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Sunday, 21 October 2018

Age 16

Once an evil, worthless, fascist, thieving bully. While writing this testimony God gave me a verse that described my old life; 2 Timothy 3 v 1 - 15, it accurately described me as the following: A lover of myself, A lover of money, A boaster, Arrogant, Abusive, Disobedient to my parents, Ungrateful, Unholy, Reckless and wasteful, Treacherous, Swollen with conceit, A lover of pleasure rather than God.

Throughout the early years of school I was hated by all. I was on report for the duration of the first 3 years with several detentions a night, every night - I just didn’t care. I often was proud of my bad behaviour and my ‘rebel’ status. I collected exclusions from stabbing pupils with stationary to assaulting teachers with flour, until I was on the verge of expulsion.

Until the age of 15 I perfected my skills of bullying as though they were a fine art - I would aggravate both teachers and students until the point of tears and sometimes beyond. The staff that knew me for the duration now see me as a saint; they see the spirit of Jesus living inside me.

Back then my hobbies included ‘terrorizing’ and shoplifting. Every evening our gang would roam the streets causing as much damage and chaos as possible, from breaking into building sites to steal tools, to throwing firework rockets at people. Some evenings we would report ourselves to the PCSOs or Community Wardens just to get a chase from them, wasting so much time and resources.

For some reason I possessed an acute dislike for buses and public transport to the point of throwing fruit, which quickly escalated to glass bottles and targeting the driver with plant pots and eggs.

Whatever I did I was proud and I wasn’t sorry - when it came down to answering for something I’d done, I would run... displaying sheer cowardice to someone I’d either assaulted or vandalised their possessions.

At weekends I went shoplifting, not for anything in particular, just random stuff - things I would never use. Needless to say I am now banned from every shop in Commercial Road and the area in general. Twice.

NOW I have purpose in life. NOW I have Jesus. NOW I am free from my old chains to sin. NOW I live to serve God and those around me.

When Jesus revealed Himself to me in all His glory and fullness, my life changed. My attitudes changed. I now approach situations differently, where once I would have hit someone, I now ‘turn the other cheek’ Matthew 5 v 39. Where I once would not have cared in a situation I now care beyond recognition, just like my Messiah. Where I once would have responded to someone in rage and/ or revenge, I express forgiveness...the same forgiveness that my God had for me.

My last year at school was one of hope and desperation. I didn’t care about my education until it was too late. Grace saved me. The same grace shown when my Lord laid down His life for me on that cross. After several rushed revision sessions, a month of fasting and a lot of prayer, my exams destroyed all expectations. Where I was previously working off of an E or F Jesus gave me an A or B, when all I asked for was enough Cs to get into college. Jesus doesn’t just answer prayers, He takes them to the next level! When you ask God to do something He takes it to the extreme: I requested just to pass and Jesus gave me an A*, 3 As, 3 Bs and a C. I will always be the first to admit that I didn’t deserve them but I neither deserve the infinite love and hope that lie in my friend Jesus Christ.

I now work with children in similar situations to mine. The Pompey Respect Programme aims to get children off of the streets by providing alternatives in the form of sport. I have also taken part in volunteer litter picks and the Faith & Football Reading Scheme helping 6 year olds to read before they take that mighty leap to Junior school.

I used to be selfish with my time, possessions and money but God has given me great courage and determination to help out those in need, even little things like taking extra spare socks to college as someone always forgets to pack them after a sport lesson.

I am still a long way off of where I could get to and my relationship with Jesus is still growing and gathering momentum; my thirst for God is growing stronger by the day. I now aim to join the Royal Engineers of the British Army to help out those in war zones and to serve my country to my maximum capacity.