My life started on March 3, 1972. I weighed 10lbs 2 oz. and was born in Petersburg, VA. My mother was a Jehovah’s Witness and my dad was in the sporting goods business and an avid Bass fisherman that was well known in the Tri-cities area. My dad was an alcoholic which finally at the age of 9, my parents got a divorce because my mom couldn’t handle his drinking no more. At the age of 9, my dad and I went to live with my grandmother until my dad would get remarried at the age of 12 at that time my stepmother was very abusive to me mentally and physically, so still at the age of 12, I smoked my first joint of marijuana and that totally numbed the deep feelings I was having of not being loved. I would continue smoking marijuana every day and also I started to take LSD which would numb me even more.

     When I was 15 my dad got wind of what I was doing and he put me in my first rehab. It did no good.  At 16 I started snorting cocaine which led me up to smoking crack at the age of 17. During all this my dad was raising me up to be a professional bass fisherman. I had gained respect in the area fishing local tournaments and gaining respect in the fishing industry by getting that (?) I had top name sponsors like Bagley Lines, Eagle Claw, Berkeley, Zoom Lizards and Hourmaster. They were a big part of me getting as far as I did along with my dad teaching me everything he knew. At 24, still doing marijuana and cocaine, the word got around I lost all respect and started getting condemned for what I was doing. At 25 my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away.

     Six months later, when my dad passed away I had learned every bridge here in Virginia so I went to Florida to be closer to my mom and my grandparents. But addiction was still a big issue. At 28 there was no drug that I hadn’t tried and at this time, I was very depressed and suicidal. I tried to commit suicide two times that year.  At 32 my mom became very ill and the doctors gave her two years to live. I started taking care of her but still an addict and fighting my own issues and seeing my mom’s health go down. At 34 the doctors told my mom there was no more he could do for her so when I heard the (d) attempted suicide again by taking a piece of glass and slitting my wrists. God was with me that night because after about 3 minutes of bleeding came from nowhere and got me to the hospital where I stayed for 5 days.

    After I was released I returned to taking care of my mom and returning to my own vomit. At the age of 36 my mom passed away and for the next 3 years I stayed locked up in house doing all the drugs I could get my hands on and I had lost all will to live. At the age of 40 I became homeless living in an abandoned garage for 7 and a half months here in Petersburg praying to God every night that he would save me and change me and he did just that. He brought me to the Reach Out Center where I have been brought closer to him and realizing that my whole life I had been put through these things to be able to serve him better and to help others that have been through the same things I have been through. The grace that he’s showed me today is something that I have only dreamed of.

     I have been here in the ministry for one year and three months now and loving life today. The ministry has given me a manager’s position at the thrift stores that supports the ministry and doing outreach to the surrounding communities. God has filled my heart today with love and patience. My mind is being transformed to be a respectful person to others and I owe all the praise to God. I want to leave you with a couple of verses that coincide with my life. There are 2 Timothy 4:16-18.