With remarkable humility, William Tremell (“Mel”) Thomas shares his incredible journey from (in his words) “murderer to mentor”–what he calls “an amazing story of God’s grace”.
It is a journey that took him from serving 30 years of a 45-year sentence for murder to being the head Deacon in his church and the leader of its men’s ministry. It is a journey that took him from taking a life to God entrusting lives to him. It is a journey that brought him back to marry the mother of a child he didn’t even know existed who was 30 years old upon his release.
Mel describes how his life changed dramatically in sixth grade when his parents were divorced and he no longer had a father present in his life.
He shares that he grew up in a middle-class home with five sisters, went to church, attended good schools, got good grades, and had a good relationship with his father.
Mel explains that when his father ceased to be present in his life, everything changed–his grades plummeted, his school attendance dropped, and he began running with the wrong crowds.
He vulnerably tells how he became an angry person known to friends as “Monster Mel”, blaming his mother and turning to drugs and street violence. In his words, he became “a wreck waiting to wreck something else.”
Mel shares how this downward spiral led to an initial two-year prison sentence for robbery in the first degree (getting out in 1984) and in 1988 a 45-year sentence for murder when he was only 22.
Mel says it was in 1987, after nearly 10 years in prison, that God turned his life around while in Connecticut’s Garner Correctional Institution. He explains that his being in Garner was a miraculous God-appointment that defied prison plans and even their records. It was then and there that he met Jesus.
Mel encourages us to see a God “who specializes in taking wreckage and making something beautiful”–a God who can “take the broken pieces of your life and make something amazing.”
Mel’s talk is followed by an extended Q&A starting at 31:15.