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How A Thug Encountered Jesus Christ Through His Cellmate In Prison



Holy Gabbana had an encounter with the Holy Spirit which turned him to Christ

A former prison inmate, John Robert Hill Jr, popularly known as Holy Gabbana, who chased fame, money, drugs, and women has said he was radically changed during an encounter with the Holy Spirit in his jail cell that changed his “fate from thug life to Christ.” reports that the 27-year-old recently appeared on the God Behind Bars podcast to share how God radically changed his life while he served time in prison for hit-and-run charges, gun charges, and narcotics possession.  

Gabbana told the ministry he turned his reckless behavior of vandalism, theft, and robbery as a teen into a budding social media gig that boasted five million followers at the time. 

“All you got to do to make this much money is to be a fool and act reckless…I could do that,” he recalled. “I started being a nut.”

Gabbana’s content of vandalism, robbing stores, and jumping on people’s cars began to go viral, granting him fame and recognition among celebrities, but it also led him to a dark place. 

“I didn’t blow up with a team. I didn’t blow up with a manager. I blew up from the streets,” he said. 

Gabbana said at the time he encountered fame, he battled with brokenness from the abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother and losing his stepfather to bladder cancer.

He learned to numb the pain by popping pills and soon became heavily addicted. 

Gabbana’s reckless lifestyle eventually led him to prison in 2018. 

His cellmate, Joshua, he asked Gabbana a simple question when they first met.

“He was like, ‘Do you believe in Jesus?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ For that man to ask me, do I believe in Jesus? That lets me know that God was always thinking about me. Anybody else could have been my cellmate,” he shared. “In that moment, God reached me through my cellmate.”

He continued, “When I went to jail, Jesus wasn’t on my mind, because to be honest. I wasn’t thinking about Jesus when I went to jail. You may not be thinking about Jesus, but he is thinking about you. But God was literally setting me up so I could have an encounter with him.”

Gabbana says his cellmate began to minister to him and show him the love of God. 

“In jail, I encountered Jesus,” he told God Behind Bars. “A lot of people they don’t understand that God speaks through people… in that moment God reached me through my cellmate.”

One night, Gabbana had a divine encounter with the Holy Spirit that changed the trajectory of his life. 

“I was on my bunk, and I decided to worship. And I’m singing, ‘Jesus loves you, for he died on the cross for our sins. He’s always with you from beginning to the end.’ I bundle up in my covers, and I start crying,” Gabbana recalled. 

“I can’t explain why I was sad, but I was just sad. But something hovered over me and stripped my sadness away and filled me with joy,” he continued. “I was just laughing. I felt like a child.”

He says he woke up his cellmate to share what happened and was told he had an encounter with the Holy Spirit. 

“I’ve experienced [being] high. I’ve experienced hallucinations where I’m so high I’m talking to my wall and that wall talking back to me. (But) this though I’ve never experienced.”

Gabbana said his life has completely turned around in the last several years. He now preaches the Gospel in prisons, juvenile detention centers, schools, and colleges.

“I’m not dependent on drugs anymore. I’ve been sober for four years now. I don’t even have a desire to get back on drugs or anything. The emptiness that I was feeling, the void that was within me could only be filled by Jesus,” he said.

He also raps to share about the love of Jesus Christ. 

“We live in a fallen world. The state that we are in, the sinful state, it’s not how it was originally designed. It’s not how God created us. Only the Maker, the Creator, could bring us back to our original state,” he said.

“If people can see me and then see how God is able to restore and flip things around. I’m not ashamed to share my failures with people because sharing my failures with somebody could really encourage them. It’s never too late to make a turnaround,” Gabbana told Holy Culture Radio. 

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