Ex-gangster tells story

John Pridmore, an ex-gangster who led a life of brutal violence, has moved Cayman youths with his testimony of conversion.

Since his arrival on Cayman shores last Sunday, the born-again Catholic evangelist has grabbed the attention of youngsters, adults and even hardened criminals at Northward Prison.

His message was one of deterrence for youths who are leaning towards or are already involved in the violent path of crime, to break the illusions surrounding gangsterism and how he found freedom through the love of Jesus.

His message is a simple one: God has a plan for everyone- all you have to do is let him lead your life and there is no pleasure or grace in living the life of a gangster.

‘I want the young people to understand that there is nothing but pain in being a gangster,’ he said. ‘I want to help them to understand the more they love God they can make a difference for their community and friends. Drugs, pain and misery are a distraction to everything that is good.’

At the St. Ignatius Catholic School it was a touching and emotional message for students listening to Mr. Pridmore’s life of crime, drugs and how nearly beating a man to death had caused him to take a different path in life – one that would lead him around the world telling young people of God’s love and the dangers of violent acts.

Students Courtney Couch, Gabriela Roberts Alex O’Keeffe and Matthew Chin were overly impressed with Mr. Pridmore’s life story and testimony.

Courtney said the message was one of the most touching things she had ever had the opportunity to listen to. Gabriela said she was just so tuned into the words she had no time to be bored. Alex said the message was so touching he made a promise to never take drugs and to stay far from trouble.

Year 9 student Matthew Chin said he learnt that if you are a gangster it is very hard for you to leave the gang. ‘Drugs are very addictive and if you kill someone you will be found guilty and have to pay the consequences,’ he said.

Mr. Pridmore also shared with students his life of bouncing around the East and West End of London, how he liked fighting and being paid for it, how he was involved in drug deals, protection rackets, stealing and vicious crimes of all sorts. He said he lived the high life with money, girls and fast cars, but something was still missing from his life. It was only after he heard God calling that he changed his ways.

Sharing his testimony at Northward Prison, Mr. Pridmore also received a positive response from inmates who he said were very respectable. One inmate said he had tried everything else, now he was willing to try God.

After given his life to the Lord over 15 years ago and sharing his testimony world-wide, Mr. Pridmore has written two books ‘Gangland Land to Promise Land’ and ‘Gangsters Guide to God’.

With a full schedule while on island, Mr. Pridmore also visited the Eagle house Detention Centre. In addition to St. Ignatius, he shared his testimony with students at George Hicks High School and John Gray High School and at a Get Real National Youth Rally. He also found time to enjoy the island by visiting the Turtle Farm and other tourist attractions. He also said he is looking forward to returning for a holiday sometime in the near future.