How God saved me from the gangster life
There is no situation that God cannot deliver you from. So believes Billy Mirander, a Jamaican gangster turned evangelist, who will share his testimony at Southampton Seventh-day Adventist Church tonight, and through the coming week.
“I want people to know that God will go to the uttermost to save,” said Mr Mirander, the featured speaker at the church’s Youth Revival.
“The message I hope to share is basically, no matter how deep in sin you are, there is still hope. There is power in the blood of Jesus. He can still change your heart.”
The 23-year-old told Religion that his life took a dark turn a decade ago, after the tragic murder of his aunt.
“She was killed by her children’s father who paid someone a sum of money to take her out,” he said. “Her children’s father was very jealous. They had three beautiful children and he used to hit my aunt every single week, sometimes every day. My grandmother, her mother, always said to her: ‘You need to leave him. He is going to kill you.’
“My aunt eventually moved out and then her children’s father decided if he couldn’t get her back no one else could get her. She was coming home one evening and was shot and killed.”
The death hit Mr Mirander particularly hard; he decided to get involved with gangs to get revenge.
From age 13, he worked to win the confidence of older gang members so he could gain access to a firearm to take out the man who abused his aunt, and her killer.
While searching for them, he introduced people at his school to gang life, showing them how to handle firearms and to stay up at night keeping watch over a turf, to prevent enemies from trespassing.
“It reached a stage where everyone in my family turned their back on me except for my mother,” he said. “She was the only one that didn’t give up on me. She would pray and cry, but nothing seemed to be happening.
“I was so deep in that lifestyle, there was no hope in my life. I had even started to get involved with the demonic church. By that point I needed a special miracle to happen.”
God intervened when he reached 16.
“God used a secular man who wasn’t a Christian to speak to me one day. He said something to the effect of: ‘With all you’ve done you have never been shot, you’ve gone through gang bangs and shootouts and you’ve never gone to prison. Do you know there is a God in heaven protecting you?’
“I was shocked that a secular men was preaching to me about God. He said, ‘You should read your Bible. God is the one that keeps people’.”
He started spending a couple hours at a time reading through God’s word. He was particularly moved by the Book of Proverbs and started to use some of that wisdom in his life as a young gangster.
Then things took a turn for the worse.
A group of men attacked him, beating him for about ten minutes. After the assault was over he was amazed he did not have any bruises on his body.
He was so moved, he surrendered all his firearms to the Jamaican authorities.
“When I found Christ it was a miracle of an experience,” he said. “After a couple of months I became a Seventh-day Adventist and almost my entire family became a Christian. One month before my 17th birthday I also got baptised.”
His advice to young people is to choose your path in life wisely. The gangster life can look glamorous to some, but it only leads to pain and hardship.
“There’s a way that seems right, but at the end of it is the way to death,” he said. “Sin and evildoing have no limits to where they will take you. You will go deeper and deeper until you get to the cemetery or end up behind bars and your future is jeopardised because of the decisions you have made.
“I encourage the young men in Bermuda that while the way of violence seems to be attractive, when you are a gangster you feel powerful but it will only take you further to your own destruction. Jesus is the answer.”
Mr Mirander is now a student at Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica. He also speaks at special events and runs a ministry to encourage and inspire people all over the world about the importance of prayer. He will give a message today at 11am at Wake Up, the Southampton SDA Church’s Youth Revival event. He will also share his testimony today at 6pm. The revival continues nightly, until September 2, at 7pm.
For more information visit southamptonsdachurch.org.
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