From inside the bars to outside the bars

Logan Dailey/Lingle Guide Darrell Taylor doesn’t smile much, but inside, a fire rages with passion and devotion to his Lord and Savior.

Darrell Taylor uses his rough beginnings to provide local ministry services to area jails

LINGLE – “Before, it was all about me. Now, it is all about my Lord and Savior.”

“I always knew something was wrong in my family, and I never knew what,” began Darrell Taylor as he recounted his path from rocky beginnings to a faith-filled today. Darrell, a Lingle resident and active participant in area ministries, moved to Goshen County in 2015. Darrell’s wife, Anita, is originally from Fort Laramie, and is now serving as the Jay Em postmistress. 

While in Florida, at the young age of 15, Darrell learned the man he had called dad was not his father. Bill Shiflett was on his birth certificate but was not his birth father.

After discovering the truth, “I experienced numerous unhealthy emotions, and a big black hole opened in me,” Darrell says in a document labeled, My Testimony.

The big black hole began to consume Darrell’s life. Darrell had problems at school, then later with the law. Darrell tried doing anything he could to fill the gaps in his life, whether it was drugs, alcohol, whatever it took to help him feel complete.

“I did a lot of stuff wrong, mainly just trying to find some peace and happiness in my life,” Darrell recalled.

Through this dreadful process, he ended up serving time in and out of the legal system.

While in prison, a chaplain working for the Good News Jail and Prison Ministry provided Darrell with a Bible. The chaplain stopped by to visit with Darrell regularly, but Darrell turned his back to God and the ministry. He “packed up everything, except (his) Bible, and left.”

He moved away, seeking better fortune, but that was a long way away. Law enforcement officers in New Mexico found Darrell at a truck stop, unconscious, and in a diabetic coma. Darrell’s blood sugar was 985.

He explained, “most people enter a coma at 600, die, and never come back.”

While unconscious, he inhaled dirt containing mold spores. The inhalation of these spores leads to Mucormycosis, a serious but rare fungal infection…affect(ing) the sinuses or the lungs after inhaling fungal spores, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Darrell flew back to Florida to have a specialist treat the infection. The infection took much of the tissue behind the left side of his face, but Darrell prevailed.

Twenty years later, Darrell met Anita. He and Anita married in 1994. They had two children, Austin Taylor, and Wayne Taylor. Darrell continued to struggle with his past and the empty feeling inside him. Darrell had lost his job and was worried his family would be without a home.

His past began to lurk around every corner. There were times, he said, Darrell wished he was dead.

In August 2012, Darrell came across a building with a sign advertising free fresh fruits and vegetables; the building was a church. Darrell stopped in and spoke with a man at the services.

After a conversation, he got some food and was on his way. Darrell decided that it was not right for him to take the food without giving back, so he began regularly attending the church.

On one Sunday, a woman attending the church stepped up to Darrell and greeted him by name. Darrell’s life was changed forever. Darrell felt like God had welcomed him home.

Darrell wanted to become more involved with the church and share his love of God. He began volunteering at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Sanford, Fla. During his time there, he would work with inmates and help them find God in their dire circumstances. Darrell would take a book and Bible cart around the facility and share the word of God.

One particular day, eight days after being saved, an administrator with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in Sanford, Fla., approached Darrell and told him the chaplain had asked that he lead the service.

“I probably looked like a deer in the headlights,” Darrell said. “But I shared my testimony and learned a lesson about getting out of my comfort zone.”

Darrell is active in his church, the Torrington Sonrise Church, and continues to minister to inmates in Goshen County and Scotts Bluff County, Neb. He has experienced some setbacks due to COVID-19 but continues to work relentlessly to share the word of God. Darrell is authoring a book, which has not yet been titled, about finding love in God. He hopes the book will be a resource for new believers.

Darrell works with Mission Possible Ministries and provides Bibles to inmates. He was responsible for building and organizing a Bible and book cart for the Scotts Bluff County Adult Detention Center. Darrell works with the jail’s religious coordinator, Patrick Fleeman, to ensure inmates have access to religious texts.

While Darrell has focused on providing Bibles and religious guidance for inmates, he has also offered his services to local law enforcement. With help from Mission Possible Ministries, Darrell handed out approximately 30 copies of Behind the Badge: 365 Daily Devotions for Law Enforcement. Officers from the Wyoming Department of Corrections, Torrington Police Department, Goshen County Sheriff’s Office, and Wyoming Highway Patrol have received copies of the devotional from Darrell.

Recently, Darrell was honored to be invited as a speaker for a large banquet at the City Church Orlando in Sanford, Fla. The Good News Jail and Prison Ministry from the John E. Polk Correctional Facility hosted the banquet. Darrell shared his testimony before a large crowd of law enforcement officers, the Seminole County Sheriff, and other law enforcement representatives.

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