Making a change for a better life
Mile Gully, Manchester:
"The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance"
- 2 Peter 3:9
What would we do if God offered no second chances? Many of us would have long perished with no hope for redemption.
It was only through a God, whose grace is far greater than sin, could Steven Hanson be forgiven for partying, drinking, smoking weed and even participating in church while indulging in the ways of the world.
"I grew up in church, with my mother you had to go to church you couldn't miss it but when she migrated, I was basically left with the option of not going to church and as a youth. I was drawn into the party life. Me did start grow me hair long and me have a different image, me even used to do a little DJ thing," he said.
Hanson said he was even given a street name, 'Fabby', short for fabulous, and he was loving life in the streets.
"Me think me did blessed with a little talent. I could dance. And people from all bout used to invite me a dem party fi dance and me feel good because I became popular."
But a series of events prompted a mindset change and Hanson soon acknowledged that his life was heading down the wrong path.
"Outside of my conscience that used to bother me, when I came in drunk and high on weed from a party and would think to go to church, I was always on edge. You can't go to a party and feel totally comfortable. Sometimes some man there drunk and if you accidentally step on dem foot, dem probably kill you. You never know what may go down on the party scene," Hanson explained
There was a greater turning point for Hanson when he suffered an injury to his leg, while playing in a football match and was told if things didn't get better, he would need to amputate.
"I couldn't walk properly for about nine months, I had to get help from people and use a crutch. I used to cry out to God because as a young person me couldn't imagine that this was my life. The doctor told me that if I didn't stop smoking I would have to cut off my leg because it was causing poor circulation. I wondered if God was showing me a sign."
During the ordeal, Hanson decided to go to church with a brother one Sunday. It was at this point that he said he received healing.
"When I went to church, the pastor called me up to the altar, he laid hands on me and anointed me with olive oil and I literally felt something move in my leg. I didn't say anything because I didn't want to talk too soon. The following Sunday I basically walked to church."
But even though he got healing, Hanson was still battling with the habit of smoking.
"Me did love smoke, man, it was hard. Me used to smoke all four or five spliff fi di day. Me go me bed and smoke a spliff and leave half and all wake up and smoke the next half and hold a medz. Me used to all smoke and read me Bible. But me know me couldn't continue, me couldn't go church wid me eye a bleed and ting and say me a go play drum."
In January 2017 Hanson decided he had to be serious about his change.
"I threw out the weed, grabba, everything. The day before New Year's Day I did all the smoking and drinking and decided this was it. I threw everything out of the window and I was ready. I became more and more touched by the sermons, especially ones that spoke about having one outfit but still attending church. It brought tears to my eyes because that was my case."
The church musician gave his life to God in June of this year and told Family and Religion that it has been a great journey for him ever since.
"Me love me church, man, and I just love playing music (drums) for my church. I won't say it has been smooth sailing because the devil is real, but since I got baptised and changed my life it has been blessing on top of blessing."
Hanson is hopeful that more people will come to God as the worldly lifestyle can only satisfy them for a while.