Andre shares how God healed his brokenness, saved him from addiction, and is using him to help transform his community. When Jesus pours His love out, good things happen!
Toby: Welcome back to Renewed and Redeemed, where we share stories of how God has renewed and redeemed everyday people’s lives.
This is episode 23. Today, you’ll hear Andre share how God saved him from the clutches of addiction. And brought him into this kingdom to be a part of transforming his community through God’s love. We hope this episode blesses you.
Crystal: Welcome back to Renewed and Redeemed. On today’s episode, we have a special guest, Andre. He’s from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and recently turned 76 years old. Wow. He’s a retired engineer and a sports official. He has five children and two grandkids. He’s a recovered addict and a reformed felon.
Thank you so much for being with us, Andre. I can’t wait to hear your story.
Andre: Well, Okay. Not much of a story, but I will share what Christ has done for me in my life.
Crystal: Amen. Amen. Can’t wait to hear it.
To get started. If you could just share a little bit about what your life was like before you found Jesus, like you know Him now.
Andre: Okay. That’s that’s a. It’s something that I’ve had to go over for many years because when I was young, my stepfather, he got a pretty good job. So, we moved. Out of the African American neighborhood into a predominantly Italian Catholic neighborhood. And this was back in the fifties.
You know, he kind of sort of put me into the fire, so to speak, because at 13 years old, I was the only African-American in the school that I attended.
And yeah. So needless to say, the racial attitude and the problems that come with it I had to face on a daily basis. But it was good. It was really a good experience for me. However, what I did do is I really, really turned against Jesus Christ and His followers. Because of the treatment that I was receiving from them.
I blamed Jesus.
And so, growing up there was, you couldn’t really confront me. About Jesus and get a, you know, a nice response. I was very vehement about no. I don’t care about Jesus. I don’t care about Christians. I don’t care about you. All of his lies from what you, from what you say and what you do are two different things.
But as a young man, I placed my blame in a wrong direction. Later in life, I came to find out that it wasn’t Jesus to call me the N word and it wasn’t Jesus to tried to do physical harm to me. It was always a person. And even though they may have said that they were believers. Went to church prayed in church, got out of church, ridiculed me.
I had a hard time with that. So, I started misplacing my anger.
did I know, Jesus still had His, He had His hand on me. He sure did. At the time, it wasn’t, I wish I could really say. You know, love thy neighbor as thyself, was the reason that people start accepting me. But it wasn’t. It was the fact that, I had to defend myself on several occasions.
And after a while they figured out that well, You know, we can’t beat him. So, let’s join him.
So that, that is one thing that I , twist and turn in my mind on a consistent basis. So anyway, all that led to me going to drugs.
One of my saving graces was my grandfather. And my grandfather, he was racist. He used to tell me. Don’t trust anything. white and careful around a dead white.
And so, I kinda sorta grew up with that. That attitude. And then the way I was being treated by people, it kind of sorta, made me a very volatile young man. Like I say, my grandfather, he was the one that really taught me math. And he was the one that helped me. Worked through a lot of the trials and tribulations I had growing up black in a white neighborhood.
Like I said, let the drug. Everything that comes along with it. However, my mom, she was able to get me in college, in a city at that time where there were no drugs. So, I was able to concentrate on my academics. And for some reason the, the, the schools that I attended, Christ put me in positions where I could not find any heroin. Cause that was my drug of choice. And there just wasn’t any. Believe me, I looked.
You know, but and. And like I say, this is, this is one thing that years later I had give the glory to Christ because of this, because he put me in places where there was not. So, I was able to concentrate on my academics.
And I was in electronics.
After a while, you know, got married, went to school, finished, got married got back on drugs. And finally wound up in prison. Got out of prison. Got back on drugs. And for some reason, Christ had put in my heart, this is it. No more. You’re done. And I had a choice, but I chose to go ahead and go with that. This is it. I’m done.
I don’t want anymore. So, I had to go through the trials and tribulations of a withdrawal from drugs, and I noticed that every time. I said the, Our Father, because I needed some strength because it wasn’t easy. Whenever I said the, Our Father. That little voice in the back of my head told me to go out and get some drugs.
Andre: As long as I was praying, and I was concentrate on God. All those voices in my head, they were quiet. I didn’t hear them anymore. Now when I stopped praying. Oh, here they come. But you know what. Jesus has showed me the key to that. All I had to do was keep praying. You see what I’m saying?
That was my strength that helped me fight the demons that were inside of me because of this addiction.
Crystal: So good.
Andre: You know, really. And it’s the truth. I think I may have said the, Our Father about 30,000 times.
Crystal: Awesome. That’s awesome. So how did you know about Jesus?
Andre: Well, I went to a Catholic school, so we had Bible
Crystal: Okay. Okay.
Andre: And I’ve heard a lot about Jesus. We, like I said, with. What my problem was is the people that were teaching me about Jesus were not acting Jesus.
Crystal: Right. Yeah. Yeah, they weren’t good representatives of Jesus. Yeah, I understand that.
Andre: You know, and wasn’t until, you know, later in life that I found out that Jesus never did any of those things to me. None. So how can I blame.
Andre: How can I blame my Lord and savior? For something that He did not do.
Crystal: Right. Wow. That’s good.
Andre: That’s a no brainer to me. You see what I’m saying? And. Because I had learned the power of prayer when I was kicking that addiction. I used it and used it. And I found out that throughout life, it helps me get through some real tough situations. If I have a problem. With someone. And I pray with them. Believe me, I don’t feel the same way coming out of that prayer that I did going in.
And. You, you, you see what I’m saying? That prayer allows me to think rationally, not to make an impulsive decision. Not to be angry. Not to hate someone and to really, you know, Show love in those situations. Because believe me, there’ve been times where I did not pray and went into those situations with my experiences, my understanding, my, this, my, that.
And guess what. Every time they got worse and worse and worse. The final conclusion. But it seemed like that you. Aye. Was not able to. You know, really to make some very loving decisions when those times came. But. Like I said then you know, as life went on and I noticed. You know when times of trouble, dude just said a little prayer.
I promise you. You won’t come out of the prayer the same way you went in. You know, and some good things happen to me next. And, you know, I’ve continued that continued that. And it’s one thing that, that, that falls over into what I do. In my neighborhood. Like I’ve been, in my neighborhood, I was there before, you know, a lot of the believers came in and did a transforming our community right now. Right.
I’ve I’ve been part of it. I’ve seen. The work that’s been done. And I know it’s all because of Jesus. For me. When I moved into the, to the neighborhood, I noticed there was a need for the kids to have some kind of resources to help them with their education. My grandfather had taught me that. Like that all my life I’ve always been a math tutor.
But it was, that was what Christ told me that He wanted me to do. And I did it, not always to the best of my ability, but I did it. As time went on. And I found out that sitting at the kitchen table or sitting down somewhere with these children. Trying to explain and go over this math until they learn it.
They just learned. They just didn’t want to do it. And there was so much resistance there. That I knew I had to figure something out. So, you know, when you do? You pray about it.
Crystal: Oh Yeah.
Andre: Yeah, you pray say, gee, well, Hey dude, help me. What can I do? Something’s wrong. I. I’m not helping these kids. I’m hurting them more than I’m helping them. Please help me. I don’t want to do that. And so. He showed me. Something that I’ve used all my life is in electronics. And I’ve used it throughout math and that’s the Cartesian coordinates.
That when I saw it and you know, this is what. I wrestle with. Because I know myself. When people told me they had demons, or they had a vision. I was kind of, sort of skeptical. You know, there
You know. Yeah.
Andre: know what I’m saying? But there was a young lady named Amanda. And if you listen to Amanda’s story, do you are, you know, without a doubt that she had, she was demon possessed. And she used the Lord to get out of it. I had a vision on the softball field. Thinking, what can I do? What can I do mathematically? What can I do? And I saw the cross.
I saw the cross on the field. And it was hard for me to tell people that, because now I’m seeing well, when they help your kid with math, and I had a vision.
Andre: Maybe I will say, wait, hold up player. You know, we got problem here would be visioned thang. But it wasn’t until it happened to me. Did I was able to, to see it. I hid it. Because I didn’t want people to think I was crazy. Right. And then I heard. I heard this wonderful angel story. And she gave me her story gave me this strength.
To actually tell people. Dude, I had a vision about this on the field. I saw.
And the more that I, the more elation I felt, then I saw the numbers come with it. Then I saw the cartesian coordinate. Something that I’ve used all my life.
Andre: My professional career.
And so, you know, that was, that was the clincher for me. But still I had to keep that a secret. But what I did is I designed a math program. Built around on that build upon the things that my, my grandfather taught me about repetition. About repeating math. If you repeat something over and over, you’re going to learn it.
The same goes with reading the Bible. The same goes with making disciples. The same goes with talking about Jesus. The more you do it, the repetition, the stronger it gets. And the better you feel. And. So that’s what I went on. I designed a math program. And I started trying it on the kids and I started, Hey, they like this.
They liked to run and learn about integers. They liked to kick the ball and learn about rectangles and triangles. They love to throw a pass and learn about a linear equation. They. The kids, they love this. And. So that’s what I started doing. I started taking this method that my grandfather initially showed me about having fun with math.
You know And taking it to the level that I had the vision on the field. I saw everything in my. Professional career. So, scope, logic, analyzers. I used all that stuff and all of it has the Cartesian coordinator. And I use it every day.
Andre: So, what I did, I just made a pattern. And got out on the field with the kids. First it was my backyard. We had about eight children. Right. Then it quickly. Grew. Because the kids were playing soccer back there. So. 30. Real fast.
Andre: You know, 30 kids, they’re going to tear up something someone’s getting.
Andre: You know what I’m saying? So, the neighbors. They was in school. We understand what you’re doing, man, but just too many kids back when they tearing up everything.
Okay. So now here’s how Jesus works. So, while we were doing this Two guys came, and they were prayer walking. in our neighborhoods.
It used to be that we fed that we kind of sort of said that people that come down here to pray for us. They wound up making us the prey. People have came to the neighborhood with the Bible with Jesus. And they’ve stole from elderly people.
Crystal: Oh, wow.
Andre: Yeah, they took their foods. You know, they endear themselves. They have the Bible. They come over to have Bible study. They do all the right things. And then in the end, They will say, Hey, I can go shopping for you. Give me your food stamps. I can pay your bills. Give me your debit card.
Andre: Once that
Crystal: my goodness. That’s horrible.
Andre: Very very horrible. So, but the thing about it is who has to step up to the plate for that? We do the people in the community. We can’t let nobody in the apartment starved to death. You can’t do that. Now we, we have to go to the food pantries to get food for them. We have the tail. The landlord, Hey, this happened.
Knowing the landlord don’t want to hear. Here about it. So, then we have to try to come up with things. To help these people that can really, you know, don’t leave their apartment. They never did.
And now they’ve been robbed. And. Because somebody came and said they were. wanted to walk and pray for us. We build up a wall for that. And. It used to be that, what was it times where we would tell people it was prayer walking? No, you can’t pray for me. As a matter of fact, you need to get away from me, man.
I don’t want to hear it.
Andre: But this day. two prayer walkers came. And for some reason, they came up and said, can we pray with you? And. I was skeptical. But for some reason, I said, okay, Let’s do it.
Andre: That moment. Was a changing moment in my life. It definitely was a changing moment in the neighborhood. Because the two gentlemen. I got to know, they said they were coming back. They were going to help us. Okay. So the field that they have now in 127, We had to get the kids out of there. So, Jesus took me up there and I was praying.
Then These two. Two guys came that following Saturday. They said meet us at the field eight o’clock. Because we’re going to use that field. And we did. 30 people. Cut the grass, everything made it so that the kids could play there. Right. One of the best things that happened to the community. Something that has never happened in the community before.
Someone comes in, buys property, and set it up for the neighborhood kids. Where do you read that at?
Crystal: Yeah. Right.
Andre: Yeah, you, you see what I’m saying? This has never happened. Here before. But, you know, the blessings. That we were about to receive because that we had no idea. You know there used to be three, three drug houses across the street. There aren’t three drug houses anymore. More
the field. There was drug drug usage.
Sex you name it. It was there. That field. When Jesus came, it had to go. It God’s. It’s not even a memory anymore to some people have said maybe to me, because I was there.
Andre: The field we have, we have an opportunity to sit down with the kids. You know, while we’re making some water, we caught, we asked them, Hey, what you know about Jesus, Player? You know what I’m saying? You know, we have a chance to talk to the kid. We have a chance to explain to them what the drug dealers are going to do to recruit them, to sell drugs.
Crystal: That’s good.
Andre: Yes, we did tell them this is what you gotta do. Player. If you don’t that traps going to pull you in. And you’re going to wish. That you would have listened.
These are opportunities. These are things where, you know, the kids set up a soccer tournament. To buy an iPad for one of the kids that’s in a wheelchair and has problems learning.
The kids, they set up a tournament to raise money, to go to NASA. And they do it. It’s. You see what I’m saying? Those things only happen. Because Jesus. Since His disciples to our neighborhood and all they brought was a love.
And. I’m telling you at my age, I’m having so much fun. Crystal. For real. Doing what Jesus wants me to do. And and I’m loving it. You know, I couldn’t quit. Even
Crystal: a good, so encouraging.
Andre: Yes. And you know, that’s. What happens, man? When, when Jesus, his love pours out. Good things happen.
Crystal: Yeah, absolutely.
Andre: And. That’s my story.
Crystal: And thank you for sharing it.
Andre: Yes. And And the thing about it. The story’s not over yet.
Crystal: Amen. That’s true.
Andre: You know, we’re just now getting to the good part.
Crystal: Yes, absolutely. I agree. I totally agree.
Andre: It is so beautiful. It is. It’s so beautiful. Wonderful.
And I’d like to thank all the people that have come into our neighborhood, And it has it to the point is that now You have no idea I have no idea what you’ve meant each and every one of you. What you’ve meant, done Done for our neighborhood. And it’s all for the greater glory. Jesus.
Crystal: Amen. Amen. Thank you so much. Do you want to close us out in prayer?
Andre: I sure will.
Crystal: Thank you.
Andre: Okay. Dear heavenly father. And my Lord and Savior.
Thank you, a thousand times. Thank you. Thousand more times. I could not express the glory. It’s in my heart. The glory. To see how your love is transforming lives in our neighborhood. It’s transforming people into disciples. To spread that love. Jesus. This is what it’s all about. Spreading your love, your glory.
We do that. Good things happen. Neighborhood is so blessed.
University mall area is so blessed. Because the Believers that you have sent us. I’ve done nothing but spread your love. And I just want to thank you. And. Thanks everyone. And pray. For everyone. That’s involved. Thank you so much. And the name of Jesus. I pray. Amen.
Crystal: Amen. Thank you.
Andre: Thank you.
Crystal: So you just heard part of Andre’s story of how God has renewed and redeemed him. His revelation and understanding of the power of prayer is amazing. His story healing of racism and hurt is encouraging. His release from the chains of addiction is wonderful, but do you know what stands out to me the most?
His passion. His passion to bring God’s love and His glory to anyone who will listen. Andre lives in joyful anticipation to be a part of what God wants to do. He brings help, fun, and Jesus to kids and their families fully utilizing the talent that God’s given him.
This is what’s most inspiring to me about Andre and his story. This is what is convicting. I wonder, are we all using our talents for Jesus? Has He given you a field vision that you are too scared to share or implement?
Today’s the day, Friends. Share God’s love using what He’s given you. He’ll help you do it. Just take that first step. Be blessed.