It was 1995. I was in prison, guilty of murder, but did not want to believe I could have done such a horrible thing.
For the first few years I attended the prison church, but I had not sincerely repented. Yet as Christians visited and prayed with me I knew that God was working His wondrous power in my life. Realising that He took my sin very seriously, I began to take Him and His word seriously in return. Finally I asked Jesus to change me after years of heavy drinking and addiction to pills. I repented of all the filthy deeds that were taking me to hell and the crime that had got me 16 years. "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…"(Acts 3:19)
For the next 12 years I made every effort to draw near to God, praying daily and studying His word. It was not always plain sailing but God was there. I saw miracles in that prison: men healed of illness and addictions and old enemies reconciled. I began to write to other prisoners in jails in Africa and Asia, learning of their plight. In the midst of much darkness there were stories of miracles, healing, and people becoming followers of Jesus Christ; my heart was gladdened also. Meantime contact with the PF field staff was always a blessing, even if it was only a quick prayer.
My time was done. I moved on to the pre-release unit. My request for a placement with Prison Fellowship was granted and it was a proud day for me when I arrived there. No longer was I number C7369 but PF "Centre Assistant"! I just cannot thank God enough. But what about a church? I’d heard about prison converts who were not welcomed in church on the outside.
I checked out a local church. The believers made me so welcome, sharing meals with me in their homes. Now I am part of the community full time. I know that things come together in God’s perfect timing. No matter what we have done, God is longing to change us and help us one step at a time.