A genuine desire for transformation led Brent to the answer
In a neighbourhood where youth believed joining a gang was part of life, Brent Williams fell into this trap which led to drug dealing and violence, before a simple prayer rescued him from suicide.
Previously known as a kind person, he joined a gang and was soon addicted to methamphetamine and acting entirely out of character.
“I started to sell drugs to anybody to support my habit, and to make a name for myself,” Brent says.
“The drugs I was using started to affect me mentally and that is when I realised that I needed help. But no matter how hard I tried I could not kick the habit.
“I believe that without a doubt that every drug addict out there is screaming out for help. Like them, I could not imagine a life without drugs. It just seemed impossible to stop. I believed that I would die a drug addict.”
Deep down he knew he had to kick the habit, as it was affecting loved ones around him.
“My parents reached out to me many times, but I rejected their efforts. I thought they were judging me when in fact all they wanted was to have their son back.”
After one three day drug binge, Brent came home one night so highly under the influence of drugs that he thought his parents were trying to kill him.
Retrieving a long kitchen knife, he nearly stabbed his own mother before something told him to stop.
“The blade literally stopped in front of her face,” Brent recalls. “I held them hostage for about four hours until the police finally arrived.”
Though his parents did not press charges, Brent continued binging on drugs until he was so tired of the never-ending need for money that he felt suicidal. After announcing to his mother that he was going to kill himself that night, she suggested, “Why don’t you ask Jesus to help you in your situation?”
Brent remembers screaming back, “What can Jesus do for me!? How is He going to help me!?”
Then out of desperation, he thought to himself, “Brent, what do you have to lose?”
Having nowhere else to turn, he knelt by his bed and prayed, “Jesus, if you are real then You will help me with this drug problem I am battling with.”
After this prayer, Brent remembers: “I broke down in tears and wept like I have never wept before.
“At that moment it felt like all desire to ever want to do drugs again vanished!”
His mother asked someone from her church to come. He prayed with Brent and introduced him to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Even though I did not know Jesus I knew that it was the right thing to do,” Brent explains. “Here I was putting my trust in someone I could not see and knew nothing about. But it felt right.”
For six months, Brent studied the Bible, learning how Jesus had given His life for him and how to live as a Christian.
Brent then began reaching out to those still caught in the lifestyle he had introduced them to.
“I felt I had betrayed these people, so Bradley, an ex-gang boss, and I went to some of the friends we did drugs with and invited them to a later meeting at a suitable time.
“They expected a prayer meeting, but instead we gently shared with these seven friends that there is a way out of this lifestyle. Since they personally knew us and how bad
we were, we said that the changed lives of Bradley and I are testament to what God can do.
“By God’s grace, that evening all of them committed their lives to Christ, trusting in Him as Lord and Saviour.”
These nine men now serve Jesus Christ together doing intensive work in their community.
“This is our way of giving back to society,” Brent says.
“I have realised that I may not be able to win over everyone that I have introduced drugs to, but there are so many others that I can reach out to.”
One of Brent’s first prayers was to ask God to restore his relationship with his family.
He also immediately went to those he had misled, hurt and sold drugs to and asked for their forgiveness.
“My relationship with my parents has been restored,” Brent enthuses. “We now are once again a happy family and through God’s Word I have learnt the importance of honouring my parents.”
Despite what many believe, some troubles of life remain after becoming a Christian, Brent says.
“The difference is that now I have a Saviour I can ask for help to face them. In the past, I would turn to drugs and try to forget about them.
“Now, I go on my knees and pray, and I have a mentor who I can talk with.
“I am learning and growing spiritually each and every day. I think the important thing is not to condemn yourself when you fail but rather to immediately repent and learn from the mistakes that you have made.”
Brent is engaged to be married to Jessica in December 2012.
Follow Brent’s blog at brentsjourney.co.za