A former homeless drug addict has shared his story of how he came to Christ and his life turned around.
Julian Battiste grew up in a Christian home, but as a teenager mixed with the wrong crowd, and began taking cannabis.
He shared his story with Christian charity Counties.
Julian left school at 15, but was unable to hold down a job because of his drug use.
He said: “My life was now in a downward spiral as I started taking speed, acid and ecstasy.”
“Drug addiction took me into prisons and mental hospitals and I nearly took my life on many occasions. The drugs stripped me of all morals and values”, he added.
He seemed to be getting his life back on track when he met his wife in 1999 and they had a daughter together.
But he said they separated after she committed adultery and he “fell deeper into the darkness of drugs, using heroin and crack on a daily basis”.
He became homeless, but his father helped him get into rehab and it was here his life began to change.
Julian recalled seeing the beauty of a sunrise and said: “A change started to take place in my life”. He said he knows it was because people in church had been praying for him.
He continued his rehabilitation and, once he was out, his mother took him to church. He subsequently committed his life to Christ.
He thanked God for shedding light on his “once darkened life”, saying: “You have set me free from the chains of my addiction and I love life now, more than ever before.”
“My mother and father have prayed a long time for my salvation. Through tough times they never gave up hope”, he added.
Julian was baptised and continued to change, going to church, regularly attending home groups and reading his Bible.
He also volunteers at the local church, calling himself “truly blessed” for being able to give back to society.
He concluded: “I love God and I love worshipping Him with others here in West Road Church. I now see His creation with new eyes and marvel at it.
“One verse in the Bible which means a lot to me is; ‘if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.'”