Girls, alcohol, drugs, cars, money, suicide, robbery, prison, violence, rehabs – Gavin Edmonds tried it all, then encountered God.
Gavin admits he has served time in jails in four states in Australia and been addicted to drugs and violence.
"I started life in the ghettos of Brisbane," he shares in The Highway Evangelist, "but moved around a lot as a child.
"My dad was a seaman who went away for months at a time and left my mother to bring up six children. When he was home, he was a strict and violent man. We used to pray his ship would sink and he would not return."
Gavin started using drugs and alcohol at a very early age, looking for acceptance.
"By the age of 14, I was involved with a criminal family on the Gold Coast. At 17, I was sentenced to rehab. At the age of 18, I received my first of many prison sentences due to violence and drugs," he confesses.
After trying everything the world had to offer, he still had no peace.
"I left hurt and damaged people in the wake of my self-indulgence. I was an unhappy, angry man. I was broken," he admits.
The only truly happy people Gavin says he had ever met in all the places he had been were Christians. He could not understand why they were forever smiling. He wanted to know what they had that he had not yet tried.
After seeing yet another smiling Christian giving of his time to visit the men in prison, Gavin returned to his cell and boldly invited God to meet with him.
"'God, if you are real, show yourself to me,' I said, and He did," Gavin relates.
"Suddenly I was filled with such a strong feeling of the presence of God. He was right there with me. I felt a peace and freedom like I had never known. I acknowledged to Him that I was a sinner who had done so many wrong things in my life and needed His help. I gave Him the mess that was my life."
After this Gavin felt more at peace and free inside a maximum-security prison than he had in his whole life.
He now works in a café, sharing with others the good news of how Jesus can totally transform your life. Gavin says his life now has real meaning and purpose.
"I was not born to struggle and die. Jesus saved me and gave me real life and true peace," he concludes.•