[dropcap]I[/dropcap] was born February 15, 1965 to Randall Tucker Alexander and Beverly Kay Glanders. My life started off in West Dallas on the outside of the housing projects. My mother worked full-time for Taylor Publishing Company and part-time for a Barbecue place. My father did not live with us. We saw him only on birthdays and Christmas. I am the third of six children, 4 boys and 2 girls. My family did fairly well with the help of my great grandmother, who stayed right down the street from us. She walked us to church every Sunday.
Our lives changed drastically when my mother’s hand got caught in one of the printing machines at work and she lost her job. No sooner, she lost our house and we ended up moving into the West Dallas housing projects. We were known by the other children as the “church kids.” Every day the children would pick on us, call us names, and laugh at us but we were not allowed to fight back. One day we came home from school to meet our mother drunk. This was the first time we saw her drunk and for the first time in our little lives, she gave us permission to fight anyone that crossed our path. From then on, fighting became a way of life. Our teachers couldn’t understand how well behaved boys became street boys overnight.
One day, a group of us were in the street racing, I lost my balance and fell. I was hit and drug down the street about 2 blocks by a car. I stayed in the hospital for a month. When I got out of the hospital, we stopped going to church altogether and my life was no more the same. We were now on government assistance. My mother would cut dice games across the street from our house. We moved to the Oak Cliff area to a house owned by my Aunt Patricia. We walked 2 Â½ miles to and from school every day. Shortly after, we moved to South Dallas where we stayed with my mother’s boyfriend, an alcoholic who fought all the time. When they broke up, we moved back to Oak Cliff. Shortly after, I moved to California with my father’s sister, Aunt Pat.
This was supposed to be a new beginning for me. A family environment with discipline, morals, and education. I went to Adams Junior High School in Richmond, California. I was only allowed to go home to visit my mother and siblings during the summer. My mother was now staying in the Bon Ton Projects in South Dallas where people got killed often.
I started the 9th grade and couldn’t read. My aunt began to work with me. Every evening we would spend at least two hours doing school work. While she never gave me a break, I had other things on my mind. My cousin and I joined our first gang, the Black Klan. We hid our black and white hats in our back packs. I started smoking weed, cutting class, fighting, and smoking cigarettes. Since I wasn’t going to school, I was retained in the 9th grade. Instead of going back to school, I went to the park everyday. My uncle and aunt got fed up and eventually sent me back home to Dallas to my father. Before you can wink and open your eye, I was back with my mother.
At sixteen years, I was one of the best dancers in Dallas. My dance skills got me into all the night clubs for free and attracted many women, young and old. I was going to all the night clubs and sleeping with numerous women. I hit the streets because I didn’t want to go to school or abide by mother’s rules. According to her there could only be one adult in her house and it wasn’t me. I danced all over Dallas getting high on weed every day. I would go up to the high schools for young girls and to the night clubs to get older women for whatever I could get out of them; money, clothes, shoes, food, and a place to stay. One Sunday evening in 1981, I was dancing at Glendale Park on Ledbetter Rd, in Oak Cliff. There was a crowd of people standing around watching me dance against a guy. I’ll never forget that day as long as I live. I saw this girl standing among the crowd and a few months later, we started dating. She was different and I had feelings for her.
When I found out she was pregnant, my true colors began to show. I began to see other women. My first daughter was born on June 26, 1983. We weren’t really together because I was doing what I wanted when I wanted. I was dancing all over Dallas with a friend, Wendell Jackson. We were called the Break Dance Connection and won a trip to the famous Soul Train dance show in California. While on Soul Train, my second daughter was born on August 18, 1984. My third and fourth daughters were born respectively on March 14, 1987, and July 11, 1988. When I came back home to Dallas, I started selling cocaine and heroine with my brother. In the next few years we went from selling cocaine and heroine to crack cocaine. I was a social user. By 1988 the drugs took me down to the point where I was stealing to support my habit.
When I married my wife in January 1989 I was strung out on crack. My youngest daughter was born October 22, 1989. I was stealing things out of the house to sell. One day I used the money for the house rent to buy drugs causing my family to move. I would shoot dice to make money to supply my habit. One day, I mistakenly sold drugs to an undercover police agent. I went to jail for possession of controlled substance with intent to deliver and got a ten year probation. Within six months, I violated my probation. I did one year and four days on a ten year sentence. I remember one night crying on my bunk asking God to take the drug use out of my life. He answered my prayer. I was released with 8 years parole and when I got out, I went home to my wife for two weeks before I went back to the streets. I never used drugs again but I started selling drugs again and this time, I added pimping women.
My mother told me she was scared of what was going to happen to me because of the lifestyle I had chosen. In August of 1993 I was at a trap house when an undercover agent came to buy drugs. This time they didn’t get any drugs off me nor did they have any marked money so I thought I was going to beat the case. I was locked up for two days before the police came in to make a deal with me. It wasn’t me they wanted, it was my brother. Since I didn’t cooperate, I ended up in Judge Barraca’s court. He was considered the hardest judge in the court system at the time. When I went before the Judge, he said “I am not going to do you like they want me to because I see some good in you” and sentenced me to 30 years in jail.
To this day I believe GOD let him see me for who I am today because they wanted him to give me a life sentence in order to get back at my brother. This time I knew I had a long time to do. One day, a new officer came up to me and asked me my name. He told me that I didn’t have to worry, that I would make my first parole even though I had only done two years on a thirty year sentence and they weren’t letting people go home. I didn’t know the favor of the LORD was on my life. I was sure that whenever I got out, I would go back to being a pimp. There was only one person in this world that I wanted to be with and that was my wife and our five daughters.
One day, a word came to me: “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall a man reap; you idiot, you have five daughters, and when a pimp says, “Send that prostitute out” and it’s one of your daughters can you take it? I couldn’t stand to think of any of my daughters at the mercy of a pimp. At the time, I didn’t go to church but I asked a friend of mine that knew GOD, if GOD would put what I’ve done on my children. He answered yes and showed it to me in the Bible. He took me to Exodus 20:5 – “You shall not bow down to them nor serve them, For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”
I went back to my bunk and told God I wanted to know him personally. That was on a Saturday. I told my fellow gang members I was out of the gang and was going to go to church, they thought I was joking. Sunday came and I sat at the back of the church. The preacher said that “someone in here was laying on his bunk yesterday saying he wanted to know God personally.” He asked the person to come out. I came out and right there then and there, I gave my life to the Lord. Within weeks, I was moved to another unit to take up a trade. I began to preach in the recreation yard. Everybody thought I lost my mind. They thought I was just going through the motions like most do.
A year before I went to jail my wife started dating someone else and they were still together. God moved in my life and told me I had a wife and that it was Paula. I believed God despite how hopeless my situation looked. I found out God is not moved by our emotion but by his WORD. Numbers 23:19 became my favorite scripture. I used HIS word on HIM: “LORD you said Paula is my wife and YOUR word cannot return back void, make it come to pass for me.” My brother would come to see me and tell me about her boyfriend, how he was a good man and so on. I would tell him I rather believe God than man.
Being a man of GOD, things changed so much in my life. One day, the Chaplain came and told me my mother was on life support in the hospital and they weren’t looking for her to make it. I told him I was going to see her and he said “don’t get your hopes up.” The same officer that told me that I was going to make parole is the same officer that took me to Parkland Hospital to see my mother. I prayed for my mother and went back to the unit. Seven days later she was at home, alive and well. Her instant healing increased my faith and now I moved closer to God.
I was finally released from prison in 2000 and I went back to my old church, New Testament House of Prayer. They knew God had done something in my life but God had other work for me to do. While witnessing in the barber shop, I met a man and his wife. They gave me a church card. I visited their church the following Sunday, only to find out the man was the Pastor of the church, Bishop Ezra O’Neal. With time, I became the Youth Pastor and later on Associate Pastor. I served in this church, The City of Miracles, under the leadership of for 3 years. I appreciate and love the man of God for giving me a chance that no one else would have given me coming right out of prison. In August of 2004, I received a call to start a ministry. Paula and I were ordained under Bishop Steven Foster, Released Ministries International of Orlando, FL on February 17, 2006. We were in a storefront for 2 years and then moved to a church building. When we moved from Fort Worth to Dallas, we changed the name of the church from The City of Blessings to Abundantly Blessed!
We now hold service at 4099 W. Camp Wisdom Rd, Suite 115, Dallas, TX 75237. God blessed me to be the Pastor and Founder of my own church and to minister in other areas of the community. I attend Warriors of Christ at Smokey Johns on Thursdays and also go into the Cottrell House to minister to the young boys that are waiting for a place to be released to. I also participate in various prison ministries. None of these would have been possible had it not been for the grace and mercy of God. I give my testimony everywhere I go. I am not ashamed of my tainted background. Instead I use it to edify GOD and free others that are enslaved in the same areas that GOD has freed me from. It’s all about the kingdom of GOD; I give GOD all the glory!