Born and reared in Birmingham, Alabama with a brother ten years my junior, my childhood would have been described as ordinary. My parents were devout Christians, and as I grew up we regularly attended the Christian Missionary Alliance Church. I professed Christ at an early age; in fact, I made numerous visits to the altar over the years to make sure I was a Christian. I even attended a Christian High School. My behavior never matched my profession, and deep down I knew that I was lost.
Shortly after high school graduation, I married a wonderful Christian girl I had met in high school, and then entered the U. S. Army. Upon completing my two years service I was honorably discharged and entered the University of South Carolina. Graduating with an accounting major and B. S. degree, with a faithful wife and two children, my future looked promising.
Within a period of less than a decade I managed to put my family through several criminal trials resulting in a two separate periods of incarceration. After each prison sentence I was restored to my family and a good job as an accountant. My home was intact; we now had four children, but I continued to self-destruct. Philandering, drunkenness and gambling were apt descriptions of my life, and promises to my family, myself and even to God never seemed to make a difference, but I continued to profess Christ.
While in prison the second time, I made a profession of faith in Christ that did seem to produce several changes. All of the outstanding charges were dropped. My profession and change in behavior resulted in another parole after seven years. Again I was restored to my faithful wife, children and home, with a good job in the family business.
In spite of having a legitimate income that was at its highest in my life, I reverted to the gambling and womanizing, leading to a divorce from the mother of our children. Then I married another woman, and that was an alcoholic disaster. Divorce followed in less than two years.
After the second divorce, a major business failure and continual scandals for my family, I left Birmingham for New Orleans. The downward spiral was even more rapid; soon I found myself unemployable and homeless. I had become a skid row derelict. I thought I had experienced the worst in prison, but living on the streets was pure terror for me.
After thirty months, I returned to Birmingham and my parent's home. I was 48 years old, broke and hopeless. On the day I returned, a life long friend contacted me. He had been sober fifteen months in A. A. He invited me to attend a meeting with him. After a few months it seemed that sobriety was established, but I was still depressed and unable to obtain any kind of employment. Who would hire a forty-eight year old with my reputation?
I realized that I had only professed Christ, and had never possessed Christ. And I knew that only in Christ is there hope. My dilemma was that I really thought I had forfeited the possibility of relationship with Him due to my rebellion and hypocrisy. But one afternoon, alone, at my parent's home, God moved in on me and captured me. I had hope! Sobriety continued and I knew that I had been born from above; that I was a new creation and that Christ in me was my hope of glory.
The good seed that had been planted previously began to bear good fruit. I became a substance abuse counselor, and God gave me a wonderful Christian wife, Mary Kay. She, too, had been redeemed from a criminal lifestyle. I joined her in ministry, and in response to His leading, we started Shepherd's Fold, a residential facility for ex-felons who desired to follow Christ. Over the years we have served in Texas, Oregon and Missouri, and in 1994 we returned to Birmingham to continue the ministry of encouragement to the body of Christ as God enables.
March 26 1934 - February 19, 2006