Ricky, my half-Jewish-English cellmate once said to me:
"You're too good and Godly. You're not meant to be here. London is not meant for you. London is an evil city, it's a secret society. It's a dark place. An eyebrow or handshake can send you to prison. Your fate had already been decided. I feel sad and sorry for you. Even as a criminal, I stand a better chance of walking out of prison than you. Just leave when you've the chance, and you'll be better off elsewhere. The crimes you see on the street or hear about in the news are just the tip of the iceberg. Many are buried. London is an evil city."
I spent over two months in Prison before my psychiatric assessment was carried out on 23rd July 2013. After the assessment, I received a letter from my solicitors that I had been suffering from depression. I was put on antidepressants. In my next attendance to DAYCARE, I started reading books and literatures on depression. I was amazed. I didn't know I had been suffering from depression. I now had a new cellmate; a fellow African, originally from Congo but grew up in London with British accent. When my cellmate saw that I was taking antidepressants, he became worried. He feared I wouldn't be able to complete my book.
He had been reading my scripts and telling inmates that I'm a writer, and that he'd love to read my book one day. He told me about the harmful effects of antidepressants, and how so many immigrants; especially blacks had been rendered insane by the British criminal justice system. A lot of immigrants had tried using mental health as means of getting settlement in the UK or out of prison. As the practice became prevalent, the authorities became aware. You can't outwit the British for long.
As a result, the system devised means to equally outsmart those who feigned mental health problems. And so over the years, blacks who feigned mental health problems were given medications and injections that indeed rendered them with mental health problems afterwards.
Henceforth, when a black man was caught up in the British criminal justice system and his legal team start pleading on grounds of mental health, it was business as usual. My cellmate told me about his own cousin, who developed mental health challenges as a result of immigration problems he had, and was subsequently caught up in the criminal justice system.
I became alarmed hearing this. I later came into contact with Minta, a Ghanaian who was awaiting trial. Minta, who later became my Bible teacher, narrated his ordeal at a mental health unit of a hospital. He said the aftershock of injections and medications he was being administered at a hospital’s mental health unit were so gruesome that he decided not to continue with rehabilitation at the hospital. Following advice from some concerned hospital staff, he opted out of rehabilitation for prison instead. He confirmed that many blacks had been mentally derailed by the British criminal justice system. The practice became so widespread at the institution where he was, and was later reported in the news.
On Thursday 3rd October 2013, the night before my final court hearing and sentencing, I had an encounter with the Holy Spirit. I was reading a devotional guide in the evening. Suddenly, I set my eyes on a passage. I read the passage over and over and over. I took my Bible and started reading the scripture. I knew from that moment on that I had finally found my scripture in the Bible. That night I couldn't sleep. I held the Bible so close to my chest. I felt as if I could swallow the Bible and be set free from my chains. I shed tears like never before.
I saw myself in a different realm. My whole life story flashed before my eyes. The pains, the sufferings, the struggles, the thorns; the dreams, the visions and the revelations. It makes sense to me now. As I lay prostrate on my bed, with my Bible clenched to my chest, my pillow was wet in tears. I saw Apostle Paul - my mirror! I'd get out of bed and read the scripture again and again. The Scripture is 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. It says:
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Throughout the night, I was in high spirits. As I woke up early in the morning to prepare for court, it started raining. The rain was a message from God. I told an officer who brought me medication in the morning, that if I don't come back to prison that day, it was because of the rain. As I was being taken to court, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit all around me. I returned to prison only to realise that my cell had been given to somebody. When I asked why, officers told me they didn't expect I'd be coming back.
A new cell was given to me, nicer than the previous one. New bed sheet, new pillowcase, new towels, everything was new. As I settled down, I asked for my Bible to be brought to me. The officer who packed my things had left, and those around couldn't find them. An officer brought me a New Testament Bible. I told him to try and get me a full Bible. An hour or so later, he brought me a brand new Bible, Kenneth Copeland Ministries.
I opened to page 1 and read a message from Kenneth Copeland. For the next one month that I was in prison, I was on fire. There was some fire burning inside me. I’d wake up late in the night and my whole body would be literally hot. It was as if there was fire underneath my bed. I’d have to preach on top of my voice, and sing Christian songs such as "He Paid a Debt He did not Owe" for some time before my body would cool down. Officers would come pleading with me, to lower my voice, as everyone was asleep.
I prepared sermons upon sermons and asked to see the Catholic and Church of England Priests. I asked to be allowed to preach in the chapel on Sunday. I wasn't permitted into the chapel for Sunday worship again. I was electrified, waiting to be let out to start my Mission, the Lord's mission - Evangelism. At the least opportunity, I'd preach to officers and lament how sad I was that Britain has become a Godless nation, the once Christian state that brought Christianity to my beloved Ghana and many parts of the world.
I started reading the Bible all over again, right from Genesis to Revelation. I also began reading a book I took from the chapel the last time I went to church. It's titled “Prepare for the Great Tribulation and the Era of Peace - Volume IV” by John Leary. As I started reading Leary's book, I became troubled. I saw some of my dreams right in there. The more I opened the pages, the more worried I became. I asked to see the Archbishop of Canterbury. I wrote a note to be given to the Catholic Priest, and stated that his book was with me. All I ever wanted henceforth was to reach out to the lost souls in England. My mission is to do the work of God. I began writing my next book - The Amazing Grace - My journey into Christendom.
I started fasting and praying. I'd skip breakfast and lunch. Most days I’d only partake in dinner. Bread didn't matter to me anymore. On the evening of Wednesday 30th October, I was on my knees reading my Bible as usual. Suddenly I heard an officer shouting my name and walking towards my cell: “Maundy home!” “Maundy home!” “Maundy home!” The officer got to my cell and opened the door: “Maundy home!” “Maundy home!” “Pack your things and go home,” he said.
"Please Gov, please don't make me happy for nothing," I replied. "Have I ever opened your cell at this time? You have been released. Harry up and pack your things and go. You're going home in London," he said further. “Home in London?” I was overjoyed. Tears filled my eyes as I quickly began packing my things. I never thought I’d see London again. I had loved London, with all my heart.
On my journey home from North London through Central London to South London that evening, at the least opportunity, I’d evangelised to anyone who crossed my path. I’d recount the story of my Amazing Grace, and how God had manifested in my life over the years. Those I evangelised to were keen to hear my story. But when I tell them I had just been released from prison, they were taken aback. Prison is a stigma. People don't want to associate with a convict.
From November, I started going out on the streets of London telling people about God. Elmers End Tesco became my spot every time I went there to shop. I just board the Tram from Blackhorse Lane to Elmers End. I spent time in the shop doing evangelising. Tesco was so dear to me due to my three years spell at Croydon Dotcom. Whoever the spirit led me to in the shop, I spoke to the person. Some unhappy customers would report me, and a manager would caution me not to do evangelism inside the shop. I created a new blog titled “My Encounter with God in Britain.” I abandoned my old blog. I was in a new era, my era of Missions - Evangelism.
After my release, I was attending church services all over - Pentecost, Hillsong, Lighthouse Chapel International (The Mega Church) and Latter Day Saints. On 24th December 2013, I lighted all the candles inside St Mary's Catholic Church on Wellesley Road Croydon for Carols Night service. Then I run to meet American Missionaries Douglas and Nielson who were waiting for me at East Croydon Station. We went for Carols Night service at Selsdon Ward of Latter Day Saints. After the service, I rushed back to St Mary's for the second Carols Night service.
On Tuesday 14th January 2014, days after I began writing on my old blog and started sending letters to the various public figures again, I had a call from New Addington that two intelligence officers from Special Branch were looking for me. I was told the officers emphasised that I wasn’t in any trouble, and that they would be of help to me. So my phone number was given to them. The next day, one of the officers called me. He repeated that I wasn’t in any trouble. He booked an appointment to visit me the following week.
On 22nd January 2014, the two officers visited me. The officers spent hours with me in the house. They said their work also involved counter terrorism. Amongst the things discussed, I put it to them that it was the responsibility of the British Government to look after me from 12/10/2007 to 30/09/2008. If I was going to be deported by the government, but later cancelled because my passport and I became useful to the government, then it was the responsibility of the government to look after me during that period, or provide me with the means to work so I could look after myself.
The officers agreed that I was right. They said they acknowledged that I had been treated unfairly and inhumanely, and so I had a genuine grievance. They said this was part of the reasons why they had been sent to visit me and to find out from me what I wanted. They said they didn’t want me to be arrested and imprisoned again. They promised they would get back in touch with me within two days. But that was it, very typical of the British. As usual, I didn't hear from them again. They would only take action when a crime is committed, especially when it's a black man.
On 12th February 2014, four undercover officers picked me from my friend’s home in South Norwood. They handcuffed and drove me to Barking Freshwharf custody. Next day, I was sent to prison. This time to HMP Thameside! Dear Diary, just when I thought my storm had subsided, I was wrong. More was to come. Indeed, fate had dealt me another blow. My cross in life is HEAVY!
By Maxwell Maundy