Where did you grow up from and tell us a bit about you?
Basically I grew up in Netherley but all my friends were from Norris Green, and as you know the area is known for quite a few problems. I always hung out with the wrong crowd, that is, the friends I had were not the best, due to the influence they had on me as a person. So at the age of 13, I was involved with the wrong people, making wrong decisions and doing things, that I knew were not right but did it anyway because that is what I had grown up with and was normal at that time.
When was that time when you decided something had to change?
Well, when I was young I didn’t go to church and I never took Christianity seriously. But when I hung out with the wrong friends, there was always something at the back of my mind telling me that life shouldn’t really be like it was. I also did not like it because I was always used by friends to do the wrong things for their own benefit. This did not help, because it caused trust issues in my life and low self esteem. I knew that I was in a bad place and ruining my life, but it was very difficult for me to let go.
Why do you think it was not an easy step for you to let go?
The people I lived with and hung out with were just associates, not real friends. But they were all I had at the time so deciding to do my own thing would mean losing the only people I knew and had which was not an easy place to be, because everyone wants to have a sense of belonging, regardless of where it comes from.
When you look back, what has changed now?
(Laughter) I remember the first time I entered Grace Family Church, I was drunk but still the warmth and love I received from the members in the church was lovely. I was also shocked with how lively the music was and I saw a completely different side of Christianity. That it was not boring but was actually fun. I also remember a guest speaker Howard Morgan who preached once about not judging. Which made my heart glad and I felt at peace. I am definitely more confident in who I am, happier and at peace with myself. It is also great to connect with people you can actually trust and to know that they have a genuine love and interest in you is amazing.
Where do you see yourself in the next 2-3 years or so?
I love rap music a lot and I find that I express myself more through this. So my desire is to reach out to people and tell them about God through Rap. I have talked to some of the people in church who are already doing, it like Jamie, and they have been very helpful and encouraged me to pursue my dream. I hope that some time in the future my dream will become a reality.
What lessons have you learnt from your past and present life? What advice would you give to those people who are struggling to find that inner peace or be better people in life?
When I reflect on the things I used to do or think of where I would be if I had not come to this church, it makes me realise how fortunate I am and how far I have come. I encourage those people who are still searching for peace, to give church a go and talk to someone. They should also remember that when they enter church, there is a reason why they walked in, in the first place. These are people who will connect with you, help you and not harm or use you.