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Making a Living From Anger

“I made a living from anger: paid bodyguard, paid fighter, paid strong-arm,” says Mitch.

There were few who would cross Mitch, who now stands at six feet, seven-inches, a much different picture than his grade school days when he was one of the smallest kids in school. “People got bullied, and I was one of them. I got bullied a lot,” he says. “I got smacked around, beat around. It wasn’t right. It wasn’t fair. It upset me, but there wasn’t much I could do.”

At home, it was his stepfather who dished out the abuse. “There was a closeness between him and my sister,” Mitch recalls, “and I was more on the outside, and I didn’t like it. There were some times that I got beat pretty bad.”

Mitch became angry and bitter, feeling like he didn’t belong anywhere.     

“I was pretty lonely in life. Just wondering what’s it all about.”

At 13 Mitch found drinking and smoking pot helped take the edge off his growing anger. “I liked it...it just took me in a kind of a fuzzy good- feeling place,” he says. “It was a good time.”

In high school the tables turned.  The small, defenseless kid had grown into a towering, imposing figure, with a score to settle. “I lived to fight,” Mitch says. “I could tell the difference how people looked at me. It was different when they used to look at down at me compared to now when they looked up at me. And I could see something and I liked that.”

After high school, he found other ways to vent his anger. “The anger got to a point where the life that I had now started, I was able to make a living with it: anger, hate, wrath. I ended up becoming a paid fighter, paid strong arm. Traveled the strip bar circuit. A dark, dark life.”

Then Mitch started making, using and selling crack cocaine.  His dealings with everyone from neighborhood gangs to Colombian drug lords earned him a reputation as someone not to cross. “I ended up running drugs for Dominicans, dealing with Columbians, Jamaicans of the Posse, Mongolians, blacks, Latinos. I carried big guns and carried nasty bullets; lived in cultures that most people only read about.”

He was also caught in the cycle of drug and alcohol addiction. “I had lost most everything probably a couple times,” he says. “You have things, material things. even things of necessity, but once those drugs really start to take over, you start losing everything.”

But this time Mitch lost everything for good. After several arrests and squandering all his money, he wound up homeless, living on the streets of Reading, Pennsylvania. It was then he began examining his life “Just aimlessly wandering, just the routine. It’s a horrible lifestyle: misery, torture, fear, darkness, nothing good. You never know what’s going to happen, always looking over your shoulder--just a lost life.”
 
One afternoon, Mitch stumbled into a phone booth to call a friend. “There was a Gospel tract in it,” he says. “I didn't know it was a Gospel tract. It said ‘Heaven and Hell’ on it, and I picked it up. Heaven certainly sounds nice. That’s a no brainer, but hell’s the reality for anybody that doesn’t know the Lord Jesus Christ. I didn’t. And it bothered me. It bothered me greatly. I probably had it for a year. I could not throw it away. It just seems God started dealing with me, and any time I saw flames or fire, it just bothered me. I could not think about hell, the penalty of hell, I mean. I just knew it was bad. For the first time in my life I was getting scared, and I wasn’t one to get scared. I was crazier than crazy.”

He filled out the form on the tract and mailed it in. After moving in with his mother, Mitch got a call from a local pastor. “He came right over,” Mitch says. “And he told me about the Lord Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross of Calvary. He took my place. He paid for my sins with His own flesh and blood, and he let me know that if I surrender, if I repent and turn to Him, call out, believing in Him, that He’ll save me from my sins. And I can avoid the penalty of a devil’s hell, which I knew was coming, and be adopted in the family of God and receive a home in heaven one day. Oh, I liked that. That’s what I was looking for. And he led me to the Lord.”

Mitch still struggled for several months to kick his drug addictions. But on Christmas day, while holed up in a hotel room ready to use cocaine, God spoke to him. “I had all the drug paraphernalia, “says Mitch. “A lot of dark stuff from my old life, and I thought ‘This is December 25th. This is the Lord Jesus Christ’s birthday-my Savior-what am I doing?’ I felt horribly ashamed. I said ‘I’ve got to come back.’ I left the motel room. I threw everything away, and I have been clean and sober, safe and happy, walking with the Lord Jesus Christ ever since. And that was over 13 ½ years ago.”

Today, Mitch is a traveling evangelist, spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. “I don’t ever want to go back there,” Mitch says. “And I know how much I need the Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep me clean and sober. The satisfying and contentment in my heart, is amazing, and I live for that. I crave that; I love that. The Lord filled the void that I could never fill. Jesus Christ is the only one that did it.”

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