As a 10-year-old Glen Osher prayed to a God he did not know, begging Him to save him and his four siblings from the hell of hatred they were enduring at home. It was only much later that he was able to acknowledge that when Welfare stepped in and put the children in an orphanage, it had been God's answer.
"I never prayed again after that because I thought God never heard or answered my prayer. He actually did answer by rescuing us out of a chaotic home," Glen now realises.
Nevertheless, the orphanage brought its own stresses and Glen suffered from migraines, back pain and skin diseases as a result of their living conditions.
His frustration and confusion manifested itself in his failing school grades, disrespect for authority, lying, stealing and getting in with the wrong crowd. That in turn got him trapped from a young age in pornography, drug addiction and alcoholism.
As he grew into a man, Glen confesses that he had "no purpose, no discipline and no peace" and was "grumpy and masochistic".
When Glen was 14 he saw the movie The Cross and the Switchblade about the radical transformation New York gangster Nicky Cruz underwent when he met Jesus, but it was only 15 years later that Glen was ready to undergo the same change when two women explained to him how Jesus was the prophesied Jewish Messiah. "A lady shared the Gospel [good news about Jesus] with me, with firmness and kindness. I wanted the peace and conviction she displayed. Another lady also had a shining, kind, bold face when sharing the Gospel with me," Glen recalls. "Through those two ladies in April 1989, I was convicted of my sin, the need for God's righteousness and the judgement to come."
Weeks later, Glen went with a friend to church and made a personal commitment to follow Jesus Christ.
"Once I was lost, now I am found!" declares Glen. "I've gone from darkness to light; from hell to heaven; from no purpose to purpose; from materialistic to spiritual; from unholy to holy; from frustration, anxiety and worry to peace, contentment and trust in Jesus.
I was a liar, now I speak the truth; I owed over a million Rand, now I owe no one anything but love.
"Don't let people tell you that Jesus is just a prophet or teacher, or that he was just a man. Jesus is God and He is love. Jesus can turn a prostitute, liar, homosexual, adulterer, fornicator, idolater, witch, murderer, coward, drunkard, thief or angry, violent thug into a holy man or woman of God.
"The blood He shed on the cross can wash you clean and God's Holy Spirit can empower you to live in a right relationship with Jesus; to be humble, holy, patient, caring, prayerful and be faithful in even the small things."
Glen now loves to pray for the sick in hospitals, share his faith with inmates in prisons and promote love between people of different religions.•