Real change happens when you decide to change your
life and positively impact others. The process begins when
you decide it is not all about you.
— As told to Tawanda Mills
I was raised in Dallas, Texas, in a severely dysfunctional family. I know there is often some type of dysfunction in most families, but when I say my family was severely dysfunctional, it is without exaggeration. My home environment consisted of drugs, prostitution, murder, gangs, incest, and mental illness. As a result, I became a prostitute when I was a young teenager. I continued in that lifestyle for a number of years until one day I realized something was wrong with the way I was living.
I joined a church in 1985 because I needed to find another way to live. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. So I made the decision to turn my life over to Christ.
After I accepted Christ, I did not completely surrender to Him. I still tried to straddle the fence; I continued to make money on the streets and attend church also. When I say “make money on the streets,” I do not mean I was going corner-to-corner. I had learned another way to do it – with a close network of people my family knew.
I left home at age 19 and met a man who told me he loved me and could show me how to live. This man introduced me to other ways of making money in the sex industry, like talking to guys on the phone and meeting them out somewhere. However, because I had given my life to Christ, I soon became very disturbed with my lifestyle but did not know how to change. Everything was out of balance. Eventually, I started using drugs and continued selling my body to support my drug habit.
After a while, the police caught up with me. Eventually, I was sentenced to 10 years probation in 2000. The demands of probation were strict and overwhelming. I went back to the judge and asked if there was a better way to serve the time instead of probation. He suggested I serve four months in jail. In 2006, I did those four months. While locked up, I began to think about how I really wanted to make a change in my life. I prayed, God, how am I going to know I’m really with you? He answered, if you die to yourself and everything you think you know, I will be there for you.
When I was released, I got a job at the Veteran Affairs (VA) Hospital. However, I still felt something was missing and continued to seek God’s guidance to fulfill His purpose for my life. He told me to go to Atlanta.
One day, while at work, I learned of a great job opportunity in Atlanta! My boss asked if I was interested. I thought to myself, Ok, God, I’m gonna trust you. So in June of 2007, I took a bus to Atlanta. I got the job and worked there one day and a half before I learned there was a budget issue concerning my position, and I was let go.
Fortunately, a classmate had a grandmother living in Atlanta and put me in touch with her. My friend’s grandmother allowed me to stay with her for a period of time. I constantly reminded myself of what God told me, Forget everything you thought you knew and submit to My will. I did just that, but it was not easy. Everyday I had to die to myself and submit to His will.
One day, in my quest to find work, I decided to walk down Old National Highway in College Park, Georgia. I went inside each business and asked for a cleaning job. While walking, I noticed a big building sitting far back from the street. I walked over to that building and read the World Changers sign. At the time I did not connect it to Pastor Creflo Dollar.
My mom and I used to watch Pastor Dollar on the Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN) back in 1995. My mom loved Pastor Dollar. She always talked about him. I, on the other hand, would say things like “Oh sure! Do you really think there is a World Changers, mother? Is World Changers a place where people’s lives are being changed?” At the time, I did not believe a place like that existed. Even though I found it difficult to believe in the name of the ministry, I heard great teachings from Pastor Dollar.
As I stepped on the campus of World Changers, I had no idea it was the church of the pastor I had watched on television several years earlier. When you come from a background like mine, venturing into a big building can be scary. It was too uncomfortable, especially where churches were concerned. I was uncomfortable because I viewed this church as a place a person like me would be looked down on, which is what I had experienced at some churches.
Not even realizing I was walking into a church, I made my way through the doors of World Changers Ministries and explained my situation. Staff members prayed with me and gave me food. I began to go there every day for prayer. One day, I told one of the security guards my story and asked if she knew of a place that would help someone like me. The security guard told me about the Prestige Ministry. Excited to know the ministry had a program like this, I made a phone call to Prestige that day!
That phone call changed my life! The ministers talked to me and prayed with me. Not only did they ask how they could be of assistance to me, they began to help me with all of my needs. They asked me about my struggles and I told them I believed my struggle was in my mind because I had seen God do so many things in my life. I have set goals and accomplished many of them, but I did not know how to stay committed to those goals.
The Prestige ministers gave me assurance. They taught me the Word. I learned I could not really find myself until I submitted to the power of God in me. I also learned that my purpose and my destiny could also be found within me.
Within the Prestige ministry, I felt I could be open and honest because they did not have a motive for giving and sharing. They did not ask anything of me except to develop Christian character by attending the classes that would help me experience change. They helped me with housing, food, employment, and most importantly, spiritual development.
Prior to joining World Changers, whenever I thought of the Bible, I would become fearful because I was not able to interpret and understand it well. In addition, I had misconceptions about leadership and preachers because I had been misled in the past. However, that has not been my experience at World Changers. The most important thing that has happened to me since coming to this ministry is the change that has taken place in my mind. My mind has been renewed by the Word of God.
I realize now there is a place called World Changers where lives are changed! I would advise any young girl, who has lost her way or may be involved in the sex industry, to turn her life over to Christ. Then, come to World Changers. Change is at World Changers! Change is in the Prestige Ministry.
Carol Smith is continuing her transition through Prestige. She has started a non-profit organization called Further Building Our Children and Communities (FBOCC). Through FBOCC, she helps children from severely dysfunctional families.
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God has gifted women to be caring, concerned, & compassionate
toward others. Taffi L. Dollar
God has gifted women to be caring, concerned, & compassionate
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