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Gangs, drugs, violence... these things were once part of the life of Calgarian Cody Bates.

Bates was at one point in jail on murder charges, and at one point nearly ended his life. By age 18 he was a gang member. Narcotics trafficking had escalated to violence.

He was charged with murder at age 22. He remembers going to his prison and remembered his heart being black.

“I was mad at the world, I was mad at my family, I was mad at myself and I was just so angry,” Bates said. “And I just conformed to my surroundings. And I just wanted to move up within the ranks of the gang.”

Bates ended up in solitary confinement from the acts of violence that surrounded him.

“I just remember chasing lie after lie after lie,” he said.

An attempt at cleaning up his life after seven years in prison went well to start with, including starting a family, but wound up back to feeling empty inside and had a feeling that something was missing.

“I was doing well from an optics point of view, but on the inside I wanted to die every single day,” Bates said.

He has since devoted his life to Christ and spoke Tuesday night at the Columbus Hall in Moose Jaw.

“I want Christians to be super encouraged by my message,” he said before his talk. “But my message is for the lost. My message is for the people that don’t know the gospel that are bound in sin.”

In January of 2017 Bates had a knife ready to start cutting himself when he feeling joy, peace and benevolence.

“In the most perverse moment in my life, I was feeling good feelings, and understanding the words that it was over and that my suffering had come to an end. I knew it wasn’t me that was saying that, because I knew I wasn’t capable of thinking that in that moment,” he said.

Bates understood a message from Christ and began a life of trying to rescue other addicts.

He wrote a book called ‘The Devil’s Pupil’ about his journey. Bates' book is available at online and is also at retail bookstores.

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