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Illiterate, lived in a shack, but still found success.

I was illiterate. I couldn’t read until the seventh grade. I had a speech impediment. I was mocked through school. I wore hand-me-down clothes. But in the seventh grade .....

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I was in a town called Moreland Georgia, a small town on a dirt road, an endless dirt road. I had nothing. I picked cotton the first five years of my life. I have worked since I was five years old to help provide to bring food for my family. I picked up hay. I picked up a rock. Nineteen people, there were fifteen children. My Grandmother, my Grandfather, my Mother, and my Aunt lived in one house. It was a shack. This house was about a hundred years old. It has no running water today, no toilet, no electricity. You could see chickens walking under the house. We had a meat box. We would use our hog we slaughtered and we would put the meat in a meat box and it cured the meat. The meat got wet because the ceiling leaked so maggots came to the meat, so we had to cut the maggots off the meat and still eat the meat. So it was a difficult life.

My Momma abused me her whole life. She said; “Son, I wish you were never born. You were a mistake. You should have never been here.”

I was illiterate. I couldn’t read until the seventh grade. I had a speech impediment. I was mocked through school. I wore hand-me-down clothes. But in the seventh grade I had a man named Mr. Malcomb (he was my science teacher) he said; “Boy, I’m going to help you.” He used a metal ruler. He beat my hand. He said; “You’re going to read.” He allowed me to believe that I could read. I started learning one word at a time. By the time I got to High school, I graduated the top of my class. So life wasn’t that easy, but I believed that I could do it. He invested in me, that I could change things for someone else.

I went off and joined the military. I had a man named Chaplain Hardwick came to me (he was my Chaplain), he said; “Son, John 14 says, let your heart not be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.” I didn’t understand that scripture. I used profanity and I said; “Chaplain, I’m not worried about nothing.” He came for months. He came for about three months. He was persistent. He provided me, counsel. After about three months of his consistency of coming to me and sharing the love of God, it drew me to salvation. It was amazing, I mean, I didn't have anyone to come up and lay hands on me and say; “receive salvation.” God did it himself. Then he inspired me through his word and Him teaching me through His Spirit how to embrace His word and walk in His word. But I understand today that the Bible says; “Before I formed you in the belly that I knew thee. Before you came from that womb, I sanctified thee. I ordained thee a prophet to the nation. So no matter how bad things may seem on your start off time, God has a purpose and a destiny for our life that allows our self to trust in Him and walk Him and believe in Him.

The thing is when I look back I look in amazement at what God has done.

We used to get dropped off by the school bus at a cotton field. So can you imagine the ridicule out there, they call you a slave? You’re a child. You’re on a plantation. You have no voice. You will never be anything. You will always be beneath me. I was told that my whole life. But that thing motivated me to say; “No, I refuse to be defeated. I’m greater than my challenges in life. I am going to succeed in life.” That’s why I love doing jail ministry. I love doing street ministry. I love dealing with the homeless and the drug addicts and the prostitutes because I want them to know that you have a chance to overcome.

Eddie - Illiterate, lived in a shack, but still found success.

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