John Stroup has a message for anyone who believes he or she is beyond hope with a life of crime, drug or alcohol addiction or any other major problem.

John Stroup has a message for anyone who believes he or she is beyond hope with a life of crime, drug or alcohol addiction or any other major problem.

Sharing his life story of overcoming his life of crime and drugs to become a Christian minister, he has a brief message for everyone: “God is faithful.”

“The impossible is possible,” he writes when he signs his book, “From the Pit to the Pulpit.”

The book details his life, beginning with his poverty-stricken childhood with a widowed mother that led to selling drugs to get by. His father died when he was two years old, and he saw his older brothers in prison or die from a drug overdose.

After his mother's death in 1998, Stroup went further downhill and landed in prison for selling drugs. During his 18-month sentence, he read the Bible and surrendered his life to Jesus Christ.

Since his 2009 release from prison, with God providing Christian friends, he co-founded his Freeway Ministries in Springfield, where he still serves while overseeing its branches open in other states and in Africa.

Stroup shared his testimony March 10 as he preached at Hannibal's Calvary Baptist Church during the morning and evening worship services.

After the morning service, asked to condense his message for the public, he said, “I was a bad guy and wanted to know what Jesus did with bad guys. I found I am a poster child for Christ, according to the Bible. Not only can God use people like me, but He calls them by name, and I've been on an adventure ever since.”

During his sermon at the church, he said “I was a homeless junkie with needle marks on my arms, and God saved me.” … This was “over 10 years ago, and it's all because of Jesus Christ.”

He urged everyone to turn to Jesus, declaring “When you've been with Jesus, your life change begins to happen. Jesus can changes lives.”

His book tells about many people God put in his life to help him become a strong Christian and later, an evangelist and co-founder of Freeway Ministries, leading others in this addiction recovery program.

More about Stroup is on his website,

Stroup was invited to preach at Calvary Baptist after learning about the Victory in Jesus ministry at the church, which shares the goal of helping people overcome drug or alcohol addiction by accepting Jesus as their Savior and living for Him.

As leaders of Victory in Jesus, Roger and Dana Carter work with people with addiction or other personal problems. He reported he and his wife have “celebrated our birthdays of 30 years in the Lord. … I've been clean close to 30 years and will never go back.

“If you are wrestling and struggling with life, we have found an answer to life that can bring you joy and peace,” he continued. “It's all in the Scriptures. The answer is knowing Jesus Christ. All the people we work with know that. … We are trying to help people find the answer to overcome their drug addiction, and we work beside them.”

The group has been meeting since 2016 and now has 30 to 40 people attend each week with a scheduled speaker. It meets from 6 p.m. to about 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays at Calvary Baptist Church.

Two of the members were baptized by Roger Carter on March 10 during the morning service, and four more gave brief testimonies of how Jesus has changed their lives.