Waking up in a police cell, Samuel Baloyi had many questions. He could remember being beaten by some angry men but he could not figure out why he was in jail.
"I had been working on a man's roof and was waiting for him to pay me," Samuel says. "The man kept on telling me he would pay me tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow and those who worked for me wanted their wages.
"Then the man's wife approached me and asked me to bring her drugs every day when I came to work. After we had both smoked we would have sexual relations. It was fun and cool until one day her husband caught us."
The man started to beat his wife and then turned his fury onto Samuel, telling him to get out of his yard. Samuel refused to leave until he had been paid the money he was owed. It was then that some friends of the husband arrived and beat Samuel unconscious.
"When I woke up in the police cells I asked what I was doing there," Samuel recalls.
"The police told me that I had been arrested for robbing the man I was working for. When I told them what had really happened they refused to believe me."
Angry at being ignored and sentenced for a crime that he did not commit, Samuel became a thug in the prison.
"I was acting like a dog and that is what the other inmates called me," he admits. "I would steal from them and abuse them."
Then Samuel transferred prisons and it was at this new place he soon heard some words that would help change his life.
Samuel’s mother: “I can see God has made him a changed man”"A man told me to read the Bible," Samuel recalls. "I read the Bible until I came to James chapter 4 verse 6, which says 'God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble'. I started to think about someone else who was put in prison unfairly.
"Joseph in the Bible was accused by Potiphar's wife of rape and he was thrown into jail. I realized that if I had acted like Joseph and had not given into temptation I would not have been in prison now."
As he read more of the Bible, Samuel discovered that the same God that Joseph worshipped and had taken care of him in prison had made a way for him to be forgiven.
"God loves us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to be a sacrifice for us. He has also sent His Holy Spirit to earth to be our Comforter and our Teacher.
"Now anyone who accepts Him as their Lord and Savior is completely forgiven and receives eternal life."
Samuel was sentenced to 20 years in prison but says he is filled with the 'joy of the Lord'. He believes that prison gives him more time to learn about God and share the Good News with others.
"I have a few words for those of you who might have been arrested unfairly. Don't lose hope, and throw in the towel. You might think that it is the end of your life, but the truth is there is someone who cares for you and will help you," Samuel says.
"I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and I am telling those of you who don't know the truth to accept Him and live your life with Him. You might be in prison now, but Jesus can give you eternal life."
Samuel will celebrate his last Christmas in prison this year and is due for release early 2016.
His mother is excited to have him home stating, "I can see God has made him a changed man and I am so proud of him!" •