By Camaron Abundes
MIDLAND- There's a welcome mat for gang members, drug dealers and prostitutes, only instead of allowing wayward individuals to continue down a destructive path---After God's Own Heart Restoration Church wants to help show them the light.
"I was once bound on crack cocaine, drugs, and alcohol. Jesus Christ came to my life through the ministries," Dwight Darrell, one of the leaders of the Church told Newswest 9.
Pastor James Williams also understands forgiveness. The former drug dealer served nine years in prison and was shot four times before he found the Restoration Ministry in St. Louis, Missouri. The Church group offered housing and help to former drug addicts, gang members, and prostitutes.
"He can change anyone. There is nothing so bad that we've done that he can't forgive us for." Pastor Williams said after he went through the program he started ministering to other men and women, eventually spreading the faith to a branch of the ministry in El Paso.
Six months ago, Williams and his wife Sherrie and several other men from St. Louis and El Paso founded the Church in Midland.
"From selling and being the dealer, I became the user," Williams detailed his own past. "It just tore me down and had me doing things I never thought I would do."
The Chapel is modest and unadorned, sitting at 608 E. Florida in Midland's South Side.
"You can't just take the Bible to someone who has never opened the Bible, but if you let them know, I actually walked those streets and this is what happens---I encountered God and I gave him my life, surrendered and he changed me," Williams said.
Williams says the group offers shelter for 13 men currently. The program lasts between 9-12 months.
"If you sincerely cry out and he will hear your voice, he will send people your way," Darrell said.
Sherrie Willams stands behind her husband's mission, she too says she found herself lost and later found only by what she calls God's love.
"We're not here to look at you or your outer appearance or where you come from, but we're here to look at the lifetime God wants to spend with you," Williams said emphatically. "If God did it for me than I know that there is hope for them. A lot of people think they're not worthy."
The Williams say leaving behind a life on the street isn't about recovery but instead deliverance and surrender. Other reformed addicts like Dwight Aaron, who followed Williams to Midland, echo the message.
"One thing I hope they learn is that their life is not theirs, the creator created them for his purpose," Aaron said.
The group hopes to one day add a women's shelter to the program.
"We can't save everybody, but if we can plant the seed. It makes a difference," Pastor Williams said.