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Reggie Williams: Compelled by Grace

He rejected his childhood faith and followed his friends toward a life of crime. Today, he's a street-smart youth pastor. Read Transcript


Reporter: WHEN REGGIE

WILLIAMS WAS A BOY, HE HAD

TO MAKE A CHOICE -- FOLLOW

THE CHRISTIAN FAITH OF HIS

FATHER OR HIS FRIENDS ON THE

STREET.

HIS DECISION WOULD SET THE

COURSE FOR HIS LIFE.

THE STREETS DREW ME.

THEY WERE MORE ATTRACTIVE.

MY PEERS WERE MORE

ATTRACTIVE.

THE CRIME WAS MORE

ATTRACTIVE BECAUSE THAT IS

WHAT THEY WERE INTO.

YOU SEE THAT GROWING UP, SO

YOU DON'T SEE THAT AS WRONG,

ACTUALLY.

AND IT IS LIKE A SNOWBALL

EFFECT.

I WOULD BEFRIEND YOU AS LONG

AS YOU HAD ONE I WANTED.

AND ONCE I GOT IT, YOU NEVER

EXISTED.

Reporter: AS HE GREW

OLDER, THE CRIME GOT BIGGER

AND THE STAKES GOT HIGHER.

WHEN HIS BROTHER WAS FIRED

FROM THE FAST FOOD

RESTAURANT, HE CAME TO

REGGIE WITH AN IDEA.

THEY SET OUT TO ROB THE

McDONALD'S, AND THEY DID.

HE HAD A BIG IDEA, LET'S

ROB THEM ALL.

AND WE DID.

IT WAS THE SAME EVERY TIME,

PUT THE GUN TO THE MANAGER'S

HEAD, AND THREATEN THAT --

WHATEVER YOU THAT TO DO SO

MAKE SURE THEY COOPERATED.

WHATEVER IT TOOK TO GET THE

MONEY.

Reporter: HE GOT USED

TO THE LIFESTYLE OF A

BIG-TIME CRIMINAL, BUT IT

CAME AT A COST.

YOU'VE GOT THE CASH, AND

YOU CAN BUY THIS AND THAT.

BUT YOU'RE NOT THINKING

ABOUT ALL OF THE PEOPLE THAT

CAN GET HURT.

YOU'RE JUST THINKING ABOUT

THE MONEY.

WHEN YOU'RE AT THAT PLACE,

IT'S A VERY DANGEROUS

PLACE.

Reporter: FOR THREE

MONTHS, HE AND HIS FRIENDS

ALLUDED POLICE.

ONE NIGHT THEY ROBBED A

CONVENIENCE STORE.

A PLAIN-CLOTHED OFFICER HAD

BEEN FOLLOWING THEM, AND

REGGIE'S CRIME SPREE CAME TO

AN END.

HE HAD HIS GUN POINTED,

AND HE WAS SAYING SOMETHING,

BUT I COULDN'T UNDERSTAND

HIM.

I'M THINKING IN MY SPIRIT,

TAKE COVER.

DROP YOUR WEAPON!

I FELT THIS SHARP PAIN

AND I HEARD THIS RINGING IN

MY EAR.

I REALIZED HE HAD SHOT ME.

I TOSSED MY GUN.

LET'S GET IT OVER WITH AND

GET OUT OF HERE.

Reporter: REGGIE WAS

ARRESTED AND TAKEN TO

A

HOSPITAL.

AS HE TALKED TO A NURSE, HE

REALIZED JUST HOW MUCH HE

HAD WASTED HIS LIFE.

I KNOW THAT THIS IS

SERIOUS.

I HAVE SIX CHARGES OF

AGGRAVATED ROBBERY, AND I'M

LOOKING AT A LOT OF TIME.

AND SHE SAID, WHAT HAPPENED

TO YOU?

AND THAT RINGS THROUGH MY

SPIRIT.

IT IS LIKE AS IF GOD WAS

TALKING TO ME, WHAT HAPPENED

TO YOU?

AT WHAT POINT DID YOU VEER

OFF?

I HAD SO MUCH POTENTIAL, I

HAD SO MANY PLANS FOR YOU.

WHAT HAPPENED.

I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M AT THIS

POINT.

Reporter: HE WAS

CONVICTED OF 14 COUNTS OF

AGGRAVATED ROBBERY,

SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS IN

PRISON.

THOSE FIRST DAYS, REGGIE

REMEMBERED THE FAITH HIS

FATHER TRIED TO INSTILL AND

CALLED OUT TO GOD.

I WAS SO OVERWHELMED IN

MY SPIRIT, I COULDN'T DO

NOTHING BUT CRY.

BUT GOD KNEW AND HE

UNDERSTOOD, AND HE HEARD

ME.

I FELT LIKE A WEALTH WAS

LIFTED.

THAT'S WHERE I MET HIM, AND

HE MET ME.

AND THE WHOLE TIME I WAS

THERE, I LEARNED.

I SOAKED UP AS MUCH AS I

COULD.

P I USEAND I USED WHAT GOD

SHOWED ME HE HAD IN STORE

FOR ME.

Reporter: HE DEVOTED

HIMSELF TO READING THE BIBLE

AND PRAYER, AND SURROUNDED

HIMSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO

HELPED HIM GROW IN HIS NEW

FAITH.

HE SAID, OKAY, REGGIE,

I'M GOING TO DO A NEW THING

IN YOUR LIFE.

I'M GOING TO GIVE YOU NEW

PEOPLE TO LOOK UP TO.

EVERYWHERE I WENT, EVEN AT

THE PRISON, HE ALWAYS PLACED

SOMEBODY IN MY LIFE TO GIVE

ME POSITIVE INFLUENCE.

Reporter: REGGIE SERVED

MORE THAN 10 YEARS IN

PRISON.

TODAY HE TEACHES YOUNG

PEOPLE HOW TO AVOID MAKING

SOME OF THE BAD CHOICES HE

MADE.

NOW, INSTEAD OF TAKING

FROM MY NEIGHBOR, MY

BROTHER, IT'S LIKE, WHAT CAN

I DO TO HELP THEM.

THAT GAVE ME SO MUCH JOY.

THAT MADE ME REALIZE YOU

HAVEN'T FORGOTTEN ME.

YOU HAVEN'T GIVEN UP ON ME.

WHEN I REALIZED HOW MUCH GOD

LOVED ME, THAT COMPELLED ME

TO SERVE HIM BACK.

IT COMPELLED ME TO LOVE HIM

BACK.

AND I CAN ONLY SHOW HIM THAT

I LOVE HIM BY GIVING.

WHETHER THAT IS OF MY

TIME -- WHATEVER IT MEANS

THAT HE TOLD ME TO DO IT

BY.

WHEN I SHOULD HAVE BEEN

KILLED IN THE STREETS, WHEN

I SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALONE, HE

DIDN'T ALLOW THAT TO

HAPPEN.

HE SHOWED ME MERCY.

HE HAD GRACE ON ME, EVEN

WHEN I DIDN'T DESERVE IT.

THAT COMPELS ME TO DO THE

RIGHT THING.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


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