15 December 2017

out of darkness – George Osborn

George Osborn works as a full time missionary for Avanti Ministries sharing his moving testimony in prisons, schools and at events. George is a very gifted speaker with a powerful and engaging message that leaves a lasting impact on those who hear him. His experience is extreme, but as such it offers hope to those who believe themselves to be beyond forgiveness. This is his story in his own words.

I come from a normal family and was brought up in quite a middle class estate where my sister and I grew up in a loving environment. My parents’ philosophy in life was basically, do whatever makes you happy. My dad was an alcoholic, and just a couple of years ago I found his blackened body in his home, dead. It was a horrific day, seeing how alcohol had gripped him and made him a slave to the point of death. So I guess I have seen first-hand the power that addiction has on someone’s life.

Growing up with my dad not around paints a picture of freedom! However I abused that freedom, and it led to many horrific things.

As I grew up in our estate, I got involved with the wrong crowd, perhaps because at home I was always the little boy, and I wanted to be a man.

By the age of 13 I had started smoking and by 10 I was beginning to get involved in drugs and glue sniffing. I think I was always looking for the next high. I made so many wrong decisions in my life. By the age of 13 my next wrong decision was to get involved in the ouija board. People think that as you play this, what they call a game, you’re actually talking to dead spirits. I didn’t believe in an afterlife or anything else out there, but as I began to play this ouija board, it began to give me information about the future. It told me about my exam papers, and so for the first time my school grades started going up. I was talking to my dead grandad, there was information coming back that nobody else in the room knew, and it was really quite exciting. It gripped me, and I became obsessed with playing this game. So I guess as a young man looking for something in his life, playing this ouija board gave me that excitement that utterly gripped me.

As we got more and more involved, we would meet up in one another’s houses; we’d set it up ourselves. We had to set up an alphabet with an object in the middle that would spell out the words, and at the beginning it was a bit of a joke, a bit of a laugh, but then it began to spell out things that nobody else in the room knew about, maybe about a relative or a friend, and you could feel the whole atmosphere change in the room. We realised this had become more serious. It just got darker and darker. So we became so obsessed with playing this game that we wanted to take it to the next level.

The next step was to actually invite these spirits to come into our bodies, and this was the fatal decision that we made. As I invited these spirits to come inside me, I began to hear strange voices in my head. Again these voices were quite positive, telling me things about my future, and this game that I had played on the board had now actually come inside of me. By this time in my life I was being gripped and drawn further and further into darkness.

One night we found ourselves outside a church, and we were causing trouble. We were throwing stones at the building and making lots of noise. A man came out from the church and began to talk to us about Christianity. He fitted the stereotypical view I had of Christians, a bit ‘out of the world’, but he was really nice, and he began telling me about Jesus. I was far from nice to him. I was spitting on the floor in front of him and telling him where to go with his Jesus Christ. By the end of the conversation he said, “I really want to pray for you,” and I remember thinking, why does he want to pray for me? I’m throwing stones at his building and spitting in his face, and he wants to pray for me! As he prayed for me he had his hand on my shoulder, and he prayed ‘in the name of Jesus’. As soon as he mentioned that name my whole body tensed up, and he realised there was something more serious going on. He invited us back to the church to be prayed for. Then things turned upside down. As people prayed for me, these spirits, or what I now know to be demons, would physically take hold of my body. In the Bible it tells us that there are angels and there are demons, and demons are actually angels that have been cast out of Heaven and live on this earth. It was these demons that were possessing me, that were in me. There were so many terrifying things that happened at this point of my life. I remember being at home and smashing the mirror in my house and with the blood on my hands writing the word ‘die’ on the mirror, and it was terrifying. What was about to happen next was going to change everything.

One day I was chasing a friend down a railway line, and these demons physically took hold of my body, and they laid me down on that train track. I had a group of friends who all stood above me on the foot bridge and they were all shouting out to me, “Get up! Get up! What are you doing?” Physically I couldn’t move my body. There was a train coming towards me on that line, and I thought, I am going to die right here on this train track. I could picture the newspaper stories. Just before the train was about to hit me it was like something, or someone, literally grabbed hold of me and pulled me upright such that the train literally went passed the front of my face. The reason I mention my friends on the bridge is, they can all testify that there was no-one standing behind me. There was no human being standing there. I believe, in that moment, God literally pulled me up off that train track.

After this incident I ran to my friend’s house, the same Christian man. I explained to him everything that had happened. I remember him saying to me that he had been praying for me at the church. He told me that I needed to make a decision to turn and surrender to Jesus Christ. I don’t think I fully understood what that meant, to be honest, but I just wanted to be free of these demons. I prayed to Jesus Christ, and one of the things that I want to testify to is that Jesus Christ healed me. I’ve seen the power of the name of Jesus with my own eyes. He completely healed me.

After that, we gave an assembly at school and told a whole year group what had happened, and a number of people became Christians. I started going to church, and life was great; my whole life had taken a completely different turn.

As I began going to church things were great for a while, but as I started reading the Bible and spending time in church, it just felt like a lot of rules and regulations and as if God was somehow trying to spoil my fun, so I turned my back on church.

I grew up, led a normal life, went to college, got a job, but I was looking for happiness. I had set myself new targets. I would think, if I just get this thing, or that girl, or a bit more money, then I am going to be happy, but each time I got there, there was something missing. I thought, if I go travelling – maybe that is the answer. So I found myself on a tropical island in Thailand. Lots of sunshine and beautiful beaches, and I bought myself a bar and a restaurant with an old school friend. But there was something missing. I began to question, what is life all about? Why are we here? What’s the purpose of our lives? Maybe God does have the answers?

So I decided to come back to the UK, back to that church, the one I had been in, all those years ago. One of the first things that I heard there was the story of the prodigal son. That story is about a boy who wants his father’s inheritance early. He goes off to a distant land. He squanders that money on wild living. Then he realises he is empty, he has got nothing. It says, ”He came to his senses.” He asks himself, what am I doing?

Maybe I should go back to my father and beg him for a job, saying how sorry I am, to him and to God. He decides that’s what he’s going to do, and his father sees him from afar off. He runs to his son, throws his arms around him and gives him a kiss. In that moment the pennies started to drop! That father is God and that is the love that he offers every single one of us. It’s not about rules. It’s about a relationship with the living God.

As I understood about that Father’s love and that it was God, I realised that this was what I had been looking and searching for in all those different places. I realised I had come home. I remember being in that service and crying. I knew God had seen all the things I had done wrong and how I had treated Him, yet He accepted me back, and He wanted this relationship with me. I had questions after the service. Questions about the Bible. Science – where does that fit in? What about other faiths? I investigated all those things, and I found the answers. God has completely transformed me.

So now I have become a Christian. I follow Jesus Christ, who is the centre of my whole life. In Him I find all those things that I struggled with all my life, things like purpose and meaning and being trapped in my heart. I am finding freedom in Christ now! Life is not now all a ‘bed of roses’. Circumstances in life are tough sometimes. But that thing in my heart that was missing, that purpose, that meaning; well, I found it in Jesus Christ. As I have built my life on Him, He has completely rebuilt my life.

I now work with Avanti ministries, and I get the opportunity to travel around the world and to share this story with many people. I don’t get paid to do that. My only motive for doing this is because God is real, and I’ve experienced Him, and I want other people to know this God too!

Avanti George Osborn