Billy Rivers – A Hardened Biker Switches Gears
Though Billy Rivers was raised in church, his imagination was captured by the biker way of life when he was young. Instead of including Jesus, he included drugs and stealing, eventually joining a One Percenter club. As he traveled from one clubhouse to another he became fully immersed in the one percent biker lifestyle, eventually transporting illegal immigrants from Juarez to Colorado, an enterprise that landed him in prison. Billy had made this El Paso to Denver run seven times before, but by now the Border Patrol had caught on and began tracking this suspicious van that was registered to a well- known One Percenter. They were certain it contained drugs, or guns and, having no idea he was transporting people, set up an ambush with orders to shoot out the tires. When the shooting started he jumped over the seats into the back to shield two young children. Instead of putting him out of his misery, the bullets that pierced the van only served to prolong it as blood oozed from the lifeless bodies under him. Many years passed before he no longer woke up in a cold sweat to see their blood on his clothing. Billy was charged with two counts of manslaughter, transporting, and various other charges for a total sentence of 165 years. But because he obviously hadn’t caused the death of the children, it was reduced to eight years in a federal penitentiary. After doing his time in Carson City, Nevada, he was returned to Mississippi where he was to serve time for a previous charge. With three more years to serve, Billy settled back into prison life. As the days wore on, Billy noticed how joyful his fellow inmates were after attending the prison church services. About eight months before his release, Bill Glass Prison Ministry conducted a “Weekend of Champions” which would feature riders from the Christian Motorcyclists Association, along with their bikes. Only three hundred men were allowed out in the yard for the event and by God’s design Billy was included. He was admiring the bikes when he caught one of the motorcyclists staring at him. In typical biker fashion, Billy confronted him. But with all the boldness he could muster Alabama CMA member Don Johnson looked Billy straight in the eye and said, “Mister, Jesus Christ has spoken to me about you alone and none of the other 299 men out here. I have a message from Jesus and I would appreciate it if you would just be quiet and listen to me.” Shocked and impressed, Billy listened as God’s unconditional love and forgiveness was presented. God’s Holy Spirit convicted him and he decided to follow Jesus. God was taking all the evil that Billy had brought into this world and began to reverse it in his life, so much so that he would use Billy to begin bringing life to the world instead. As Billy’s release approached, another CMA’er showed God’s love to him both by writing him letters and by giving him enough money to buy new clothes. The only thing he asked was for Billy to see this as an expression of Jesus’ love. Every time Billy put on the shirt and pants he was reminded of Christ’s love. When Billy walked out of those prison doors, he kept going until he reached the Gulfport, Mississippi chapter of Christian Motorcyclists Association, humbly admitting that he had been a one percent biker, a convict and a thief. To his surprise, he was welcomed with open arms. Crediting CMA with helping him develop his relationship with the Lord and giving him a purpose in his life, Billy says his favorite part of this new life in Christ is seeing others come to salvation too. This was evident when a Department of Corrections computer glitch landed him back in jail. Confused and hurt, he turned to the Lord for strength and guidance. Over the next three weeks while awaiting his day in court, he spent his time reading his Bible, praying and telling the other inmates the good news of Jesus. By the time the computer glitch had been fixed a few weeks later, almost fifty gang members had become followers of Jesus. Even when we don’t know what is happening, God’s impeccable timing is always perfect and we can be part of it if we’re willing. Billy admits this timing thing is the hardest part of his walk with the Lord as he tends to run ahead of God every now and then. The value of the Holy Spirit’s guidance in those times is immeasurable. He feels he is still in training, but is getting closer to God every day. Billy is now in Louisiana serving as an officer of a local CMA chapter and a committed witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Billy puts it, “If you think your sins are so big they can’t be forgiven you are wrong. If he can forgive me of heroin addiction, lying, stealing and the two children who died, I promise he will forgive you of the things you have done in your life. Please, just give your life to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Please check out Billy Rivers’ new website at www.ahardenedbikerswitchesgears.com
Testimony and photo published with Billy Rivers’ permission.