From police officer to prisoner Dudu knows there is always a way back to God
A love for money overcame Duduzile Sithole so much that, even though she was a police officer and loved her family, she refused to listen to her family's pleas for her to stop.
"I love my family very much," Dudu says, "but anyone with an addiction or with nasty, bad habits will tell you that while you are busy with your addiction nothing else really matters. Everything else in your life comes second, even God and your family."
"I was making illegal money while I was working for the police. I was supposed to help people, protect the community, but money became more important."
She thought that money would make her life feel happy, instead she says, "My life was sad and miserable."
As she ended up in prison, Dudu immediately feared the ugly things she had heard about prison, but a life transformation was just around the corner.
"What I did not know is that in prison I would become a changed woman through God's intervention," Dudu explains.
As she began her sentence, she felt miserable and recalls using her plentiful time to think.
"I realised that when I was a free woman I was too busy to think much about God – especially that He still loved me and He still protected me.
"As I thought of all my mistakes, I realised that I cannot live without God, and without Him; there is no way I can change to be a better person.
"I also knew that I had my husband and our three adopted children. One of these adopted children had committed suicide because I was sent to prison and the other one resented me because of that."
Knowing she needed God more than ever, Dudu began attending every church service in prison that she could. She would also gather her friends together to pray to God.
As she read from Psalm 51, Dudu realised how God wanted her to respond to Him. "Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin!"
"This verse," Dudu says, "made me stop continuing in my rebellion against God. It was hard at first to accept all my faults and to ask God to forgive me and make me a better person. I also turned to God because I had hurt my family and my husband had asked me to stop doing wrong things."
After this prayer asking for Jesus' forgiveness, Dudu says, "I became stronger – I began praying and reading my Bible as much as I could."
"I also told others about God and I let His light shine through me. Now I do the right things, I listen to God and I help whoever comes to me for help, even if it was just to listen."
Dudu smiles as she recalls talking with one cellmate who trusted in Jesus and His forgiveness.
"I helped her find her way back to trusting in God, and I thank God that He did that. I was just the speaker for God, He is the one who did all the work.
"One day she confessed to me and God about her addiction. Being in prison helped her come clean, but most of all God helped her."
"Being in prison has made me see how much people there need love and need to hear about God. If you truly are a Christian, people can see it in how you act and respond to them."
Dudu is glad that God has enabled her to overcome temptation to do wrong.
Instead of the selfishness she once had, Dudu says, "God is now number one in my life and then after Him comes my husband, kids, mom and all of my family.
"To serve God is awesome and I want to shout that to the world. I want to tell the world how God changed me and how awesome it is that I have found my way back to God, even if it was in prison." •