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From Darkness to Light: A Testimony of God's Grace

Hello, I'm Paul Joseph Shepherdson, and I want to share with you my life's journey—a journey that has taken me from the depths of darkness to the brilliant light of God's grace. I was born and raised in Middlesbrough, England, and my testimony is a testament to the transformative power of faith. I've graciously shared my story with you, illustrating how God's love and redemption can reach even the most broken and lost souls.


A Descent into Darkness

My childhood was anything but idyllic. Growing up in a council estate, I witnessed the devastating effects of my father's heavy drinking and gambling habits. One traumatic memory stands out: a violent confrontation between my parents that left my mother injured and bleeding, prompting a call to the police and ambulance.

My father's constant swearing and lack of affection left deep scars on my young heart. School offered no respite either, as I quickly gained a reputation as a fighter, starting at the age of ten when I defended myself on the football field.


As I entered adolescence, my life spiraled further out of control. At just eleven years old, I began using cannabis and soon found myself in court for criminal damage. My academic aspirations were cut short when I was expelled from school twice, leaving me with no qualifications.

My teenage years were marked by violence, both at home and in the streets. I would often find myself defending my mother from my abusive father. I dabbled in drugs, frequented nightclubs, and became a football hooligan with the infamous Middlesbrough Frontline.


My life continued its downward trajectory, as I descended deeper into addiction and violence. I struggled to form healthy relationships and was trapped in a cycle of crime and substance abuse. My journey took me to the brink of suicide, where I attempted to end my own life.

For years, I was a slave to alcohol, drugs, and the pursuit of wealth. I chased the empty promise of fulfillment through travel and material gain, only to find myself more lost than ever.


Encountering Jesus

In December 2000, while in a mental hospital, I had an unexpected encounter with a lady who introduced me to Jesus. She uttered the words that would change my life forever: "Jesus can set you FREE." It was a message that resonated deeply within me.

The chaplain prayed for me, and I was discharged the next day, never to return to that hospital. Though I lost contact with the lady who introduced me to Christ, her impact was profound.


On the heels of this encounter, I entered Teen Challenge Rehab Center in May 2001. At first, I struggled to understand and connect with Jesus, but a powerful encounter in January 2002 changed everything. In the presence of the Lord, my companions and I couldn't stop laughing for three hours. I had an open vision of standing under a waterfall, drinking from it, with Jesus by my side.

This experience ignited a passion within me to know Jesus more deeply and share His love with others. I was baptized with the gift of tongues, a clear sign of God's calling on my life.


Answering the Call

My journey took me to Kenya, where I married my wife, Monica, and started an orphanage with twelve children. Together, we planted churches and conducted open-air crusades throughout East Africa, witnessing thousands coming to know the Lord. We returned to the UK but continued our global mission, impacting lives in over 20 nations.


Despite the many challenges I've faced, including the loss of my mother and significant health crises with my father, my faith remains unshaken. I led my father to Christ on his deathbed, illustrating the power of God's forgiveness and restoration.


Today, I am a devoted minister, traveling extensively to share the Gospel, equip churches, and raise up leaders worldwide. I authored "Equipped to be Effective," a teaching manual used for evangelism and leadership training.


My journey is a story of redemption, transformation, and unwavering faith. From a troubled childhood to a life marred by addiction and violence, I found hope, purpose, and a new identity in Jesus Christ. My life serves as a powerful reminder that no one is beyond the reach of God's love and grace.

My ministry, Restoring Life Ministries, embodies my mission to bring healing and restoration to individuals, families, and communities worldwide. Through my dedication, I continue to spread the message that Jesus is indeed alive and can save even the most broken souls.

My story is a beacon of hope for anyone facing seemingly insurmountable challenges, demonstrating that with faith, all things are possible, and God can use anyone to bring about His divine purpose.


If you have been impacted by my testimony and need any kind of help and encouragement please you can email me on joethetruth@hotmail.co.uk


 

Want to share your testimony with us? Get in touch. We would love to hear how God has changed your life!


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