Fred and Adele share their story….
From crime to Christ!
“I had been right through the system – remand homes, approved school, detention centres, borstal, and finally prison.
My particular crime was house-breaking. It cost me a lot in term of punishment and times away from home, but it didn’t readily change me. You see, it was a way of life. You get used to it and then it spills over into the social scene. Your friends and mates are all of that ilk – you go to the pubs and clubs to meet up with them and so the whole scene is set. My life was violent and uncertain, with some excitement. I was looking for the proverbial pot of gold that was going to solve life’s problems. However, 39 years ago when I was in Rudgate Prison, something happened to me. It began with a despair which I had never known before. I felt life was not worth living any more – just an emptiness, a void not worth pursuing. My relationship with a girl had just ended after 6 years, I felt pretty desperate. I looked at my whole life and it was just a mess. My lifestyle broke my mother’s heart.
There in prison I had time to reflect. I began to realise that something radical was needed if I was ever to continue with the rest of my life and, for some reason, I began to think about to possibility of seeking God.
Nobody had preached to me. It was my last desperate bid for help. So I called upon God to help me. I had done that before on occasions such as we all have when the chips are down, but this time it was genuine, from the heart. I had no ulterior motives. Strangely, after that I found myself praying night by night – quiet childish prayers – more like appeals to God.
After being released from prison, I met an old friend. He had been a drug addict and a thief. He began to talk about Jesus and how He had changed his life. I couldn’t believe that the same thing could happen to me. But I couldn’t get out of my mind the things he had said. I said to God “if you are really there, would you reveal yourself to me but please do it quickly. I need to know if you are there or not – could you please answer me within 6 months.” In the interim period, a Christian friend took me to a meeting in Leeds. The words of a hymn really had an impact on me. The words ‘ …all of self and none of Thee.’ were part of the hymn. It was then that I realised that those words described me perfectly. I had certainly lived my life for myself first and foremost to the exclusion of anyone else. At that point I asked God to forgive me. Amazing things then happened. It was as though a great weight had been lifted from me. Instantly I knew that all the sin, shame, guilt and fear had miraculously disappeared. Joy came into my life – and a peace that I had never known.” Fred’s old life had gone, everything was new. He now says, “Knowing the Lord Jesus Christ and His grace is the most precious and eternal reality any human being can ever experience. I thank God for His love and His mercy given to me and all those who like me will simply call on Him to help in time of need.”
Fred’s wife, Adele was brought up in Italy.
Disillusioned with traditional religion, she was influenced by her communist father. He taught her to seek for happiness as her aim in life. She moved to England with a man she had met at college and for 4 years felt that she had found real happiness. Then, one day, her partner announced that he had found someone else and Adele would have to get out. That day her world collapsed. Miles away from home, and without many friends and alone – she was desperate.
She asked a friend at work to take her in; she was a Christian. Adele saw that her friend’s life was different; she prayed, read her Bible and said grace before meals. Adele began to ask questions; “Was Jesus really alive?” and “Did He take our punishment once and for all?”
When she met Fred and heard his story she thought he was crazy. She felt she didn’t need saving because she didn’t do wrong things like Fred. Slowly she started reading about Christianity and even prayed. She began to realise that she still had hate in her heart for the girl who had separated her from her boyfriend. She was a sinner before God but Jesus had died to save her from her sins. She prayed for forgiveness and for Jesus to come into her life. True lasting happiness was hers now that Jesus had become her Lord and Saviour.