Danny Duchene, who was given a double life sentence but was released from California’s Sierra Prison after 32 years, on Pastor Rick Warren’s request, was dedicated as a pastor for Saddelback Church’s prison ministries this weekend. Duchene shared his spiritual journey with the congregation.
“God can use anybody, even in the most unlikely places,” Warren told the congregation in his message, “God Can Use Anybody,” and later asked Duchene to share his story, as part of the church’s “The Miracle of Mercy” campaign.
Duchene said he’s been part of the Saddleback family since 2003, and that he once shared his testimony with the megachurch through the phone from the prison 13 years ago.
He grew up in California, and had a lot of freedom during his childhood. “My parents had nice homes and cars, and I grew up thinking that the goal of life was just having nice things.” This thinking led him to insecurities and difficulties in standing against high school pressures, although making friends was easier because he had cars.
One day, he came home from school and saw his parents sitting with a friend with thousands of dollars spread out across the kitchen table. “I was told they were going on a business trip to Peru and that I’d see them at Christmas.”
He was left to take care of his 18-month little brother with the help of some family and friends. “My parents didn’t return from that trip. Instead, on Christmas Even 1979, I learnt that my parents had been arrested in Mexico for smuggling cocaine. This was a total shock since my parents were not drug users or drinkers.”
The news filled him with fear, and it soon turned into anger. So at a parking lot in his car, he got high, which gave him temporary relief. So he began to take drugs everyday and became an addict.
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