No one—no matter how dark one's past was—is beyond redemption.
This biblical truth has once again emerged, this time in Japan where a former yakuza mobster now finds himself as a well respected "sensei," the Japanese word for pastor or wise teacher.
Tatsuya Shindo has tattoos all over his body and a missing pinkie finger to remind himself and other people of his unsavoury past.
But when he walks inside June Bride, a former bar and karaoke club converted into a church in Saitama Prefecture on the outskirts of Tokyo, "electricity fills the room," CNN reported.
The 44-year-old pastor preaches with such intensity to his congregation of around 100 people that he seems to pulsate with "energy from above," according to the news outlet.
Some of his parishioners are just like him—former gangsters who have seen the light and embraced Jesus.
"Before, we were in rival gangs, firing guns," he said in a recent sermon. "Now, we're praising the same God."
Shindo told CNN that starting at age 22, he had been arrested seven times and imprisoned three times. He said he was also a former drug addict.
His transformation came when he began to read the Bible while in solitary confinement.
He said God's Word softened his heart and enlightened his mind as Jesus vanished the darkness inside him.
He said he began to develop an insatiable hunger for God's Word.
When he left prison for the last time, he vowed to dedicate his life to spreading the gospel.
With the blessings of his mother, he converted the karaoke bar owned by his parents into a church, which is now teeming with worshippers.
Shindo is just one of many people with dark past who eventually turned to the light held by Christ.
In January, a high-ranking leader of the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group reportedly became a follower of Christ after he met a Christian missionary whom he had earlier planned to kill.
Meeting the ISIS leader named Muhammad (not his real name), Peter (not his real name), a ministry worker from the Leading the Way ministry of Dr. Michael Youssef, shared with him the gospel, specifically about the love of God through Jesus Christ and his offer of salvation to those who believe.
Despite his Islamist extremist belief, Muhammad was touched by what Peter said and decided not to kill him.
God then appeared to Muhammad in a dream, convincing him to turn away from Islam and follow Jesus instead.