Growing up is not always rosy as we imagine it to be as youngsters. And we grow up rapidly waiting for that independency from our parents. A chance to start living, i.e. having the time of our lives.
So this is exactly how Leslie felt especially being the only boy between two sisters who did not care much for sport. This made young Leslie feel like a loner in the family as he was the only one who had taken a keen interest in sport playing rugby, cricket, and athletics.
His father was a devout Christian who took pride in his religion and therefore made church attendance compulsory for the rest of the family. What support Leslie lacked from home he readily got from his teenage friends and pretty soon his intentions began to lean to the Christian like behaviour his father tried to steer away from and so Leslie bid his time until after he graduated from school.
Jeremiah 9:4 "Beware of your friends; do not trust your brothers… 5 Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning. 6 You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me," declares the LORD.
After school Leslie started working and it was then that he started living the ‘lush’ lifestyle he had for some time now yearned for. Earning his own money and making his own way without anyone especially his father telling him what to do ,life seemed like a bucket of Kentucky fried chicken and an extra helping of fries and a whole lot more. Pretty soon he joined a rugby club and therefore expanding his social circle instantly. After matches the jolly comrades would celebrate or lick their wounds (no pun) depending on the score line at final whistle by indulging in alcohol and women and they had both in truckloads. But this all felt good, because for the first time Leslie didn’t feel alone, he had a support structure of a sort.
It became a life of drinking, clubbing all night every night. Pretty soon alcohol wasn’t doing it for him anymore and was gradually replaced by ecstasy, acid, marijuana (weed). Everything seemed brighter, music louder and the party kicked harder after a bit of ecstasy. He stopped playing rugby in order to focus more attention to his night life. It didn’t take long for Leslie to move up to smoking crack cocaine. With crack came the alienation from friends as he was ok to stay at home and keep the party in his head. It was after a year that it dawned on him that he was once again on his own, alone without any support.
This realization slapped Leslie out of his trance and he soon decided to seek help. He recalled the teaching of his by now late father. He became clean. Because of circumstances he found himself staying with one of his friends. Unfortunately a fortnight later Tik entered into his life. Tik or Metamphetamine which he sucked through a light bulb didn’t only take him back to where he had been but dragged him further back into the claws of darkness. He lost everything; possessions, relationships to people, respect, common sense or decency.
Tik became his life. Besides Tik he was about to have a child. Yes he had made a girl pregnant. Things escalated. Leslie tried to stop but he couldn’t. Tik had a hold on him. By now he had lost his job but gained a son he couldn’t really take care of. Leslie tried to stop but… He resorted to burglaries in order to support his family, his and his baby mama’s addiction. Leslie tried to stop but…
Leslie and his girlfriend would do drugs with the boy in the house. They would take turns to go to the bathroom whilst the other stayed with the son. Things deteriorated to the point where the mother of his son took off with their son and left him alone. And he still carried on with his habits.
After 11 yrs of alcohol and drug abuse, Leslie found himself at rock bottom with nothing to lose or give. He tried to stop but…this time he recalled his father’s teachings and finally agreed to a certain girl’s persistent request to visit her church. He found himself going back week after week to the comfort he felt in the Lord’s presence. God touched Leslie and immediately the healing took off. And for the first time in a long time he wasn’t alone he had a support system that wouldn’t lead him astray.
Jeremiah 1:19 'They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.'
His journey to healing led him to confess to a burglary and this saw him serving time in Pollsmoor. It was there in prison that Leslie took time to rediscover himself according to what God intended him to be. He studied the Word and strengthened his relationship with God. Leslie got out on parole and went to stay with a member of his cell group. He did odd jobs around the house for his upkeep. And of course things couldn’t have been easy but the church still supported him. He got a job in a factory, recycling plastic. Hard work little pay. He remained faithful and grateful. Soon he began to grow from strength to strength, one job to another until he could stand on his own.
Today Leslie is married to a lovely woman who knows about his past but cannot reconcile that with the man she knows him to be. She describes him as hard working, driven, dedicated to God. They have a young son together. Leslie has been clean 4 yrs now, is in his 3rd yr of Bible School and hopes to help those in similar circumstance through his rehab center and prison ministry.
Facebook: Leslie's Prison Outreaches