My name is Lee Goodall. I was born in Omagh, N. Ireland in 1976. My dad was in the army so we lived in Germany till i was 6, before moving here.
My mum and dad are caring people, and they looked after me and my sister Deborah well. Deborah is three years older than me. My brother was then born in 1982; he had a disease called cystic fibrosis. This attacks all the inner organs, it cannot be cured yet. I started to mix with lads older than me. We got up to all kinds of bad stuff. We started breaking into shops and stealing stuff, mostly sweets. By the age I was 10, I started to drink casually.
I was getting into more and more trouble, so my mum and dad had to agree with the social services to put me into a children's home, they could no longer control me. Around this time my younger sister was born, she also had cystic fibrosis. Shortly after this, my mum got multiple sclerosis, she ended up in a wheelchair. There is no cure for this.
I spent 6 months in the children's home, all the staff hated me. I was rebellious to them all. I would barricade myself in my room, break windows and just completely be out of control. I ended up in court for all the places I broke into, and spent a couple of years in a juvenile centre. From there I went to a secure juvenile centre, as I kept running away from the other one.
I still had more charges against me, so when I went to court and was given three years. I did them and Got out to go home.
I soon fell in with my old friends and started to go back to my old ways. I was stealing, drinking, and taking drugs.
Me and 3 other mates pulled off an armed robbery, and got caught for it a couple of weeks later. We were put in prison on remand. By this time I was just turning 17.
In the month of November 1993, I was laying in my cell waiting to get sentenced for the armed robbery. I decided I had enough, and was going to hang myself. I rolled a smoke, and thought to myself, I will read a bit of the bible before I do it. I can’t remember what I read, but for the first time in my life, the words in that little bible came alive, I felt a great peace, so I read some more.
I got on my knees and said, “Lord, I'm sorry for all that I have done in my life, can you forgive me ". I felt a weight had been taken off my shoulders, I felt clean. For weeks I was on a high, I could feel the presence of God all over me.
When the lads in the jail heard I was a Christian, they all said I was only doing it to look good to the courts, to get less time, but I knew I was saved and that it was genuine. I never even told my solicitor i was a Christian, so the judge never knew. I ended up getting 3 years for the armed robbery.
The whole way through my sentence I would have debates with the lads. God gave me the words to speak to them, I was shocked that I had an answer for them every time. I was persecuted for my faith in God, I was hated, classed as an outcast by most of them, even one of the prison officers who claimed to be a Christian singled me out and gave me all the worse jobs while I was on his wing.
God had different plans; he gave me a job as a maintenance helper, which meant I worked outside in the prison officer’s lunch room at times. I used to write Christian tracks and put them in the toilets, bar, books, anywhere I could really.
I got out in 1995, and went back home. I then moved to another town to where my sister was. I went strong for a long time, then unfortunately, I strayed from God. There were things going on in my life which I will not get into. I met Anne in 1999, and we started dating each other. Five years later we had our daughter Zoey, a few years later we got married. After a while I realized I could not go on without my Saviour. I came back to God and a couple of years later Anne gave her life to the Lord. My younger sister ended up dying of her disease. Instead of me praying for her to get better, I prayed she would be saved. A couple of days before she died, she gave her life to the Lord.
You know, I have had my ups and downs in my life, but when I think back on the times I was not living it for God, he was still there, keeping me safe, waiting on me to come back to him.
I was unfaithful, he was faithful, I went astray, he brought me back. Many times I should have been dead, but he had bigger plans for me.
Jesus is the only way. I see no point in life if we are not serving the king. If we are walking around without Christ, then we are just waiting about to die.