Despite his bleak past, ex-offender Johnson Tan found comfort and encouragement in God’s Word. He now volunteers his time with PFS to encourage others.
Johnson Tan seemed like any other man in his 40s. However, Johnson experienced a tainted fragment in his life, which he is not shy to share, as he feels it is a living testimony of God’s grace—going after the lost sheep until He finds it. (Lk 15:3) Today, Johnson is happily married and a proud father of two. He shares with us about how in his despair and helplessness, he remembered he still has a friend in Jesus. This is his story.
I came from a family of secret society members. I dropped out of school when I was 13 and I joined the secret society and rose up to quite a high rank. I took drugs and was soon arrested for drug trafficking. I was put into the Queenstown Remand Prison awaiting sentence. It did not take very long for my sentence to be passed. Five years and six strokes of the cane. My world collapsed! For the first time… I prayed to God for comfort and guidance. Christianity was not new to me. I used to be from the Boys’ Brigade when I was schooling. Hence, God’s Word was deeply hidden at the back of my head long ago, but I was too stubborn to accept Jesus into my heart until this point.
God Hears My Prayer!
Whilst I was in prison, I requested to join the Prison Chapel Services. I looked forward to the chapel service every month. It was where I could meet God and learn His Word. After some consideration, I decided to renounce my membership with the secret society whilst I was in prison. Many inmates advised me not to do that, as it was taboo. But I did it. I know my path and that is to follow Jesus!
God is My Helper
The turning point of my life came. It was the day of my release. I was uncertain about my future. At the prison gate, two paths were laid before me. On one side, were three gang members who could not wait to get me started on their vices again. On the other side, was Brother Winston Tang from the Grace Assembly of God. My choice was clear. I chose the latter. That night, I prayed and met up with the gang members and announced my renunciation from the gang to lead a Christian life.
Thank You God
Life was tough after leaving the prison. I thank God for sending good people into my life, and moulding me—day by day—into the man He wants me to be. Thanks to After-Care Ministry Staff like Peter Lim from the Prison Fellowship Singapore (PFS), my life is back on track. The After-Care service helped me reintegrate into society. Peter also introduced me to other believers, and they gave me support and encouragement—sharing and praying for one another. God has blessed me with a livelihood, a wonderful family and a roof over our heads. I would not have been who I am today if not for the grace of God, the PFS, and passionate volunteers such as Peter.
Free on the Inside Bible
The Bible Society has been working very closely with PFS since 2012 to print 3,000 copies of the Free on the Inside large-print, English-language Bible, containing notes of encouragement to edify the inmates with the Word. In response to PFS’ request to have Bibles for readers of the Chinese-language, we are now printing 3,000 copies of the same Bible in Chinese Union Version. This is an example of how your kind giving has blessed the inmates with the Word, through PFS and the Bible Society’s Sower Publishing Centre (SPC). Support SPC’s work with your generous donations today. You may direct your donations to ‘SPC’ or visit bible.org.sg/donate for more information.