It was one night at midnight when my corrupt friend and I were walking down the streets of Acorn Park, a suburb in Vereeniging. He was looking to make easy, fast cash in a dead street. As we walked down the street, we saw little street children sleeping in cardboard boxes, while their mothers were selling their bodies to passing by truckers, to earn a living. We first wanted to rob those mothers.

Instead, we decided to target helpless or drunk car drivers stopping at robots for smash and grab scenarios, while the nightclub just up the road was pumping music and the teenagers were indulging in drugs, alcohol and lose sex. Blue and red lights flashed as we got caught during the second robbery we were conducting. My parents were so disappointed in me, that it was not worth committing crime and hurting other people. I prayed and begged God, my victims and my family to forgive me.

In prison, through the prison ministry programs written by Val Hamann, I learned that God forgives me and loves me and will give me another chance at changing my life. I learned that non-violence is the way to live. It helped me to forgive myself and to write letters to apologize to our victims. The programs also helped me and my fellow inmates to find the meaning of life – Jesus Christ – so that when our lives are over we will still continue to live with him.

I have resigned from my evil corporate job and now embracing truth and know that God really does answer prayers!

Mandla Subiso – July 2019 * name changed for safety reasons