The story below is from The Life Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota:
“Boy are you dumb? You don’t know your own name?” said Charlie Mack’s teacher on his first day at a new elementary school in Miami. All the kids laughed. Those words hurt Charlie deeply. “I started thinking and telling myself, I’m stupid, I’m dumb. It’s true what they are saying about me. And from that day on I didn’t like my name.”
Feeling unwanted and unwelcomed because of race and poverty, Charlie immersed himself in a life of self-destruction and addiction. One evening in 1975, in the midst of his addiction, Charlie heard the voice of God tell him he would preach one day. Yet the next 20 years were filled with despair going from crack pipe to crack pipe.
In 1995, Charlie found himself in Minneapolis. After smoking a marijuana joint he had “ the munchies” and looking to the ground saw a flyer that said “free food” at the ICCM Life Center “Hip Hop Jam on the Ave.” Charlie said, “The hot dogs drew me there, the music kept me, but it was the testimonies that gave me hope. Pastor Monica’s story made me think if God can turn a heroin addict into a pastor, then there’s hope for me.”
That night Charlie went up to the altar and asked Jesus into his heart to transform his life. While he was at the altar, a picture was taken of him worshiping God. Three years later, Charlie was heading back to Miami on a Life Center bus (with that picture of him on the side) to plant a church and preach in the neighborhood God spoke to him about 20 years earlier. God took the bad and used it for good. Charlie preached there and saw his auntie get saved and his family members get saved.
Confronting the lies of his childhood started a new healing process and allowed God to use him for greater things. Though initially insecure about his qualifications to lead others, God has helped Charlie work through those insecurities and he now leads the Friday Night Street Team reaching out to the lost and hurting in Minneapolis and he serves on the Ministry Team.
Today, Charlie likes his name because God has called him by name and said, "You are mine."
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