I was raised in Harlem, New York and brought up in the church by my two loving parents. Growing up as a child in New York City, I saw and experienced a lot of things. Even though most of my time was spent at church with my family, I was always curious about the outside world; the street life.
After a while, I started drifting further away from the church; until one day, without realizing it, I was all the way out there. I started hanging out with all different kinds of groups and people, doing this and doing that. Before I knew it, I was drinking and getting high regularly. At first, I didn’t see anything wrong with getting high even though I knew it was wrong. Little did I know, that was the devil’s way of deceiving me and reeling me in like a lost fool.
Many years went by and I thought I had things under control. I can remember my mother used to tell me, “Fred, if you let the devil ride, he’s going to want to drive.”
After a while, my life started to spiral way out of control. That’s when the devil showed up and showed out. I started messing up on the job. I was constantly calling in sick or not showing up because I was tired from being up all night and getting high. I started lying about where I had been and what I did with most of my money. But most of all, I started neglecting my wife and children. I developed the “I don’t care” attitude. The drugs had such a stronghold on me until I really thought I was a lost cause and bound for hell. I was so far gone; at times I didn’t really know who I was or what was going on. I can remember one night waking up in the hospital and not knowing how I got there. The doctor came in and said, “Your body won’t be able to take these drug binges much longer.”
That alone should have woken me and brought me to my senses; but no, I continued to get high. I was at the lowest point in my life, and I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to.
One day when i felt like I didn’t really have anything to live for, I took a good look at myself in the mirror. I was shocked to see how badly I looked, and how badly I looked, and how much weight I lost. I just broke down and cried out to the Lord to please help me, and He did.
When I got to Faith Farm, I didn’t know anybody or what to expect. I just left it in God’s hands and He took care of the rest. My life force and health started coming back. Once I got better, I got homesick and was ready to go back home. After one of the church services, I was walking back to the dorm with my head down, contemplating whether I should stay or leave. I noticed there was a cross carved in the cement on the ground. Above the cross, it said, “Don’t Quit.” As I started to walk on, I also noticed the word “Fred.” I stopped dead in my tracks and read it again. Something went through me that I can’t quite explain. Deep down in my spirit, I knew it was the Lord speaking directly to me. I looked towards heaven and said, “Lord, I hear you and I receive it.”
I went on forward in the program and completed it. I must be honest; it had its ups and downs. But through it all, I finished my course. I truly learned a lot about the Bible and what it really means to me. It has helped me to reshape my life and has given me a very positive outlook on the things that really matter. All the glory belongs to God. I can see clearly now; the smoke is gone.