Posted on 27 May 2016
By Elizabeth McFarlane
John Pridmore was a London gangster, immersed in the violent criminal underworld and swept up in his desire for money, women and drugs.
But the former mobster is now finding power in a new line of work, preaching the Gospel and sharing his testimony.
Heading down under, John will be sharing his story at four different mission talks, and all ages are welcome.
Six-feet tall with an intimidatingly broad stature, John is a force to be reckoned with.
It was outside a nightclub in London’s West End where John’s life took a turn towards God.
“I hit this guy with my knuckleduster, but when I hit him he fell straight back and smashed his head on the curb,” John said.
“I could see blood everywhere and people around me started screaming, so I fled the scene and I remember being in my car thinking, ‘I could get 10 years in jail for this.’”
John had almost killed a man.
“I was destroying everything and everyone in my path. After nearly taking that man’s life, something incredible happened and my life began to change,” he said.
“I fell to my knees and prayed for the first time and it felt incredible. I’ve taken every drug there is but the feeling I had that night was the best I have ever felt.”
But there was still a long road for John to travel before he could stand in front of a crowd of people and tell them his transformative story.
Having served time in prison, John was angry and found himself struggling with forgiveness.
“One of the people who really hurt me when I was a kid was my step-mum. She was very cruel to me and even though I didn’t put it too much in my book, From Gangland to Promised Land, when I started praying for her, I’d say, ‘Lord bless her, but make sure she suffers.’
“But after a few months, I stopped saying, ‘Make sure she suffers.’ I just said, ‘Lord bless her.’”
It was after going to Confession that John was able to unchain himself from the belief that he wasn’t good enough for God’s mercy.
“I had experienced the biggest attribute of God’s heart, His mercy,” John said. “It was one thing to have God forgive me. It was another to forgive myself and those who have hurt me.
“As I started praying for other people who had hurt me, I started being set free. And I think that’s what led me to be able to see myself as God sees me, without judgment or condemnation but with mercy and understanding.”
Michael Axiak has known John since 2008 and in 2013, he spent 14 months working with him on his mission team, St Patrick’s Community, in Ireland, running parish missions.
“When hearing John share his testimony for the first time people are generally astounded at the transformation that has taken place in his life,” Michael said.
“People will be challenged to look at their own lives and search their own consciences.
“John’s story will touch the hearts of his listeners. Each and every time you hear it, you get something new out of it and you’re further drawn back into the loving heart of our Father.”
John Pridmore’s mission dates in Sydney
1st Mission: 6-10 June 2016, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, St Marys, at 7.30pm.
2nd Mission: 11-17 June 2016, St Benedict’s Parish, Arcadia, at 7pm.
3rd Mission: 25 June – 1 July 2016, St Gertrude’s Parish, Smithfield, at 7pm.
4th Mission: 2-8 July 2016, St Benedict’s Parish, Broadway, at 7pm.