At 19, after a tumultuous childhood, Samuel Bishop began to worship the devil and it wasn't long after a vision of God radically changed his life.
Bishop grew up in a home with two parents who were addicts, and therefore when he was four years old, he was sent to his first foster home.
"Some of my earliest memories were of roaches crawling on me while I was sleeping. It was just terrible. There was always this feeling of chaos all throughout the household," says Bishop in an interview with the 700 Club.
Bishop was searching for control amidst the chaos, as well as love.
"I said, 'Well if nobody wants to accept me maybe there's nothing worth accepting in me. If my parents can't love me, even if they're messed up and they still don't love me, what am I really worth?'"
At the age of 15 Bishop moved back in with his alcoholic and abusive father, and started using drugs as well.
"I constantly felt this suicidal pressure, 'Why do I even try?' As my depression got worse and worse, I was starting to use these things regularly because I couldn't stand it when I was sober."
One avenue Bishop tried to gain control of his life was to join the army.
"I was really lashing out at people. I got in fights with people. They said, 'You're not mentally fit to be a soldier because of your substance abuse problems, because your depression and your anxiety are so serious.'"
Taking a Satanic Turn
After getting kicked out just two months into joining the army, Bishop found a girlfriend who was also a Wiccan high priestess. Through this relationship, Bishop decided to try out satanism.
"There'd be manifestations, like stuff would move around. I'd do a spell or a ritual or something and I'd see something happen as a result of it and I thought, 'Man, I'm in control.' I loved that feeling of, 'I have power. I have the ability to do something."
In 2018, Bishop shared he made a blood covenant, dedicating himself to Satan. At once he knew it was a mistake.
"I felt in that moment a complete emptiness, a complete hole, like there's nothing in me at all. I felt like, 'Okay, there's no more forgiveness. You're going to hell now.'"
The very next day he made a decision to end his life by the day's end. But a vision stopped him in his tracks.
"I had this mental image. It was the craziest thing in the world: It was Jesus. I began to feel like, 'Maybe He'll forgive me and I'll somehow find forgiveness and just be really low, just be like dirt to God.' I'll be like, 'That's better than where I'm headed.'"
Bishop dove into reading the Bible and got rid of everything connected to satanism.
"I took all my tarot cards, all my incense, my books on witchcraft, I took them outside and I threw them away. And I fell on my face outside and I said, 'God I know that I don't deserve to be forgiven.' I said, 'But if you want to forgive me, I'm asking for it God. I need help. I need a new life.' When I walked inside I felt a new presence in the room. And I'm like, 'This is so different. It's not heavy in here. There's no depression, I feel alive, I feel excited, and I feel like I have this hope to look forward to. I feel like I had this future I'm looking forward to.'"
He was delivered from his addictions and depression, starting over with a new life.
"I felt this love and this joy from God. I received that acceptance, and it was unlike anything I've ever had in my entire life. It was so fulfilling; it was just so wonderful, and I knew I was a new person."
Today, Bishop is married and an ordained youth pastor. He manages the men's sober living home run by his church. He's also involved in evangelistic outreach and counselling.
"It doesn't matter how far away from God you are, how far you've gone with the devil, how much you've surrendered to him, you can always come back to Jesus. If I can get saved and God can forgive me, anybody can be forgiven."