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When author Bosco Poon was a teen, he emigrated with his parents from Hong Kong to British Columbia, Canada. An only child who had been pampered by his parents and appreciated by his native grade-school peers, Bosco experienced a different reality—alienation, loneliness, and confusion—in his new high school. Barely able to speak English, he eventually received protection from more popular students who included him in their social group. He thought of them as a gang of friends. He was unaware that they were part of a real gang.

Later, the lure of celebrity culture and the desire to make it big in the music industry combined with naivete and a selfish attitude to lead Bosco into a life of substance abuse, wild partying, and sexual promiscuity. When a member of his high school gang, desperate to pay off a gambling debt, asked Bosco to be an accomplice in a kidnapping to gain ransom money by providing his parents’ empty house to hide the victim, Bosco didn’t believe he would follow through on his plan. But he did. When the police raided the house to free the victim, Bosco and his co-conspirators were arrested. After more than two years of trial hearings, Bosco was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Raised in a Catholic family that had lost its spiritual moorings after the disorientation of immigration, Bosco didn’t look to God for help. But in his cell, attacked by what he later came to realize were demonic voices telling him there was no hope for him, he saw three words etched on the wall: “GOD help me.” Then he heard a small voice, “No. It is not over yet. There is still hope.” So began Bosco’s step-by-painful-step spiritual transformation into the freedom of Christ’s love.

Besides telling Bosco’s stirring, traumatic, and triumphant story, Risen from Prison gives valuable insight into the trauma faced by immigrants and refugees; the sordidness, sexual and physical violence, and substance abuse in prison culture; pressures teens and young adults encounter; and the reality of spiritual warfare.

On the other hand, the book reveals the heroic work of prison chaplains and volunteers, accomplished through God’s power, as they comfort and counsel people in the worst moments of their lives. It also celebrates the dynamic, transforming power of the Holy Spirit to defeat the forces of darkness and to bring forgiveness and hope, restore relationships, and offer a better future. (Castle Quay)

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