"His" Will, "His" Way, "His" Time

Albert Talmo

I, Albert Talmo, being led by the Holy Spirit, am able, at long last, to share this testimony, and I pray that these words might draw you into a gratifying and fulfilling relationship with our Heavenly Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

My name is Al (to you Iím just a friend). I am presently incarcerated at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, N.J. I was born in Wilmington, Delaware on January 27, 1946. My parents separated when I was about six years old. Back then, people werenít afforded the public assistance available today. My mother wasnít able to support five children, and unwillingly allowed my father to take us with him and my step-mother to live in N.J. I would never allow myself to admit to coming from a dysfunctional family. To me, that sounded like a mental disorder. None-the-less, that begins the story of Al Talmo.

I was brought up Catholic. I have always believed in God, (James 2:19 tells us; "Even the demons believe and tremble.") But I never knew WHO God really was. My father, a strict Catholic, made sure we attended Mass every Sunday - (or so he thought). The problem was, back then, the Masses were said in Latin. Needless to say, all I ever learned at Mass was when to stand, when to kneel, and when to sit.

My father was an abusive man; not physically abusive to us children, but the verbal abuse made up for the lack of physical abuse. However, he was both physically and verbally abusive to both my mother and my step-mother. Even with the yelling, screaming and cursing, I know that he loved all of us very much. He just didnít know how to show it.

In grade school, I always did well in all areas. I was one of the most popular kids in the school. I was smart and good looking, which made me popular with the girls and all the guys always liked me. I was always in the limelight, and that turned out to be my major downfall.

When I was 14 years old, we moved from Keansburg to Point Pleasant Beach where I knew no one. I was totally devastated! The limelight was gone and so were my friends. My world, as I knew it, had ended. It wasnít long before I started hanging around with the "POPULAR" crowd. Need I say more? I stopped going to school when I was fifteen, and soon after that, I left home to be on my own. I went to live with a friend of mine and his family. There were already twelve kids in the family, but Mom always had a heart for one more. I would be out drinking almost every night and I started getting into trouble. At that time, it was only fighting or other minor problems. As time went on, the problems began to escalate, and I was once again in the LIMELIGHT! This limelight, however, was different. No longer was it due to good looks, a good personality, or being an above average-student. This time it was due to the numerous arrests and the constant newspaper articles featuring my name. Yes, my circle of FRIENDS had really expanded, and I was well on my way to what I thought was my destiny.

In Bordentown Correctional Facility in 1968, I was introduced to a new friend - "Heroin" - and I fell in love again. I was addicted to heroin for the next three years. Now I have graduated from being just an alcoholic to being an alcoholic AND a drug addict.

In October of 1968, in between my second and third stints in Bordentown, I took someoneís life, which was the result of a violent beating. I was never caught, and as a result, I spent the next twenty-eight years living (or so I thought) with this terrible secret inside of me. By 1985, I had been married and divorced three times and was the father of four children. I had spent the majority of my adult life in jails and prisons. Everytime I found myself in jail, I would barter with God. Yeah right Ė like God didnít know the truth. He knew I wasnít going to keep those promises to change, but He kept letting me out. With each new charge, the sentences were getting longer.

After my release from a Florida prison in 1985, I stayed out of trouble (for the most part) for the next 11 years. The main reason for that was my old friend "Alcohol." I was so comsumed by alcohol that I was totally oblivious to the world around me and was unable to get into trouble (or do anything else, for that matter). Through it all, I was living with the secret of being a murderer. That wasnít easy.

I am not going to go into detail as to all the different drugs Iíve tried, or how much liquor I drank because I have a lot more important things to tell you. All Iíll say is, when anyone asked me what my drug of choice was, Iíd just tell them, "more." On December 30, 1996, I called a friend of mine, John Tate, who was a Lt. on the Seaside Hgts. Police Dept. He was also the Chaplain of that Police Dept. I told him that I needed to talk to him about something very important. Knowing that I wouldnít have called him at home if it wasnít important, he drove to where I was to talk with me. That was the first sensible thing I had done in years.

I started to tell him about what happened in 1968, and he stopped me. He said, "Al, before you go any further, I have to tell you that aside from being your friend, I am also a police officer. So if you want to continue, I have to advise you of your rights." I acknowledged that I was aware of that, and he advised me of my rights. I then proceeded to confess to the murder I had committed in 1968.

Believe me, it wasnít my idea to confess to a murder for which I was never even considered a suspect. Something just told me, "Itís time." I now know what that SOMETHING was. It was God. His time had arrived. He knew that the timing was right for me to enter this prison. He had paved the way and lined my journey with His appointed ones to show me the Way. He had maneuvered many peopleís lives and positioned them in mine. He is so totally awesome that not one person, from pawn to king, was left out. It was as if a giant puzzle was being put together with each piece falling perfectly into place.

He began with John Tate, who several years before, had introduced me to Jesus. That was only the initial step for John. He had been placed in my life at that time in order to receive a certain phone call which would come on December 30, 1996. From then on, he and his family would play a major role in my life.

John took me to the Ocean County Prosecutorís office that night, but I wasnít charged for another few days. John was with me every step of the way. The next day, as we sat in the Prosecutorís office, John told me to confess it to God now. I did so, then he and I prayed. It was at that time that it literally felt as if the weight of the whole world had been lifted off my shoulders.

In 1986, the Lord put Dominick Postorino in my life. Dom would wind up being the best friend I ever had. On April 4, 1998, God called Dominic home. I knew the love which he and his parents shared, and I just had to do something to remind them of Domís love. I needed to write something to them. I knew what I wanted to say, but I didnít know how to say it. I sat down with a piece of paper and a pen and the Holy Spirit took it from there. The same is taking place right now as I write these words to you. Matthew 10:19, 20 tells us: . . . . "do not worry about how or what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you."

Thus, another of the mysterious ways in which our Heavenly Father works. The next piece of the puzzle fell into place. When God called Dominick home, my life was to be filled with the precious love of Ola and Joe (Domís parents). Today, they are my mother and father in Christ Jesus. They have been such a true blessing in my life. There are no words to desrcibe how much they mean to me. I am blessed with them and their consistent prayers for me and my family.

Now it is May 1998 and I am set free. No - not free from the walls of a prison, but free from the bondage of SIN. It has now been close to thirty years since that day in 1968, and as I was told on the day I called John Tate, "ITíS TIME." The Lordís plan was for me to be in prison at this particular time. This was the time when a man named Philip Reardon was there to gather a tremendous number of those puzzle pieces and put them in place and give me my first glimpse of the great picture in that puzzle. I know WHO God is!! The "Limelight" has long since burned itself out. Now I live in the True Light. The Light that only a loving Father can cast on His children to guide them through the darkness which tempts them at every turn.

I have true, undeserved peace in my life now. A peace unlike that of any imaginable, unless you are one of Godís chosen. I am truly happy for the first time in many years. The friends I have today are more than just friends. They are all a part of Godís amazing family. They donít judge me on looks, popularity or the intelligence of others. We know there is but one true Judge and His judgement is fair, loving and final. I no longer have to pretend to be somebody or something that Iím not. I am accepted for who and what I am. I donít ever want to go back to the way I once was. I donít want to be that lost and lonely person. That person who, in my twisted mind, was thought to have been happy. No one can ever be happy living a life like that. Yes, one of the easiest things in the world to do is to sin. It takes no thinking, it takes no energy, it takes no willpower, and it takes no remorse - itís just there. I used to think I was happy because, at the time, I liked that kind of life. After all, I really didnít know, or rather didnít want to know, any other way. The fact is, I was far from being happy, peaceful or content. All I was doing was existing. Love wasnít in my vocabulary, not even for myself. The only time the name Jesus passed my lips is when I used it in vain. My immediate gratification is all that mattered - regardless of who or how many people got hurt in the process - and many did.

A lot of people still think Iím crazy for turning myself in. But guess what? They are the ones I donít hear from. I thank them for not wanting to be a part of my life if thatís the way they feel. Yes, they are right. I could have taken my secret to the grave with me. Then, my secret and I would have gone straight to HELL, along with the rest of my misery. I still pray for all those people, just as I continue to pray for each and every one of you. The Person to whom I pray, knows exactly who I mean. I ask Him to bless everyone who loves and believes in Him and I ask Him to have the seed planted in those who donít. I pray then that you might grow from that seed.

I could have filled a good portion of this message with a lot of scripture, but I chose not to. This testimony is for everyone, but the message is, for the most part, for those of you who are not familiar with scripture. I Corinthians 14:8-9 says, "For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken?" Jesus said, "But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy not sacrifice. For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." (Matthew 9:13)

There was a time in my life when I was almost ashamed not to sin. Today, I feel guilty when I do sin. That guilty feeling is a surprisingly good feeling. How can guilt feel good? Let me try to explain. Neither I, nor anyone else will ever be perfect or completely free of sin. It is our nature to sin even though we donít want to. There has been but one man who ever walked this earth who was completely sinless, and that man was Jesus. If I were to sin and not feel the guilt of disobeying the Almighty God who has made this wonderfully dramatic change in my life, everything I have done in the past four years will have been for naught. I donít know about you, but thatís not what I want.

I have not been saved due to any works of my own. Witnessing to others, confession, repentance, changing my thoughts, words and deeds - all these things are pleasing to God, but they have nothing to do with salvation. I was saved by the only possible way any one can be saved, and that is by the grace of God, through His Son, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I spent the first 50 years of my life living a lie. Drugs, alcohol, crime, sexual perversion, negligence, and uncaring. The only reality I knew was my escape from it. Marriages, rehabiliations, prison - none of these had any effect on the decisions I continued to make. Now my life is different. I have a purpose and goals. I have FRIENDS and someone to turn to when Iím lonely, sad, hurt or happy. "He" is always there waiting patiently for me to call on Him at any time, for any reason.

You donít have to wait as long as I did. You donít have to live the kind of life that I did. Even if you have, it is never too late to turn to Him. He is waiting for you. Like Jonah, I tried to run from God. I tried geographical changes. What I failed to think about was that He was the creator of those geographical hiding places, and He was the leader of my welcoming committee - only I didnít know it. Today, I am happy and content. I have peace with myself and my Heavenly Father.

It is so simple. A short prayer from your heart, a sincere desire to change and confession with true repentance. The desire to learn WHO God is and a new belief system was what freed me from a suicidal lifestyle of drugs, and alcohol. I now have a life of peace, happiness and contentment. Whatever you decide to do, I will keep each and every one of you in my prayers until your life on earth is through . . . .But remember - THEN it WILL be too late.

If you decide that you want what I have, just say this simple prayer: "Lord Jesus, I am hurting and alone. I feel as though I am standing in Gethsemane. All I want to do is surrender my life to you. I ask you to forgive my sins and cleanse the stain that sin has left on my heart. I know that when I pray this prayer, you will hear my prayer and save me. I am no longer alone, but am loved unconditionally by you. Thank you for being willing to die so that I could live with you eternally". Amen.

I have but one more thing to say, and that is: If your life was all you wanted it to be, you wouldnít have picked up this tract. If your life were fulfilled, you wouldnít be looking to see if someone had something you might be missing. May God richly bless and be with each and every one of you now and always.

Albert Talmo
Northern State Prison B-3W
168 Frontage Rd.
Newark, NJ 07114

Permission is granted to freely copy this tract

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