- Baptist Beacon
The return of the prodigal son
DETROIT, MI – I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. I spent the majority of my youth inside church and involved in church activities and sports. I heard the gospel of Jesus at an early age and I asked the Lord to come in my heart. I wanted to live for him. As a child, I attended Catholic School and I was infatuated with Priesthood. Although I wasn't Catholic, I boldly announced my desire to become a Priest. I remember the puzzled look on my mother’s face. I was only nine years old. The Lord made his presence known in my life, and that moment would change my life for forever.
In high school, my interest was swayed from church; I eventually fell out of love with church and the people that said they were saved. I fell in love with basketball in high school and I won an athletic scholarship for four years playing basketball. I became the prodigal son and a downward spiral began. I ran from Jesus, the church and the things about God. I was trying to remove his presence from my life with alcohol, parties and women.
Not at all, praising Him for all the things he had done. I was trying to forget the priesthood, and his calling. I remember the hurt, the pain and the emptiness in my life. After college, I joined the military. While in the military, I was almost killed by a landslide in a training exercise. I was denying the Lord his rightful place in my life. Near death, I recall crying out the name of “JESUS”. Now... I needed the Savior, but didn't have a deep relationship with him. I rededicated my life to Jesus. No matter how hard it would be, I knew that the Lord wanted to use my life to spread his gospel and that I'm called to deliver his message.
For the next five years, I studied the things of the Lord at Waukegan Community Church in Illinois. The church plant began in a gym, and the Lord used this experience to teach me and help me understand Christianity and the structure of the church. I left Waukegan, Illinois and moved back to Detroit, Michigan. The prodigal son returned to Detroit - where our Lord blessed me with a helpmate. My wife, Marisa; is a godly woman, full of compassion and vision. I began participating with Alcoholics for Christ ministries. Substance abuse and vices of this world could no longer be my comfort. I eventually began leading meetings and I had the opportunity to work with Alcoholics for Christ a para-ministry for eight years in different capacities.
The Lord developed additional leadership gifts with the help of churches like Great Commission and the Afro-American Mission for the next eight years. My wife and I also worked with youth and began developing Children's Church and Vacation Bible School programs. I became an associate pastor and began preaching and teaching. I enrolled in Michigan Theological Seminary (Moody Theological Seminary) to sharpen my sword to better serve our Lord and His people. I gained my MACP (Masters of Arts in Counseling Psychology) The following five years I served as Pastor of Outreach Ministries at First Baptist of Oak Park. I diligently walked the pavement to share the gospel and also directed missionary trips. It's such an honor and privilege to preach the saving grace of Christ and teach application of His Word to youth and adults. I've also partnered with Here's Life/Campus Crusade to deliver boxes of love to provide holiday meals to those in need, and for the past ten (10) years I've assisted with the United Men's Conference at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI.
In August of 2016, my wife and I completed the North American Mission Board (NAMB) Church Planter training. This is a great calling for my family and me. I have the honor to plant a church in the city of Detroit where the crime and drug addiction rate is high and alcohol and the immoral activity are out of control. Heart and Soul Community Church is based on (Luke 10: 27) “He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Pray for the effectiveness of the gospel in this community and also for my supportive family as we reach the lost, revive the faint and restore the fallen. I love you, but Jesus Christ loves you more.