From Gang 27 to Freedom

From Gang 27 to Freedom

The incident that occurred in my life that set me on a path of destruction was when I witnessed 14 members of my family being killed, 3 days before Christmas, during the apartheid years. I thought what kind of God was this that allows these things to happen, where are the morals and values that the school and church speaks about? Where is God??? 

I then decided that I don’t believe in God and don’t want Him in my life: I did not fear God at all. I got involved with drugs and committed various crimes from the age of 12. There was no order or discipline in my life and I spent 35 years living a life of chaos and destruction. On the day of receiving my sentence the judge said that he had never seen someone so determined to destroy his own life. Even being in prison had no impact on me, I just continued on this downward spiral, I did everything that was wrong in prison. I never knew what it was to have peace and I was nothing more than a walking corpse with no feeling inside me, just going through the motions. I felt close to my death and far from my grave. 

One day I met a lady from the Alpha team and she invited me to attend Alpha. I can still remember telling her I don’t want to hear about Jesus and God, nothing good comes from Him. I told her it’s all fairy tales, but she persisted. I didn’t go with an open mind, I only went because I didn’t want to disappoint her.  The 1st session was “Who was Jesus”, and the 2nd was “Why did Jesus die”. The 2nd talk really stirred something inside of me. Nobody had ever told me that they loved me, that I was valuable and that I was precious.

I realised that I was someone, that God’s signature was on me and I was not man-made. I was special and precious and created by God. This was in 2010 and I was 10 years through my sentence. I remember leaving that session in a lot of turmoil. I realised with my mess, all the bad, I was still special to the Lord, I was someone to the Lord. I then started to read my Bible - I had had it for 7 years but I only used it as a decoration. Drug abuse caused me to lose brain function and I couldn’t remember anything. Lamentations 3 – this was my life.  I asked God "do You want a relationship with me... if You are real I challenge You to make me remember the complete chapter". The amazing thing is that God allowed me to remember the complete 66 verses of Lamentations and the following day I was eager to get in to the Bible.

Today I have memorized 54 books in the Bible, God was faithful. Slowly God starting removing the dirt from my life. For the first time in my life I really had peace and joy. I never smiled before as I never had any reason to but now I wake up with a huge smile and I live in expectation. God freed me from drug abuse and removed anger from my heart and my life. I am still running this race, 4 years later, stronger than ever.  I was released 14th November 2013.  My heart was changed from a heart of stone into a heart of flesh. I cry easily now, especially for others because I feel their hurt and pain, the homeless and prostitutes - knowing that God is waiting for them and He wants to embrace them and hold them. I 

What really keeps me going is the reminder of what my life was like, where I was and what God took me out of... If God took me out, he did it for a reason (John 14).  God chose me and I know if I turn my back on God death will be the result. I have never had a real family before and now I have the biggest family ever, and I have love like I have never experienced before.. now I am living the way God wanted me to live, a simple life.

Anthony Daniels

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