Claud Jackson has been distributing drugs from a young age. Money, cars, luxury – everything was in his life except God and peace in his heart. But one meeting changed everything.
“I was born and raised in the south of London in a ‘troubled’ family. Domestic violence in our home somehow joined with the religiosity of our father, although it also manifested itself only from time to time.
Once every few months, he took out a Bible and demanded that we all sit down at the dinner table while he read the Psalms. One day he announced that we were all going to the Pentecostal service in Birmingham. So we got in the car and drove for three hours, but that was only once.
When my older brother left home, he became a drug dealer. Whenever he appeared, he told stories of wealth and adventure. He always had the latest Nike Air sneakers and I certainly wanted to be like him when I grew up. I was only six years old when he showed up home with a gun. He let me hold it – I remember that well.
When I turned eight, my brother was already behind bars. We came to visit him and it was like seeing your superhero in a cage. When I left, I had to turn my back so that he would not see my tears and think that I was weak. When we went out into the corridor, my mother covered her face and began to cry too.
As a teenager, he did not care about studies and started selling cigarettes to schoolchildren. From the age of 15 I was selling marijuana, then cocaine, and by the age of 25 heroin. I had a lot of money and a lot of cars.
By the time I was 20, I was so passionate about this lifestyle that I didn’t give a damn about other people. I was sure that the world around me is filled with predators – I was surrounded by terrible, inhuman things. I knew rapists and rape victims, murderers and their victims. And this did not bother me, I was going to earn the maximum amount of money by any available means.
I myself have never used drugs because I saw the harm they did to the people who used them.
After a few years, I realized that a cover would be good for my “way of making money,” so I started volunteering to mentor juvenile delinquents.
My volunteer supervisor was the most balanced and humble person. My jeans alone were worth more than his entire wardrobe. I remember how we gathered in one place to teach teamwork – I arrived in a convertible, and he on a bicycle.
This meeting began with the so-called “icebreaker”, at which it was necessary to say something about yourself that no one else knew.
I thought this manager might say, “I play Dungeons and Dragons in the evenings.” And he took a small box out of his pocket, opened it, and inside was a crucifix. And he said, “What you don’t know about me is that I am a Christian and Jesus changed my life.”
I was shocked. I did a lot in my life – I shot, participated in knife fights, all my life I taught myself not to be afraid. And this guy stood up in his cheap trousers, walked out in front of a hundred people and showed the cross. I don’t know if he was scared, but it looked very cool when he declared his faith in Jesus. It was much more than I could ever do.
And I wondered what motivates this person. So then I pestered him with questions, and he offered me to take the Alpha course.
I will never forget the first time I came to the Alpha course meeting. So that you understand, in my world people did not greet a stranger and, moreover, did not look into his eyes. And these guys were so friendly!
At the second meeting, I entered, held out my hand to one lady to shake her hand, and she hugged me. I was shocked. I remember thinking: I never seem to have been hugged.
At that meeting we watched a video together and they said, “If you want to invite Jesus into your life, you can do it right now.”
I prayed, saying, “Come into my life, Jesus, and do what these people say You can do.” And at that moment I felt how a kind of hospitable presence enveloped me.
The next day I woke up in an incredible mood. I have not been so happy and joyful for many years. People around me immediately noticed a change in me. Looks like I was the happiest drug dealer in the world!
I went to my usual business of weighing drugs. And for the first time in many years, I stared at this package and thought: is this my contribution to society? This is crazy! I poison people!
Now I understand that at that moment the Holy Spirit began to transform me.
By the end of the Alpha course, God had done such a great job in my heart that I went and confessed everything to the priest. He listened to me and said, “Okay, Claud, you have to stop this and find a job, right?” That’s all. I turned off my phones and have not turned them on since.
When I became a Christian, my older brother, whom I adored, thought I was crazy. We don’t communicate with him anymore, it breaks my heart, but it’s for the best.
God is amazing. He has really done an incredible job in my life. Now I serve in the church, and therefore, if God permits, I will become a priest in the Church of England. ”
Based on materials from Premier.Christianity