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While wandering around the Waikeria prison unit, I felt impressed to go to the library. There I saw books scattered on the ground, so I started to pick them up. They were very interesting and contained a lot of wholesome suggestions about health, exercise, fitness, relationships, and had many testimonies that reflected God’s unconditional love and amazing grace. What I loved the most about them was the free supply of the Home Bible Study series. I eagerly sent away for this course and began studying with the Seventh-day Adventist Discovery Centre. Add Comment
The Heavenly Man
Before being transferred from Waikeria to Spring Hill Corrections Facility, I was given a Christian book, The Heavenly Man. As a Buddhist, I didn’t really care for Christianity, though the illustration on the cover and the synopsis drew me in. The character and beauty of Jesus and all the miracles God had done for Brother Yun, when he suffered prolonged torture and incarceration for his faith, were inspiring. This book inspired me to seek truth, and on my arrival at Spring Hill I read the book again and again.
Soon after I was at Spring Hill I began doing some physical activities with great determination. Everything was going fine until I suddenly felt sharp pain in my back while I was doing weight squats. The officers took me to the medical center. I had to be confined to bed 24/7 for a week, with no physical activity in my cell. I also got some painkillers. In my cell I had dinner and took the pills. But I could not lie on my back, since I was way too sore. The outlook was bleak, and I felt as though all my energy was depleted. I wanted to die to escape the pain. I could simply quote the words of the psalmist: “Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me. My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death” (Psalm 22:12-15, NIV).*
Suddenly I panicked, fearing that I might be paralyzed for the rest of my life. Then it was almost as if a voice spoke to me, saying, You will be OK. Everything is going to be fine. I turned, looking around my cell. I was alone.
“What? I’ll be OK? Why is my back so sore? What am I still doing in prison? Everything is going to be fine?”
A new feeling tugged me; it felt as though I was moving upward, away from the intense pain. Then, again, it was as if I heard a voice, and it said to me: I love you!
“What? God, are You really there?” I cried out.
The cell started to fill with light. It was making patches on the floor, and casting long shadows on the furniture in my cell. I was scared, but also felt a peace and joy that I have never known before.
“Who are You? Where are You? I can’t see You.”
Can you see Me now?
A beautiful child
The night wind blew softly through the window. I knew God was there. Don’t ask me how. I just knew. Suddenly I saw myself clearly—19 years old, no academic qualifications, having a long-term, deep-seated greed for money, having cheated on girls and been sexually immoral, and now in prison for smuggling drugs into New Zealand. I started to cry, saying, “How can You love me?”
Though I didn’t exactly hear Him, I still sensed God telling me that He viewed me as His beautiful, precious child. I felt so unworthy, but I could still sense Him telling me that He loved me so very much; that because of Jesus, I could be innocent in His eyes; and that if I wanted to change my life, He would help me.
“God, if You can take away all the pain from my body right now and let me walk and function normally tomorrow morning like when You did a miracle on Brother Yun’s crushed legs and rescued him from prison in China, I’ll convert to Christianity and follow Jesus.”
After my prayer a powerful silence and warmth came over me. I felt deeply loved. I sank back down, watching the strands of light as they stretched across the floor. Some time elapsed, and I drifted off to sleep.
The next morning I could walk properly! I could exercise! I was overjoyed and overwhelmed by God’s miracle in answering my prayer. My face was full of light, and a wide smile was stretched from ear to ear. I bowed my head in a prayer of thanksgiving and then, immediately, took all the Buddhist pictures and scriptures down.
Ever since I have become a Christian, my whole life has been abundantly blessed and radically transformed. God has kept answering my prayers and looking after me under His everlasting arms. He has provided me with whatever I need in prison.
I hope my testimony will challenge you to know Jesus, not as a distant, historical figure but as an ever-present, love-filled, omnipotent God, and that you will take up the cross and follow Him wherever He leads you.
*Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
On May 16, 2011, Jacky Yang was baptized by Seventh-day Adventist pastor Dyason Kuresa in a portable swimming pool at Spring Hill prison. His baptism was witnessed by 14 supportive Seventh-day Adventist church members and friends and three prison chaplains. Jacky enjoys studying the Bible and witnessing for Jesus.
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