I came to the New Life Dream Center for Men on August 31, 2006. That’s the day my transformation began. I came as a person bound and broken by the enemy’s chains of addiction and deception.
From the time of my birth the enemy was out to steal, kill and destroy, as John 10:10 says. He was out to steal my identity and the reason I was created. I never knew my father and mother. I was orphaned at the age of 3, so my brother and I just had each other. Growing up, I was often asked, “What are you?”—meaning what’s my heritage. I didn’t know, therefore I was always struggling to fit in somewhere.
In Central New York people mostly hung out with their own kind. I quickly found acceptance in the world of drugs and gambling. At the age of 12, I began to use and sell drugs, as well as gambling on cards and dice games. As I grew older, my lifestyle grew more destructive.
On Thanksgiving Day, 2005 my life of dealing and using drugs had grown to the point of driving away my wife and three kids. I polluted my wife by introducing her to cocaine and hurt my children by allowing the devil to come in and cause division in our family.
My wife took our children and moved back to New York (We had been living in Florida), leaving me to fall deeper into the deception of the enemy and even further from all those who meant anything to me. With my family gone, I felt worthless and often contemplated suicide. My life took a turn on January 27, 2006 when I was arrested on drug charges. I was facing 3-15 years in prison. I had come to the end of myself.
During a rare visit with my brother, he told me about this program at the church he was attending.
My first response was, “Yo man, I don’t know about going to a church.” He said, “Well, how bad do you want to change? What have you got to lose?”
He was right, I had already lost my wife, my kids and was about to lose my freedom. I agreed and I entered the New Life Dream Center.
I immediately recognized that my problem was so much more than I had imagined. I didn’t have a drug problem. I didn’t have a gambling problem. What I had was a major identity problem. I didn’t know Jesus and therefore I didn’t know that I was one of God’s children. Once I saw what my problem truly was, I also began to see the solution.
On September 8, 2006, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and, as a result, my life will never be the same. Matthew 6:33 says to “seek first the Kingdom of God and all His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” Well I know this to be absolute truth. The Lord has added my wife back to me, my children and most importantly, I now know who I am. Now when someone says, “What are you?” I can confidently say, “I am a child of the Most High God.” I am no longer a slave to Satan and I am made new.
For the first time in a long time, I am a husband and a father. I am a son, and I am a brother. I AM FREE!!!
—James T., 2008 Graduate