‘Jesus saved me from the hangman’, ex-con testifies on New Year’s Eve

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Jamacia -Swallowfield Chapel in St Andrew ushered in the new year Saturday night with a well-attended service under the theme ‘Having hope in troubled times, when there are more questions than answers’.
The two-hour service, which started at 7:00 pm at the church’s location on Swallowfield Road, opened with a worship session punctuated by short testimonies from the congregants about what God had done for them throughout the year.
However, there was one particular testimony that captured the attention of the congregants, and it was that of a former prison inmate, Rueben Mitchell, who was invited by the preacher for the night, Donovan Thomas, to share his testimony.
“I believe I am one of the happiest persons standing right here, despite you who have been in society all these years. I was sentenced to hang and it is just two months now since I’m out in society and I’ve been in prison for 24 years,” Mitchell told the congregation.
Stating that he was excited for Jesus because “He has saved me from the hangman”, Mitchell gave a synopsis of his life story, explaining that poor choices and the wrong associations took him to prison where he was sentenced to be hanged.
He said that during that time he remembered the advice from his mother that, “When yuh try everything and everything fail, just try Jesus.” His life was then turned around after having made it right with God. Mitchell shared that his sentence was eventually commuted and that, while he was on parole, he did what he could through motivational speaking, especially in schools.
“Just trust God, and we have to reach out to the young people, especially the youth down the lane. As we campaign, oftentimes to get the paper in the ballot box to win an election, we still need to move more to catch the lost souls, because we are not doing much where that is concerned. We must go all out to get the souls that are lost,” Mitchell concluded.
The preacher for the night, Donovan Thomas, chronicled some of the major issues that happened over the year such as the increase in murders and the number of women killed by their partners/spouses, and told congregants that it was okay for them to take their questions to God.
“Sometimes we feel to say: ‘God, what’s going on? God, you don’t remember me? Why do you tolerate wrong? When you think about what’s happening on this Rock, all of the violence, you don’t remember what our national anthem say God? Why do you tolerate all of what’s going on?’” Thomas questioned in his sermon.
He highlighted that, like the prophet Habakkuk who wrestled with God at a time where there was spiritual and moral decline and who had feelings of inconsistency and inactivity from God, while it was okay to take questions to God, it was more important to wait on God for some answers.
Thomas said that while it may be hard to see the big picture, despite the various challenges, disappointments, deaths and unanswered questions, God still knows what’s best.
“So brothers and sisters, in spite of what’s happening in the land, in spite of what’s happening in the nation, in the world, we want to call upon the people of God to stand up and to live for him in righteousness, in holiness and purity, because that is what is going to be the springboard for breakthrough and deliverance in our personal lives and in our churches, homes and in our nations,” Thomas stated.

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