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‘I didn’t think I needed God’ – a prodigal’s story

Stuck in intensive care with liver failure and the prospect of having his arm amputated, Ryan's drink and drugs teenage rebellion threatened a deadly outcome. But God had other ideas ...

My name is Ryan and I am a living miracle. I have lived in the small South Wales Valleys town of Aberdare all my life, except for a time in prison. I have always believed in God. As a child I went to church with my family and attended Sunday School, but I was like the Prodigal Son. I didn’t think I needed God.

It was in my teenage years that I started to rebel by getting into gangs and found myself in all sorts of trouble stealing, burglary, assault, drink driving, and criminal damage. My life revolved around drink and drugs. By the age of 15 I was permanently excluded from school, and in prison for arson. 

After leaving prison I started taking cannabis and drinking more heavily to the point where I was hospitalised many times, but nothing could stop me and before long I was on hard drugs and injecting. One day I was injecting and the needle snapped in my arm and had to have an operation to remove it.  I was told I could have died, but it didn’t stop me and I was straight back to injecting again. 

I was also still in trouble with the law. I stole a car with my friends and was chased by the police. When they stopped us I got out and they set their dogs on us. One of the dogs savaged me and tore into my testicles, so I had a very painful hospital visit again! Did any of this stop me? No. I continued to slip deeper into drink and drugs, spending my whole weekend in my house injecting and drinking.

One Friday in May 2016 I took more drugs than normal and passed out. I didn’t wake up again until Sunday, and immediately realised I couldn’t feel my arms. I had slept on them stopping the blood circulation from my elbow to my fingertips. Although I could hardly move I managed to call an ambulance. 

I had kidney failure, underwent nine operations, and spent weeks in intensive care. The plan was to amputate one of my arms. During this time I feared for my life. It was then in my hospital bed I started to call out to God to save me. My mother had always been praying for me along with other Christians, and now I was praying too! Within two weeks my kidneys started working again, and they decided not to amputate. 

After 11 weeks I got out of hospital, bought a Bible and started going to church. Like the Prodigal Son I came home. I asked Jesus to forgive me and trusted in him to save me.

Now I believe there are no limits to what God can do. God has made everything new! I am forgiven and free from drugs. I am not on any detox or antidepressants as I thought I would beGod has taken it all away! My life has been transformed (see Psalm 40). 

I know God has great plans for my life something I never thought possible. I am enjoying my life today and I feel so blessed to have great people in my life and a new church family who care for me. Thank you Jesus!  

PHOTO: Ryan at one of his old teenage haunts

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