Johnson's baptism at HMP Bristol
Earlier this month, we marked Prisons Week 2022 with a special prayer from Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol.
Now we are delighted to share Johnson's story who is a prisoner at HMP Bristol:
I cannot blame my life of drunkenness, partying, vaping and crime on my parents or my partner. They are people of faith, but I rejected God, and even when I tried to serve him I was not faithful. I am grateful that my parents and my partner did not reject me.
I am now 33 years old, and I have just started to know who God really is. As a young man I did not really know what life was all about. I started having children when I was 18 and met my present partner when I was 22. We have three handsome boys together and I have a beautiful daughter with my ex.
Because I did not enjoy my life I started to go out with friends, and I began to go from bad to worse. I neglected my family and faith and followed in the footsteps of my friends. I got involved in crime and the police got involved too. I was arrested and while on remand I went to a party with a friend, and this led to me being accused of another offence. This time I decided to seek God.
I have never been in prison before, everything was new to me. I felt lonely, sad, ashamed, disappointed in myself and the first week in prison it was a struggle not to be able to drink any alcohol. It was hard to cope.
As I began to read my bible (which I now do day and night) I realised it is when we experience tough struggles that our faith is really tested. It is only then that we know whether God does actually fulfil the promises he has made in the Bible. I can testify that he does! He certainly sustained me during the period of my first and second week in prison.
There is a popular passage in the bible (Luke 15: 11 ff), the story of the Lost Son that has been a comfort to me day and night. It is actually my story. I believe that our Lord God can actually welcome me back.
After reading more about Jesus I made up my mind to fully repent and if possible to get baptised.
Another passage in the Bible is Acts 9 about Saul from Tarsus. After reading the story of Saul and how he saw God on his way to Damascus and how he turned his life around I said to myself that nothing will stand in my way of getting baptised and accepting Jesus as my Lord.
I spoke to a chaplain and after a discussion with her about the meaning of baptism, I was baptised in the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. That was the best decision I have ever made in my entire life. I was freed from being captive to sin. From that moment God has been with me and I am no longer afraid of what I am facing. I feel relief having confessed my crime and my soul feels free after confessing my sins. God has truly done wonders in my life. I now read the Bible more and more and the power of God is increasing in me. I am very happy and know for sure that I am not going through this alone. Jesus is Lord!
Thank you for sharing your story Johnson.