New Book “18 Doors”
Death Changes Everything
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
~ Psalm 34:18 ~
I really did not know what to expect as I slowly walked up to the casket that held the body of my little brother, Wayne. I was only twelve years old and this thing called “death” was new to me. Only days earlier, I was playing army in our neighborhood with my little brother, who was seven, never once thinking that soon I would be looking down on his lifeless body.
He was crossing the street in my hometown when he was killed by a drunk driver. My little brother was following my mother without her knowledge early on a Sunday morning when a man who had been drinking all night struck him and dragged his body under his car for two- hundred feet before he realized what he had done. My brother was not killed instantly but rather suffered for days in the hospital before his little body died.
It did not seem possible. His little face looked so peaceful lying in that big coffin. Everyone in the funeral home was crying and shouting hysterically. I tried to cry like everyone else because at the time, it seemed like the thing to do, but I could not muster one tear. This was not real and soon I would wake up from this nightmare. Well, it has been over forty years and I can relive that moment, standing beside my dead brother, as if it were yesterday. I can still smell the flowers. There is a distinct odor about funeral flowers. It is sort of a sweet-musty sickening smell, which stays with you the rest of your life.
After the shock of his death began to subside, then the bitterness and hatred began to set in. The pain of that loss was overwhelming. I started shutting down my emotions at that point, because if I ever lost another loved one again, I did not want to feel that kind of pain. I could not endure that again!
I believe that it was at this point I began to dislike my own mother, maybe even hate her, because deep down inside, I blamed her for not protecting my little brother. I never told anyone that because I lived in a family where the only time any emotions were shown was in tragedy. If the truth were known, at the time I wished I were looking at my dead mother, instead of my dead brother. Based on things I had seen her do up to that point in my short life, I felt like she probably deserved it more. I was positive my little innocent brother did not deserve to be lying in this big lousy casket. I was mad and things were about to get worse.
Eight years later my mother was murdered. She was shot through the head while sitting at a stoplight in her car. By the time I got to her funeral, there was nothing left inside of me to mourn her death. Drugs, alcohol, and violence had already taken over my life and it was just a matter of time until I got my turn in the casket. I think deep inside, I was silently looking forward to it. My brother and mother looked so peaceful in death. Maybe it was not so bad.
Before I go any further let me introduce myself. My name is Brother Jack “Brojack” Williams and today I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am a graduate of Liberty University (Jerry Falwell started this university) and an ordained minister with a Certificate of Ordination and a Certificate of License. That means I am licensed to preach and teach the Gospel, perform marriages, administer the Sacraments, and to direct other functions of the ministry.
Earlier in my Christian life, I was an associate pastor at a church until God called me into evangelism ministry. When I resigned from my church, I had no idea what I was going to do, only that I needed to step out in faith and let God guide my steps — and guide my steps He did!
Currently, God has me involved in a prison ministry that has led me to death row in the state of Texas. For the past two and a half years, I have been visiting the most active death row in the country, ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ whenever and to whomever I can. I have met and interacted with over 200 (of more than 300) inmates currently housed there. Out of these visits, Brojack Ministries was born. This ministry’s primary purpose is to spread the Gospel (the good news) of Jesus Christ.
When God informed me that my next assignment was to spread His Gospel to convicted murderers, I had a big problem with that. It seems like I have been surrounded by death most of my life.
Besides the deaths of my little brother and mother, I later found my stepfather dead of a massive heart attack. I have buried my grandmother, who essentially raised me, and another brother named Rocky, who died a horrible death of heat exhaustion. Now God has me going into a place that is consumed by the smell of death. How can that be? Why would He do that to me? The horror of my own mother’s murder still haunts me and now God wants me to tell convicted murderers how they can be saved!
Death row definitely lives up to its name. It is all about death! The men who I talk to weekly are responsible for the death of another human being and, in some cases, multiple human beings. The act of murder affects far more people than just the victims and their assailants. The families on both sides are forever scarred. There is no getting over the horror of having a loved one murdered. You can only learn to live with it. Almost daily, I think about my mother and it has been decades since she was murdered.
Since I began my visits to death row, there have been thirty-one men executed by the state of Texas. I knew every one of them. Some I became very close to and some not so close, but by the grace of God, I have been able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with each one of them. That is only a fraction of the 496 men who have been executed in Texas since they reinstated the death penalty in 1972.
I call this book 18 Doors because from the time I enter the main door to the prison, I must pass through eighteen doors until I am in front of a death-row inmate’s cell door. I am not talking about doors that are opened by turning a knob; each one is controlled and opened electronically by prison guards. I go nowhere unless they open the door to let me pass. At times, I am surrounded by general population (G-pop) inmates who could harm me in any way they wanted before I could be rescued. About halfway through my journey through those doors to get out of death row, there is a big sign on one of the doors that says, “No Hostages Beyond This Point”. That means that if I am taken hostage, they will not let me or the inmates out of that prison. If the inmates choose to make it so, I am a dead man.
This book is about my life’s journey, a journey that has led me to become a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to sharing that Gospel with murderers, like the one who murdered my brother and mother. Why would I open up my life to a world that may or may not care about anything that has ever happened to me or about anything I have ever done?
I think because I have been through so many things in my life and been in so many unique situations, I believe that many people will be able to relate to me and my ministry. I have done so many things that I am not proud of and have even landed in jail myself many times.
Maybe, just maybe, the readers of this book can compare their situation with one of mine and know that there is hope. I am living proof that you can survive the many tragedies and hardships of this world. How have I survived? How did I become the person I am today? How do I go into death row and witness to convicted murderers? The answers lie in the pages of this book.
Please join me on this journey. In the first section of this book, you will learn about my life, and how I have survived it so far. In the second section, you will learn how my life changed from evil to goodness. In the third and final section, you will learn about the lives of convicted murderers on death row in the State of Texas and how the path they choose in this world cost them everything. This section will read more like a diary as I document my interactions each visit until the inmate is executed.
Finally, maybe because of the time I have spent on death row, I can get some peace and closure on the murder of my brother and mother and in turn, help those of you out there who have had someone close to you murdered. You may possibly have a little better understanding and obtain some small measure of peace and closure as well.
It is my prayer that all who read this book will be blessed.