Charlestown-Nevis-Chris Charles was formally introduced to the Nevisian public on Monday 25th April.
The Dominican born, former inmate now turned missionary, was specifically invited to the Federation of St.Kitts and Nevis by Pastor Edmund Belle, who indicated that once he had heard his testimony, he knew that he had to get him to speak to the youths of the federation, especially during such a time as this, when youth violence is taking unprecedented focus.
The connection to Nevis, was made by Coordinator of the Youth Department, Miss Zahnela Claxton, who made the contact so that Charles can speak to the young people of Nevis, as a part of Youth month, which is ongoing.
She noted that the theme for Youth is ‘youth lead-not tomorrow but today’
Activities for the month have been geared towards teaching youths to be positive in their outlook on life and to learn positive leadership traits and play a positive leading role within the society.
She stated that having Charles speak to the youths about his past life and the changes that have been wrought to his betterment and progress, would certainly be a positive influence for all to hear.
A forum has been arranged which will be held today Tuesday 26th April, at the St. Paul’s Anglican church conference hall, starting at 3.00 pm and concluding at around 5pm.
During that session, Charles indicated that he will speak to the youths about various issues including anger management; self-esteem; gang violence; prison life etc.
He stated that it is an honour and privilege for him to speak to young people.
‘I believe that our youths are crying out for understanding and often times, we don’t take time out to listen to them,’ he said.
He spoke to the insecurities he experienced as a young boy and stated that even though he was raised in a Christian home, he was exposed very early to domestic violence and this affected him badly and he became an angry person. He was beaten with electrical cords; pipes and other objects and fighting became a way of life for him.
Migration of the family to the USA did not create a change in his attitude, as he picked up residency in Queens in New York.
He also had issues in school and was eventually sent to a Special Education school. He resisted and eventually gave up school and gravitated to the ‘boys on the block.’
Influenced by his peers he got involved in selling marijuana and cocaine and then he got involved in gangs and the resulting vices.
He also learnt to shoot a gun as it gave him ‘power.’ He noted that at that time, all he saw was the jewelry; the name brand clothes; the women; shoot outs; the excitement and such like.
Never in his wildest dreams did he visualize the immense pain to come; the deaths of friends and loved ones; the constant threat on his life; incarceration and the other bitter realities of his chosen lifestyle.
While in prison however, he was influenced to give his heart to God and has since made it a mission to educate and discourage others from following such a negative path in life
He thanks God for his praying mother who constantly prayed for him. He also thanks God for his mercies throughout his life.
He admits that he is still ‘in the potter’s house but as a child of God now, he is happy that God is still shaping and moulding’ his life.
He is inviting as many persons as possible to attend the session this afternoon and is confident that it will be a life changing experience for all.