My name is Relu Leleu and I was born in Targu Mures, Romania. Right after the fall
of the Communist Regime in 1990, when I was just 13 years old, my family emigrated
to the United States of America in the hope of ensuring a better and more secure
future for their children. I was born and raised in a Christian family. I grew up
singing in our local church kid's choir; I knew lots of beautiful poems and did just
about everything that a youngster would normally do growing in a Christian environment.
At the age of 17, something interesting started happening to me. There is a Bible
verse that I purposely took very serious, but in the wrong way. Ecclesiastes 11:9
says, “ Be happy, young man, while you are still young, and let your heart give
you joy in the days of your youth; Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your
eyes see, but know that for all these things, God will bring you to judgment.”
I was young; in America, with full potential to do something bright and beautiful
with my life; I figured I would want to experience few things first,” thnn get serious
about my life and my future.
As soon as the church would end, I started going to little house parties or sneak
in a bar, where I learned a bit about alcohol, smoking, drugs, and all sorts of things
that a true Christian shouldn't do.
Little did I know the direction in which my life was heading, but I told my self
that I'm young and just wanna have some fun. Weeks, months, and years passed, and
I ended up smoking like a chimney and drinking like a fish, and when I wanted to
“feel even better” I would reach and look for drugs. But I still called my self a
Christian because while I was doing all of those things, I was still attending church;
doing all the things that Christians do. I knew so well how to cover up. I had gotten
pretty good at living a double life, for at the moment I thought I liked it, yet
I was miserable. I was alive because I was still breathing, but the spirit inside
me was dead.
I started getting in trouble with the authorities by driving under the influence,
and that got me behind bars. By now I knew that something was wrong with me; though
it was hard to admit that I was an alcoholic, but something had to be done.
Understanding the fact that I'm an imperfect person living in an imperfect world,
and as a result of my public confession, admitting the truth about my former struggles
with alcohol, that I've lived a double life, that I needed help, and that I was desperate
for a fresh beginning, I voluntarily asked the Superior Court Judge to let me do
my time in jail for my DUI convictions and go through a program offered by the local
court. Deep down in my heart I felt that a small cold jail cell was still a better
recovery plan for me, for I strongly sensed that God was about to start working a
miracle in my life. Little did I know how this experience would forever change my
life as well as the life of many others.
He heard my family’s cry for help on my behalf. There in that California jail Chapel
is where I have given my life to Jesus and told Him that I wanted to follow Him for
the rest of my life. Upon serving those six months, I was flown over to Arizona Immigration
Detention Center where God used the following 18 months of my life to prepare me;
to shape me and mold me into the vessel He now uses to bear fruit for the glory of
Christ has given me the Grace to serve Him, to experience His power through His
presence in that Arizona Detention Center. Every evening we would meet in my cell
room for a time of fellowship with our Savior. Sometimes 3, sometimes 5, and sometimes
20 men; but that was the place that God allowed for some, to meet Jesus for their
very first time.
There is not one second during these entire two years locked up that I regret for
being behind bars; for it is in there that by His Grace I am now saved.
My heart is overwhelmed with tears of joy as I'm writing these words; for I am on
a train going back home from a full weekend of service in a teen's maximum security
prison, and several churches in Bacau, Romania...Living up my life's calling; sharing
my life's testimony...How God has set me free and how He longs to set you free. Victory
is possible when you let God be in control!