Real story of the month
Saved from a Life of Hell...
Bishop, I wasn’t supposed to be alive today...
Since birth, I’ve had a tough life. I’ve suffered through many problems; the first was when my father abandoned me, shortly after I was born.
I grew up with a lot of hatred bottled up inside. To make matters worse, my mother starting dating another man who would violently beat me. I suffered through a lot of physical abuse. There isn’t enough space here for me to write it all out in detail, but one day, he went as far as punishing me by tying my hands to a hot radiator until it burned me.
There was a lot of abuse and daily torment. I remember the first time this man attacked me in our own home. My mother didn’t hear anything. I don’t remember if it’s because she was under the influence of drugs at the time or if she was sedated from all the different kinds of pills she took every day. I might have been young, but I lived through many problems.
I didn’t like being at home and much less being around my family. I reached a point where I started cutting myself with blades. I even wrote ‘I hate u’ on my arm with a knife.
My world became darker after I got involved with some youths from the opposite side of the tracks. I joined a gang and dove deep into the criminal world. We robbed and attacked people just for fun and committed many other kinds of crimes. As you can see, I never had a childhood.
I started smoking marijuana at the age of 9 and at the age of 14, I started selling cocaine, heroin and ecstasy because I was looking for fast money. The problem was that I spent all my money getting drunk.
I was attacked by rival gangs several times. Once, they broke a glass bottle on my back.
One time, I was stabbed so bad that I went into a deep coma for two weeks. On another occasion, I got stabbed in the neck, the knife miss my artery by two centimeters. Overall, I was stabbed five times by different rival gangs.
My life was filled with one disaster after another. But I didn’t know any other way of living except this one. Ever since I was a small child, all I saw was violence, so I thought this was all life had to offer. I was so full of anger and hatred that I couldn’t think about ways to get out of that lifestyle.
My friend Ryan, who was also involved with gangs, invited me to a youth group meeting with the Victory Youth Group. At first, I rejected the invitation. But, because he insisted so much and I saw how much his life had totally changed, I decided to go.
The pastor spoke about the dangers of this world and mentioned about the Carnival. I paid attention, but I kept thinking that all this wasn’t meant for me. My friend gave me a small Bible and I put it in my jacket pocket.
The next day I went to party at Carnival with some of the boys from my gang. We ran into another gang that we had problems with and I ended up getting stabbed in the chest. I saw the knife going into my jacket, but I didn’t feel anything at the moment. My body was completely paralyzed with shock. I felt around my chest, but there was no blood.
That’s when I remembered that the Bible, the one I received from my friend, was still in my jacket breast pocket, from the day before. The knife pierced through and stopped in Psalm 27, but it was supposed to have gone all the way through my heart.
That day, the Word of God literally saved me. I finally understood that life isn’t a game and I had to do something to change.
The following day, I went to church and the bishop called forward those who would like to erase their past and start a new life by getting baptized in the water. I regretted wasting so many years living that awful life and I was baptized. Three months have passed and I am no longer the same person.
I gave it all up ― gangs, drugs, promiscuity, etc... Every youth group meeting I attend gives me the strength to continue with my new life. I'm learning how to be a true man and how to develop a relationship with God.
It’s not easy, Bishop. Today, I’m able to understand why my family carried such anger in their hearts. I know that a lot of the things that happen in our life are spiritual and they can only be solved spiritually. I pray for their change.
Now, I want to do the work of God. I want to save souls. I have an immense joy, which is something I never experienced before in my life. Today, I’m able to give others a sincere smile. I didn’t like talking about my past, but now I have no problem doing it. I use my past to help those living in the situation I used to live in, to show them that there is a way out.
I have gone back to school and I'm using all the possible resources to catch up with the time I wasted. I know God has much more in store for me. I'm only 16 years old and I have a bright future ahead. Today, I can say that I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for God, the Universal Church and the tireless work of the youth group.
God bless you, Bishop.
London - England
“Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.”