The Living Testimony of John Gabbana Part 2: Encountering Christ
The year was 2019. After the news had surged about Boonk Gang’s terrible injuries, it was clear that at this moment, being in the public eye wasn’t Boonk’s top priority anymore.
Throughout his whole healing process, the regular antics weren’t trending anymore. Every now and then, someone would ask, Where did Boonk Gang go?” Usually followed by a reply recanting the situation that happened. I was among the group of people who would ask where Boonk went also. It was extremely random to just see him disappear from the public eye after such a big stunt. I mean usually, an escapade followed by Boonk’s return would just be another opportunity to build his platform and brand. But this was different. We were soon in for an answer none of us were prepared for.
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Boonk got saved.
Usually, when we think of people getting saved we might have a specific scenario in mind. The common altar call after service is usually met with prayers from the congregation as the desiring for Christ makes their way to the front of the sanctuary. That’s what I can remember, to be honest. Though as nostalgic and heartwarming this can be, we have to remember just how RAW our God is and can be. He doesn’t have to meet us in the building, he can meet us in the hospital, on the battlefield, or in Boonk’s case, the jail cell.
While in jail for gun and drug charges, Boonk was introduced to his cellmate, Joshua. Interestingly enough, Joshua in the Bible means “the Lord is my salvation.” So it was no coincidence that Boonk found himself in a cell with a man of such status. Joshua then proceeded to show Boonk the Bible and began to break down just how much Jesus loved Boonk even through his hardest times. While disciplining him, Joshua made sure to teach Boonk as many gospel songs as he could. And that’s when it happened. The night Boonk met God.
One night in his jail cell, Boonk was overcome with a peace that passeth all understanding. He recalled in a video singing, “Jesus loves you, for He died on the cross for our sins. He’s always with you, from beginning to the end.”
He proclaimed that he was singing loud enough for everyone to hear because, in such a dark environment like a prison, you can forget that Jesus still loves you. After hosting a one-man worship session, Boonk said that he laid down and started crying tears of sorrow. Sorrow for all the people in the world that didn’t know that Jesus loved them. In their darkest hour, shameful moment, and disgraced day, Jesus still loved them. The fact that most of the world didn’t know this saddened Boonk to his core. But then comfort came.
Boonk in the video said that in the midst of his tears, he felt a touch. Not a touch like a human touch, but a soft touch. It was a touch that was so inexplicable, words were replaced by weeping in the middle of his video. As I was watching this, I felt his raw emotion and teared up myself. It is rare to be able to experience a fellow man’s raw emotions. The childlike faith that Christ instructed us to have is so pure that it can pierce the hardest of hearts.
Boonk had put his childlike faith on display for all to see. He was unashamed and wanted any and everyone around to get to know Jesus Christ the same way he had. In fact, after having this encounter with the Holy Spirit, Boonk was now a new creation. He was no longer Boonk Gang, but John Gabbana. Old things were washed away, and we have become behold to all things being made new.
John immediately took to social media to profess his newfound love for Christ and concern for the body.
Everyone had to know, and if they didn’t want to know, they were going to find out anyway. The first thing he had to do was, rebuild his platform and brand. He couldn’t be the old man, they were crucified on the cross with Christ.
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When recanting John Gabbana’s story, I often think of the story of Christ healing the crippled man. Jesus was in town at a building performing miracles, and two friends had heard of who Jesus was and were intent on getting their crippled friend. After going through drastic measures for Christ to heal their friend, Christ gave the healed cripple simple instructions. “Now go with your mat and go home.”
The simple fact of it all was, in order for a lot of people to see what the Lord had done, they needed to see that the same man who was transported on a mat for the majority of his life, now transported that same mat with him. The people needed to see that the crippled man was now a whole healthy individual. John Gabanna had to do the same thing with his mat.
None of his tattoos were removed, there was no plastic surgery that would give way for conspirators to claim he was a clone, he didn’t move away to a different country. John Gabbana went right back to where he came from now a changed man. The same people he did mischief with, the same people he sold drugs to, the same gang that he got jumped into, needed to see the visible contrast of this man’s life.
But his old friends in the social setting weren’t enough. In all reality, it was just the beginning of the word being spread. John then took to social media to let all his fans know of his life change.
I remember the first time I had heard about John’s transformation. It was really hard to comprehend. I literally remember a certain video where he disrupted a church service. Now you’re telling me that that same man was hosting church on Instagram Live?! But soon enough, I found out that it was true. And it spread like wildfire in the Christian and secular community. John began to receive encouragement from people all over the world, and he began to be paraded as another testimony that truly, God could save anyone.
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While this is a beautiful testimony and God does deserve all the glory, I can’t help but heed what God has put on my heart. We as the church messed up in a big way and we need to address it. Consistently, when someone of the world is exalted and praised for doing worldly things, we as the church are quick to condemn. This man was 21-years-old and it took being in jail for him to be ministered to for real. The same thing with Kanye West! When he came out as a Christian, we were so quick to doubt the authenticity of his faith. It was impossible in our eyes!
We need to do better and ASAP. People are out here hurting and needing God. But the best thing we can do is point our fingers in judgment at the sight of people living in sin. Surprise! We were born in sin! There was a moment in your life where we didn’t know God. But somehow, someway, you received his Son as your Lord and Savior. We need to start being that somehow, someway. Before it’s too late.