I use this story for the truth in that when I landed in the camp in Taft, the one to bless me was being used by GOD to bless and provide for me, KNOWING who I was and now am, a believer and follower of Christ.
As I began to walk about this place that was totally new to me, and foreign, I looked to God for direction and what to do. There was a lot offered there, and also, I have the word given to me by God through the prophetess. So now, I am on the lookout. What is He going to make me a part of to equip me? However, not to that extent at the moment. I am just walking. The second day there, the same person used by God to bless me with provisions, takes me with him to a program called T.O.A.D (Those Outspoken Against Drugs).
I also learned of something else that is very interesting that Taft offered. It is a college that would allow me to obtain degrees in theology. However, I did not believe that I needed this; shoot, our brother Paul the apostle did not need to go to seminary to be who God used him to be. At least, in my immaturity as a son of the Most High, this was my mindset. After all, I had been discipled and was proud of it, to have obtained the life, knowledge and understanding I did, to experience the things I did by my father in the faith, and most of all, through the Holy Spirit. This mindset would soon be altered though.
T.O.A.D. is a youth outreach program that goes to at-risk continuation schools and programs to speak to youths about how those in the group ended up in prison. Immediately, I was intrigued by this program and became an avid participant, but one has to also be voted into it. So for the first year I attended, we were doing and practicing skits and speeches about how to communicate with them and express to them in an effective and timely manner with accuracy and the utmost accountability.
One thing about talking to the youth today is that if you are in front of them talking about things you know nothing about, they can smell the smoke a mile away. So we had to be 100 percent authentic to the core. After I told my story about how I ended up in prison and spent the last decade (120 months at the time) locked up, I would often ask them the question, “Whose fault was it that I had to be in for so long?” They would often reply that it was the “snitch’s” fault that I ended up in prison. I would counter this answer with a question. I asked them, “If I was NOT selling dope, would they have the opportunity to tell the cops that I was?” They would then answer with a “NO.”
The perspective changes—accountability! I CHOSE to sell dope and live that life. So due to MY CHOICE, I had to pay the consequences.
My story was most compelling because as my record shows, sitting in my file in the office next to me as I write this, I used to use the youngsters that I was speaking to then. I used to sell my dope to them and make money because of their lack of desire to pursue legitimate uses of their time in school. I am the one who would deceive and manipulate them into doing what I wanted by putting what they wanted in their faces and hands, luring them away from a positive future to satisfy the life I wanted to live, abusing them morally and ethically along the way.
I WAS THE DIRT BAG OF DIRT BAGS, and it is that raw intensity they needed to see to properly impact their lives—to keep an eye out for the same kind of guy, who was out there trying to do it to them. Just because I was doing it in New Mexico and went to prison, doesn’t mean there is not another guy like I was, seeking to do the same with them today.
This was the turning point of the truth I would share with them, about the LIFE I CHOSE to live.