AN IRISH PRISONER
On the other side of the Atlantic, I would also encounter
demons in the life of an inmate. In October of 1999, I made a trip to Ireland to see my new born again brother, Eddie Ferncombe.
Eddie had a notorious reputation in Ireland. He was well known for his criminal activity. My friend, David Berkowitz (AKA
The Son of Sam), who has been a believer since the late 80's read about Eddie’s escapades in Ireland and asked if I
would write to Eddie and witness to him as I had done to David many years ago. New York inmates are not allowed to correspond
with other inmates or David would have witnessed to Eddie himself.
I wrote to Eddie and shared the gospel. He wrote me back
saying that if I knew who he really was I probably would want nothing to do with him. He felt he was too bad for God to love
and surely Jesus couldn’t save someone like him. I continued our correspondence and one day Eddie accepted Christ by
mail! Our friendship grew and he asked if I had any cassette tapes I could send him as was allowed to have a small tape player
in his cell.
I gathered up some tapes from prison services here in
the U.S. and mailed them to Eddie. On one of those tapes, I was ministering deliverance at the end of a service, commanding
spirits in the name of Jesus Christ to leave certain inmates. When Eddie listened to this particular tape, it riled the demons
in him. Just the commands in the Name of Jesus on audio tape snapped the demons to attention! He said as I was commanding
spirits on the tape that he began to get very hot. "It was the middle of winter, Don and I had stripped down to my shorts
and was splashing water in my face from my wash basin. I had never felt anything like it." Eddie realized that he had demons.
"DON CAN YOU HELP ME?’
The next day, he called for the chaplain, a Catholic Priest. "When
I told him about my experience and asked him to help me, he laughed at me. Don, can you help me?" I knew God was calling me
to make the trip and minister to my new friend in Christ. Now, I didn’t know anyone in Ireland and was not sure how
I would get there since it is a very trip. I only knew I was supposed to go. Here is Eddie’s story.
"I was born in 1972 and as I look back on my life, I never thought
I'd reach this far and become the man I am today. Since birth, it seemed I was born to die young from my own self destruction.
So I lived fast and came very close to death many times. Now things are different, Satan's grip on my life is broken and Jesus
Christ is my Savior! The "power" I once knew was violence and crime . . . that is now gone, along with its pain, anger, hurt,
frustrations, blood, sweat and tears. The Lord and my new Christian friends have helped me break this vicious cycle of self
destruction and harm to others. So what they gave to me, I now give to you my brothers and sisters, to help inspire hope and
change for you also. I give you love and truth."
"I could easily blame my childhood for how I turned out, but my brothers
and sisters didn't turn out like me. It must have been something else. I was born and reared in a working class ghetto, riddled
with drugs, crime, violence and youth crime gangs. I witnessed violence at a young age. I came from a broken home. We barely
had enough money for food. I have little education and while my upbringing had some effect on me, I now accept responsibility
for my actions, my crimes and my mistakes. My mother and grandmother raised me since I was 2 and a half years old. My mom
was 25 when she had five of us kids. I also have four half-brothers. We moved a lot when I was young, from flat to flat. My
mom worked hard to provide for us and we got lots of love and affection which is better than material things.
I CRAVED REVENGE
Moving around a lot left me to run the streets and "hook
up" with the bad boys. We committed violence as children. I soon learned that my violent ways could be a powerful weapon over
people. I loved to hurt people who had done me harm, or had done harm to my family or friends. I never let anyone get away
with doing me over. I craved revenge and I always got it. I was always in trouble in school, expelled often and eventually
at 13, I was thrown out of school. I never went back.
At this time; I was in and out of the children's court
for crimes such as car theft, robbery and assault. I stole anything I knew I could sell. First it was for drinking, later
it was for drugs. I was becoming very violent. Anyone who got in my way I either stabbed, used hammers or hatchets, it didn't
matter. By age 15, I had become a professional car thief and burglar and I had become notorious for stabbing people.
I WAS FEARED BY PEOPLE
I was a member of a youth crime gang of about 40 members and we controlled
the crime in our "hood". I was feared by people two or three times my age and this made me feel powerful. To keep this power,
I felt I had to get more violent. The home for troubled kids would not accept me . . . eventually one did but threw me out
for stabbing two people in a fight. At 16, I was sent to a youth detention center for 12 months for an assault and for escaping
from lawful custody.
While in the detention center, I was in and out of solitary for assaulting
inmates and officers. I was only out for five days when I was arrested for robbery and received another 16 months for three
counts. I was doing drugs pretty heavy at this time. I did this 16 month sentence the way I did the first; violence against
authority and other inmates. Three months after this sentence, I stabbed a man to death during a street robbery. I was using
heroin, crack and cocaine and I was messed up at this time. I was 17 and had already stabbed 25-35 people and that doesn't
include the others I hurt with other weapons. For the most part, it was rivals that I hurt, those who would have done the
same to me.
I WAS CHARGED WITH MURDER
I was charged with one count of murder at age 17. (Later this was reduced
to manslaughter because of my age and drug dependance). I was given a ten year sentence. I had always hated authority so I
was in trouble from the start. I wouldn't obey orders from anyone. I assaulted officers and went on all sorts of protests
which caused me to be sent from prison to prison. I was in all of Ireland's prisons and punishment blocks three or four times
over. None of this helped, I kept rebelling at any chance because my hate only grew over the many beatings I was given by
eight, ten or 12 guards. In more than 11 years of incarceration, I have only spent about ten months in general population.
As the case is now, I spent my time in isolation. Along the way I even dabbled with the occult and have "666" tattooed on
me. I had tattoos about hate for everyone! All in my anger for authority.
I hated the system and the system hated me. I did have the respect
of other inmates because I fought the system. I earned my way here to Ireland's toughest prison . . . housed in the defaulters
wing. In 1996, while in the Mounty Joy Prison in Dublin Prison, me and five other inmates took five officers hostage. We held
them for three days in what has been described as the worst crisis in prison history. We were all sent to the Portlaoise prison,
Ireland's most max facility. I am now in a prison within a prison. This is my fourth time here, and three times previously
I was on the "gangland" wing. The guards here wear riot gear any time the doors are opened and I am always cuffed before leaving
my cell and no less than six officers go with me. I received an additional six-year sentence for the siege and that's why
I am on the defaulters wing.
SOMEONE DID CARE FOR ME
Two years ago, I started writing to some Christians and they showed
me love and respect as a human being. They showed me that someone did care for me. They trusted me and took me into their
confidence as an equal. This all felt strange to me as I hated society and thought society hated me, but it also felt good.
I wanted what they had. I accepted Christ by mail! I wanted change, I really did, but I did not know God loved me so much
that He sent Jesus to save me. Save me? I was writing to Don Dickerman in Texas. He sent me the salvation prayer and words
of encouragement. I read some of the Bible and as I said the prayer of salvation...BANG! With tears in my eyes I began to
loudly scream and shout, a feeling of calm came over my thoughts, I knew something was really happening. The Holy Spirit came
into MY body. Wow!
I wasn't tripping, this was real! Hilary Hughes, a Christian in Dublin
was writing and John Paul and Aine Hooton from Cork were writing me also words of encouragement. Don sent me some cassette
tapes of prison services he conducted in America. As I listened to one of the tapes, he was ministering deliverance to inmates.
He bound evil spirits in the Name of Jesus and as he did this on the tape, my body began to get hot and there was stirring
inside. It was the middle of winter and I could not cool off, I stripped to my shorts and I splashed water from my basin in
my face. As he commanded spirits to leave; I started doing the same. I knew now I had demons but couldn't find release. I
told my chaplain about it the next day and he laughed at me. I wrote Don and told him about it and I asked him to help me.
Don told me that when he read my letter he felt the Lord telling him to come to Ireland and to minister deliverance to me.
That is a day I will never forget. First he came to see me on Monday
to discuss what I needed to do and was going to come back on Wednesday to do the deliverance. He talked to me about the necessity
of forgiving and that I could not be free until I did. Wow, this was difficult. I had so much anger for the beatings I had
taken, for the man who had "snitched" on me and was now out selling drugs to kids...so much hate! How could I forgive? He
told me it had to be like God forgave me, not based upon them deserving it. He told me to read Matthew 18:23-25. He said,
"Forgiveness is not saying what happened is ok. That's not what Jesus said when He forgave me. He didn't say sin's ok. Sin
is ugly, it sent Him to the cross. What He said was, I love you anyway. When you forgive you are not saying what happened
is ok. It was painful then and it is painful now, what you are saying is, I wish no harm for you. I want God to love you just
like He loves me. If vengeance is in order, I release that to God because He says, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay says the
Lord." (Romans 12:19) You can do that Eddie, you have to if I am to help you."
When I left the prison that day and drove back to Dublin I wondered if Eddie would forgive, I wondered if he could. I knew
that my trip would be in vain if he didn’t. I prayed for him and asked God for extra measures of grace in Eddie’s
life. Hilary Hughes, who was my contact in Dublin, had driven me to Portlaoise and waited while I visited with Eddie. She
was not going to be able to drive me there on Wednesday as I was headed for southern Ireland to preach in a few churches.
On Wednesday, I was to be at the prison about 10 a.m. because of the
limited one hour visit and no visits after noon. Well, it was a Murphy’s law day! It seemed everything that could go
wrong did go wrong. There was a massive traffic jam. I was stranded in traffic in Dublin not to mention driving on the left
side of the road with the steering wheel on the right. Time seemed to race as I watched the clock and tried to maneuver the
roads. It was noon when I finally arrived at the prison. Portlaoise is about 50 miles south of Dublin and it had taken me
almost three and a half hours to drive it.
As I arrived at the prison to visit, others were coming out because
visitation was over. I was so discouraged. I had been binding Satan all the way from hindering this visit. I still was expecting
victory even though it was not looking good. I explained to the visitation officer that I had come all the way from Texas
. . . "I remember you from Monday, Lad. I am going to lunch now, come back at 1:00 and I will ask the governor (warden) if
he will grant you special permission."
I went to get something to eat and prayed for God’s intervention
during the hour. I remember it was somewhat cool, dreary and rainy that day. Seems like the entire 10 days I spent in Ireland
were that way. I went back to the prison in anticipation of special permission. Surely I would get one hour with Eddie. I
was wrong! I got three hours! And I got it in a special area with no one else present. All the visitors had gone and the officer
told me I could have until 4:00. I headed back to see Eddie escorted by a kind Irish officer. He asked me, "Are you like David
Wilkerson?" (Well known pastor of The Times Square Church in New York and former street minister). I knew what he meant, I
thought for a minute and said, "Yes, yes I am." The officer said, "You are welcome here, Lad!" Look how the Holy Spirit had
prepared everything. I wondered now if he had been able to forgive.
IT WAS A STRUGGLE
Eddie: "It was a real struggle turning loose of my anger and forgiving
those I felt so much hate for. But I realized I must do it because the forgiven must forgive. Those who have received grace
must be gracious to others. When I did forgive, I knew something had happened, I knew I ready for demons to be driven from
me. I could hardly wait until Wednesday. When Don came in that day, he told me of many obstacles he had endured that morning,
he even arrived too late for visiting time (one hour is all we are allowed). However, in God's plan, because he arrived late
and had come from Texas he was given a three hour special visit by the governor (warden). The extra time was necessary. I
was a little nervous as the time approached, I wasn't sure what to expect. Don said he felt it might be wise to alert the
officer who sits in a plexiglass box and observes the visit, about the upcoming deliverance. When he told him he was going
to be praying deliverance over me; the officer just nodded and said, "`elp yourself, Lad, `elp yourself."
Jesus Came to Break Sin’s Shackles As Well As Forgive
They brought me into the visitation chamber shackled as always. Four
officers escorted me. I think Don could tell I was ready to experience deliverance by the look on my face. We talked some
and he prayed, acknowledging the Holy Spirit's presence and our need for His direction for me to know complete liberation
from the enemy. He explained to me that when the evil spirits were bound in me that I might very well feel their presence
by some kind of manifestation. I already knew that from just listening to the tape. The Name of Jesus Christ is powerful.
He explained that demons must have permission to be present through generational curse, abuse, trauma, immorality, occult
and other things. We prayed a prayer thanking God for salvation and then repenting of unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, hatred
etc. and received the full work of the cross to break the power of any curse.
He also explained to me that while I was previously possessed by demons,
that I was now possessed by the Holy Spirit of God, that I was redeemed, bought with a price, purchased, God's possession!
He explained that the demons were now intruders and their only work now was oppression, that they were in my flesh and soul,
NOT in my spirit. He began to bind the evil spirits in the Name of Jesus Christ. I felt all kinds of stirring inside of me,
nausea and headache, burning...I became very tensed up. He began to rebuke spirits and commanded them to leave me...man, this
was some experience! I felt them leaving on my breath, sigh after sigh, release after release as he commanded spirits to leave.
Spirits of hate, anger and bitterness, resentments, spirits of rebellion,
spirits of murder and death. For about two hours spirits were leaving me until finally the last one was gone and I sort of
slumped in my seat. The tension was gone, and I felt peace. I remember I felt "high", high on God, not drugs. I felt a peace
and a calmness I had never felt before. All of my inner battles were gone, all of my hate and my anger, my pain and frustrations.
They were all gone, gone man!
I had always told Don in letters that I could never forgive the system
and some people, never, ever! But now, not only could I forgive, I could love. I could truly forgive people and wow what a
powerful weapon that is. I loved it and I have never looked back. That was October 26th, 1999, a day I will never forget.
The Lord now lives in me and I feel He is using me to reach others who were and are in my old situation. I love Jesus so much
now. He died for our sins, take time to think about that. I want to make the Lord proud of me and reach as many people as
I can. I believe He will open the right doors for me and I will follow Him without questions. I want all of my Christian friends
to be pleased with my life and I want this testimony to be a big thank you for their love.
THE SCOWL IS GONE FROM MY FACE
My family and my girlfriend have been waiting all of my life for me
to truly come home. It won't be much longer now. I have been off drugs totally for over four years, having been a heroin addict
for seven and I have finally beat that. I am now placid, peaceful and calm;, a happy man. The scowl is gone from my face,
the hate is gone from my dark eyes and now they shine. I am hoping this helps anyone who reads it and I will try to help anyone
who writes to me."
Transcript of Sid Roth interview
DON: This was ten years later. I was in his prison, not knowing he was there. After the service...
I didn't know what he looked like. After the service he came up to
me and put his arm around me
and said "I want you to know, I appreciate you being faithful over
these years, coming into these
dark places with the light of the gospel. By the way, my name's David
Berkowitz." I could look in
his eyes and tell something had happened. I said, "David, are you saved?
Are you born again?"
He said, "Yes sir, I got saved a couple of years ago." No one knew
his story. He said, "I know the
media will get a hold of it and twist it. But yeah, I love Jesus."
SID: Then you became friends. One prisoner can't write to another prisoner, so he asked you to
write to one of the most hardened prisoners in Ireland. Tell me about
DON: He had read in some paper about Eddie Ferncombe, the most notorious criminal in Ireland.
A feared criminal. He said, "Would you write to this man and witness
to him like you did to me?
"Well, of course I did. Over a period of several weeks of writing,
Eddie accepted Christ by mail.
He asked me if I had any tapes of services or teachings. He said, "I
have a little tape player. Can
you send me some?" So I gathered a handful of tapes and mailed them
to Eddie. He wrote me. In
a couple of weeks I got a letter from him. On one of the tapes, I had
done a corporate deliverance.
Kind of silently address those issues in your mind and choose to be
free from them. I'm going to
bind them... So I sent him that tape, and as he was listening to it, demons began to manifest
him. They couldn't be still. He was trembling and sweating. So he told
his chaplain about it the
next day and asked the chaplain if he'd help him. He said, "The chaplain
laughed at me." Well, he
asked me in the letter if I would consider coming to Ireland to minister
deliverance. He said, "I
know what my problem is." Well, I didn't know how I'd get to Ireland,
but I felt God's Spirit
telling me to go. So I went to Ireland, eventually met with Eddie.
I told Eddie "There's a
qualification. You can't have any unforgiveness in your life", because
as we talked, I could sense
he did. He said, "I can't do that, brother Don. I can't." He was going
to kill the man that snitched
on him. That was his plan, to get out of prison and do that. I said
"Eddie, I can't help you if you
can't forgive. I went back two days later, and he came out with a big
smile on his face. We're in a
super isolation area, he's got four officers escorting him, he's in
waist chains and ankle chains and
handcuffs. But he had this big smile on his face.
SID: What did the prison think about you going there?
DON: They couldn't understand why I was there, and I wasn't sure I could explain it to them.
SID: "I came to set someone free of a demon."
DON: One officer that was escorting me back to that area... And it was a dungeon. It's where they
kept the IRA prisoners in Portlaoise, Ireland. He said "Are you like
David Wilkerson?" Well I
knew what he meant. I said "Yeah I am." He said, "Well you're welcome
here lad." We went back
to Eddie's area. They had a plexiglass booth where an officer sat to
overlook, to make sure
nothing went wrong. So while they're bringing Eddie back to that area,
I looked at that officer and
thought, "I don't know what he's going to think if Eddie screams or
makes some kind of noise."
So I went over and tapped on the glass. I said, "Sir, I just want to
explain to you what I'm here
for, what I'm going to do." I explained the deliverance process. As
I was warning him of what
might happen, he said, "Help yourself lad, help yourself." Eddie came
in, and we sat down across
from each other, just like you and I are. He said, "I did it, brother
Don. I forgave." And you could
see in his eyes, it was real. We went through the process of binding
demons and commanding
them to leave, and they did. And Eddie's been out of prison for...
SID: I tell you what... He's been out for how long??
DON: I think for maybe six years.
SID: I caught up with Eddie, and he is out of prison, and I interviewed him by way of radio. I
asked him some questions about what it was like to be set free of these
evil spirits. Let's go to that
SID: What was it like before you went through deliverance?
EDDIE: I was just on a road to destruction. I was very violent and very evil.
SID: Describe to me what you felt like right after you went through deliverance.
:EDDIE: Ah, I felt peace straight away. Peace. I was in a bad place at that time – mentally.
the deliverance everything just kind a lifted.
SID: And you also told me you felt really drunk in the Spirit. Explain that.
EDDIE: Yeah, I was actually giddy – happy!
SID: Imagine that. This is what he said to me. When I said, "What does it feel like?" he says,
feels like I'm stoned." Here he is in the worst prison of prisons,
with no hope for any future,
hating, just wanted to get out to murder another person. And he feels
the love of God. God is sogood.
DON: Yes He is. We see that all the time. Not to that extreme, but when someone's in bondageand
they're freed, while it may be relative, it's freedom nonetheless. My experience is that mostChristians are in some kind of