Courtesy of Prison Fellowship Australia
My name is Benni (not his real name) and I am nearly 30 years old. I am currently incarcerated in a maximum security prison.
Growing up I was taught morals, manners and respect, I excelled in primary school but by Year 9 I decided that I was tired of being good. Maybe it was the single incident of sexual abuse or maybe it was watching my older brother being bullied throughout his school life. I didn't want to be a victim so I decided to be the polar extreme. I became what I was scared of.
I 'met' God when I was 16. I was attracted to a Christian girl and asked her out. Shet rejected me. So I asked to go to church with her. I was not genuine but used it as a way to be with her. I kept going to youth group on Fridays and church on Sundays.
I felt like a black sheep but at least I was a sheep.
I became a Christian, was baptized and played in the youth group band. For about a year I was truly happy. I had a romantic notion of going to Afghanistan to hand out Bibles, be killed and become a martyr for God's cause. When it didn't happen I became angry with God and fell away.
I started using drugs and very quickly became an addict. I ended up homeless and was imprisoned for armed robbery. I bargained with God to "let me go home and I'll be good". Instead of the four years I was expecting, God gave me a suspended sentence! It was a miracle.
18 months later the same thing happened – again the charges were miraculously dropped.
My drug use took me to a house, one thing led to another, and by the end of the night a man was dead. I had killed him.
In my first few years in prison, my behavior was out of control. I was ostracized and for a whole year nobody spoke to me in the unit. I cried out to God and began reading the Bible.
God used this time to rebuild me into His creation. When I got moved from that unit into a different section with more freedom, amazingly I was given a single cell and a job in the prison chapel.
As a result of this I have been heavily involved in the Prison Fellowship programs and have been a mentor and peer facilitator on many The Prisoner's Journey courses.
God has completely transformed my life.
He has turned my mistakes into a beautiful testimony that has enabled me to do His work within the prison walls. I now have work to do for His Name and His Kingdom and all the glory goes to God.•