April 24, 2019

Positivity: ‘I’ve encountered Him’ – how one inmate lost everything and found Christ

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Vancouver, Canada:

Apr 18, 2019 / 04:39 pm (CNA).- Ryan Prasad desperately wanted to change his life.

“Every single day before I left my house, I would pray to a God, asking him to help me out of my lifestyle, because there was no way I was going to be able to do it on my own,” he told CNA.

The then-24-year-old was battling multiple addictions and heavily involved in the sale of drugs. He knew that if he continued down the path he was on, he would wind up dead. But he didn’t know how to escape.

It would take a prison sentence, nearly two years in a recovery home, and a conversion to the Catholic faith for Ryan to turn his life around – a stretch of time that he says is marked by the grace of God and the support of a faith-based community that was there for him every step of the way.

Ryan grew up in British Columbia, Canada. His parents were Hindu, but the religion never sank in for him, and he never practiced it very seriously.

When he was growing up, his household was disrupted by alcoholism, infidelity, and domestic violence. His parents eventually split up, and his mom remarried.

Struggling to process what was going on at home, Ryan starting smoking marijuana in high school. He started college, but dropped out, as the drug began to consume his life.

“I don’t think youth really realizes how much [marijuana] can take from you,” he reflected. “It kills you. It kills your motivation. It kills your drive.”

Ryan worked part-time and also sold marijuana to fund his partying habits.

When he realized that a friend was making more money than he was, by selling cocaine and heroin, he made the leap to dealing hard drugs.

At first, he was successful, and he moved quickly into positions of increasing responsibility in the drug business – which meant more money. Over the next two years, he moved into a nice apartment, bought expensive cars, and dated a series of girls. But he still wasn’t happy.

Frustrated that the one girl he was really interested in was not willing to give him a chance, he struggled to deal with his emotions.

“I ended up using drugs as a coping mechanism to numb my feelings…I was so numb and disconnected…I was just a zombie.”

From there, things began to get worse. Addicted to cocaine and pills, Ryan lost his apartment. Responsibilities started to be taken away from him at work, until he was only a driver. He no longer had the money to support his drug habit, and he started to get desperate.

“I put myself in a situation where now I didn’t have a choice,” he said. “What I was doing was the easiest route for me to pay for my addiction, especially on a daily basis, because I’m getting paid cash every day, versus having to wait for a paycheck.”

Ryan’s life was spiraling downhill. His girlfriend left him when she realized that he had been hiding a drug addiction from her. Several of his friends were shot, went missing, or died of an overdose.

Then, in October 2016, he ended up doing several transactions with an undercover cop. He was caught with drugs in his car and an illegal firearm at his house.

Ryan was convicted. He was supposed to be in jail until his sentencing, but his lawyer advocated for him, saying that he had potential, it was his first set of charges, and what he really needed was a change to break free of his addiction. He was released on bail to a Christian recovery house called Luke 15.

“I was definitely at a point of surrender…enough was enough, and I really wanted to turn around,” he said.

Ryan embraced the recovery house and all of the resources it had to offer. He started attending self-development groups and every church group available. He began going to a Baptist church nearby. He would read the Bible and ask questions.

“I had this eagerness to learn. I just really believed that there was something really helping me to get to this point.”

One day, Ryan attended a charismatic prayer group at St. Mary’s Catholic parish. The founder of the prayer group prayed over him, and he experienced something he can only describe as otherworldly.

“I was overcome with this bright white light. And it just…came over me and into me, such a profound feeling of peace and love…such a strong presence,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of crazy drugs in my life, and there’s nothing that could compare to that…It was so divine and supernatural.”

In that moment, Ryan said, his life changed. The bitterness he had been carrying from the dark and traumatic experiences he had endured was erased, and replaced with a profound joy.

“I was just so happy,” he said, adding that he become a different person on that day.

Three years later, he still thinks about that moment.

“Because of that day, I can’t doubt that there is a God…I can’t pretend that he doesn’t exist, because I know he exists. I’ve encountered him.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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