This is the testimony of the dramatic redemption of former gangster Rami Kivisalo. The red scorpion is a sign of death that for years brought fear to those that saw the tattoo on his arm but, thanks to Jesus, Rami was released from demons and his prison of spiritual death. Below is part of his story:
Rami Kivisalo is a former professional criminal who is known to have worked with some of the leaders of the Russian mafia. Rami says that when he was a young boy he used to enjoy watching martial arts films and all kinds of violent entertainment. He began to be attracted to criminal lifestyle, and started committing crimes when he was twelve.
“An abnormal need for excitement and some indescribable force within me drove me to commit crimes,” he says. When he was fourteen he moved to Africa where he befriended a martial arts master, one of the most dangerous men in Africa.
According to Rami, his master practised witchcraft. He moved faster than any snake or animal. Rami couldn’t follow his moves with a naked eye. Rami’s teacher could also foresee and know things in a way that could only be explained as supernatural.
“All that seduced me. His supernatural powers and abilities pulled me to him with some irresistible power.” At that stage, Rami says, he opened his heart to demonic powers and let them in. They began to control his life.
The extraordinary training in martial arts made Rami Kivisalo a martial arts master. When Rami left Africa, he had achieved the black belt level in multiple martial arts.
After Rami returned from Africa to Finland he rapidly descended into the criminal lifestyle. He built relationships with international crime bosses and got involved with all sorts of criminal businesses.
In 1997, Rami was arrested for an armed robbery. He got a four years’ sentence for planning an armed robbery and running a criminal organization.
In prison Rami began to plan even grander international criminal schemes. He built new relationships and formed an alliance with a well-known crime gang boss. Together, they decided to escape and leave the country for good.
But one day, something happened that changed everything. In prison cell, he heard an audible voice. It said, “Rami. If you don’t turn around and repent from your sins and crimes, you will die soon and without forgiveness for your sins.” Rami says that he understood that it was Jesus who spoke those words.
“I knew that it was God who had spoken to me, personally. I hadn’t taken any drugs. I didn’t take any drugs. I heard those words clearly. I knew that Jesus had spoken to me. The only thing I didn’t know was why.”
A few days later Rami laid on the bunk in his cell. “I opened my eyes and saw a vision of my friend and I – the once I was planning to escape with. We stood by the door of a casino. I opened my eyes but the vision didn’t vanish. Then the image came alive. We left the casino and walked along the street. Suddenly, a large black car appeared. Its windows opened and two men started shooting at us with machine guns. The rain of bullets hit both of us and we fell. The car left. I saw my friend and I laying on the footway.”
Rami had seen similar visions in Africa. He had discovered new fighting techniques through them. He had learned to trust in his visions. This time, he says that he understood clearly that this vision had come from God.
“I stood in my cell and grasped that God had just revealed to me how my life would end if I continued my life of crime.”
Regardless, he didn’t want to let go of his criminal businesses. He resisted God for months.
“In the end, there was nowhere to run. I felt as if God was chasing me along the prison corridors and speaking to me on a daily basis. One night, I was drinking coffee when my cell was filled with the presence of God. I grasped that the final deadline for making my decision had come. I knelt on the floor and said, ‘Jesus. If you can forgive my terrible sins and set me free from my violent life of crime then I will give you the rest of my life.”
Somehow Rami knew that something extraordinary had just taken place. Still, Rami didn’t feel free. He tells how the powers of darkness kept on oppressing him day and night in such a way that he believed he would go mad. He had told his parents that he had given his life to Jesus but that he needed deliverance from the demonic forces that oppressed him and kept him in bondage.
When he was let home for a weekend Rami met an African woman. This Christian woman asked Rami to kneel by a sofa, laid her hands on him, and commanded the demons to leave Rami.
Rami took hold of the sofa with both hands and started to scream. He couldn’t control himself but rolled like a snake on the floor.
“I felt how the demons took my body in their complete control. I heard hissing, as if hundreds of snakes had hissed inside of me. When the African woman bound the powers of darkness in the name of Jesus and asked them to leave me, I felt paralyzed. After around twenty minutes I felt how these forces of darkness finally left me. The oppression lifted."
Rami says that after that he felt that he had been set free from violence and crime that had kept him in bondage for years. A year later Rami was let on parole.
Rami has never revealed the names of his criminal connections.
“It took me a long time before I understood the necessity of forgiving everyone who had hurt me. I realized that because God had forgiven me my sins and crimes I should also forgive other people their sins. After I had made the decision to forgive everyone who had hurt me and asked God for the grace to forgive I was able to forgive myself as well.
According to Rami, forgiveness is one of the foundational aspects of life. He says that we can’t be completely until before we forgive other people, no matter how much they have hurt us. Not forgiving leads to hatred and bitterness, and dissatisfaction about ourselves and our lives. Forgiveness is one of life’s most important principles.
But can man ever forget his sins and hurts?
”I have spoken about my life openly and in detail so that everyone would understand that a life transformation takes time. For most, it is a difficult and painful process. The world is filled with people who have tried to change their lives – and failed. Many people give up after a failure. It is difficult to go to a church when you have failed publicly. Oftentimes, many people judge and criticize those who they see stumbling. Through that they push these people to give up. I have shared my battles and temptations, including my falls, so that someone else could be encouraged to keep on going. Never give up, no matter what happens.”
Rami says that unless God had revealed Himself to him there is no way that he would have given his life to Jesus.
“It is only because of God’s grace that my life has been transformed. I want to tell everyone that Jesus can change your life, no matter how it looks like today!”