I grew up in a working-class neighborhood in the seaport city of Turku. My father was a boxing champion, and my younger brother and I were also actively involved in boxing. In school, I was often challenged to a fight; I never hesitated to use my fists. As a teenager, I joined a notorious gang, which got me into even more violent conflicts. I also discovered heavy-metal music and started to dream of becoming a rock star.
I bought some drums, formed a band, and soon became the lead singer of the band. Because our band was aggressive and had a wild appearance, we gradually received much publicity. We started to play in front of large audiences, and we made a few recordings, the last of which received favorable reviews.
Although I enjoyed being in the band, I longed for more meaning in my life. I became disillusioned with the harshness of the music industry and became frustrated with my frivolous lifestyle. I felt that I was a bad person, and I was afraid of burning in a fiery hell. I tried to find some answers in all kinds of spriritual books, and I also prayed intensely for God’s help, even though I felt that I could never please him.
HOW THE BIBLE CHANGED MY LIFE:
To support myself, I worked at the local post office. One day, I found out that a workmate was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I bombarded him with questions. His logical, Scriptural answers intrigued me, so I agreed to have him study the Bible with me.
My band was offered an attractive recording contract. I felt that this was the chance of a lifetime. I told the Witness who was studying with me that I really wanted to make one more album and that after doing that, I would seriously apply Bible principles in my life. He didn’t express his opinion; he simply asked me to read Jesus’ words recorded at Matthew 6:24. The verse says: “No one can slave for two masters.” I was stunned when I realized he meaning of Jesus’ words. So, after a few days, I told my Bible teacher that because I wanted to follow Jesus, I left the band.
The Bible was like a mirror that revealed my flaws to me. (James 1:22-25) I was proud, full of unquenchable ambition. I used bad language, and I fought, smoked, and drank heavily. When I realized how much my lifestyle contradicted Bible principles, I felt as if I had run into a brick wall. Nevertheless, I was ready to make the needed changes.—Ephesians 4:22-24.
The Witness with whom I was studying helped me a lot. He showed me what the Bible says at Isaiah 1:18: “Though the sins of you people should prove to be as scarlet, they will be made white just like snow.” Our heavenly Father is merciful and wants to heal the wounds of those who repent of their mistakes. I was baptized in 1992 at an international convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses held in St. Petersburg, Russia.
HOW I HAVE BENEFITED:
I have made many good friends among Jehovah’s worshippers. A special blessing has been my marriage to my beloved wife, Kristina. Had I not become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I might not be alive today. In the past, I constantly drifted in and out of problems and crises. Now I have a real purpose in life. (Told by Esa Leinonen)
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