“Christianity was not present in my life before Jesus saved me. I grew up in a loving home but unfortunately my father was an alcoholic and I lacked discipline. I began smoking at 8-years-old and taking soft drugs aged 11.
My parents weren’t anti-church, but my mum was slightly into New Age stuff. Our family theory was to live life as you want, be happy and explore.
I got involved with the wrong crowd early on. I think I wanted to be the man of my group of friends, and it felt exciting at the time to be puffing on a cigarette in front of them. But the excitement soon wore off and then I was after the next thing. I started sniffing aerosols and then progressed onto weed, cocaine and ecstasy.
I first encountered Ouija boards at secondary school. I initially thought it was a load of rubbish; I didn’t have any belief in the spiritual at that stage. One day after school, my mates and I were invited to play Ouija at someone’s house. During the game the atmosphere changed quickly. We were asking questions and I thought my friends were pushing the glass. But I soon realised it wasn’t fake: the information provided to me was unknown by my friends.
I was gripped by Ouija. I became addicted and started playing every day after school. We’d make up our own boards written on cigarette packets, using a coin instead of a glass. I turned to petty theft, using the Ouija to help me. I would shoplift and ask if the coast was clear, the coin moving to either yes or no.
I believed I was in contact with spirits and I thought it was a positive experience. There was no part of me that found it dark. We had begun to hear stories that the boards could go wrong, so we’d always ask if the spirit was good or bad first.
We were getting frustrated with having to set up a board or cigarette packet every time we wanted to play Ouija, so we contacted the spirits and invited them to come into our bodies. Nothing dramatic happened at the time. But a few days later there was a new dialogue; a new person in my mind with me. Again I was asking questions and it was answering me. I was telling my friends at school, stuff about their lives; it was exciting.
One night I found myself outside a church causing trouble. A Christian running the youth club came out from the church and began to talk to us about Christianity. I was nothing but nasty to that man, spitting on the floor in front of him. He offered to pray for me. I remember thinking: why does this man want to pray for me? Then he prayed in the name of Jesus and as soon as Jesus’ name was mentioned, my body shook and I became angry. He invited me back to the church to be prayed for the following week.
As they prayed for me a week later, the spirits inside me physically took hold of my body. Strange voices came from my mouth. It was scary and escalated to happening outside and at school. I would flip out and try to grab people and punch them.
One day I was chasing one of my friends down a railway track when a demon physically took over my body and laid me down on the track. As I lay there with a train coming towards me on the line, I thought I was going to die. But as the train approached, it felt like someone or something grabbed hold of the back of my neck and pulled me bolt upright.
Found Yet Lost.
I was on my feet with the train whizzing past my face. I believe in that moment that God literally pulled me up off the track. I ran to my Christian friend’s house and told him. He said I had to ask for God’s help. I prayed for the first time in his living room, and begged Jesus to help me. Whatever was inside left me that day, and I left the house a completely different person. I went to church after that experience and we gave an assembly at my school. A number of my friends decided to give their lives to Christ.
However, I struggled with my new Christian life and understanding the Bible. It seemed to be a list of rules that I needed to follow in order to please God. I wanted to do it, especially after all he had done for me, but the truth is I just couldn’t and I felt like I was really letting Jesus down. Eventually, I drifted away from Jesus.
I would set myself targets to find happiness. If I could just get a promotion at work, get that girl, get more money or take more drugs… each time I arrived at my target with a great sense of emptiness. Eventually I found myself on a tropical island in Thailand with my own business, yet nothing would fill this chasm.
The Prodigal Son.
My meanderings found me back in the UK in the church I had been to those years previously. One of the first things I heard was the story of the prodigal son, and this, on reflection, was me. I remember sitting at the back of the church crying, and I turned to God in that service. The thing I’d been searching for all my life was God’s love. The penny dropped that I am going to slip up, but God’s love is the same no matter what I do. He is there with his open arms; the condition is that I come to him. I understood grace for the first time.
Jesus’ love has radically gripped me – so much so that I gave up paid work and began a ministry called Lumina. Now I reach people who are dabbling with the occult, taking the light of Christ into that dark place.
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