I was a rebellious child growing up.

I didn’t feel I had the love or approval of those around me.

So from the age of 12, I began to be involved in a gang. It was my first taste of belonging. Of acceptance.

I smoked my first cigarette then. Over time, I got involved in theft and bullying, while I got deeper and deeper into gang activities. I was even promoted to a small-time gang leader.

One day, my gang was caught up in a staring incident. Soon we were surrounded by 6 or 7 bigger kids from a rival gang. One of them asked which gang we were from.

I tried to act fierce – I was the first to speak up. For my bravery, I was punched in my mouth.

I flew backward and the back of my head hit a glass door at the shopping mall we were at. I bit my lip in the process, and part of my lips were ripped off and dropped on the floor.

I was in a daze. The next moment I was dragged to one corner where 2 or 3 older rival gang members pulled out my ear studs, kicked me in the face, and whacked me until I was almost breathless.

One day, my gang was caught up in a staring incident. I was punched in my mouth, and part of my lips were ripped off and dropped on the floor.

Thankfully, a member of public shouted, “Police, police!” Quickly, I got back onto my feet and ran for my life. My whole T-shirt was stained by my blood.

Then I met God. Or rather, He came looking.

I heard Jesus asking me: “Jeffrey, do you want to continue to live this kind of life?”

Suddenly, images of my future start flashing in my head – and I saw two choices placed before me.

First I saw a future where I would still be in a gang, dealing in vice, getting into more fights, and constantly running away from police. Then I saw another image of me living a clean life, free of fights and vices, finding peace in church.

And I gave Jesus my answer: No, I don’t want to live this kind of life anymore.

I repented before the Lord and gave my life to Him. To the One who has a plan and a future for me.

Coming out of a gang is a big challenge, but I prayed hard for help. First, God miraculously deleted my handphone number from my gang leader’s phone. Then the gang members came to find me outside my school to sort me out – but they could not find me.

It is my firm conviction that God protected me.

Slowly, I began to stop smoking and became more regular in church. I began to serve in youth church as a back-up singer and eventually became a worship leader and cell group leader. Today God is leading me to serve Him as a Pastor, sharing with people about God’s love.

God is so good.