Christmas, as we know, is a celebration of the birth of the Christ-child who came to reconcile us to God. As we read in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus himself said that he came to bring freedom. Here’s one story of how Jesus is still doing that even for those behind bars…
Colin* grew up with no support, no encouragement and no aspirations. In adulthood he fell into a life scarred by addiction to alcohol and drugs.
A turning point came when Colin met Mike*, a Church Army Evangelist. Mike invited Colin to attend a course he was running and soon after, Colin decided to give his life to Jesus. But life for those struggling with addictions is messy, meaning problems people like Colin are up against don’t just go away. Just three days later Colin, in a drunken stupor, got into a violent fight and as a result was sent to jail.
However, prison has given Colin something he’s never had, support, encouragement and a clear head. This has allowed him to grow in faith and understanding of Jesus, supported by Mike.
What you are about to read are extracts of a letter Colin recently sent to Mike. As you read it, imagine how this story would have been different if the two had never met, and how you could be part of someone else’s story by giving a gift today
I am doing good, well great actually. I have just completed a substance misuse awareness course, I am now going on to do drug awareness, youth mental health and sociology as I want to become a drug worker of some kind, whether that be a support worker or a counsellor, but whatever my calling I will do as much of the groundwork whilst in here.
For years I have tried and failed to stop taking drugs and to stop smoking, then I put my faith in the Lord.
God has made me see that the failures of my past are the opportunities of my future.
I used to think I was always going to be a drug addict and never thought that I would get into recovery. The old Colin is gone and the new one reborn with goals and a desire to do and succeed in whatever I do and I cannot praise God enough.”
Colin will spend this Christmas behind bars, yet he will have more freedom than many people walking the streets. He’s started his own prison ministry, helping others discover the freedom that only Christ can bring.
“I may have been sent to prison but it has helped me escape the prison of my life.
I thank you [Mike] for giving me the belief to believe in myself, I thank God for the strength and courage to totally change.”
Christ came that first Christmas so that all of us – you, me, Colin, all of us - could have the opportunity to receive the forgiveness and radical grace of God; that we might be set free in Christ. This gospel really is Good News for us all!
True freedom is priceless. Your gift today** will help more people like Colin discover freedom through Christ, and receive support they need, wherever they are, through the work of Church Army Evangelists across the UK and Ireland.
Thank you so much for your generosity.
* Not real name
** All donations go to general funds
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