By Elisha Hammond
"I thought it was the end of my life but now I know that it is just the beginning," Simphiwe Potwona begins.
Simphiwe used to believe that all he would ever do was "his own thing" until God turned his life around.
"I used to smoke drugs and drink alcohol. Then I was arrested for rape," he admits honestly.
Simphiwe lost his wife and five children after being imprisoned. His siblings and family also refused to visit him.
He was very angry and says he "used to fight all the time."
That was until he shared his personal story with a friend who then told him about the good news of forgiveness that Jesus Christ offers.
"I started going to church in prison and my life then began to change," Simphiwe says.
"I am no longer the same as I used to be. I wanted to change my ways."
Through surrendering his life to Jesus and believing Jesus died for his sins, Simphiwe realised that he was not only redeemed (bought with a price) by Jesus, but he had a new life.
As it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new."
Simphiwe realised that his sins had not only been forgiven, but they were a thing of the past in God's eyes.
"I heard that He is the one who died for all sins that I have done. And I heard that I was (spiritually) born again, there was no need for me to remember all the sins of the past."
"Now things are better, even my sisters and brothers come to visit me," he says.
This incredible change of heart has encouraged Simphiwe to share his story with others.
"I wish the other prisoners would also look to God: He is the answer!•