Friday, January 22, 2010
I hope you are well and at peace.
I have just finished a tour of schools around England.
It was an amazing time with loads of little miracles
along the way. I always pray asking God to guide me
in every aspect of the tours including where I stay.
Many times people ask me what I do, and sometimes I give
them my book "From Gangland to Promised Land" I often
receive emails from them saying how God has touched
them through the book.
This last couple of weeks I have spoken to thousands
of young people in schools in Macclesfield, Lancaster,
Warrington, Preston, Workington, Whitehaven and Barrow-
in-Furness. Many of these emailed me telling me how
God has shown them that he is real and that he loves
them. Also some of their parents emailed me saying
how when the children got home thay couldn't stop
talking about what I'd said to them.
I think the outpouring of grace that happens on these
tours is because there are so many people praying for
them. All the contemplative religious orders in the
British Isles as well as many faithful souls around
the world including Australia, New Zealand and USA.
I thank God for their prayers and their love.
I spoke in the prison in Rochdale and the prisoners
were so open to God's love and all of them wanted to
chat afterwards, you could see the hope in their eyes.
The prison guards told me that when they saw the
group that had come to the talk (it was voluntary
for them to come) they were worried that there
was something afoot because some of them were
the most troublesome inmates in the prison, but the
only person who had brought them there was God, for
a meeting with his merciful heart.
Recently I received two emails that brought great joy
to my heart. One man told me that I came to his school
six years ago when he was a teenager and at the time
my story meant nothing to him, but he came to a period
in his life when he went through a lot of difficulty
and the words I had spoken about God's love came back
to him, and now he has started to pray and read the
bible. Another man said I had spoken in his school
years ago also and he had purchased my book, but he
only read the first part because he was interested in
the gangster lifestyle but he never read the second
part where God came into my life. The years passed, he
got married and had children and he started searching
for a deeper meaning in his life. He found my book and
read the second half and God touched him in a profound
way with his love.
When I read these emails it just reminded me that all
we are called to is to be faithful to what God asks us
to do. He watches over all the seeds that are planted
and brings them to friution.
You are very much in my heart and in my prayers.
God bless you in his deep love
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I hope you had a truly blessed Christmas and New year.
I had the grace to spend a lot of time with my mum during this period
and I thank God for the gift that she is to me. When I was a gangster
in the darkest period of my life, I never knew it but my mum used to
pray for me every day. Eventually she prayed a Novena to St Jude
(the patron Saint of hopeless cases) that Jesus would take me and
that I wouldn’t hurt myself or anyone else any more.
Soon after this, God stepped into my life in a powerful way and I ended
up going to a retreat at Aylesford priory in kent. I went to confession
and I had an incredible experience of Jesus when I received him in
Holy Communion that changed me forever, everything I had searched
for and had never found was with me in that moment, the one thing
that truly satisfies our wayward hearts, the love of God.
That took place eighteen years ago and just this week a friend of
mine called Michael was visiting from Australia, I stayed with him and
his family last year when I doing talks over there. I took him
to Aylesford to show him around, I brought him into one of the chapels
which I told him was one my favourites, it is the Chapel of
St Jude, and I became very emotional because I knew in a deep way that
it was his and my mum’s prayers that had led me to that place and to
Jesus, and I felt like he was saying to me that there is no such thing
as a hopeless case with God.
This week I have started a speaking tour in England, the first engagement
was at Westminster Cathedral hall. That evening the weather was truly
awful, there was a heavy snowfall all over London and the Southeast.
I was amazed to see so many people turn up in these conditions. I received
an email from one young man who told me he had been touched by God’s
love during the talk and particularly when I spoke about the fact that it
says in the bible three hundred and sixty six times “Do not be afraid” that’s
one for every day of the year even one for a leap year. He told me that he
made a decision in his heart at that moment to go ahead and make enquiries
about becoming a Priest (which he had been thinking about for some time
but kept putting it off) I will be keeping him in my prayers that God will
continue to bless and guide him.
That evening after the talk we travelled down to Brighton, even though the
roads were covered with deep snow, I really felt that God was asking me to
travel anyway. The school I was meant to be speaking at was closed because
of the weather but despite this I ended up meeting with Fr Graham Ricketts
and had a truly Blessed time with him and also Dominic Dring a teacher from
the school I had been due to speak in just happened to be at the Mass we had attended and I had a grace filled conversation with him also. After this I was filled a great joy because he showed me once again that his plans are so much
better than our plans if we can just be open to the guidance of his Holy Spirit.
Please keep this tour in your prayers I am due to speak to several thousand
Young people in schools across the country.
You are very much in my prayers.
God bless you in his deep love