Thirty-two-year-old Sanny Mlophe's second name is Lucky. One might not think that is very appropriate as he is serving a life sentence in prison. However, Sanny believes he is indeed very lucky to have had his debauched life on the outside cut short, and to have found a new life of peace and purpose, even if it is behind bars.
Sanny is a handsome young guy with a big smile and it is not hard to imagine him as the ladies' man and party animal he once was. But he admits that it wasn't all good times.
"I was miserable," he confesses. "I was addicted to dagga and alcohol. And when I was drunk I was filled with anger and had no respect for others. I stole from people and was always fighting.
"I only ever thought about myself and how to get more money and girls."
When Sanny's parents tried to warn him about his behaviour, he lied to them that he was no longer involved in criminal activities.
"I had such a bad attitude," he remembers. "I was so stubborn and full of pride. I told myself I was clever and would never get caught. I was also jealous of others and the possessions they had."
However, four years ago Sanny did get caught, and was convicted of taking what was not his, in the form of armed robbery and rape.
Shortly after being arrested, visiting pastors to the prison challenged Sanny to leave behind his bad past and wrongdoings and become a Christian. They told him that Jesus loved him and had died to pay for his sins, so that he could have a fresh start and be filled with the power to make the right choices.
"One night while I was sleeping," Sanny relates. "I had a dream about Jesus. He was telling me that I needed to change and have my sins forgiven."
That was the event that finally convinced him to take a step of faith. "I prayed, telling Jesus I believed in Him and asking Him to be my Lord and Saviour."
anger”This means Sanny was "born again" by the Spirit of God, into a whole new life, as Jesus talks about in John chapter 3 of the Bible.
"Since I became a Christian, I now have love and respect for others," he shares. "I want to read my Bible and learn more about God, and I like talking to other people about God and encouraging them to know Him too."
Sanny says God has helped *him, through prayer and reading his Bible, to break the addictions *he had and overcome his bad attitudes.
He loves Psalm 23 in the Bible. The psalm says this; 'The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the path of righteousness for His name sake.
'Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
'You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.'
This psalm talks about Jesus being our Good Shepherd. "There is life in Jesus when you accept him as your Shepherd. In Him there is safety," Sanny smiles.•