22 December 2010
Now that's what I call an amazing story
Standing outside the prison where she was once an inmate, Mandy Ogumokun holds a placard that reads: Now I Am Addicted to God.
These words could not be more poignant for Mandy who owes the restoration of her health and sanity to her conversion to Christianity some 11 years ago. At one time Mandy, 50, was selling her body on street corners, shoplifting and pick-pocketing to raise funds for her next fix of heroin, while her four children were being raised in care.
Hailing from two generations of prostitutes, it wasn't any wonder that London-born Mandy herself became caught up in a life of vice. That was until she had a chance encounter with a former crack addict who had given his life to Christ.
"When he told me Jesus had set him free, I thought he'd robbed the church so I decided to go along", recalls Mandy. "This nice lady asked if I wanted to accept Jesus into my heart. She said to me: 'You are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come'. Later, when I was withdrawing from drugs, I spoke those words into the addiction and God lifted me out of it."
Nowadays Mandy regularly visits the prison where she herself was once interned to work with women recovering from drug addiction. She says that her only addiction today is to God. Mandy is among countless people who can testify to a life-changing experience by hearing God speaking through the Bible. For others, the transformation might not have been so dramatic but is just as powerful and personal.
Lord Michael Bates, a Conservative Life Peer, holds a placard that reads: Now I have a purpose to serve. He states: "When he was 16, I failed my O-Levels and thought I had failed in life. Then I read the passage in Luke 17 where Jesus declares, 'The Kingdom of God is within you'. It struck me like a thunderbolt and made me realise that I wasn't a failure, because if I stayed in God's Will then I couldn't fail."
Mandy and Lord Bates are two very different individuals among millions of Britons whose lives have been shaped by scripture in the past 400 years, since the publication of the authorised King James Bible.
Now here is your chance to share how the Bible has influenced your own life. Competition entrants are asked to answer 'how has the Bible changed your world?' on a sign, upload their photo to www.facebook.com/biblefresh and make their picture their facebook profile photo. The most thoughtful and imaginative entry will win an Apple ipad.
The competition launches on Christmas Eve and is being coordinated by Biblefresh, a project that is being coordinated by the Evangelical Alliance to bring together more than a hundred agencies to support churches deepen their understanding of the bible.
Dr Krish Kandiah, Churches in Mission Director at the Evangelical Alliance and Chairman of Biblefresh says: "We want people to appreciate how God speaks to them through Scripture and to reflect on how they have been challenged and encouraged through the Bible". He adds, "The Bible is as relevant today as it was four centuries ago when King James commissioned his world-changing translation".
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Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.