Hindu parolee left death behind after spiritual awakening
By Josh Tng
Ryan Prasad enjoyed the party life. Fresh out of high school, he would spend his weekends having fun and meeting new people.
“But I ended up meeting some wrong people, and one thing led to another,” said Prasad. He began experimenting with recreational drugs, which soon led to a frequent habit. “I found myself selling drugs to support my own habit. It became a very regular thing.”
He became distant from his family and friends in an attempt to hide his behaviour. “I became a closet addict, trying to cover up my addiction,” he said.
“I had a girlfriend at the time too, but she ended up leaving me. I knew I had a problem, but I was always trying to hide it, so it became very hard to deal with it.”
Prasad’s dangerous lifestyle began seeping into his daily life. He became involved in gangs. “One of my friends whom I was very close with suffered an overdose,” he said. Even that was not enough to change his habit.
“I remember going to the funeral and seeing his mom screaming and crying,” said Prasad. “But after that I was back doing the same routine.”
It would take another fatality to rouse Prasad into finally seeking help. “After my girlfriend left, I ended up meeting another girl a couple years later. She was 20 years old, from a good family,” Prasad said. “One day, I went to bed with her. When I woke up, she was dead (from an overdose).”
“I remember praying and praying after that; my lifestyle was a complete mess. I told my mom everything, including my involvement in gangs, and she fasted for 10 days in prayer.”
Although raised as a Hindu, Prasad was not religious. “I never really understood it,” he admitted. “My mom was always telling me to do this and that, but I never really got what was going on” in the Hindu faith.
But God heard his prayer, said Prasad. “The cops finally caught up to me, and I went to jail for the first time.”
Incarceration would prove to be a blessing in disguise. “I knew there had to be a God, and he had answered my prayers by taking me to jail” where he could no longer continue his destructive lifestyle.
“The week before my bail came, my mom had heard about a recovery house from my sponsor. It was called Luke 15 House.”
The Christian-based transition house in Surrey was full at the time, but his sponsor highly recommended it, having been a graduate himself. “I spoke with Ryan’s mother, Irene,” recalled Nigel Vincent, executive director of the house. “She begged me ‘Please, please, just take him.’ And so we did.”
“At the last moment, one single bed freed up, and I went to the house,” Prasad said. He realized this was an opportunity to seek a new life. “There was nothing that could make me want to go back to what I was doing. There, I had a spiritual awakening.”
Now 24 years old, Prasad is a parishioner at St. Mary’s, Vancouver. He signed up for RCIA last October.
“I never thought I would be in a situation like this,” he said. “I’ve been clean for four months now,” and it was Luke 15 House that showed him “there’s more to life” through faith.