Walking away from gang culture

I’ve always known that God existed and Jesus Christ was Lord and Saviour, as I had grown up in a church, and my father is a pastor. However, this didn’t always mean that I was living a life that acknowledged and declared His glory. I always felt God speaking to me and saving me from situations. All this was happening as I was living a half-empty life and more concerned about the material things to gain in the world.

I grew up in South East London, and by my early teens I fell into the gang life culture of selling drugs, carrying weapons, getting arrested and meaningless sex. All this life brought for me was two stabbings and near shooting. However, in the midst of all this mess, God was still standing by me and saving me.  There were times where I would just miss someone who would want to harm me by minutes and in these times I felt God saying, “I still love you, my child”.

This life went on until I got arrested when I was 17 and had my motorbike taken away from me. In that time I sat alone in the cell, though it wasn’t my first time, I felt God saying to me, “There is a way out….” Not long after I was released I decided that I couldn’t live this life anymore, as the spirit of conviction had fallen upon me. I started to pray more and seek God more, and more opportunities began to arise, most particularly through refereeing football, which ultimately helped me drop my past.

Though I had stopped living my previous life, I was still living half-empty for Christ, until New Years Eve 2012 when, in a service during worship, I felt God softly saying, “Give it all to me, it’s in my hands”. At that point I knew it was time I devoted my life to Christ without turning back to old ways. By March 2013 I was baptized and, as time went on and I seeked after God more and more, I felt  – and continue to feel – Him guiding me with every step I take. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Josh