I’m a semi-retired entertainment photographer. I’m sixty-eight years old. I was a boozer until I was sixty-six. I’ve done about everything. I owned a head shop in Atlanta. I got involved with all kinds of drugs. I was a marijuana and cocaine dealer. I was addicted to cocaine, alcohol, and tobacco. At times in my life, I didn’t believe there was a God. At other times, I was an agnostic. I thought, “Well, there is a God, but he’s just a passive God. He doesn’t care about me.”
I’m an old rock and roller. In 1961 I had a band in the Chattanooga, TN, area called The Velveteens. I love rock and roll music. Most churches put me down for that, but the Carpenter’s Cowboy Church liked what I did. They let me sing with them, and they let me rock. In the early years, I went there because Pastor Gene Coleman became my friend. He helped me. He put up with me when I was drunk. If I showed up on Sunday with a hangover, he tolerated me. A couple of times he wouldn’t let me sing because I was tipsy, but he stuck by me all those years.
It was unusual for me to stay home on Saturday night. I was usually headed to the bar with my camera. I would get drunk and photograph bands. The night I did stay home my phone rang. It was a friend who was despondent and talking of taking his own life. I was there to counsel him. We were on the phone for about an hour. By the time we finished talking we were laughing and crying with each other. When we hung up the phone his suicidal episode was over. I felt that it had to be an act of God that I was there to take his call and help him.
I guess I felt God’s Spirit that night more than I had before. That was the first time that I had really felt that God was in my life and using me and that He could do things through me. I consider that a miracle. The next morning in church I gave my heart to Jesus.
I thank God that He let me live those sixty-six years as a sinner. I learned from those years of bad experiences, and now I can share with others what I’ve learned. I hope what I have to share will influence at least one person.