For Mose Moeala, jail was a blessing in disguise
Two years in prison was a blessing in disguise for Mose Aitaufetuli Moeala.
The 37-year-old volunteer at Teen Challenge credits his time in prison for helping him turn his life around.
His goal of sharing his story is to help others be inspired and learn from his mistakes, just as much as he learned from his own years ago.
In 2014, Mr. Moeala was put behind bars for being armed with a dangerous weapon after beating up another male under the influence of alcohol.
Speaking to Samoa Observer, the man from Saleaula Savai'i and Lotopa said prison was the scariest experience of his life.
"People may think of prison as a bad place and yes it's true that criminals are confined in that place but, for me, it's the place that has reshuffled my life around and made me who I am today," he said.
"Alcohol was my lover and when I first entered prison, I was lonely, scared, sleepless and full of regrets.
"I could not sleep for a whole week. I got sick for two weeks in prison but now that I think about it, it was God calling for me to change my ways as I had been the opposite of myself today."
During his first months in prison, he kept thinking back to the advice of his mother when he had the freedom to do as he wanted outside of prison.
His best friend inside the prison was his Bible.
Although it drew mockery, his Bible accompanied him throughout his time behind bars.
After being freed from prison in 2016, Mr. Moeala said sending out more than ten applications in a week still produced no job offers. He was unsure why.
"I had all the qualifications needed," he said. "Before, it was so easy for me to get a job whenever I was fired from a job because of alcohol. But my days after prison was difficult in terms of finding a job.
"After some time, I was convinced to join Teen Challenge as I felt that it was a great spot for me."
Although it was volunteering work, Mr. Moeala is now putting his whole life serving God through the service he does for Teen Challenge, a non-government organisation focused on helping wayward youth.
He is now a second year student at the Apia Harvest Center Bible College and has graduated with a Certificate of Theological Study and the certificate of Biblical study.
He told this newspaper that his family has now accepted his new path although it took long for them to do so.
"I wish that by telling my story, I can be able to inspire and encourage the young people of our country out there that it's never too late to change. We need to go back to the way our parents raised us."