T.G. - Musician
Since I was a young child, I would occasionally experience strange visions in my mind and was never really sure what they meant or what to do about them. One vision I had at about 7 years old while playing records on my record player was of me playing guitar while prancing around on a stage with a band and the word "Industry" above the band. I drew the vision onto a piece of paper as I received it and marveled as I looked at it - partially because I had no idea where it came from but mostly because even though I loved music and briefly played clarinet in elementary school, I had never touched a guitar and knew nothing of what it meant to play in a band!
I was born and raised in NJ. My dad is from Guyana, South America and my mom is from the Caribbean. Things didn't work out between them and when I was about six years old, they divorced. I abhorred going to church then. I could not sit still for very long in the pews and I never even had any idea what the priests were talking about. I didn't understand why sometimes we had to stand and other times, kneel. Finally, when I was about 12 years old, my siblings and I were given the choice to no longer attend church. We all looked the other way and never looked back - "So long church!"
Once I entered college, years later, I re-birthed my passion for music by learning to play the bass and electric guitar. I started a few bands and played all around campus and the college strip. I found a love for being out in "the scene" in those days. I attended lots of parties and also organized my own events to promote my music. My life revolved around my music, sex, alcohol and rock-n roll! When I was 23 years old, I packed my belongings and drove out to Sunny Southern California, determined to blossom a serious career of music. Unlike the genuine personalities I grew up with on the East Coast, I encountered a serious culture shock of many superficial and non-committal folks in SoCal. I would start bands, get gigs, and party hard, but I could not maintain a consistent band or following and the small successes never lasted for very long. After losing my job and roommate, I found myself living out of my van. I continued to pursue my musical endeavors, however, and ended up finding a scene of young folks just like myself in Hollywood. I was suddenly transformed into a serious club-goer and raver and then began a new facet of music as a DJ and event producer. Things really started to spiral downhill as my involvement in the scene got deeper into the parties and people and drug use that went along with it all. I was drifting away from the conventions and structure of society as most people know it.
A group of us moved out to the desert where we continued to promote parties without the expense of venues and permits and, hopefully, without interference from the law. What should have been the perfect venue for spawning my career, instead, became the backdrop for a scene that eventually landed me in prison. Finally, the repercussions of my lawless lifestyle had caught up with me.
A few weeks into my incarceration, I got a new cellmate ("cellie"). Although he immediately struck me as a sincere and genuine cat, he would often overwhelm me with his continuous banter of God and the Holy Bible. "TG", he would say, "do you know what the bible says about ______?" I would politely walk away from him when I could but when the cell doors were locked at night time, there was no where else to go! Don't get me wrong - I didn't mind talking with him. I just didn't want to feel forced to believe in something I didn't believe! I had heard plenty about the "Jesus Freaks"!
One day, a couple of weeks into sharing a room with my new cellie, I was sitting in the room and he was reading aloud a passage from the Bible. As he read, something, somehow was beginning to make sense to me. I asked him to read the passage again. As he continued to read, it was as though there were drapes covering my periphery that were suddenly being pulled open. I could understand what he was reading! Then, as clear as day, I heard in my mind a quiet, authoritative voice speak: "I'm right here." I was startled but not afraid. Then I started bawling! I don't know how long I cried but my cellie was praying out loud and praising God the whole time. After I had composed myself, I asked him, "What was that? What just happened to me?" He explained that the Spirit of God had just come into my life. He was so excited! He wanted me to have my own Bible and to start going with him to the Bible studies everyday. I wasn't quite ready for all that, considering that I was still processing what had just happened, but I did agree to go to ONE Bible study. If I didn't like it, well, then that would be it...
The next day, we met in an open area with a small group of men to study the Bible. I closed my eyes to pray and expected to hear that supernatural voice and see amazing visions. But, during the whole prayer, I didn't hear any special voice, except for the voice of the Bible study teacher. I opened my eyes and followed along in the Bible that was given to me. The words spoken during the study that day seemed to be popping out in 3D! I could understand it! It made so much sense. In fact, I was hearing the answers to questions I had been seeking for a very long time. The Holy Spirit was in me! After that, I couldn't put the book down.. I went to the one hour Bible study 5 days a week. I read it by myself and with others, in my cell as well as the day room - usually 10 hours a day! then had church and a special "elders" group meeting the other 2 days a week. I had never before experienced such excitement, joy and fulfillment, and there was no hangover or sickness afterward! (Oh, that the Good Lord could forgive a sinner like me!) As I read and studied the Bible, God revealed Himself to me. Things started to happen in my life - in prison! There were healings, answers to prayers and insights. God also gave me songs which inspired me and others with hope and joy. When I was able, I would call friends in the outside world from the prison phone and I would tell them what happened to me. I encouraged them to go to church and check it out. Some of them thought I was crazy, but there were others that trusted me and did go - they found God as well! After about 2 months of finding God myself, I began to teach fellow prisoners from the Bible about God while in the institution. During the next 4 years of incarceration, my situation brought me to 8 different penal institutions of which I taught the Bible to literally hundreds of prisoners!
When I was released from prison 12 years ago, I came back to Southern California and I immediately started working as a sound engineer. I also got a job as music director of a local church - God was still opening doors for me! I led Bible studies and also continued to pursue my interest in music and other performance arts. It has been a constant challenge to resist the temptations back in the real world, but the Lord does deliver me each and every time. I stay immersed in church activities and in making Christian music and movies and I use all of these things to lead others to the truth in Yahshua, Jesus the Christ. Today, I am a musician, actor, stuntman, producer and event organizer working in Los Angeles, California. Praise and glory be to God!
Would you like to make Jesus the Lord of your life too?
If so, you can pray this prayer - Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins and rising again. Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life. I ask you into my life and heart as my Lord and Savior. Please help me grow in you and live for you. Thank you for coming into my heart.
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