Back in the 90s, the rave scene in Scotland was huge and one of the biggest nightclubs was The Metro in Ayrshire. I was heavily involved in drug use and drug dealing and my main place of work was The Metro. That’s where I made my money; I loved the scene, I loved the life. This was my world. I had made a vow, when I was 14 and in a D-list school, where I and other kids had suffered abuse, that no one would ever hurt me again. I felt my heart harden.
I was dyslexic and had few prospects for honest work, so after working my way through a few gangs I felt this was where I belonged, where I was accepted. I was also a Scottish break-dancing champion as a teenager with a crew called the LCC, but now I loved to dance all night full of drugs.
One night, I was aware that the drug squad had been watching our gang, but for me it was business as usual, selling ecstasy to lots of different crews in areas across Scotland. I headed over to The Metro in Saltcoats to enjoy a great night dancing and doing business. I didn’t usually hold a lot of drugs on me, but this night I did, and once outside The Metro the police swooped and jumped over the bonnet of my car and started screaming, ‘Open the door, Savage!’ They smashed the window and dragged me out into a fire exit next to The Metro. The officer found a couple of tablets in my shirt pocket, but I said, ‘All my drugs are inside the club, not on me.’ He loosened his grip a bit and I took my chance and made good my escape, running for my life! They chased me into an alley where I stashed the drugs out of their sight and went back into The Metro, dancing and singing, “I’m free to do what I want, any old time!’ I felt amazing. But that night a family member phoned me and said the drug squad had just bust my house. They had found my drugs. Talk about a come down, I felt sick!
I went on the run for a couple of years to England and used a different identity but 2 years later, faced the music in high court after a remand and got a good result. This was my entire life back then, a life of crime, addiction and drug dealing.
I am glad to say 18 years ago I asked Jesus to come into my life and he transformed my world and set me free from crime and forgave all my sins.
I helped a friend of mine when he started a ministry called Broken Chains. When Broken Chains, Kilmarnock opened, I was asked to speak there. I was told that it was an ex-police officer, called Jamie, overseeing the work. I had once hated police officers. This fella had left the police to become a minister.
I went to meet Jamie just before I spoke. I couldn’t believe it! It was the same police officer that I had got away from all those years ago! He said to me ‘Charles, remember outside the Metro?’ and I said, ‘I’m a new creation’ and he laughed and said, ‘So am I!’ The presence of God fell as we prayed together. I didn’t feel hatred for him; I knew we were in the same gang now! Our worlds had collided and God’s kingdom was now advancing. I was in awe of how God can bring together two people from completely opposite backgrounds and give them unity in purpose and vision for his kingdom to advance.
When I got up to speak, I laughed as Jamie said, ‘For years I’ve wanted to lay hands on Charles Savage, but not as I’m going to do today!’ and then he laid hands on me and prayed for me, God is amazing! I gave my testimony and you could hear a pin drop. I could feel the Holy Spirit all over me as I preached and testified to how God had saved me and wanted a relationship with all who listened. Jamie is still a minister and doing God’s work, and I am now overseeing, with an amazing team, Broken Chains Ayr.
Many kingdoms in the world bring separation but God’s kingdom brings unity, freedom and vision for our lives. May we all seek to advance Gods kingdom together!
For anyone who doesn’t know Jesus, know this: He loves you and can break your chains!
Charles Savage Kingsman is an ex-addict and criminal who was part of the Scottish rave scene in the 90’s. Charles is now a Spiritual Care Support Worker at Broken Chains in Ayr, Scotland.