10 March 2013

Zambia: Paul El Devine - From Prisoner to Pastor

HE was sentenced to life imprisonment; instantly making his future bleak as he had no hope of ever walking to freedom.

Questions as to why he involved himself in aggravated robbery that landed him that hash but somewhat befitting sentence saturated his mind.

Such questions ceased to make sense the moment the heavy thick doors to the prisons were shut behind him.

A new lifestyle of only following orders with minimal freedom had just unfolded before him and he knew that from that moment, nothing nor any amount of tears would change the status quo.

This is Pastor Paul EL Devine whose hopes of ever walking to freedom to tell his story had completely diminished when all efforts of appals failed to yield fruits as years continued ticking in the Maximum Prison.

Later though, the courts decided to reduce his sentence to 18 years from the initial life sentence. This was good news for Paul as he continued to thank God while in incarceration for the favour.

It was as though the favour of the Almighty was upon him because he did not live to see the enduring years of his jail sentence.

Fortunately, Paul walked back to freedom on August 5, 2006 before completing his 18 years when third Republican Levy Mwanawasa pardoned him and many other inmates that were sentenced to life imprisonment.

This was after spending a story-packed 11 years three months behind bars!

Pastor Paul Devine's story makes a rare reading of a few who have been condemned for life but find themselves landing a rare favour of being released to freedom.

Now behind his story after his release is an interesting factor-the twists and turns in his life as he tried to find his feet on the grounds of freedom.

He had to search.

No matter how hard life rendered itself before him when he was released, one thing that he vowed never to do was commit another crime in the quest of earning a living.

"I faced rejection, most of my relatives had long died or relocated to places unknown to me...where could I start from?" he asked himself.

Initially, Paul had a humble life beginning with his parents providing the necessities that they could.

Nevertheless, with age and peer pressure Paul found himself in a wrong group of friends.

He ended up involving himself into an act that could not be defended even by his parents.

He just had to go in.

As a teenager Paul was influenced by a gang of his peers who suggested that they attack and rob someone.

"It was my first time engaging myself into such a vice and we were apprehended, I regretted having involved myself into such an act," he siad.

Paul and his friends had their appeals for lenience thrown out looking at the magnitude of the offence they committed.

He just had to go to prison and make it his new home for life.

While in prison Paul realised that he could make a difference in the lives of fellow prisoners by encouraging them through scriptures of the word of God.

His life was ever at ease though he confesses that it was hard to live in a prison like Mukobeko. Because of leading an obedient lifestyle, which was a glaring indication that real transformation was manifesting in him, he had obtained favours from prison authorities.

This was how his sentence was actually reduced and subsequently finding his name among those pardoned by the head of State.

"I just wanted to lead a close to perfect life while in prison because I even used to study English from Cambridge from behind bars you can imagine," he said.

After his release, Paul tried all he could to find a life that would never land him into any trouble thus venturing into the music industry.

Paul struggled in the music industy as he had no capital to back the manifestation of his talent.

He had to seek the help of the National Arts Council chairperson Mulenga Kapwepwe who was impressed with the fact that the ex-convict had decided to use the arts to gain firm grounds in his life.

All looked promising as Paul was hosted on one of the country's well followed talk shows Smooth Talk where he talked about his prison life.

People listened and were keen hence looked forward to the release of his album in which he really wanted to tell his story about how hash prison life is.

Despite having a huge body Paul, would not rest in his rare quest of wanting to find his feet.

He managed to pull and register a success story after releasing an album and a number of videos which he called Kujele 11 years Three Months.

Despite all the glaring efforts seen even through his musical videos, Pauls life still remained in indeterminate state as he would still struggle to earn a decent living.

He wondered why other artistes would easily find their breakthroughs in the musical careers while he remained stagnant.

"What could be behind all this stagnation in my life , I could also question my intelligence but I would discover that those who have never even been to school were doing batter.

What was really holding my success?" he would ask himself.

It was not until he realised that his problem was way beyond talent, personality and money but something that needed a spiritual intervention.

I just used to hear and see this great man of God Prophet TB Joshua and how he would speak in many people's lives and prophesise what would come to pass.

I realised then that if there was one person who actually needed deliverance more than anyone, it was me," he narrates

Paul made arrangement saving enough money to take him to the western part of Africa in the quest of meeting the outspoken Man of God TB Joshua.

According to him, his meeting with the man of God was the beginning of his real new life that he can proudly say has a definition.

He said the man of God prayed for him and as he did so, a demon manifested in him and revealed that he was under a generational curse for 400 years!

He said these were the same spirits that held back his progress from childhood.

"That was the major reason why I could not progress in anything that I tried to do. Little did I know that there was an evil force behind all my failures," he said.

From Lagos, Nigeria, after prayers, Paul's life has never been the same.

He now possesses a spiritual strength which people in his locality seem to have come to appreciate as his house has now turned into a house of prayers.

He is now addressed as Pastor Paul EL Devine by people who have come to believe in him and are religiously following his biblical teachings

He now runs a fellowship under the Agape Ministries of Pastor Moses Sawila.

I am now a fulfilled man and I shall ever walk under the shadows of the Almighty... I have great support from my wife Estala Chola Divine , my in-laws.

Life is worth living with Christ in you" he said.

Paul has denounced his past life completely including his surname which he said was part of the carriers of his misfortunes.

He wouldn't even want it to be printed out Paul EL Devine he is called.

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