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Asa Childress's storyI'm Asa, a 17-year-old who was brought up in a Christian home in London (England), and what makes my story sound even more like that "typical testimony" is that my dad has also been pastor of the church I attended since birth. Hearing sermons from a young age, being surrounded by Christians and immersed in the faith (even going to exclusively Christian schools) is how I was raised.
But the guy I was "raised to be" is very different from the person I became. I had an extra dose of pressure to be the "good guy" in church, school and at home, so I quickly was drawn to the opposite. I would put on a mask in church and at home, but as soon as I had the opportunity to meet up with friends, I would turn to "gang mode" and seek pleasure in darkness anyway I possibly could.
I became a bully in school and a nuisance in my neighborhood, doing whatever I could to avoid being that "good guy." I would spend my time flattening car tires, egging buses, stoning the windows of local homes, knocking down bins street by street and annoying the more distant neighbors to avoid my parents knowing.
Although once I tried to help burgle a house and start a school fire, I mainly would do smaller things, but the problem was really one with "the heart" over simply the things I would do. I loved sin! That's the fact.
I became addicted to pornography at a young age and began seeing females as objects rather than people created in the image of God. But through the noise of all the darkness in my heart, I could hear the voice of Jesus calling me to accept his light!
I knew I needed him. I knew life would be empty without him because there was nothing else that could satisfy the hunger within, so I tried to change myself but couldn't.
In one of my songs (yes, I make music), I say, "I could never see in plain sight / Why I could flap my arms, but I could never take flight." I couldn't escape from the sin which kept me captive! I would try and build up a tower of works, but none of them could match up to the grace that was needed to save me.
This is the part where music comes in. One day, on a bus coming home from school, I was listening to a gospel hip-hop song by (UK artist) Triple O called "Mayday."
He was warning of the return of Jesus and highlighting the urgency with which we need to repent. God spoke into the depths of my soul in that moment, so I pulled out my earphones, looked out if the window up to the sky and accepted Jesus. I remember saying, "Lord, I don't want you in my life. I need you!"
God literally took me to freedom in that moment! I felt his joy, peace and love and was overwhelmed by his mercy!! It was in that moment that I believe God saved me from my sin and myself.
Ever since, God has been using Christian hip-hop music (in particular) to strengthen, encourage and motivate me through my walk with Jesus. While I can't lean on music as I can with God to lift me up when I'm feeling down or strengthen me when I'm feeling weak, I can definitely say that God has used it in many ways to build me up as an individual and help me to become an "unashamed" believer.
In many ways, it acts as a reminder that God is working worldwide in so many different types of people and just how big this 116 movement is especially. I can't thank the music or even the artists creating music, but I do definitely wanna praise God for Christian hip hop and how he is using this medium to communicate the gospel. As a result of all he has done in my life through this music (or should I say "movement"), I now create gospel rap music, also which you can check out, along with my full story, at www.aceofficial.co.uk.
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