Although his family had a strong belief in God, Thembile Tom Swelemtayi turned to a life of crime after the death of his mother in 2004. This was followed by the death of his father two years later.
"After that I started to lose hope and I joined bad company and as a result I have ended up in jail," Thembile says.
"Alcohol, a drug addiction and stealing became my way of life."
Then in January 2012, Thembile was arrested for housebreaking and theft and sentenced to three years imprisonment.
"I felt so ashamed because my family believes in God and I let everyone down," he admits.
It was at that point that Thembile realised that he had not only rebelled against his family but also against God.
"I searched for God because I wanted to be a real man who knows Him," he says.
His sister reminded him of a scripture from Proverbs 3 verses 5 to 8 which says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh and strength to your bones."
Despite all that has happened to him in life, Thembile knew that he needed to trust God and turn away from all the wrong things he had been doing.
He had grown up with the knowledge of God but did not realise that he could have a personal relationship with God through what Jesus Christ had done for him on the cross.
“For me Christianity is not a game”In John chapter 14 verse 6, Thembile discovered where Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me".
"When I came to really know the Lord, life was not hard for me because Jesus Christ is the true way of life," he says.
"He knows everything about my life and what I am going through."
After praying to God for forgiveness for his past wrongs and asking for a second chance, Thembile knew he had to trust God and honour Him in the way he lived despite his circumstances.
"For me Christianity is not a game," he says in all seriousness. "I know that the good life is in Jesus."
"God changed my attitude. Now I believe and trust in Him and my life is so much better than before."•