, so I will leave you to your thoughts. But I will say this, although I do struggle at times with my flesh, I am no longer enslaved to the sins that were killing me.
I don’t think the Ortas, kids included, even realize how much their ministry has meant to me. They are consistently dedicated to helping me, along with every other person that has walked through their doors. Pastor Pete with his knowledge of the Word, and Mrs. Kelli with her understanding of nutrition, serve the Lord relentlessly. God has even used their program as a means to getting all my charges dropped. I know at my age, I might not comprehend the impact this program has had on my life, but for the first time, I am excited about the future and the possibility of raising a family of my own.
I want to wind this down by telling you this – if you ever get a chance to visit In Triumph and stay long enough to see how they do things, you will be extremely blessed. And if you find them a bit odd or their approach challenging to your perspective, ask yourself this. Can you appreciate the way they do it, over the way others aren’t doing it at all? I certainly do, because once I was lost, but now I’m found; and once I was in tragedy, but now I am In Triumph. Soli Deo Gloria!
– Jacob CarterMinistry leader at In Triumph, writer, and Crimson Tide fanatic