Monday, 2 February 2009

Conversion stories wanted: Do people still get converted in a Postmodern age?

In this post I invite everyone who has had a 'conversion' experience to write about it here! Whether you consider your conversion to have been a process or through a crisis point in your life, it does not matter. It also does not have to be like Mr Spurgeon's as in the previous post, rather, feel free to describe it in your own way, whether in a short paragraph or a much longer piece of writing, as you desire.I would love to here from you.It may also give someone the opportunity to do this for the first time and for others who read it,through your story encourage those who are still 'on the journey to Christ'. Many thanks to all those who have so far told their great story. I will be putting them on as a separate post on my new blog
If you would like to participate, just click the comment link,found at the below the last comment made,then write your story.Peace and Grace. AK


Anonymous said...

Yes they do indeed. I was living a life of self destruction some 16 years ago.

I had descended into alcoholism and was the last to know about it even after losing two jobs and numerous relationships. Not knowing that alcohol was just a symptom of my problems I struggled in and out of AA where I was introduced to God via there twelve step programme, I have to say at this point that I am in no way spokesperson for AA just a member introduced to a God of love not a God of fear as I had presumed him to be because of my guilt complex at the things I had done and said whilst drinking.

I felt unloved and unloveable and how could this God love me. AA gently introduced me to a loving God through people who cared for me and helped me along the way. I was then introduced to my local church via an internet Cafe at the front of the church, Raymond McCullough you have a lot to answer for you and your CS Lewis LOL, a wonderful man and what a fantastic life he lived with all his books and his help to his american friend, Raymond isn't a bad guy either, LOL! oh and his wife too lovely lady. Raymond encouraged me and eventually I plucked up the courage to go to church. Meanwhile having realised that alcoholism was just a symptom.

I had to do something about it this took a lot of time patience and counselling both on my part and on my counsellors. My father left home when I was very small about 5 years old, I remember the Police taking him away as if it was yesterday. A very vivid picture remains of that day in my mind today and it can be emotional still.

I suffered other trauma in childhood which I also addressed over a long period of time. I used to think my mother did not love me as she never seemed to be there. I later discovered in recovery that she loved us, the five of us, of which I am the youngest, so much she held down two jobs to clothe and feed us. I love her today and am able to tell her that, we have a fantastic relationship today.

Through Bible study and lots of work today my life has turned around I am a working Civil Servant, I am studying at Queen's University having completed a Liberal Studies Diploma.

I am now studying "The Battle for Palestine" at Queen's.

I am applying to join the committee of Beneden a Private Health Society which helps the over burdened NHS for Civil Servants. I have just been promoted and am moving to my new job next week. I have travelled extensively in Europe and have been to the States and Thailand. I like to Paint today in Oils and am trying a little singing on my own at the moment, I love poetry and mathemantics and Chess.

I am involved with Christains United for Israel who do a great work.

I love walkiing and eating out and generally having a good time.

I love to laugh because for so long I cried. I love you mum and embrace you and thank you for being you.

God bless you all, and thankyou Andy for this opportunity to share my faith in a loving God and what he can do for you if you put a little faith in him anything is possible.

1 Corinthians 13
Psalm 91
Matthew 5 "Blessed are...

Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works..

"Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets...."

Anonymous said...

(The Renming Cheng Story)

By: Renming Cheng

I became a Christian in 1989 when the Chinese government crushed the student democratic movement in such a brutal way, as I am Chinese and was also a student at the time, I thought it was the right thing to do. I went to a Chinese Christian summer camp in Sweden in July 1989 and got baptized. One year earlier, in 1988, I also went to the camp and listened to the preach by Pastor Zhou who must be one of the best pastors I have ever met. I decided right there and then to become a Christian.

By that time, I had almost never read the Bible. Then something happened. First was my father's death. The news came that my father died a year ago and my family did not even tell me for one year. All the time they just said father was having some problems with his hands and cannot write. Then in my deepest depression, I wrote a letter to a guy in Sweden, a youth church leader of some sort who talked to me several times during the summer camp in 1987. I expected some emotional support. But I never heard anything from him. And in the next summer camp in 1988, He just avoided speaking to me at all, not to say to make apologies for not responding to my letter.

I was angry. And then some other thing happened, it was also some senior persons in the church who did not want to talk to me. I then felt like being deserted. I soon stopped going to the church altogether. After I received my master's degree at the university in Norway, I went back to China and worked for about one year. I made some great friends, and the salary was high, but I missed my two year old son who was in Norway with his mother who separated with me at the time. My ex-wife and I decided to live together again. So I went back to Norway.

I soon landed myself a great job and got chances to travel some places like China, USA and South America. And I did a great job for the company. We sold offshore drilling rigs which cost anything from several million US dollars to several hundred millions of dollars. For a junior broker, it takes two years in average to sell his first rig. It took me only ten months to get my first contract. Boy, I was happy!

I was in Houston for three weeks with my Chinese client and my boss and the colleagues were so happy that they spend a lot of company's money to entertain me. I lived like a king, or was I living in a beautiful dream, I don't know. All I know was that I was on the top of the world.

Then something happened. The Chinese government had a military exercise near Taiwan, the US government took sanction against the Chinese government and any US company to do business with China. We had this L/C which depends on electronic transfer that had to be terminated due to the sanction. Then the company decided it was time to withdraw from the Asian market. I lost the job. Then for almost four years, I had some small jobs here and there but was basically unemployed.

The racial discrimination is so tough that most of the university students with a minority background go to the USA and other countries when they finish their study because they know there is no hope for them in Scandinavia. During all those four years, I never thought about going to the church.

Boy, life was like living on a hard rock. I had to live basically on social welfare after I spent eight years at the university. I was one of the first students at the university ever to be invited by Philips to attend the world broadcasting convention in 1992.

Life was so miserable and unbearable. My wife and I separated three times. She is a Christian but I think she never really loved me. She has this family inherited problem, being so nervous, and so depressed all the time and never ever want to get any medication. And when she got extremely frustrated, she would scream and shout the dirtiest things to me. And when I was having that kind of hard life, she never ever supported me one bit, emotionally or economically.

One day, I went out to attend a course for the unemployed (which was a typical thing to do for a person with minority background in Norway, you get to attend the courses all the time, as you seem never will get employed). And just when I went out of the door, my wife screamed something to me in the corridor so that all the neighbors can hear it. I guess she said: "you son of a bitch, never come back again!" I didn't say anything as I was getting used to it, and just went out of the door.

It was raining and I had no umbrella with me. I was all wet. When I came across a bridge, I suddenly had the thought to jump off the bridge and finish my own life. But I just couldn't do it. Had I done it, I never had doubt that my wife would not shed one drop of tears for me. She would drop some tears of course, but only for herself, thinking she would have to look after our two kids all by herself. She is that egocentric.

This year, I somehow decided to give it a try to go to the church again. I went there on the Chinese new year. And then two other Sundays. And then, all of sudden, I got a job! It was the first time in almost four years! It was a nice IT company. My office was brand new and I was given big responsibility in the company.

Then I stopped going to the church again. Because I was really not so much interested in being active in the church. I just thought I can meet some very nice people and maybe make some friends there. One month and two weeks later, I lost my job for no reason. Through my lawyer, I got really good compensation. But I had no job anymore.

Then summer came, the Chinese Christian church in Scandinavia organizes summer camp every year, and I have not been there for almost 11 years by now. I thought this year I should go. I really missed that wonderful experience I had there. So I told the people in the church that I want to go. But they told me that it was too late. There are too many people still on the waiting list. And I was so late and there was no chance I can get a place. Then all of sudden, I was told someone cannot go and they decided to give me the place. I was so happy! I thought I should take my ten year old son with me so that he can get close to Jesus from a young age, not like me. (I still think that is the single best thing I have ever done for my son and for myself).

One week went by, I did not see any miracle happen to me. In the last day of the summer camp, all the Pastors stood in the front, and Pastor Anthony Shen asked us to hold each other hand-in-hand as he prayed. All of sudden, tears run out of my eyes like a fountain, and I cannot describe the feeling. But it was so emotional and so great and it was sheer joyfulness. I thought about everything I experienced in the last nine years: I stayed outside of the Kingdom of the God, I had no family, no love, no job, nothing, life was like a hell. But here in the church, it was love, so strong that I have never experienced.

Then Pastor Shen said everyone who wants to receive pray and blessing from the pastors can go to them. I was the first one to go to a Mr. T.Y. Lee, who really looked amazingly like my father. He asked what I want him to pray for me. I mentioned that I lost my job and I want to have a job and I also want him to pray for my sons and
their mother.

Then brother Lee hold my head with his hand and prayed for me for about ten minutes. During that time I almost cried. Nobody ever showed that much love and care to me ever. But it is the Lord showed His love through brother T.Y. Lee's prayers.

I came back to Oslo from the summer camp on July 22, 2001. On the second day, Monday, the 23rd, it was a day I will never forget. I sat on the train alone reading the New Testament. I started to pray. I thought about the tremendous experience I had in the summer camp. And tears just run down my face and can't stop. I sat alone in the car and I said to the Lord: "Dear Lord, from now on, I am yours and I will do whatever you tell me."

I came home to Oslo and everyday I prayed to the Lord asking Him to give me a job, and within three weeks, I got a job! It was the best job I ever had! I remember Pastor Zhou said in a summer camp in 1988, "As long as you trust the Lord, He will make miracles for you. So just trust the Lord."

Although I got baptized many years ago, I never got reborn and never really accepted Jesus as my Savior. So how could He make miracle for me in those nine years? In the past years, I spent lots of money buying self-motivational books, cassettes, etc. I have read all kinds of such books, while life went from bad to worse. I also tried Fengshui and astrology, but nothing changed for me for the better. Only the Lord can and has changed my life for the better. And not only that, He has given me a new life! Now I almost never experience any frustration or worries, or depression which have always accompanied me. Now I pray to the Lord every day. I also started to write for the newsletters in our church. I want to share with everyone I know or I don't know the great experience I had since I opened my heart and accepted the Lord.

I also prayed to the Lord to give me a loving girl with whom I can start a new family. I know He will give me anything I asked for and more. Now I have a better relationship with my two kids, and I am so thrilled everyday about writing a book on my testimony and life experience so that more people can have their belief in our Lord. I know that the Lord will be pleased.

The tragic event 9/11 to me is like a nightmare and one of the greatest shocks I have ever experienced for a long time. But I guess it was an act of God. In the Muslim countries, more than 90% of the population practice Islamic religion, but in the Western Christian countries, there are less than 10% of the population practice our religion. Less than 10% of the population worship God. Most of the people only worship in money, power, sex, or devil, you name it.

We damage the environment without a second thought, we kill the animals for their fur or skin, burn or cut the forests, pollute rivers and water resources. Very soon there will not be enough forests left for the oxygen which our lives depend on. Do you think the Lord is happy about this? Of course not. Why should we damage the world He created for us? How dare we?

In the Bible, God has punished his own people by using their worst enemies. The 9-11 incident is a warning from the God that we have to get rid of the devil from controlling our society. Ever thought about 9-1-1 as being a bit strange? Isn't 911 a phone number you dial to alarm the police?

Don't get me wrong. It is not the God who killed those 7,000 people in the world trade towers! Of course not. I believe it is because we have been living in the shadows of the devil for so long and we refused to worship the Lord and let the devil to have control of our lives. It is the devil who took the lives of those 7,000 innocent people and the best brains of American finance.

Did you see the picture on the newspaper that while everything in the World Trade tower were crushed, the only thing that stand vertically is a huge cross of metal frame formed by the force of millions of tons of concrete and stuff. This metal cross is the only thing standing on the ground zero in the world trade towers. Do you think this is coincidence? Think again. Now it may be the God's warning that we should rethink all we have done in this world and if we are going to follow the Lord or the devil before it is too late!

This is the beginning of the Judgment Day if we still don't wake up and start following the Lord.

Andrew Kenny said...

THank you Renming Cheng for your testimony which willbe an encouragement to many. Peace and Grace.

Andrew Kenny said...

Thanks Mark for your very honest testimony showing how through God's grace you overcame many of the problems that began in your early life. As you state, it was first of all through the AA then through your friend Raymond that you began to experience the love of Christ, which in turn, turned your life around.

May this be an encouragment to others who are still 'on the road' and also encourage those who already know God's love, to reach out and share it with those who don't.

Many congratulations also on your promotion. Peace and Grace.

Anonymous said...

the grace of God, I was in prison. I know that might sound crazy. If God had not allowed me to be in prison, I would probably be dead. I have been asked by Precious Testimonies to share how God has worked in my life for the purpose of glorifying Him. I count it a privilege and an honor to be able to do so.

I have brought great hurt to others for what I have done in the past. All I can do is hope that they forgive me, as God has forgiven me, and that they pray that God will use the rest of my life to tell others of the goodness of Jesus Christ.

There is a scripture from the Bible that I would like to first honor God with, before I start my story. You may or may not be familiar with it: “For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matthew 9:13).



“Give me the money!” I demanded, as I waved a gun in the face of the bank teller. “Everybody on the floor, now!"

It’s hard to believe I was the person robbing that bank. My cocaine addiction had driven me to this point of desperation. I look back at it now . . . and it seems like a distant nightmare. Yet at the time, it was my reality. I hope it never becomes yours. If you are “desperate” … I ask that you take the time to read my story. There is help for you as there was help for me. It was not in a “program”, but thank God for them. It was in a PERSON. That person is Jesus Christ. He died for me, that I wouldn’t have to be a slave to my addiction of sin. After all … cocaine was the physical drug that held me prisoner to it. But I was a prisoner to something much more lethal. I was a prisoner to SIN. Sin is abundantly available to one and all. Each of us, the Bible says, are born with it. (See: Romans 3:23). The ‘righteous’ disagree. ‘Sinners’ know it to be fact.

I was born January 14, 1969 in San Antonio, Texas. My parents were migrant workers. My three brothers and sister and I moved alot growing up. I had a loving mother but an alcoholic father who was very strict and abusive. He was an army man and used regimental discipline on us in the form of a wide studded belt in many cases. Being the oldest, I would generally receive the majority of the whippings. In fact, I regularly took beatings just so my brothers and sister could avoid them.

At the age of eight, I was beaten so badly the welts on my buttocks, back and legs remained for several weeks, which made sitting in school difficult. He would even beat my mother when she came to my aid, which hurt me even more. I would cry myself to sleep many nights feeling I was to blame for his anger and my mother's injuries. I was always trying my best to win his approval. I never succeeded. He taught my brother and me to box, and the training often took place after beatings. I never developed real friendships nor learned to trust others or how to respect myself. I found it better to have no feelings, and to be a loner. Using others before they used me became my motto.

I grew up feeling unwanted, unloved, and filled with anger. A lot of anger. When I was age thirteen my parents divorced. From the pain of the divorce and the bottled-up anger and frustration inside, I went to the streets. Soon I became involved in gangs, drugs, drinking, all-night parties, fighting and sex. I seemed to be accepted, especially by those who were older, including the women.

At the age of fifteen, I trained and became the youngest member of the Guardian Angels. It gave me a sense of belonging and self-respect for the first time in my life. It was good being on the right side of the streets and it felt good helping those I once preyed on. I was somebody, or so I told myself. However, the emptiness along with the anger remained my constant companions. When I was sixteen, I left the Guardian Angels and headed back to the street life.

I began drinking more and experimenting with harder drugs soon thereafter. I used speed and on one occasion used acid in micro-dot form. I started to use powdered cocaine which gave me an euphoric high. Cocaine fascinated me, and it provided a feeling I was not to forget. It made me feel confident, tough and important. Later that year, I spent time in juvenile homes, first for larceny, and then driving while intoxicated. I hated being locked up, especially at night. I was a night person and sensed despair as I paced my cell until the wee hours of morning. I missed my street life and the lady who had stolen my heart. The couple of months I spent in the homes did nothing to change my behavior. Once out, I would be right back into my street life.

I needed to do something to kill the boredom and emptiness that was always present. Even the drugs, alcohol and women were not satisfying as they had been before, so I turned to stealing. Then at the age of seventeen, I was convicted of felonious assault and sentenced to one year in the county jail. The time in jail was horrifying for me except for the hours an old man spent talking to me about his family and Jesus Christ. When the time was over and I was free, I forgot the nine months I had hated, and quickly returned to my street lifestyle. The streets of Kalamazoo, Michigan remained my home as anger and emptiness controlled my life.

As my teen years ended, I was a father of three sons. I always held a steady job in those early days and provided well for my family. But I had no roots or stability in my life. I was still part of the drinking and partying crowd and continued to be on the go because of boredom and restlessness.


The birth of my fourth son started a change inside, but his death a few weeks later had a huge impact on me. The morning he died, I carried his tiny body outside and looking upward, I blamed God for taking his innocent life. I had a deep hate in my heart, and wanted nothing to do with God. He reminded me of my father. I told God that even if He was real, I would never believe in Him. I started drinking even more with terrifying results. I would always vent my anger and frustration on others with vicious behavior. I even started to beat my wife and oldest son. I had turned into the person I hated most in my life. I had become like my father! I was powerless to stop drinking. It took me to jail several times, and each time I would promise myself and my family it would never happen again. I truly wanted to change, but couldn’t.

In 1993, at the age of 24, I got a good paying job in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For the next ten months, I did not use alcohol or drugs, and felt good being a caring husband and father. I moved my family from a one bedroom apartment into a six room house, and even opened my own garage that I had always wanted. I was enjoying my role as provider and protector, and appreciated the love and happiness my family gave in return.

On the surface things seemed ideal, but inside I was empty and miserable. Something was missing and I did not understand what. I was drinking more but it was not easing the pain inside, and I needed something to fill the void. Then I remembered powdered cocaine from years before. I snorted it again. My troubles seemed to vanish as the pain inside disappeared and helped me escape the emptiness. Even with things going well for the family, I was unable to let go of the past as restlessness and anxiety continued. I had everything . . . yet my life was meaningless. There had to be more to life.

At the age of 26, I was living my double life completely. I had tried to fight the addiction of cocaine but could not find peace without it. My best friend had become cocaine! It would take away the emptiness and pain. I was missing more work but spending more money on cocaine and alcohol. I would spend days at a time absent from work and many nights away from my family. The nights were spent drinking, doing cocaine, and engaging in sexual activities which were always enhanced because of the drug. On one hand I was a working and family man, and on the other a party man. This lifestyle was destroying everything that made life worthwhile. At times I felt my family was becoming a burden to my new lifestyle, but deep down I still loved, wanted and needed them so very much. I hated what I was doing to them but could not stop. I could only think of the party life and my own pleasures. My life was a total mess, and I was helpless to do anything about it.

I began hating myself. What is wrong with me? . . . I would ask myself in rare moments of solitude. I began to hate the world and even life itself. Why do I hate so much of my life? Why am I so angry all the time? Why isn't there any peace? Is there any joy in life? Why do I act like this? I had all these questions and more, but no answers.

In 1997, my absenteeism from work had prompted the personnel department to talk with me about straightening up. Without mentioning my cocaine addiction, I told them it was alcohol and that I would get help. Shortly thereafter they started drug testing and I knew I had big trouble, and put off the testing. One morning in February, I came into work hung over and tired from partying all night. I was fired. With nothing to do, I was soon spending my time drinking and using cocaine more. Due to the increase of powered cocaine use over the past few months, I now found it necessary to have harder drugs just to keep the misery away. However, nothing was easing the pain.

When a 'so-called' friend offered me crack cocaine, I was ready for the ultimate failure! The 'crack' seemed to replace the emptiness, boredom and anger. Feeling good on the inside, and without knowing it, I had placed myself in a new bondage. 'Crack' became my passion and the love of my heart. I was spending more time away from my family, and more in bars or at parties. Even worse, I was spending whole nights in dark basements smoking 'crack' with my friends. This disastrous addiction had a firm grip on my life. It was difficult for me to quit. I tried to stop on many occasions but was always unsuccessful. I was a miserable man. I could see the damage it was doing to my family as I saw the fear in their eyes and the pain on their faces. To be honest, it hurt deeply to see them like this, but I could not stop using cocaine. At times I would pray to God to help me. I hated myself but nothing mattered to me but the 'crack.’


Within a few short months, my life had turned upside down. I was a slave to 'crack' cocaine, and did not know how to function without it. Even as I smoked one 'rock', I was already thinking about the next one. It felt good to inhale deeply and hold that smoke in my lungs as it became my escape from reality. I was controlled entirely by my desire for it. I craved it all the time. I was now with a group of users and the weekly use had become a daily happening. I was borrowing money from anybody who would lend me some. What I hated most was when I let myself get dead broke for white crumbs of something that enslaved me. Cocaine was destroying my mind and compelling me to do things I did not want to do. I was living, yet so dead inside.

As my character and personality changed for the worse, a doctor placed me on Prozac to fight my depression. Not meant to be taken while drinking or smoking cocaine, the results were devastating. I became a 'monster' and would have periods of rage in which anger and destruction took over. I began distancing myself from my family, and neglecting my financial responsibilities. I hated myself more and more all the time as cocaine gave me a 'false' peace and joy. I cherished and loved the crackling noise it made as I smoked, and the smell it left in the air. I spent every dollar I could get my hands on for the 'crack'. If I did not have it to smoke, I was irritable, miserable, anxious, angry, empty, and even paranoid.

This paranoia had my mind playing tricks on me as in desperation I would search for pieces of 'crack' everywhere. After the last 'rock' had been smoked, and not having money for more, I just knew I must have dropped some. I would be attracted by any white object on the floor that resembled a 'rock', and found myself on my knees picking it up hoping it was real. I hated myself. I had told myself I would never be an addict, but here I was crawling on the floor. I realized I had fallen to the lowest point in my life. Not only was the drug causing me to do these strange things, but I was often being tormented by demons and/or evil spirits when I would fall asleep whether day or night.

I would wake up in a cold sweat with my heart pounding -- sensing something or somebody somewhere in the room. I would wait in fear and often in a mode of paralysis. Then I would be physically attacked by this force that seemed to drop on me from above. This thing would hold me down while choking me as I tried to scream for help but no sound would come forth. I would literally wrestle with this force, and at times I would give up as it zapped my strength. At that point, this thing would enter my body and have its way. On mornings after these attacks, I would have severe headaches, be very tired, and have no energy whatsoever. Cocaine was destroying me, but it had become an obsession I could not shake, and I was ready to serve this new 'master' no matter the cost. And 'crack' was costing me everything!

There were times I was actually determined to change and stop the cocaine and partying, and be a loving husband and father. I would hold my wife in my arms, and watch her as she slept. I loved her so very much, and holding her and the boys made me realize how important they were in my life. I promised my family I would always be there to take care of them no matter what. Even as I embraced them or made the promise, there was a part of me sensing I was going to lose them. Yet, my cocaine habit was making it impossible for me to keep my promises. I hated the man and the father I had become. I was staying away from my own family because I did not want them to see what I was becoming, or so I did not have to face them after again letting them down. Losing my job as provider and protector of my family had hurt me badly, and I was having a difficult time accepting my failure.

I did not like what I was doing to them, and at times they seemed to even draw away when they saw me coming. Even sensing this, I would go out and smoke more cocaine to soothe the pain. I would then erupt in screaming rages at my wife and sons, and then hate myself for doing so. I was being more abusive with people and especially my own family who often felt the anger I now carried. They became afraid of me most of the time and would watch me from a distance. I was neglecting my sons, and they would not run to hug me when I came home. I would often find my wife silently crying, which hurt me deeply. But even with this feeling, I would steal money from her pockets for more cocaine. I recalled an expensive 18‑carat gold cross I had taken from a man after I had beaten him in a fight. I had given the cross to my mother as a gift. She had become a Christian a few years before, and I knew she was praying for me. She would ask me to drive her to church almost every Sunday. This cross was her favorite piece of jewelry and she cherished it. I went into her home one night and took the cross so I could get some cocaine.


During March, I found myself away from the family for days at a time. I would be smoking 'crack' on those days while spending money I did not have. I had sold a car for $650.00 and spent all the money for 'crack' over several days instead of for the family's needs. While walking home that particular night, I was feeling guilty for the hurt I would be causing my family, and for letting them down again. As I was hating myself, I recall gazing upward and watching the comet Hale-Bopp. For some unknown reason or understanding from where the thoughts originated, I found myself whispering, “God – please help me!”

My cocaine addiction continued to control my life, and by the end of April the family possessions had all been sold except for a few personal items. Almost all the furniture had been re‑possessed, and utilities were being shut off. The police tacked a court-ordered eviction notice to my front door giving me ten days to pay rent owed or vacate premises. Even with my family facing eviction, my desire for cocaine was ruling my mind. I sold another car and showed the money to my wife to ease her mind. Two nights later that money had been 'smoked' away and I had not paid the rent.

A few days later, I walked into my house and found my wife had packed our few remaining possessions. She began crying when I asked her what she was doing, and she said, "See what you have done to us! We are being evicted and must be out of our home by noon tomorrow." I cannot explain the hurt I experienced at that moment. I finally realized some of the hell my family had been experiencing.

Seeing the pain in the faces of those who loved and depended on me, I hated myself. I hated cocaine! I had tried quitting many times but had always failed. My whole life had become a failure. Even knowing it was the last day in our home, I was powerless to stop what was happening. As that morning came to an end, I only knew I needed money. Knowing I had to think clearly, I went out and spent my last ten dollars on 'crack'. I was about to embark upon an even bigger mistake in my life.

When the afternoon of Monday, May 5th arrived, I was about to carry out the answer to my dilemma. At 3:05 P.M. I walked into a bank wearing dark sunglasses and an old baseball cap. I had a bandanna which I pulled over my face, put my hand into my coat pocket as if I had a gun, and entered the door saying, “This is a robbery!” When I left the bank a few moments later, I had the money to solve my problems. I paid the landlord which gave my family a place to live, and the electric company so we could have heat and lights. I had found my answer; or so I thought.

For the next week or so, I was a responsible husband and a caring father. Having money seemed to restore the family's confidence in me. I was able to do without cocaine for those days which made me feel good about myself. Having no choice, I had lied to my wife about where the money had come from. I told her I had sold two cars. When the emptiness returned, I knew my answer was cocaine. Balancing things out again, I gave in and smoked some! I felt better, but knew I wanted my family's love also. Somehow, I had to have both in my life.

The money from the robbery was almost gone, and more was needed. Since the first robbery had gone so well, I figured I could do it again. Knowing what I was about to do that fateful morning, I had a difficult time saying goodbye to my wife and sons. I got back out of the car and gave each of them a big hug as I told them I loved them. I promised them I would return shortly. Even sensing a possibility that all might not go well, I still drove away.

On May 23rd, I entered the same bank again. “Give me the money!” I demanded, as I waved a toy gun in the face of the bank teller. “Everybody on the floor now!” Seeing the gun, the teller's response was, “Oh my God, Jesus Christ! Oh my God, Jesus Christ!" I ordered him to give me only one hundred dollar bills. Taking the money, I fled the bank.

Upon entering my neighborhood, I noticed a large number of police cars which were not normally around. I sensed inside that they were looking for me. I sat in the car weeping as my heart ached with a horrible empty pain. My poor wife and sons had no idea what had just taken place. However, all those police cars told me they were going through a very difficult and heart-wrenching time as they heard the story they must have found unbelievable. No way could their husband and father be the man police said had done this terrible thing. Their innocent lives would never be the same, and none of it was their fault. They did not deserve what was happening, and as I realized my plan had failed, I hated myself even more. I lost all hope of ever seeing the most important people in my life ever again; my loving family! They were the only ones I had ever truly loved, and now they were going to be out of my life forever. I had no one to blame but myself.

I left the car and proceeded on foot to a friend's house. That evening, I borrowed my friend's car and drove past my home. There was still a car in the area which I knew was not supposed to be there. I told myself I was not going to prison. As miserable as I was, I would go crazy being caged like an animal. I hated myself for what I had done to my family and for the person I had become. The guilt inside was tearing me apart. I felt I had to get away.

Having left my car earlier in the day, I now bought one from a friend. Later that evening I bought some cocaine, and as I headed back to the car, I was jumped, beaten and robbed. The attackers had gotten all of the money from the bank robbery, and had caused extensive damage to my head. One side of my face was smashed and bleeding, and the eye blackened. My neck had been severely sprained, and I had three puncture holes in the top of my head from nails. I ached all over but knew I could not seek medical help because I was being sought by the police.

I fled the state as a wanted fugitive and traveled to Indiana. I was taking a trip into more pain and darkness than I could have ever imagined.


As I traveled the endless highways, I began to realize the seriousness of my actions. My worst nightmare had turned into reality. For the first time, I started to understand just how much cocaine had destroyed my life, and the lives of my family. A heaviness filled my heart causing a tremendous pain, as a voice in my head kept telling me my family ‘hated me,’ and I would never feel their embraces of love again. In my state of depression, I had no reason to disagree with that awful voice. I continued to drive … not knowing or even caring where I was headed.

I ended up in South Bend where my sister lived. Her apartment was on the second floor of a complex with a balcony overlooking a small wooded area. I did not tell her what had happened or why the family was not with me, even though she would ask. I missed my family terribly and wanted to call my wife but that inner voice was telling me not to make contact. I knew she did not know about the changes cocaine had made in me. I just knew she would never understand or forgive me for my actions.

For the next several weeks I was busy adjusting to my new identity. Due to the past, I was only able to hold temporary jobs. When I had the money saved, I went back to buying, fixing, and selling used cars. If it had not been for the past and if the family had been with me, I could have enjoyed this new life. It would have been wonderful having them with me under these conditions. This time I would make sure things would be different. I wanted to call, but still sensed a phone call would place them in danger, and help the police find my location.

However, the hurt and loneliness forced me to call. When she first heard my voice there was only silence. Then after what seemed like hours, her tears started to flow which sent a horrible shot of pain throughout my body. The tears continued for both of us. The hurt in me was so overwhelming that I was sobbing openly and saying over and over, “I am so sorry, baby.” As we talked, I knew how much I loved and needed her back in my life. I wanted a 'new life', but knew in my heart it would be an impossibility. I knew I could never be the person she and the boys deserved – not in the state I was in. I talked with her and my youngest son for hours, and we all knew there was no hope of us being a family again. In spite of the risks and the pain, I continued to call each day just so I could hear their voices. What had I done to myself and those who mattered most in my life?

Even though I had a new start, things were not right without my family. I was missing them more each day, which was increasing the heaviness and hurt. Yet, somehow I had to go on which would mean going back to cocaine. I still hated cocaine for it was responsible for where I was, and all the pain - which was my constant companion. I had said it would never again be a part of my life, but my heart had such an emptiness that my depression soon overcame me. I did not want cocaine but it seemed my body was crying out for it, and a voice was telling me it would be the only thing to numb the hurt within. I bought and smoked 'crack' once more. I may have relieved my sense of despair for a few hours, but when the effects had worn off, I hated myself even more than before. The cocaine led my thoughts back to money and the banks around the area.


On July 3rd, I was at it again. That morning I scanned a small Federal Bank with every intention of robbing it. As I drove by, I had the radio on while letting the cocaine build up my courage, and deciding how to execute my plan. Hitting the scanner button to switch stations, I heard one of those 'so-called' preachers talking about a 'new life' through Jesus Christ. Knowing what I had always said to God and thought of him in the past, I had no intentions of listening to that stuff. I reached for the button, but was stopped short when he said, "This message is for you!" Hesitating, I found myself drawn to his words, and I listened to the remainder of the message without even knowing why.

He was talking about how sin separated us from God but through faith in Jesus Christ a 'new life' was available. I ignored the message believing it did not apply to me. Yet I had a stirring within my heart, and for some reason those words destroyed my desire to rob that bank. Even as I was changing my mind, that old voice was telling me there was no hope for me, and that I was beyond help because God hated people like me. Oh, how I wanted a 'new life'! My addiction had started to take away my desire to be alive. I drove away from the bank, and headed for the country. I was thinking about the message on the radio, and there was a 'challenging' feeling on the inside. It was a different feeling, and it had me wondering if it all meant I could really start over.

Sensing my mother had been praying for me, I felt an urgency to call her. This need to call her continued to dominate my thoughts as I was driving around. I finally stopped and called. The phone was answered by my brother, and when he heard my voice, his first words were, “I have met the bank teller you robbed, and he has a message for you.” I had no wish to hear about this man or what he had to say. But before I could say a word, my brother went on. “He wants you to know that he and the members of his church are praying for you.”

I was stunned! I could have understood a message of condemnation but never what I heard. I knew this man thought I had placed his life in danger with a gun., I could not understand why he was praying for me. Something seemed to grieve my heart, and I started to weep. Something was taking place inside of me, and my heart was aching. I got back into the car, and continued driving. I could not stop thinking about that bank teller and why he would be praying for me. Those words from the bank teller, along with the message by the radio preacher earlier that day, were having a strange effect on me. I had new sensations working in my heart, and I even began to wonder if I could have a 'new life'. Even the thought of that possibility sent shivers throughout my body.

I was actually feeling miserable and even guilty for what I had done to people when I had hurt them or ruined their lives. This feeling was foreign to me, yet the caring I felt was making me feel good on the inside. These new sensations were leaving me weak but with an inner strength. That awful voice from inside of me was growing 'strangely' quiet. I was still driving the countryside as night descended. Looking out the car window, my attention was drawn to something bright in the sky. I thought it was a plane until I saw it was not moving. I noticed it was a brilliant star but lower in the sky than I had ever seen one before. Gazing upward, my heart had this unexplainable and strange anticipation deep inside. I continued to watch the star as I drove home.

Arriving back at the apartment and entering, I was compelled to step onto the balcony. Right away my attention was drawn to the shining star which was still there. As I was watching, it slowly started to move and was soon out of my sight. I had spent many hours on the balcony while smoking cigarettes after coming home from drinking. On this particular night, I was thinking about the life that might have been. I wanted to look into the sky which always made me feel good. In my heart those feelings which had been with me since driving away from the bank were growing more intense, and I was now embracing them like I had never embraced anything in my life before. I sensed I should look above the horizon, for a new phase of my life was about to begin. Gazing deeper into the heavens, I cried out!!


Had I even cried out or had it all been from my imagination? I had been feeling an electrified sensation on the inside since driving away from the bank. The bank teller's message that he was praying for me - the radio preacher's words on a 'new life' - the brilliant star – I had the anticipation something was about to happen.

As my mind filled with the wonder and peace of nature, questions arose that I had never considered before. I wondered who was responsible for making the stars, the moon, the clouds, and all of creation. As I was pondering these questions, it was revealed to me. I realized that only God could create such beauty. It had to be God. It was God!

If He was the creator of the universe, then I knew He could change my life. As I stood on the balcony gazing toward the heavens, a series of cold surges radiated throughout my body. This filled me with shivers all over. At that moment, my heart began to pound as if it were trying to tell me something. I was totally engulfed by an omnipotent but loving presence. The day's anticipation I had felt was now taking place.

Vivid scenes from my past began to flash before my eyes. I was being shown all the pain and hurt I had inflicted upon others. Only this time the pain was mine. And it was real! Its realness was intensifying the heaviness in my heart. I began crying for the mess I had made of my life. Suddenly I found myself talking to God. Only this time it was so different.

I called out, “God, if You are real, change my life. Take away my cocaine addiction.” I no longer wanted that cocaine habit. I did not want to rob banks. “Please forgive me for robbing that bank.” I only wanted to be rid of all the wrongs. I wanted to be clean. I wanted to be free. While still looking skyward from the balcony, I kept praying to Him. Another voice was interrupting. It kept reminding me of who I was and all I had done in my life. I began to feel unworthy. Confusion was invading My thoughts.

Even in my despair, again I cried out, “God, please help me! Set me free! I don’t want to live like this any longer. Please help me!” In that instant of crying out to God for help, I recognized what was causing the heaviness I was feeling. It was guilt. It was all that guilt from sin.


I was not prepared for what happened next. I vividly heard the radio preacher's words from earlier that day, and my heart began to beat faster. He had said that Jesus Christ had died for me and had paid for my sin. Could it be true that He had died for me? I could understand that, but people just don't rise up from the dead! Those words were bothering me and confused me even more. Doubts were returning. But at the same time, I was saying, “Why would Jesus Christ die for me?” It just did not make any sense. I had always done wrong which meant I definitely was not worthy of Him having died for me. “Would He? Did He?” What if it was really true that He had died for me. I was being torn apart by a powerful battle being waged on the inside.

“Had Jesus Christ died for me and then risen from the dead?” I was being compelled to ask this question over and over. God was showing me that I already knew the answer. All I had to do was believe in my heart that Jesus Christ had died for me, and risen from the dead. If I did believe, then I would have the 'new life' I so desperately wanted. The story of Jesus Christ was not new to me, but for the first time, I was actually beginning to believe it. The doubts began to fade, being replaced by an inner peace. As I slowly accepted what God had been whispering, my mind cleared and everything began to make sense.

I now understood why Jesus Christ had died, had been buried, and had risen from the dead. He had done it all for me! As I comprehended the depth of this truth, my heart began to leap with extreme joy. My heart began to burn and beat even faster as it made me aware another heavenly presence was now beside me on the balcony. It was ‘jumping’ with uncontrollable joy. My heart was overflowing with a wonderful excitement as it recognized the One it had been searching for all along. It was Jesus! Knowing this was the Person who had died for me, a feeling of unworthiness swept throughout my body. I was overwhelmed with a sense of guilt and shame. I felt sorrow in my heart for having grieved Him all my life. I was confronted by the living Christ, and faced with a decision to make.

I then began to talk to Him. Weeping, I said, “You should not have died for me. I don’t deserve Your love and mercy.” I knew He had sacrificed His life on the cross for me, and I did not deserve Him in my life. Yet, I wanted Him so badly!

Sensing a glimmer of hope and with tears in my eyes, I cried out, “Jesus, come into my heart. Take away my cocaine addiction and give me a new life!”

As I spoke these words, a series of cold chills radiated throughout as His resurrected Spirit entered my body. Immediately my heart was filled to overflowing with unexplainable peace as I realized something had taken place deep inside. My heart was bubbling with joy as I comprehended the fact that Jesus was real and alive! Yes, He had been resurrected from the dead! He was now living within me!

I cried as the heavy burden of my sin disappeared forever. My body, spirit and mind felt clean and pure. His love filled me with extreme hope for my life. His indwelling Spirit gave me the desire to live again. The emptiness and heaviness I had carried all my life were now gone. He made me realize I no longer needed cocaine to fill the desires of my heart. On July 3, 1997, Jesus Christ set me free from my addiction and gave me a 'new life'. His life!


I was now ready for Him to live His life through me. I no longer wanted to live for myself, but for Him. I asked Jesus to take my life and lead me in the direction He desired, because my life was completely His.

His response clearly opened my eyes as He revealed to me millions of addicts in need of hope. Instantly I felt a burden in my heart to take His light into the dark world I had just been freed from. The thought of them meeting Jesus flooded my heart with joy. I now understood why the bank teller had been praying for me. This man had the love of Jesus Christ within his heart. Jesus placed an urgency in my spirit to tell the world about Him. I wanted others to find Him. People needed to know who He was. As I stood there meditating on these thoughts I asked, “Jesus, what do you want me to do?”

An inner low voice replied, “Go back and tell those in prison about me.”

My worst fear had been spoken, and I could not help but hesitate for a few moments as I thought about the years I would be in prison. It was going to be very difficult going back, for not only did the thought of prison scare me, but I had my family to consider. I knew His request to return would take me away from my loved ones for a long time. But nothing else mattered in my life except following Jesus. Realizing I had to follow my heart, I made my decision and said, “Yes, Jesus, I will go back!” But I pleaded, “I can’t do it alone. I will need You with me!” In spite of my fear, I was filled with an exciting anticipation for I knew I would be sharing my Redeemer with others.

As my heart calmed, I asked God if I could see my family one more time; His peace assured me I would be seeing them. Knowing I only wanted to exalt the name of Jesus Christ to others, I fell asleep with the greatest peace I had ever known.


The following morning I miraculously eluded capture by local police and FBI agents. By the grace of God, two days later at a motel in Fort Wayne, Indiana, my loved ones were back in my life. My youngest son jumped into my arms as I pulled my wife and oldest son close. Knowing God had done what I thought was impossible, he brought them back. I silently thanked Him for blessing me with such a beautiful family.

On July 14th, I returned to Michigan to turn myself over to authorities for the bank robberies. The next day as I sat silently with my wife and youngest son in the parking lot of the police department, my heart began to ache tremendously. I had entrusted my family into God's care, and now assured them all would be well. Turning myself in and saying goodbye was only possible because of my desire to serve Jesus Christ. (Please read: John 14:15) Seeing their tears as we approached the entrance hurt me deeply, and I asked God to give me the strength and courage to take my step of faith through those doors. (Please read: Hebrews 11:6)

Even being handcuffed and transported to the Kent County Jail could not stop the inner joy I felt. With a sense of excitement in my heart, I knew what Jesus had revealed to me on the balcony was about to become reality. My vision came alive, but grieved my heart as I saw men with pain and despair etched on their faces. Immediately I began sharing my story with them. As my heart bubbled with joy, I told them how Jesus was really alive, and how He had come into my heart and given me a 'new life'. I told them how I had turned myself in for the bank robberies. Most could not believe I came back but my joy showed them Jesus was real. Sensing a possibility of hope for their lives had many believing, understanding, and then giving their lives to Christ.

Men of all ages were being drawn to the living Christ dwelling in me as they sought advice, comfort and release of sin.

Sharing Jesus was bringing overwhelming joy to my heart, but jail was taking a toll. Visits with my family made me realize how difficult things were for them. After three months I had become discouraged, and God responded to my prayers by sending a fiery but compassionate preacher by the name of Dennis Napieralski. "Some of you are headed to prison but not to serve the State of Michigan. You are on a mission and will be God's Ambassador as you tell others about Jesus Christ," he said as his tear-filled eyes met mine. His genuine concern and love for prisoners touched me deeply as he showed me what a ‘real man of God was like’ (See: 1 Corinthians 13:1-3). His message ignited a fire back in my heart as his words confirmed God’s course for my life.

On October 28, 1997, the judge quoted Romans 6:16 before sentencing me to 10-60 years for the bank robberies. Two weeks later I was transferred to Jackson State Prison, and again my burden became reality. Seeing others shackled reminded me of the heavy chains of sin which had bound me for 28 years of my life. Through my eyes, Jesus saw multitudes of lost souls, and knew He was their answer, but they had to be told. “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14) Instantly He started using me to bring a message of hope into their lives. And again many were responding to Jesus' love for them.

Locked in a cell on the fourth gallery gave me a view of the whole cell-block. During the night I would stand at the front of my cell looking down at the hundreds of men who were living in spiritual darkness. Jesus had me praying for these men as He saw deep into their sin-destroyed lives. Jesus knew their hurts and pains as He sensed their hopelessness from the despair they carried. Having experienced the pain these men were feeling, I was able to identify with them. I found myself weeping often because of the hurt I saw. With the love of Jesus showing through me, He broke down the walls Satan had built by deception. In John 8:12 Jesus says, "I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." Jesus was their answer and the only hope they had for true freedom and a 'new life'.

My next eighteen months were spent at a level four maximum security prison in Saginaw, Michigan where men were serving long sentences. Jesus used the 23 hours in a cell each day to strengthen me in His Word. I would even spend nights at my cell door window reading the Bible by the only dim light available. The strength was needed as Jesus was now working with men who had totally given up on life. Most of these men hated everything and everybody. Sensing no purpose to life, they especially had no use for or belief in God. Jesus had me go forth knowing His love would light the way. He had me sharing my story and His message of forgiveness and eternal hope. I was called the 'man of God' which Jesus used to draw men into His kingdom. Thank you, Jesus!

In 2001, Jesus began using me in a mighty way to speak to men at Carson City Correctional Facility in Michigan. He also used me to speak and minister at Christ-centered services sponsored by Alpha Prison Ministries. When I was transferred to another State Correctional Facility, I looked for opportunities to be used however God wanted to use me, as the Holy Spirit guided my words. As many came to repentance, the urgency God has for revival in the prison system became evident. Jesus used my love and faith in Him to open hearts and eyes of other men who now carry God's burden for lost souls and revival in prisons. Ministering and pointing others to Jesus Christ gave me joy and peace during those years. All I can say is, “Thank You, Jesus!”

The living Christ changed my whole life, and made me a new man. (Please see: II Corinthians 5:17). He has taken my sin, my faults, and my poor choices and turned them completely around. He has taken away my anger and rage and taught me to reach out to others in love. The once foul language used to viciously attack people and God, now shares the love of Jesus and praises God. Jesus has given me a thirst for His Word. My ravenous appetite for God's knowledge and wisdom has increased my understanding of Him and has helped me earn my GED certificate and take college courses as He prepares me for my future as a obedient servant.

It has been Jesus Christ in me which has made these years bearable, for without His love and presence, I would have given up long ago. I often wonder what type of person prison would have made me without Jesus Christ. According to a prison clinician, I clearly had "an antisocial personality of the psychopathic type." He predicted my aggressive assault-like behavior would rule my actions and cause me problems. Because of Jesus in my heart and the Word of God cleansing my mind, I have proven this man wrong. As I look back over my life, I realize how God has always been there to bring me through. My heavenly Father knew of a higher purpose for my life all along. I am living proof of God's infinite love for mankind. I praise Jesus Christ for allowing me to be crucified with Him. “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives within me.” (Galatians 2:20)

My past and my incarceration took a toll o my loved ones, and although we were not to be reunited as a family, I continue to pray that my sons and their mother will come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and that the best years of their lives are yet to come - in His family.

As I look back over my life, I realize how God has always been there to bring me through. I am so thankful for the bank teller, Noel Quinonez, whose message of prayer so deeply touched my heart. It helped change the course of my life forever. Thank you, Jesus! My heavenly Father knew of a higher purpose for my life all along. I am living proof of God's infinite love for mankind. I praise Jesus Christ for allowing me to be crucified with Hi. "It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives within me." (Galatians 2:20)


As a result of what God did in my life four years ago on that balcony, many in prison have come to know Jesus Christ. As my journey continues, my God-given burden and vision is for genuine revival to spread throughout the prison system. When Jesus saw multitudes, He was moved with compassion because they were weary and scattered like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful but the laborers are few.” (Matthew 9:36-38) And in the prison system that is true, for God cares for the lost. (See: 2 Peter 3:9) Prayer for this awakening in prisons is greatly needed as God opens doors for an outpouring of His Spirit as we approach the second coming of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 24:44 Jesus said, "Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at hour when you do not expect Him."

God is a God of second chance! I am living my second chance to reach others by uplifting the name of Jesus Christ. This is done through discipling, teaching and evangelizing as I push toward my goal of Christ-likeness by 'embracing the cross'. I am a living testimony of God's grace toward sinners, and no matter what type of dependency you have, there is hope for you! "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; Behold all things have become new." (II Corinthians 5:17)

In God's great mercy, I was released from prison in 2005 -- having served eight-and-a-half years. Since my release from prison, I've had the opportunity to serve in inner-city ministry, evangelizing in the streets in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and country jails, and preaching to the lost and hurting, maintain letter contact with brothers still in prison to encourage them, and writing about revival in the Church of Jesus Christ.

In 2007, a man was murdered in our front yard, and due to all the drug-related crime in our neighborhood, (you can hear shots almost every night!), God moved me to put a big lighted cross in our front yard, and we've invited people in the neighborhood to join us in prayer at different times to pray against the evil that so many people live with day in and day out in that area of Grand Rapids. We encourage more people to join us regularly in our outside prayer vigils - around the cross - and we're so thankful for those God has brought thus far. We realize persistence is important in seeing God tear down demonic strongholds like this. We know that God wants to curtail the evil that has nearly overtaken our area of the city (much like in most cities across America), and we know that when people will come together in prayer - putting their "religious and racial and social-economic differences" aside, and simply humble themselves and call out to God to intervene to hold back the evil that ensnares so many of the people who live up and down the block ... God will respond to our prayers. We just have to be patient and keep believing.

Since my release from prison, God has given me a wonderful ministry partner who has become my wife. What a blessing from God!

As my story is read, I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to use my words and experiences to speak to people. Hopefully, many reading this will respond to God, and people don't always listen to the experiences of others and learn from them. But it is God's Spirit who opens hearts and eyes and ears to the Truth in His time. I hope that readers will learn from my experiences and not have to go through the bitter lessons of suffering and loss that I had to face in order to learn. If God's Spirit has spoken to you through this story, then He wants a response from you. He wants an affirmative response. Today you can accept Christ into your heart and begin a new life. If you would like to receive Jesus, please pray this prayer with me:

Dear Lord Jesus,

I know I am a sinner. Right now I ask you to forgive me. I know you died for my sin on the cross and shed your blood for me. Right now I invite you into my heart to be my Savior. I now give you my life. Lead me in the direction you want. Thank you Jesus for saving me. Amen.

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." (John 8:36)

Martin Briseno

p.s. We have a small blog we just started at if you want to take a look.

Andrew Kenny said...

What a great story Martin showing that God can work in any of our lives. May God use your testmony to bring many to Christ.

God bless you brother and thank you for your blog address at the end of your story.

Anonymous said...

My name is Ryan Caldwell, and this is my life story. I unknowingly cooperated with Satan in trying to destroy my life, and God saw fit to keep that from happening ... just in time. If you are miserable inside and drugs of various kinds and other addictions have control of your life -- please take the time to read this testimony. My prayer is that God will use it to help you grab hold of the only key that will set you free and save your soul. No one is promised tomorrow in this life. Eternity awaits us all. Please care about your eternity.

I grew up in a small town in the mountains of North Carolina. I was the youngest in a family of four. I was raised in a home filled with love and without the presence of alcohol or drugs. At the age of seven or so I began to visit my friends down the street to play. Some were my age, with the exception of some young adults around the age of 20 or so.

Little did I know that I would very quickly be exposed to the things that have nearly destroyed my life. As I would leave, my parents were sure that I was in a harmless environment. Within a short time I had seen it all. I sat on the couch as I viewed sexually explicit videos. I really wanted to try this "weed" they were smoking, but they said, "Your lungs aren't through growing yet." But what about the beer and liquor, I'd sure like to drink that. "Oh no, not now," they said. As a young kid I saw these older guys as my best friends and role models. They were older than me and I could hang out with them, and man they were cool, so I wanted to do exactly what they did.

Five years later when I was 12, I began smoking cigarettes. Before long my mother had caught me many times, but I didn't care. I began to rebel even more and did exactly what I was told not to do. Within a short time I had a collection of pornographic material, and a stash of alcohol.

When I was 14, I finally got my chance to smoke pot, and loved it.

I worked as a cook, and always supported my habit. A habit indeed I soon had. I was smoking all day, every day. My parents found it over and over, and I'd turn right around and get more. Grounded or not, I'd get it. The loving family atmosphere soon diminished as my words and actions destroyed it. Now that I couldn't do as I pleased, I lashed out in anger by breaking windows, arguing, and being very destructive. This continued through high school.

During my senior year cocaine came across my path one day. I sniffed it and it was the best feeling I ever had. I bought a bag, then another, and another after that. Within three days it had taken control of my life. The next morning my mother brought me to school and I ran away.

I had to get away from everything around me, especially cocaine. The next day they located me outside town, and I entered a drug rehab facility where I finished my senior year of high school.

I returned and I stayed clean for a week. Drugs came across my path again and I gave in. I was 17, and I was grounded for the next two months 'till I turned 18. Within the next six months I lost everything. I wrecked my truck, lost my job, and began to live from here to there wherever the party was. I became a heavy drug user of various types of drugs. Whatever came my way I had to have, and as much of it as I could get. Drugs were all I lived for every day. One fix after another. I became very thin, and I had three overdoses in a month.

One night a friend and I were very intoxicated and broke into a store. I was told there was $3,500 in the store. There was $20. If there had been that much money in there, I'm sure I would've killed myself with the drugs I was going to buy.

A week later I was arrested, and locked up in Virginia for six months. During this time I turned 19 behind bars. Being imprisoned had changed me in a way that I could gain some self control. But I got with the wrong crowd again, and a week later I was arrested for marijuana, and drinking under age. My father bailed me out, and a week later I got a drinking and driving ticket. My Father bailed me out again.

Now I stayed away from everyone and got a job, and began to attend a local college. Everyone thought I had stopped using drugs but I hadn't. I had to take drug tests once a month for four years. I would carry in someone's urine every time, because I would test positive. As I would pass each test, it showed that I was staying clean.

After class I would get high, and after work I would get high.

Smoking marijuana everyday was the norm, but I always loved to have some cocaine, crystal meth, pills, or anything else to go with it. Within the next three years I became heavily addicted to cocaine, and crystal meth. Three times I had help from others to aid in my recovery, but I always went back.

I soon moved in with some college friends and rented a house. We partied all the time, and began using a lot of drugs. Then we started selling them, and that brought even more drugs around. I was now 22, and still on drugs with no direction. There were many of us that hung together, and we'd all get high. From Oct - Dec. of 2005 five of my friends died from drug overdoses. I would see them yesterday, and they were dead today.

One of my close friends was 20 yrs old. I told her she was taking too much and to slow down because I was there at one time, and it wasn't worth it. A week or so later she didn't wake up. This was it for me; I couldn't do it anymore because my time was coming if I didn't stop.

So I did stop, and my friend Angela came over that day and talked to me about my friend, because I was quite upset. She said, "I know I'm okay, and when I die I'm going to heaven."

She looked at me and I couldn't say anything, but just look at her. I became real scared and uncomfortable. And she talked to me a little bit about Jesus, but I was bit reluctant about it, so she eased off, and I left quickly!

I thought to myself: Why? Why am I running -- it's real. Eternity is real, and forever. So I thought about it, and I couldn't comprehend it.

Once I thought about God and heaven, I felt His presence immediately. I felt it right outside my chest. I felt like God was right there saying, "Ryan, just let me in."

For three days I was in a war. I was crying, and listening to the devil on my shoulder, saying, "Oh come on -- you can come to God later; let's have fun," ... but God was calling me to make a decision about Jesus Christ -- about where I would spend eternity.

So I moved home December 17th, 2005.

My Father and I talked 'till 3 a.m. I told him how I felt about God, and that I needed Him to help me. My Father shared with me the gospel of Jesus Christ and that He died for my sins, and if I believe that He is the son of God, and that He died on the cross for my sins, and rose from the grave the third day, that I would be saved. So I believed in Him with all my heart and asked Jesus to come into my life and be my Lord and Savior, and to take control and show me the way.

With many tears being shed, I came off my knees, and I felt like a new person, and I knew I had been saved. That following Sunday, on Christmas Eve, I was baptized, and professed the Lord as my savior.

Now let me share with you how God has changed my life. Since that night I've had no desire to use drugs and alcohol. He's given me a life to live with hope, and the strength to say no. I now live a clean life as I patiently seek what God has in store for me. He's blessed me with a great job, a vehicle, and things I need in life. Before I had nothing, and now I have Jesus and He is the reason I live today.

Because of His mercy I'm still alive, and by His grace I have a Savior, and when I see Jesus it will be worth it all. It's worth it all now ... not to be a slave to addictions ... and to know that I wasn't given the chance to live this life in the first place just for self-gratification. Neither were you, dear reader.

This life is our testing ground - our proving ground - our opportunity to let God have first place in our daily lives to use it as He desires. Heaven and Hell are real. No one can prove they aren't. The eternal state of each person's soul weighs in the balance. Where will you spend eternity? You can make certain of it this very moment ...


God has given me a gift of writing. Here is a poem that gives an over-view of my life. I write it to give thanks to God for delivering me from eternal destruction:


Lost and alone; salvation unknown.
Drugs and strongholds made the evil-one known.
Strength overtaken, near death three times.
Addictions and afflictions, many of each kind.

Freedom vanished, locked behind barred doors.
Six months of insomnia, pacing concrete floors.
Freedom returned gaining untruthful respect.
Addictions again, dying to inject.

Loved ones and reality gained semi-control.
Deep inside the dark one had hold.
Just as life met the end of it's rope.
A witness from the Lord spoke a glimmer of hope.

A chance to change for better.
And a life that lasts forever.
Down on my knees I met Christ.
Filled with love and empty of strife.

Blinded no more and chained no longer,
The Lord my Shepherd hath made me stronger.
Living to know Him and to make Him known.
The lost and dying need to be shown.

The love of Christ through the light of our lamp.
Not to grade sin or put on a stamp.
No time for that, work to be done.
Sharing the gospel and souls to be won.

Eternal motivation and promises I keep.
Guided by light, patiently I seek.
I never thought someone would love me for me.
Until Christ entered my life and He made me see.

On my knees each day thanking God above,
Because of You I see the meaning of no greater love.

-- Ryan Caldwell

My Email:

Anonymous said...

wasn’t raised in the church. I had never attended a church or read a Bible, but when I was 21 years old I had a girlfriend, Amy, who treated me like I was God. No previous girlfriend had ever given me so much attention and made me feel so special. But to finish my college education, I had to move away from home and attend the University of Kansas. Amy stayed in St. Louis, and for two years we commuted five hours each way for dating. The physical distance between us took its toll, and we broke up before I graduated.

I was devastated. That was the most serious relationship I had ever been in. She had convinced me that I was everything to her, and then, boom, it was over. I was feeling terribly lost and lonely over that breakup. I felt like my whole life was a mess. For the first time, I was so distraught over a girl that I cried, but I never would let anyone know it.

As the days went by, I got more depressed. It wasn’t so much the loss of Amy as it was the fear of building a new relationship with another girl that might also end some day. I didn’t want to risk another heartache or rejection. I was feeling so down I was literally sick to my stomach. There was a burning, gnawing feeling inside that almost felt like I had to throw up.

Pacing the floor of my apartment, I walked into the living room and turned on the TV. It was almost evening on a Sunday in March or April of 1972. I had an old, portable black-and-white TV with only four or five channels on it. I flipped through each station, and on all the channels were preachers and church services. I wasn’t interested in listening to any of those kinds of shows, but when I stopped searching, the last station had evangelist Oral Roberts preaching.

Before I could turn the TV off, something struck me like a freight train. All Oral Roberts said was, “God loves you,” but it felt like he was talking directly to me. Everything he said after that seemed to be exactly how I was feeling and thinking at that very moment. It was uncanny. At that moment I had an overwhelming notion that I should get to a church right away. I didn’t know why, but it was urgent that I get to a church as soon as I could.

I jumped up and scrambled around looking for a phone book. I looked up churches in the yellow pages and tried to pick one to go to, but I couldn’t decide. I didn’t know what the church names meant or what the difference was in the denominations, so I just got in my car and started driving around town looking for the right one. When I turned the corner onto Massachusetts Street, there was a small building on the right that looked inviting. By this time it was dark out, so I could see people through the glass doors in front. I knew there must be a service going on inside. A red, neon sign out by the road read “Church of the Nazarene.” I had no idea what that meant, but something was enticing me to go in.

As I parked my car and headed for the door, I realized I didn’t have a clue what I was doing there. I couldn’t anticipate what I was going to hear or see. My mind was thoughtless. It didn’t even matter to me why I was there; I just had this unusual, instinctive feeling that I was supposed to be there.

It was quiet when I walked in. There were about fifteen to twenty men, women, and children scattered around in the pews. I don’t remember any old people. Everyone seemed to be fairly young. The only sound I could hear was the pastor crying. I sat way in the back where no one would notice or talk to me. I kept waiting for a sermon, but none came. Everyone but the pastor sat still and quiet. The pastor began to cry harder and started wailing. He paced back and forth across the pulpit with his Bible open in his hands as if he were reading it. Then others in the pews started sobbing. Some of them got out of their seats and laid down on the floor. Soon they began wailing, too, and rocking from side to side.

I was stunned. Having no idea what this was all about, I got up and started to run out. But guess what? I ran straight up to that pulpit and threw myself down at the pastor’s feet. I began uncontrollable weeping and wailing myself, and to my surprise, I felt a warm, oozy feeling coming over me.

The pulpit was a raised platform about two feet high. I knelt with my knees on the floor and my chest flat-out in the pastor’s path. I have no idea how long I laid there. I remember trying to pray, but the only thing I could say was, “Thank you, God. Thank you, God.” I kept trying to pray something, anything, but my mind was blank. All I could do was cry and keep repeating, “Thank you, God.” I can’t remember if the pastor touched me, prayed, or even spoke to me. I was so overwhelmed with such a good feeling of release that I never even looked up at him.

When I stood up and turned around, I could see that a few people were gone and the overall volume level was a little quieter. The pastor was pacing again, and no one was paying any attention to me. I felt so relieved; it was like a thousand pounds had been lifted off my back.

Slowly I began to walk down the aisle, wiping the tears off my face and heading for my car. I felt so good; I wasn’t in any hurry to leave. I got to my car, and before I started the engine, I burst out talking to myself about what had just happened. There I was, sitting in my car, laughing and talking out loud to God just like He was right there with me. I can’t describe the feeling exactly, because it was a presence of something, someone, that I had never felt before. It was the presence of God, assuring me that my troubles were over and that He had a plan and purpose for my life that was much better than I could ever imagine.

God had given me the revelation that if my relationship with Amy had continued, I would have had a lot of heartaches and a miserable life, ending in divorce. I realized that breakup had to happen because God had something better planned for me. This was no subtle little understanding I would have eventually come to on my own. It was different and had nothing to do with my mind or my thoughts. It was in my whole being, not in my head. It was a confirmation that God was real.

I left that church a changed person. I couldn’t do some of the things (sins) I used to do anymore. That experience set me free from trying to fit in with the crowd. I was less worried about what others thought of me, and it put a drive or need in me to tell others that God is real. I started my car and drove away with my windows rolled down, laughing and hollering at everyone I passed by. All the way back to my apartment, I was so excited I kept shouting out my car window things like, “Don’t worry. God is real. God will take care of you. ”

That born again experience started my personal walk and personal relationship with God that has lasted my whole life, leading me all over the world to do volunteer mission projects, and even write a book titled: God is Real. The book documents His undeniable supernatural powers. Please visit my web site below and read the excerpts from my incredible, miraculous testimonies… they just might change your life!

God Bless You.

Roy Davidson

Andrew Kenny said...

Many thanks Ryan for your great story on how God set you free from drugs. May God use your story to help others in a similar situation.

Andrew Kenny said...

THanks Roy for your story. It was very encouraging. May God bless your ministry to those who don't know God.

Andrew Kenny said...

Dear Brother Andrew please find the story of my journey to Christ below. I hope and pray willfind encouragement from it. Bro. SAMBI's testimony.
My total name is - SAMBI REDDY.
Simply 'SAM'.
SAMBI- "Spiritually Awakening Mortals by Biblical Illuminations"
Please give my Blog address and my Organization 'SIM'.
I am from Hyderabad, Southern India.

The Essence of the Good News I heard-

ROMANS 5:8-9 (8)But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.(9)Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!

JOHN 10:11 - I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the

PHILIPPIANS 2:9-11 (9)Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,(10)that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christis Lord,to the glory of God the Father.

He was saying that Jesus came into this world to save the sinners..but not the righteous(no one is righteous in the sight of God).The Holy scriptures said that every human was a sinner.Man by his birth alone has sin in his nature. But God ,in His mercy, showed me the heart of Father towards his sons and daughters who had gone astray. The Father alone,in search of his children came into this evil world in the form of man(son)by humbling himself from the Throne of Heavens to the rugged cross and surrendered himself to the enemy of our soul, and in love,thinking of you and me, took the place of us. There He ,took the punishment on the cross were he was brutally murdered .. How genuine and convincing the message was?-i sighed.But,i was not ready to accept Him as THE ONLY WAY for Mukti.

Gentle Holy Spirit hovering over a hindu like me....

Joel 2:28 (King James Version)
28-And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

John 16:8 (NIV)
8-When He comes, He(HOLY SPIRIT) will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment

JOHN 3:5 - Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

JOHN 16:13-But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into All Truth. He will not speak on his own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.

In the last moments of message,the servant of God led us in the SINNERS PRAYER.I knew I desperately needed it. I was conscious of my sin since my childhood. I confessed that I was a sinner to the core of my being and invited Jesus as the Saviour of my life[not as the only Saviour].I had lighter feelings. Afterwards some radical things happened in my life.Dr.Paul Dhinakaran was praying for the deliverance from the bondages,afflictions and addictions like alcohol,drugs and smoking.He was urging the crowd to plead to the Lord for the anointing of the HOLY SPIRIT.It was very new for me as there is no such power in our religion.I hadn't witnessed it in the Catholic circles also.I knelt down and united with the prayers of the speaker and asked the LORD for the HOLY SPIRIT.Suddenly i was empowered and a supernatural weight descended on me.I knew i was not the same person .I was empowered.At this time also,Jesus was like an additional god apart from millions of gods.He had a super natural impact on me.In the last minute,people were testifying about the miracles experienced.Some testified that they had changed their religion suddenly and dumped their idols.I hated that point and gnashed my teeth against them.As an empowered soul, I went to the ‘Jesus calls’ Book stall. I was attracted to one particular book penned by Dr.D.G.S Dhinakaran.The title of the book is -7 LAST SAYINGS OF LORD JESUS ON THE CROSS.In the midnight i reached my room.The very next day,a sudden urge came to take alcohol.I knelt down and cried.In that moment I sensed the deliverance of the strong desire for alcohol. I felt it was a complete deliverance. I never touched alcohol again despite the forces of my friends. Glory to God.Yet, i didn't accept Jesus as my only Savior.


Acts 4:12, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.'- C.S.LEWIS

I had experienced a miracle personally with the empowerment of the HOLY SPIRIT from above. My old faith couldn't help me get rid of my addictions.Should I follow this new religion by shifting loyalty to this new god? I contemplated. No. Miracles like this happen in other religions. I wanted to know what really distinguishes Jesus from these other gods. What Jesus only can do and others can’t? Though I know I was a new man both outside and inside, I didn't accept Jesus as the only God. I posed many questions genuinely. How can you alone be the ONLY GOD? How can thousands of saints of other religions be wrong? How come you are exceptional? Perhaps, you are the BEST among all gods and ways-I reflected: When the best is free, why the rest? I pleaded Him to reveal the mystery and enlighten me if He were the ONLY WAY.
A sudden appetite to know Him more and more grew in my soul. I started reading His scriptures. The New Testament, Gospel of John. Each night, since AUG-16th, I used to kneel down and pray in the Holy Ghost. I was studying and deeply pondering over THE SEVEN SAYINGS OF LORD JESUS ON THE CROSS. What a miserable death He had on the cross-Why, Why no one else in the history of humanity? When even the one created by His hands were killing HIM - Jesus in His mercy urged the Father:"Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing"...I was struck there. It sounded to me something great. I found myself in the 4 worded letter "them”. But, unlike what others say, this Jesus in his last words was forgiving us. Some illumination penetrated my inner eyes. This example of Jesus has been exceptional. I was sure that nobody could emulate Him on the cross. I found solution. His last words penetrated my soul and. I asked Him forgiveness.
I reflected a lot over this sui generis example of JESUS-Was Jesus a Lunatic to pay His LIFE on the cross merely for being treated as one of the multiple means of salvation?The other so-called gods and ways hadn't suffered like HIM-Why? I got convinced that it is indispensable to believe Jesus and His intriguing claims for Mukti .I observed that my previous faith had been the continuation of the legacy of my forefathers and allowed no place for me to take my own decision.I sensed -In the name of Religion, something wrong has been happening in the world.I then believed that HE WAS THE TRUTH,THE WAY AND THE LIFE.NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH HIM- John 14:1-11

In that silent night,in that darkness,rays of light penetrated my soul.I knelt down and surrendered to His love and gave my life to Jesus.

When i started loving Jesus,the world started leaving me(not all). Beloved,the pains. the world has been hostile to Jesus.I also encountered many trials and storms.But, i have also experienced the goodness of the Lord..
I sing
"On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

Reflect - Had I taken the right decision?
The real person or the nature of anybody will be revealed when he/she goes through the TRIALS.The personality of God,the character of Father,love of Jesus was revealed when we have gone astray.In His last words God didn't react unlike humans and demigods.God so loved the world and sent His only begotten son - Jesus to save us.Those who believe in Him will be saved and will have eternal life .

I pray for the Enlightenment of inner eyes.

"LORD JESUS,I Accept that i am the sinner.i am lost.I am ready to accept you as my only Saviour and the Lord of my life.I believe that you died on the cross for me also.You shed your blood for the redemption of my sins.You rose again and you are the Living God.Please come into my heart God.Make me your child and disciple and empower me with your HOLY SPIRIT.THANK YOU JESUS.AMEN!"

A Little too Late..Life is short

She couldn’t take another year in prison. she couldn’t even think about it. it had become so loathsome that it was almost preferable to die than to waste away any longer behind those walls. so her appeal began, not to the governor, nor to the warden, but to the prison undertaker. the undertaker was responsible for all inmates that died. he placed them in coffins, sealed the coffins, and took them out for burial. after some time and female wiles, she was finally able to persuade the man to help her escape. the plan was simple. the next time someone died, he would allow her to get into the coffin with the dead body. he would then nail the lid shut, take it out to the graveyard, bury it, and return under the cover of darkness to open it and free her. there would be enough oxygen in the coffin for that amount of time.
eventually the opportunity came. someone died. according to plan, she sneaked into the darkened parlor and crawled into the coffin with the body. shortly after that, the lid was nailed down. she felt the movement of the coffin as it was carried out to the waiting wagon. there was a rocking motion as it was pulled out of the prison yard, through the gates that were locked upon her for so many years, beyond the walls that she could never climb. she felt the wagon stop in the beggars’ graveyard, sensed the downward motion of the coffin as it was lowered into the hole dug for it. a swelling sense of victory filled her. the ploy was going to work. she heard the clunking noise of earth being shoveled onto the coffin, until at last she could hear no more. now it was only a short wait until the undertaker would come for her. being curious, she lit a match to see who had died. in the brief flare of light she saw who it was. it was the undertaker. she screamed, unheard by the world above her.
this fictional story, first aired on alfred hitchcock presents, unintentionally poses a question. in whom do you put your trust for salvation? is it in a person, perhaps a religious teacher? if so, are you sure that he or she won’t end up in the coffin with you, a victim of death just as powerless as you? do you trust religious practices? then you must ask yourself if all the dietary regulations and meditation techniques in the world will free you when death and judgment come to call. perhaps you haven’t thought about it. you may have implicitly trusted that your sins will have no consequences, that you will float into a celestial paradise with no questions asked about your past life. and then, maybe you are trusting that there isn’t anything beyond the grave. will you find out a little too late, perhaps one second beyond death, that you were wrong? at that point, protests and tears will not change a thing.
the bible recommends one means of salvation, one savior, one name: jesus christ. we are told, "and there is salvation in no other, for neither is there another name under heaven given among men in which we must be saved." (acts 4:12) the phrase salvation in no other guarantees that, in the end everything will fail us most disastrously, except for christ.
by john myer
tract taken from the harvest vol. 7 no.2
Used with permission

Andrew Kenny said...

Thanks Sam for your wonderful story in your search for the living God or should I say HIS search for you.

Peace and Grace


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

FRom Gangster to Street Prea cher By: Victor King

As a child, I went from troubled - to bad - to worse. By the time I was 17, I had dropped out of school to become a gangster. I was addicted to alcohol, smoking, vulgarities and pornography while pursuing a life of crime. One day I met a girl who invited me to church. There I met Jesus Christ and surrendered my life to Him. I have never been the same again, as my life continues to undergo an amazing transformation.

I was born in Singapore in 1980, and grew up in a Christian family. Despite hating to go to church, I was forced to attend by my parents. They sent me to a Christian school but that didn't help. When I reached high school, that's when I was influenced by my friends, and got involved in a gang, smoking and skipping school. Things were turning from bad to worse as this became a lifestyle of bondage for me.

Then I started stealing, vandalizing, drinking and getting into fights. My folks found out about it and tried to talk me out of it, but it didn't work. I was very rude, hot-tempered and vulgar. My teachers, the school staff, relatives, good friends and even counselors tried talking to me, but none of them could get through.

The Street Life

I was expelled from school because of my bad attitude and poor attendance. I became a dropout at age 17. It didn't really matter to me that I was a dropout. Rather, it gave me more reasons to become a full-time gangster.

I frequented pubs with my gang members daily. I became a very heavy smoker and I got hooked on alcohol. I was full of obscenities and got addicted to pornography. I started womanizing and stayed away from home most of the time. There were times I got involved in armed robberies. Most of my friends were drug addicts and ex-convicts. This troubled life took control over me. I was so lost in my sin. I became the worst guy in my family. No one could change me; not even the Army.

After I was drafted into the Singapore Armed Forces, many people thought I would change for the better, but unfortunately, I did not. I got himself into the army prison (detention barracks) for going A.W.O.L (unauthorized absence) and for my bad attitude. I was also brought back to the police station a couple of times. My lifestyle kept pointing me to the prison, but I would always escape without getting caught.

My slavery to the devil came to an end just a few years ago. I had had quite a number of girlfriends in the past, and most of them were unbelievers. Five years ago (as of 2008), I got to know a girl who was a Christian. She brought me to her church. The Lord Jesus touched me and I started to break down. I suddenly felt so in love and loved, but I didn't know how or by whom. All I knew was that this love was something beyond human experience. That day I received Jesus as My Lord and Saviour.

Life Transformation

My life was not the same after that day. As time went on, Jesus delivered me from so many things. Nine years of heavy smoking ended. Six years of alcohol addiction was gone, and as time went by, God supernaturally took me out of the gang; delivered me from vulgarities, anger, womanizing, pornography, filthy lust and many more bad habits. The Lord made me see women in a different way.

I became a new creation in Christ. And I was also healed of a 10-year urinary bladder problem. Amazing grace! What man could not do, Jesus did. The people who knew me were shocked at the changes in me. The Bible says, with man it may seem impossible, but with God, all things are possible. It also says that sin shall have no dominion over us for we are not under law but under God's grace.

The Lord is still working in my life. I have felt the power and the manifest glory of Jesus in my transformed life.

There is hope in Jesus Christ. I'm living proof!

Victor King

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just remembered another one about a Chinese seaman I met...

I had been asked to visit this Chinese ship by a colleague in Liverpool, because he said there was a Christian on board. This was very exciting for me as Chinese Christian seamen seem to be very rare.

So I visited the ship and asked if there were any Christians on board. They said no, but I was invited into the mess room (place for eating).

Later I asked about the man I'd been told about, so they brought him to me. We had a wonderful time chatting.

Fred (not real name) said that he had received a Bible (Chinese) in a Korean port and because he read it he thought that this made him a Christian. However, he had many questions and had no peace in his heart. He said it was so bad that he couldn't eat or sleep properly!

He said that he really needed to speak to a Chinese Christian to ask him the questions. Wonderfully I knew the leaders of the Chinese church in Cork and was able to bring my friend Jim (Chinese) to the ship. We then went back to Jim's house for fellowship and food.

Fred really enjoyed chatting to Joseph. Then one lady from the Chinese church said that we should pray. We had a lovely time of prayer and could really feel God's Holy Spirit with us. We sat in silence for perhaps 5 minutes enjoying the peace. Then Fred suddenly said "Now I know Jesus is alive!"

We were surprised and asked him how. He said that as we prayed, he could feel God's love coming to him. He said that this kind of love only exists amongst family members and that since we had opnly just met him this must be God's love!!!

Then he said something really profound. He'd had so many questions bothering him that he had no peace, and couldn't sleep etc...

Then he said "Questions can't do anything, but love can do everything!!"

God's love had reached his heart. In our culture we get so hung up on all the right questions and having all the right answers; on precision and being professional and knowing everything. However without love, knowledge (as it says in the Bible) just 'puffs up'. It's a waste of time without love. Love must be a (or perhaps the) mark of authentic mission.

Fred also began piecing together how God had answered his previous prayers! It was really amazing, and very moving. However he feared going back to the ship when he knew all the temptations and pressures from his crew-mates would surround him again. He asked us for some Christian music to encourage him.

Please pray for Fred who's wife laughed at him when he told her that he'd become a Christian.


Another story of a lovely Christian Chinese seaman just sprang to mind.
This man told me that in 14 years sailing on Chinese ships he'd never met another believer. Their typical yearly contract last 10 months, with a 2 month vacation back home. Imagine how lonely this is away from family and unable to go to church or even meet another Christian!

This man told me that when he was little there was only 1 Christian family in their village. He was a very sick baby and the doctors told his parents that he was going to die. One old Christian lady in the village said that if the family became Christians then their baby son would be healed. The family agreed and miraculously he was healed! Praise God! Now there are many more Christians in the village.

Pray for this seaman who is often starved of fellowship, but clearly has a vibrant faith. It was such a blessing to meet him.

Colin Jenkins SCFS Cork

Anonymous said...

I can share a testimony of a Korean friend who came to Cork to learn English. She came with us to church to see what it was like. My wife held Korean Bible studies for students with three or four girls. Some of them became Christians and were even baptised. Sadly some others made comitments, but now seem to have fallen away again, possibly due to a lack of 'follow-up' or discipleship.

One of the girls said that before she became a Christian it was as if she was walking in a dark tunnel with no end in sight. She then said that since she became a Christian its like she's walking in the bright sunshine!

Another two girls said that before they became Christians they were skpetical of religion and thought that only weak people need religion. They believed in themselves and their own abilities. However they realised that they were rejecting Christianity without even giving it a chance. This infuriated one of the girls especially, and she one day found herself giving thanks to God in prayer!! She had been coming along to church with my wife Sunhwa and I, and one day the minister asked that if anyone wanted to become a Christian they could share in the communion service. Both girls joined, and it was clearly a significant day for them. Sometimes people who are away from home, or are foreigners in a strange land have much more open hearts to hear and believe the Good News of the Gospel. Seafarers are also like this.

Please pray for these girls who face opposition from family and friends now that they are back in Korea. Pray for them to settle in church and make many Christian friends.

Another friend of mine whom I met in Cork who comes from Burma has an amazing story. He had to flee Burma because it was dangerous to stay there, and he has recently been granted refugee status in Ireland. He (Mike) said that God brought him to Ireland. He originally intended to go to America. It's wonderful that God brought him to us. He had been coming to church a lot and has an open heart also. He came along to Bible studies and games nights, and also visited ships with me. He wanted to become a Christian, but wasn't really sure where to begin. One evening I had the joy of leading him in the 'sinner's prayer'. There has been a big change in his life. He was so excited about being baptised that the night before his baptism he told me he couldn't sleep, and he even had a vision of Jesus baptising him! He shared a powerful testimony during his baptism service. Please pray for Mike as he has had clear spiritual attacks since his baptism day. He also needs discipleship and good Christian friends.

Interestingly he commented on the lack of interest in church and the Bible in Cork. He contrasted this 'closed' heart with the open heart of seafarers. He himself has been a seaman before coming to Ireland. He said that if you gave someone in Cork a Bible (even if it was a gold-covered Bible) they wouldn't be interested or even read it. However he said that if you give a seaman one piece of paper (like a tract) they will read it 1000 times, even if they come from another religious background! I have found this to be true. Many seafarers are spiritually starving! Mike said that whenever a ship chaplain visited their ship it was as if God himself had paid them a visit!

In our days of post-modernism, relativism, individualism, religious skepticism, pluralism and aparent 'post-Christendom' God is moving silently! God works despite our selfishness and failings as his people the church to be 'salt and light' to our generation.

Before I go I would also like to share the amazing story of the Korean church! 100 years ago Korea was called the 'graveyard of Christian missionaries'. When I paid a visit 2 years ago we actually visited one missionary graveyard.

Today S.Korea is one of the biggest missionary-sending countries! An amazing transformation has ocurred! How could such a thing happen? The answer is PRAYER! "Prayer and fasting" one elder in the largest church in the world (Yoido Full Gospel - 800,000 members) told me is the key! The revival which happened in Ireland 150 years ago this year also began with prayer. However, not only prayer...

Each member of this amazing church witnesses to at least 1 person each day for Jesus. They also read 3 chapters of their Bible each day and spend 1 hour in prayer each day!

This may seem to regimented or legalistic to many here in our part of the world, but it speaks volumes to me about sacrifice, dedication, loyalty, service and faithfulness. Perhaps words which we feel a little uncomfortable with, but words which should characterise the Christian life. Let's be inspired onto greater service and sacrifice by our dedicated brothers and sisters in Korea. In all the churches every day they have early morning prayer meetings before the days' work. These begin at 5, 6, 7, 8am! Then people go and do their days work! On Friday nights there is usually an all-night prayer meeting!

Christians in Korea take their faith seriously and put God in the only place he wants to be - 1st place!

Colin Jenkins SCFS Cork

Andrew Kenny said...

Thanks Colin for these wonderful stories of God's grace. I have always been moved by the stories of conversion of the very many sea men who have come to faith in Christ through the ministry of SCFS. May God continue to bless your work.