Success Stories

Anthony Richard's Testimony

Anthony Richards police officer.JPG

Anthony when serving as a police officer

I am the sixth of nine children – born in St. Ann, Jamaica. My Father died close to my third birthday, and shortly afterward my Mom migrated to England, leaving me with my aunt who raised me until age 18. During my childhood days I attended church regularly, but I never made a decision to walk with the Lord. After completing high school, I joined the Jamaica Constabulary Force and served for 9 years, during which I was promoted once. Being a policeman certainly came with its experiences and challenges. I resigned from the police force and migrated to the United States, living there for 5 years. 

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During this time I experienced a failed relationship, got involved in drugs and subsequently got addicted to crack cocaine. I returned to Jamaica believing that the change of physical location would cure the addiction. Instead, I went further into an addictive lifestyle which lasted 6 years. 

These years were very painful and on many occasions I had thoughts of committing suicide. But in early spring of 2000, I told myself that there has to be a way out of this mess because I knew very well that I was at the end of my rope. I spoke to a pastor who knew about Teen Challenge even though it was new to the island. He sent me there and I was accepted into the programme.

Two weeks later I accepted Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I will never forget that night – it was the dawn of a new beginning in my life. A documentary on “Son of Sam” was shown, and I decided if God could forgive him, He could forgive me. For the first time I understood God’s unconditional love and His forgiveness. Whilst going through the Teen Challenge programme I learnt that my drug problem was only a symptom of all the junk that was in me. I realized that I was empty all these years and I used alcohol and drugs to drown my problems. Just getting “off drugs” was not the solution. I needed to ask the Lord to cleanse me of bitterness, unforgiveness and jealousy, develop a genuine personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and have people in my life for support and accountability in order to truly live a fulfilled life. I needed to get rid of sin and the drug problem would be taken care of. There were many times during the 12 month programme that I forgot that I had a drug problem, I was busy working on my relationship with Jesus Christ. Since completing the programme I have grown as a man – knowing that I am not a man simply because I was born male – but I have made a choice to let God shape me into a true man of Godly character: mature, responsible and loving. I have been walking in my God given purposes as a leader, a minister, and a father to my biological children and also my spiritual sons.

In 2003 after becoming comfortable with my singleness, I met the helpmate that God had in His promises for me – Barbara!  We exchanged vows 17 months after meeting. She is the mother of one child, so I am now a father of four. Our marriage has been beautiful! We spend a lot of time together still getting to know each other better. She is a strong woman of God – the woman described in Proverbs 31, and I thank God for her every day. Both my wife and I attend Church in Ocho Rios – we are part of the leadership team there, we each disciple small groups that meet on a weekly basis, as well as teaching and serving in other leadership roles in the church. Since joining this church, my life has grown significantly and I now have a broader vision on my life and how God wants to use me to impact other lives through the discipleship process, winning souls for the Kingdom.  Added to all of this, for the last several years Barbara and I have both been priviledged to serve full-time with the ministry of Teen Challenge Jamaica. God is good!