Guns, drugs and violence once dominated Fortunate Mngomozulu's life but today he is a man of peace, asking for forgiveness from all the people he has hurt.
"I used to rob people and beat them up," Fortunate admits sadly.
"I had so many bad habits and addictions because I used to hang around with bad people, carrying guns, stealing, using drugs and abusing alcohol. I hated being around those who called themselves children of God."
Fortunate grew up in Natalspruit, South Africa, in a loving Christian family but says he was influenced by the devil and turned away from God.
"I did not think about God much because I thought all that Christians were saying would not help me at all in life. I gave into peer pressure all the time and hung around people who were against God."
Fortunate was later arrested for the crimes he committed and the harsh life behind prison walls revealed to him how wrong he had been living.
"When I got to prison I started to recognise that I needed Jesus as my Saviour. I started praying and reading the Bible, where I noticed many verses telling me to change," he shares.
Such verses included ones like James chapter 4 verses 4, 7 to 10: "Do you not know that to love the sinful things of the world and to be a friend to them is to be against God? ... So give yourselves to God. Stand against the devil (the enemy of God) and he will run away from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners. Clean up your hearts, you who want to follow the sinful ways of the world and God at the same time. Be sorry for your sins and cry because of them. Be sad and do not laugh. Let your joy be turned to sorrow. Let yourself be brought low before the Lord. Then He will lift you up and help you."
"At the prison church I heard the pastor teaching about the good news of Jesus Christ and I wanted Jesus to rule my life, forgive me and help me forgive myself," Fortunate says.
"I also wanted to ask forgiveness of the ones who I have sinned against. I decided to change my life no matter the cost because I know I can't die living my whole life as a constant sinner."
Fortunate acted on God's warning in the Bible that those who reject God will one day be separated from Him in hell forever.
"I wanted to become a better person in the future so I opened my heart and called upon Jesus to save my life," he says.
Since then, Fortunate says God is changing him inwardly every day and guiding him to make better decisions.
"God is also teaching me how to forgive others and helps me make life changes so I can obey Him all the time. I like to tell people that in Jesus Christ there is a way and eternal life that no one can take from them. Jesus came to save all of us, no matter what we have done. He is the Messiah." •