The truth shall set you free – Peter

I grew up in children’s homes and institutions from the age of 9, having spent most of my childhood being locked up in an institution or living on the streets. I was first placed in an institution for running away from children’s homes, not for committing a crime. I have been molested as a child, made a ward of the state and spent most of my life committing crime, using drugs and running from myself. My father ran off with another woman when I was a child and my mother was an alcoholic who used to get bashed often by her boyfriend. I have spent time in all of the prisons in Perth, with my last prison sentence ending in 2001 where I served time in Casuarina and Karnet prisons. From a child, up until the age of 31, I was using all types of drugs with Speed or Methamphetamines being my drug of choice.

Every time that I was locked up as a child I used to attend these Christian groups where they came into the prison.  I mainly went for the food and to look at the girls who came in. I remember when I was 16 in Riverbank boys Institution we had a Christian group called Broken Chain Ministry come into the prison, they played a video called, “The Cross and the Switchblade”, I remember going back to my cell and getting on my knees and calling out to God, “God if you can change his life then you can change mine”. For the first time in my life I knew in my heart that He was real, His presence fell on me in my cell, I remember the joy that filled my heart and the tears that ran from my cheeks as if it were yesterday. “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me”. I used to go around the prison telling everyone about Jesus. God gave me a scripture back then, it was John 8:32 “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”, it was another 15 years before I was to come to know what that scripture really meant to me. When I was released from Riverbank I stopped reading my Bible and went straight back to drugs and crime.

In 1999 I was released from Bunbury Regional Prison after serving one year of a three year sentence, when I was released I decided to sell drugs full time and it wasn’t long before I was selling an average of $40k a day in Methamphetamines as well as a large amount of firearms, explosives and other stuff. I awoke one morning after I had just done 16 days straight with no sleep and I had the TRG (Tactical Response Group) come flying through the front and back of my house. They had bullet proof vests on, shotguns in their hands and they were yelling out “get down on the floor, get down on the floor” while the helicopter was flying over the top of my roof. I was charged with possession of two firearms, intent to sell and supply and a couple of other charges. I was released on bail and went back to doing what I was doing and that was selling and using drugs.

After a time of realising I wasnt ‘normal’ but wanting to be, strange occurences started to happen. Every time I left my house by myself I would hear this voice in my head saying, “follow me”, then the car in front would tap on the brakes a few times and I would hear the voice again saying “follow me”, so I followed. I followed the car in front for a bit then I pulled up at a park and I heard this voice in my head saying, “I’m offering you this”, there was a father and his son playing in the park together. I started sobbing and crying my eyes out in the car. After a few minutes I drove off and it happened again, the voice saying, “follow me”, so I followed it again and this time I pulled up next to a brand new home and I heard the same voice again saying, “I’m offering you this”, I started sobbing and crying my eyes out again in the car, it wasn’t that home I was being offered it was what it represented, A place that I could call home.

I went out on my bike one day, it was a near new VN1500 cruiser and the same stuff was happening. Those days I used to be covered in Gold rings and chains with a bald head big beard and heaps of tatts so I stood out a little. I was 30km Perth side of Lancelin probably 15km north from a place called Neerabup road house following this voice in my head when all of a sudden my bike stopped. I pulled over onto the side of the road to have a look, it was a new bike or near new bike, I had heaps of fuel and as far as I knew there was nothing wrong with it but I still couldn’t get it going so I decided to hitch back to the road house to ring my wife for help. I crossed the road and put my thumb out and this young couple pulled over so I got in the back and we drove off. As we were driving along the road the young bloke leaned over the back seat and said to me, “mate I feel that God wants me to tell you that He loves you and has a plan and purpose for your life”, that was it I just broke down in the bloke’s car there and then weeping.

I asked the couple if they minded pulling over to let me out of the car so they did. I got out of the car had a bit more of a cry and then cleaned myself up a bit as you can imagine what a beard and crying does to a blokes looks and had a sleep in the bush for half hour. When I woke up I went back out on the road and put my thumb out and this flat black F250 tray back ute stopped, I looked at the driver and he had long black hair in a ponytail with half of his face covered in tatts now compared with the other car that I got a lift with this bloke I felt comfortable with. We started driving up the road and he says to me, “is that your bike back there?” and I said yep, He said would you like for us to pick it up as we could stick it on the back”, I told him that I just wanted to get home.

We kept on driving down the road and again out of the blue he looks at me and says, “Mate I feel that God wants me to tell you that He loves you and that He has a plan and purpose for your life”. I just started to cry and I think I kept on crying until he dropped me off at the road house. I got out of his car and I was all confused, for a couple of weeks now all this weird stuff was happening, I had been led all over Perth being shown everything that I ever wanted and now I had two people one after the other telling me That God loves me and that He has a plan for me. I didn’t want to be me anymore; all I wanted was to be normal. I went inside the road house and took all of my gold jewellery off and threw it in the bin, I’m talking thousands of dollars worth. I went outside and rang Amanda from the phone box, I told her that something weird was going down and I asked her if she could come and pick me up, she told me that she had to pick the kids up from school so I went back out onto the road and started to hitch.

A car stopped to pick me up and there was an elderly lady driving it so I hoped in and she drove off. She done the normal stuff like asked me where I was going so I told her then after a few minutes of silence and straight out of the blue she says to me, “I feel that God wants me to tell you that He loves you and that He has a plan and purpose for your life”. Now you can picture what happened next, me I just broke down crying, three people in less than 15km of each other telling me that God loves me and that He has a plan and purpose for my life. The lady drove me all the way home to Bayswater and I think that I cried all the way there.

Sometime later, after altercations with the police, I had had a dream from God and in my dream He told me that I would be telling people how He had changed my life. I woke Amanda up and told her the dream and all she said was that’s nice and went back to sleep.

In the morning I told Amanda that I felt that we had to go to church, now I had never been to a church in my life so we got all dressed up then left the motel looking for a church. We drove around all day from one end of Perth City to the next, from one church to another. I would pull up at a church and I heard this voice in me say, “not that one”, so we went from one church to the next when at about 2pm as we came into Morley this voice said, “that church”. It was the New Life Church in Morley. I looked at the board and the service was not till 6pm so we went for a meal and came back at 6. The second that I walked into that church I was balling my eyes out, He was preaching on David and Goliath, I remember the words as if it were yesterday, “how dare that uncircumcised philistine defy the army’s of the living God”, when the pastor gave the alter call I went forward to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour

I have been a Christian now for just over 9 years and everything that God showed me He has given me and even more. After being

Peter - Happy and Free

released from Jail in 2001, I went to study at Riverview Bible College where I studied full time for three years obtaining an advanced Diploma of Theology.

Back when I was 16 years old in Riverbank God gave me a scripture, John 8:32; it says; “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”, it wasn’t until I went to Bible college in 2001 where I learnt about in context, in other words what’s before and what’s after. John 8:31-32 says; “If you abide in me and my word you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”. God told me at the beginning of Bible College, “to abide means to live in, to make your home just like your body needs food your spirit needs food”, every day since I was released from Jail in 2001, I start my day with the Lord in prayer and in His word, when I don’t want to pray I still pray, when I don’t want to read the word I read the word, when I don’t want to go to church I still go to church. I honestly believe that it is through keeping the spiritual Disciplines that I have that He has grown and stretched me into who I am today, it’s not about being religious it’s about having a relationship with a living God, it’s about being a Christian on an everyday basis.