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CBN.com “My biological mother was a thief, I was told, all of her life, and she got pregnant with me on a weekend pass.”
When Demetri was born, his arrival wasn’t met with joy but with sadness. Demetri was born behind bars in a women’s prison located in Hickory, North Carolina.
“I guess from birth I knew,” he says. “I felt that I had no reason to be -- that no one wanted me.”
Demetri was immediately taken from his mother and shuttled into the foster care system. Although most of those homes adequately provided food and a roof, Demetri never had “someone to rock me to sleep at night. I never had anyone to tell me that they loved me.”
In one case Demetri’s foster care was flooded with abuse. Eventually, he could only find refuge in homeless shelters or on the street.
“This was my home,” Demetri says. “I would come down here [and] we would do drugs. I would come down here and sleep. I’d be safe here. No one would bother me here. Free rent.”
Feelings of rejection haunted Demetri throughout his young life. At one point he was homeless and was turned away by someone he thought was a friend. Devastated, he decided to take measures into his own hands. But God had another plan.
“God spoke to me when I was walking to kill myself. I was going to drink some liquor and throw myself in a lake. God revealed Himself to me up in the sky. I was looking up in the sky, and I was cursing God. The only things I could describe is the heavens opening up and me being entangled, engulfed, scattered, smothered and covered in more love that I could ever imagine. The Word of God says that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and I fell down to my knees. I confessed and I was just like, ‘Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus.’ I had no idea who He was but whoever He was there was no doubt in my mind in faster than a snap that He loved me, He loved me, He loved me.”
The fulfillment that Demetri was searching for was found in Jesus Christ. God began to heal his heart and mind. But Demetri’s lack of spiritual guidance led him back into the wilderness of the world. Then Demetri was made an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“Someone didn’t know how to throw a rave and offered me a large sum of money -- $3,000 to throw a rave. I did it and it ended up being my religion.”
Demetri became a devoted participant of the underground world of drugs, techo music and illicit sex. His face was well known to thousands of techno hippies and ravers throughout North Carolina. His stage name was Cocoa Brown.
As Demetri remembers those nights, he recalls, “Dressing in very shiny clothes, make-up, long hair, just the glimmer and the glam of a star.”
Demetri was now living a life of luxury but despite all his fame and riches he felt empty. He realized that void could only be filled through a committed relationship with Jesus Christ. He made the decision to get back on track with God.
“I was in my apartment with some friends, and I went into my room, shut my door, and I said, ‘Lord, if You take me back… Jesus, if You take me back, Lord, I promise You everything. I will sing for You. Everything I do, I will do for You if You will only take me back.’ And I didn’t think that He would. But He did.”
Through God’s forgiveness Demetri began to piece together his broken life. That included re-uniting with his mother. She had been released from prison and wanted to see Demetri. This would be their first visit since Demetri’s birth behind prison walls.
“For the first time I looked into her eyes, and I thought I saw a sense of identity. It was an automatic connection there.”
Demetri is grateful that God healed the relationship with his mother in one visit because that would be the last time Demetri would see her.
Two weeks later she died. As God closed the door on that part of his life, He opened up another. Demetri is now using the very weapon that tried to pull him away from God to lead many teens to Christ. His weapon? Christian raves called “Club Obsession.”
“Kids would come and think that they were going to a normal rave. They’d come in and right in the middle of it I’d preach the Word. Surprisingly enough lives have been changed and saved. It’s a great thing.”
Now Demetri’s focus in life has been changed. He and his adopted family are telling others about the God who rescued Demetri and who gave him a reason to live.
“He’s taken that baby with no will to thrive, broken and behind bars and given him every reason to thrive and encourage others to thrive,” Demetri says. “I wake up every morning knowing that maybe just one thing I can say, through Christ, can change someone’s life forever. It’s a reason to wake up.”
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