Free behind bars

Sentenced to death in prison gave Aggrey a chance to find new life

Aggrey M’mbayi
Aggrey M’mbayi

It was the lack of love in his family that Aggrey M'mbayi says caused a deep bitterness that ultimately led to life in prison.

Aggrey suffered mistreatment from his step-mother after his father's womanising behaviour caused his parents to separate when he was young.

He was forced to self-fund his secondary education through causal work and began copying his father's selfishness as he moved into married life.

Although he was married, Aggrey recalls, "I was a womaniser and lusted after every beautiful woman. After some time, due to bad company, I turned to alcohol and became full of pride. I lied to my wife about many things. As I continued this lifestyle I ended up robbing people of their valuables."

As his sins grew worse, Aggrey admits his heart hardened and it became easier to do wrong.

"I found myself chained from my feet to my neck. I could not say no to Satan. He used me the way he wished.

"My lust [for wealth] made me join a gang of robbers, who seemed to be my friends. Little did I know that my actions were leading to death and my ultimate destination would be hell."

Next thing Aggrey knew, he was humbled to the point of being sentenced to death in prison.

"God dealt with me, the inner man," he shares about his situation.

"My spiritual eyes were opened and my inward ear heard the voice of the Lord Jesus."

One day a Christian minister visited Kamiti Main Prison and when he spoke to the prisoners Aggrey felt like God was speaking directly to him.

“Being in prison does not mean that God
is done with you”
He heard scripture from Matthew 11, verses 28-30, where Jesus says, "Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

"This passage cut me in my heart," Aggrey says. "I felt a deep conviction inside me that I must surrender everything to Jesus.

"I decided it was time to forsake my sins and wicked ways, to make a u-turn, and give my life to Jesus. I decided to live a life pleasing to God and to listen and obey His commandments. In trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, I felt relieved of guilt as I received God's forgiveness provided through Jesus' sacrifice for me."

He says he cried that day in June 2011 because "my burden was taken away. I experienced great joy that I had never felt before."

This was more than an emotional feeling, as he says, "God has changed my life and daily I desire to live for God [through reading the Bible, praying and fellowshipping with other Christians]."

Not only that, but he says, "The urge for cooperating with criminals vanished. I now preach to them and warn them of their wrong doing and about God's love for them."

Aggrey puts this amazing transformation down to God's work in his heart.

"I cannot obey God without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who indwells every believer as our Helper. God's Word, the Bible, instructs, teaches, exhorts, rebukes and guides those who know Jesus.

"The only answer and solution to our predicament is Jesus. He is the only one who sets people free and they become free indeed. It doesn't matter what crimes they committed He is more than willing to forgive them."

As he looks back on his life, Aggrey is amazed by what God has done, and firmly believes God can do the same for anyone who truly turns to Him.

"I came to prison an adulterer, a liar, unfaithful in marriage and a robber, but God has turned my life around. I have several diplomas in theology and have begun a degree in theology. My name has changed from a criminal to a pastor.

"Friends behind bars, I know that you can be in prison but the prison does not have to be in you. It is possible for you to be a free man behind bars. But this is only if you surrender your life to Jesus. The Word of God says that when you come to Jesus you are a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.

"God is merciful and He is calling on you. Being in prison does not mean that God is done with you. If you obey His Word you will enjoy His goodness and a second chance. What God did for me He can still do it for you!

"Do not waste time, believe in Jesus now and you will be free like me."

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