Kevin* has no tip to his left thumb. While he was opening a safe, he hit it hard with a hammer, when he was only 15 years old. Kevin was part of a gang and together they did many big robberies. He was also a drug addict and the money he stole was used to buy the drugs.
One day Kevin had a big fight with some bad men. The police found him lying on the road. They knew he had done many crimes. He was sent to Dartmoor, a well-known prison in England. There he was locked up for 23 hours every day in a very small cell.
Out of prison
Six years later Kevin was free from prison, but he was not free from drugs or his desire to hurt people. The first thing he tried to do was to get a gun because he wanted to kill the men he had the fight with. He told his friends to meet him at the train station with the gun. They did not bring him a gun, they brought his mother. She had only one thing to say, "Kevin, you've got to change!"
This made him think. One day, as he was putting a needle with drugs into his arm, he said, "I can't take any more."
His friend who was with him looked across the road. "Let's go in there," he said.
It was a church building where people meet to worship God. There he was told about Betel, a Christian group. Their work is to help mend broken lives, especially those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. In September 1998 Kevin went to Windmill House, the Betel Centre in Birmingham, England. His friends said, "You won't last two weeks."
But he wanted, at last, to do what his mother had said. "I remember walking through the doors. I can feel it now. I knew there was something I wanted … Everyone was so happy … You could feel the love."
Kevin realised that these people who were happy were like him – their lives had once gone very wrong. Kevin says, "I no longer wanted to be the Kevin I had been for so many years … I wanted to live … to feel happiness inside."
At three o'clock one morning Kevin found he could not sleep. He gave his life to Jesus.
This was the beginning of a time of learning for Kevin. He learned that he could ask Jesus to help him with his problems. Knowing and believing God gave him peace in his life. "Where else do I find this freedom in life? Only with Jesus. It's amazing what God has done in my life. I thank him and love him."
Kevin has worked in India, helping people who are addicted to drugs to know the freedom that he has found.
If you have a problem with an addiction, read more about Betel
*Kevin is not his real name