From Prison Bars to Ministry: A Testimony of Redemption

A picture of a prison room with light beams shining in
A picture of a prison room with light beams shining in (photo:
By Su Ran March 19th, 2024

One day in 2023, I went to a rehabilitation center for autistic children founded by a Christian man, Brother L. During the three-hour drive, Brother L shared his faith journey of becoming God's servant as a gangster who engaged in everything bad, including extortion and blackmail.

Brother L's hometown is a small village in Y City, Jilin Province. When he was 17, something extraordinary happened. "Two of my uncles played mahjong with their neighbors after drinking, but ended up being killed." Brother L was shocked. "I never thought that people would die one day, so what's the point of life?" The next day, he went to a church near his home and got a Bible, becoming a believer. During the period, the church prioritized signs and wonders over truth, which was preached vaguely. For a while, the newly converted L attended church, sang praises, and then went on to play Mahjong.

Three years later, L got married. The couple made a fortune in City C and then returned to their hometown to start a business. L spent his spare time gambling online. Later, he even gambled with all the purchasing funds when the business went down. The couple quarreled and separated, as his wife found out.

He just wanted to commit suicide after losing his wife and money due to gambling. However, a man approached and insisted on taking pictures of him as he was ready to jump into the river, diverting his focus and driving the idea of suicide away.

After his suicide attempt failed with no hope for survival, he returned to City C, working as a security guard. "At that time, those who were gangsters and fought in the street worked as security guards or waiters."

L was engaged in opening a gambling house, drug trade, drug dealing, and other illicit activities for the next three years. Later, he was sentenced to three years in prison for extortion and blackmail. The prison sentence was meant to be mitigated but hindered due to some reasons, inciting his anger. During one labor outing, gospel flyers distributed by a church near the prison reminded him of his faith. He repented that night. Later, he was granted his previously hindered commute and released.

When getting back home, he noticed that a church had been built next to his home, with his whole family believing in the Lord. His mother fasted and prayed for him every Wednesday and Friday morning.

When he intended to leave home again, his father exhorted, "You can't let the whole family suffer because of you." On second thought about his aging parents, he decided to stay for several days. Coincidentally, a praise meeting took place at the church, and his family brought him over.

After the meeting, the pastor told him, "God loves you, even if the world doesn't," striking the heart of Brother L. He said that since he became a bad person, all his relatives turned back on him. However, upon hearing that Jesus loved him so unconditionally, "I knew that from that moment on I was reborn, and I would not live for myself but for the Lord."

Now L is serving almost all year round, taking only two days off for the Spring Festival out of 365 days. In bad health conditions, he usually serves for a while, then stays in the ospital for a few days before returning to ministry. Despite being hospitalized, he continues to serve the Lord. A few days ago, while in the hospital, he was still talking about his intention to spread the gospel to the patient next to him.

- Translated by Poppy Chan

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