My pilgrimage has been nothing short of a miracle. I was adopted into a wonderful family of five at 3 months of age. I give God glory, as he spared me from early, and untimely death. My family welcomed many other foster children over the years, and I saw God’s love manifested in a variety of ways at home. One day, when I was 9 years old, an older man called me a Ni**er, while changing at a wave pool, and it was at that moment that I realized I was different. I didn’t know what or who I was. “What is this skin that I’m in? Who am I? Does everyone see me as different? Identity questions came flooding in. The years that followed were filled with a mixture of joy, sorrow and adaptation, and questions of identity never stopped sputtering through my adolescent mind.
I went to church with my family, but time and time again either I or a family member fell victim to church politics, and troubling issues in the house of God. At school my teachers would say that I had potential but wasn’t achieving success. In high school Identity issues really began to surface, and anger began to build up against my birth mother. I coped with it by sleeping with as many women as I could, in order to claim my worth. As high school progressed it became increasingly difficult, and I found myself having to live down unearned reputations from teachers. The peak of my diminishing hope in high school was when I got expelled from the school/school board. With a heavy and downtrodden heart, the seduction of secular living led me into the valley of the shadow of death. Though I eventually graduated from high school my grade average was in the low 50’s. This meant that post secondary school was not in my future, (so I thought). After high school I didn’t have much direction, and I became the thing that I hated the most, (a man who ruined lives). Instead of just being a womanizer I became a drug dealer, and I fulfilled all of the other roles that came along with that life. Yet again, I was having major identity issues. I can remember nights when I would rally the crew and go “collect”. I remember nights where I would cruise around the city supplying empty people with the drugs they used to suppress their emotional pain. I remember dropping off a package to a guy at 2 am while his daughter was in his arms. The man was so high on crack cocaine.
One day while I was away something drastic happened at the place where I lived, and as a result I had no more money. Having no money was one thing, but it was the hunger, and homelessness that led me to rigging a shoelace into my jacket so that the food I stole wouldn’t fall out. It got so bad that I eventually reduced myself to a cheap thrill at $0.99/min (That’s another story on its own folks). One day I was working in a house and at some point I had an epiphany, “If I was a slave for my earthly father I would have better living conditions”. After saying that all I could think about was how cliche I sounded, a prodigal son in the flesh. At that point the Sunday story became so real. I was at the absolute bottom, but Jesus came. He found me and broke the chains that entangled my life and led me out of the valley step by step. Through a series of unbelievable events, Christ brought me to university in Lennoxville, Quebec. Having to start from scratch was difficult but by the grace of God, not only did I graduate, I was a nominee for valedictorian.
After a very serious fight with my best friend Thomas (the type that makes or breaks a friendship) I walked into a local church with him. It was there that God restored me to who He intended me to be. As a result, the seed of youth ministry exploded in my life . It was also there that I received the most awesome gift from God. He connected me with a beautiful and talented lady who would later become my wife and the mother of my children. I often look back, not with regret, but to revel at the masterpiece that God is crafting called, “my life”. Now a father of two beautiful boys Ezra and Emmanuel I travel globally, proclaiming the grace and redemptive power of God’s love. I have to believe in miracles and that God has a destiny for each one of us. With that in mind, I have been commissioned to meet young people on their battleground, lifting them up, and walking with them to their God-intended destinies. I do so by empowering young people to achieve their dreams, by teaching them to balance sacrifice and pleasure as a means to encountering God.