Crime is a prominent issue in South Africa. Once in, many find difficulty in rehabilitating themselves out and often become chronic criminals well into adulthood. Like many young men who grew up in the townships of South Africa, Lusapho Nqinileyo’s life was a carbon copy of the negative role models in his community. He is one of the few who lives today to tell the story of how, by the grace and mercy of God, he made it out of the dark world of crime into the Kingdom of Light.
At the age of three years old I was moved from King Williams Town to Motherwell Township in Port Elizabeth. My mother soon moved to Johannesburg for work and left me in the care of my aunt. My aunt brought me up, with my grandmother also playing her bit. It was tough growing up with both mother and father in absentia and I spent most of my early years in search of something to fill that void in my life, but sadly got disappointed at every turn. Although my aunt provided for me as best she could I found myself wanting more and became rude and rebellious in the process.
As I entered into my teenage years the friends I grew up with left Port Elizabeth to school in East London; and I started craving a refuge, respect, relevancy and attention. There were no descent male role models around me to love, guide and to teach me the role of a man in a family and society and so I sought refuge in the arms of the misguided. That incessant feeling of abandonment, coupled with poverty, led me into mischief, mischief that soon turned illegal.
My life of crime started by me befriending known armed robbers in my community. Enticed by the flashy lifestyles that they lived I started keeping their guns for them. That was the first time I tasted the thrill of having a sense of power, and I felt invincible. I was soon trained to steal the cars that they required to use for armed robberies, before they could entrust big operations in my hands. Of course being the most handsome in the gang I was used to lure in our victims when we were operating, and it worked almost every time. Crime became my daily bread for the next sixteen years. I never really had a dream of becoming anything; I just wanted to have money and a bevy of beautiful ladies after me.
My reputation as a bad boy earned me credibility on the streets and amongst my cronies but the community not only feared me, they had a firm disliking toward me. Deep down in my heart I knew that I had failed everyone in my family but the demons waging war within me overpowered any thoughts leaning toward positive change. I dove deeper and deeper into the criminal world, with no intention of turning back. I looked death in the eye on countless occasions and was even imprisoned for two years.
I then met a girl in the latter part of 2014. As a man who has had my way with women for years I counted her as one of my many conquests but I was soon proved wrong. She started telling me about how God is using her spiritual father, Rev. Tim Omotoso, the general overseer of Jesus Dominion International. Although I had no interest in going, I eventually had to go just to please her. I attended three days of the December 2014 Convention, called Holy Ghost Week, and although apprehensive still something pushed me to attend more services even after the man of God left Port Elizabeth.
By that time in my life my bad boy lifestyle had significantly gone down as many of my friends had either died or been imprisoned. Not wanting to end up like them my life stood at a crossroads. It was either I surrender my guns for the Bible or end up six feet under in no time. I opted to drop my guns and to give my life to Christ and accept Him as my personal Lord and Saviour. I became an usher in the ministry to be useful in the Kingdom and as a way of thanking God for saving my life.
It is hard to believe that God could consider a chronic criminal like I. I am now a new man, a better father and a role model to my seven year old son. I now know that there is no reward in doing crime but in Christ there is reward.