The following account is written by Noel Kenny, one of those who featured in the Power to Change campaign in Ireland in 2002.
“Around 1979 the heroin epidemic swept through our community, the inner city of Dublin, and all the young people ended up hooked on it. I had two brothers that became addicts and after seeing the devastation it brought into our home and into their lives, I made a vow that I would never be addicted to anything.
When I was 18, however, I started hanging out with a young man named Mick and we smoked some dope together. I was sort of an inward type and this gave me confidence—something I needed in my life. For the next four years it just became my everything. The things I had dreaded about my brothers’ life had come upon me. I started to dislike myself and everything I was doing.
In 1989, Mick came strolling through the flats [condos] once again. He’d been away for some time, but all of a sudden he was there with a Bible in his hand saying “Jesus Christ can change your life.” We thought, “Look what drugs have done to poor Mick. Now he thinks he’s God.”
With the gang it was easy to jeer and to slag him off, but when I was on my own, I knew he had something that I needed in my life.
There was a peace in Mick’s face that I didn’t see in anyone else’s in my community. So I invited him up to my flat to smoke some dope, for old time’s sake. He came up, but instead of doing drugs, he told me about the love of God.
“If I did believe there was a God he sure wouldn’t come down to the flats [condos] and have anything to do with all of us,” I said, secretly hoping that was not true.
I kept saying to Mick, “What do I have to give him? Do I have to give God my drugs? My money?”
But Mick said, “No, he loves you just the way you are. But he also loves you enough to change you from the way you are.”
Eventually, I committed my life to Christ. I didn’t have any great revelation, but I just knew my sins were forgiven. I just knew! When I go to bed at night, I have a peace in my heart. I have peace in my mind. I can put my head down to sleep and know that I’m going to wake up in the morning with no shame, no guilt and no sin hanging over my life. This is the love, this is the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I gave up drugs for ever, I have since had the privilege of leading many drug addicts and other hurting people to a personal relationship with Jesus. For me this demonstrates the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to change lives.”