A little love and kindness can go a long way.
That’s the contention of Antonio Williams, who for the past 10 years has taken to the streets of Baton Rouge to show love and kindness to the homeless.
“I think everyone should sit down and talk to some of those individuals out there and see they’re not just homeless, but they’re very educated,” Williams said. “Some of them have even owned businesses. Failed marriages and things of that nature have pushed them to the streets, but I think if we just approach them with a loving attitude, I think you’ll see our society turn around.”
Williams, 48, said he’s just trying to take the church to the world.
“I believe that the church is not a building; the church is in the person,” said Williams, an elder at the Church of God in Christ in Walker who has been in the ministry for 22 years. “It’s good to go to church and praise God behind the four walls. But are you helping your community?”
The service area for Williams has been largely the downtown Baton Rouge area. He said he goes out for about two hours every Tuesday evening — when he feeds about 125 people – and on some Thursdays.
The $300 to $350 a week it takes to feed the homeless mostly comes from his pocket, Williams said.
“I have a job that I work 9 to 5, and it has allowed me to enable these people to get the help that they need,” said Williams, who runs a gemstone landscaping business.
Recently, another company donated $1,000, Williams said.
“I know God is a provider and I know that anything that we stand in the need of God will supply all of our needs according to his riches and glory by Christ Jesus,” Williams said. “That’s what the Scripture says.”
Raised by a single mother, Williams finds motivation from his own life.
“We were raised in a shotgun house and it was pretty hard on us, especially without a dad,” he said. “I always told the Lord, ‘Lord, if you allow me to grow up, I would always give back.’
“When I read the Bible, I always saw Jesus in a place that needed to be healed of something, whether it was hunger, sickness, death, whatever,” Williams said. “If God truly exists — which I know he does — in a church, then that church ought to be found giving, that church out to be found mentoring, that church out be found healing.”
For information, go to http://www.youngdisciplesacademy.org.
On the way to his first solo gospel album, “Manifestation,” former Savage Boys rap group member Moses Aaron had to overcome challenges — challenges such as losing his music industry support with the switch from secular to sacred music.
“All of my producers left me,” the 26-year-old Moses said. “All of my support system left, all of my backing left me, and I held focused to the dream that God had for me.”
After taking three years to complete, the CD was released in May.
“I stayed focused to my craft,” he said. “I stayed obedient, and I knew in my heart eventually it would manifest. I knew overall the manifestation was really a statement to anybody who has a dream: Keep on believing, keep on working until it manifests no matter what you go through.”
The title song “Manifestation” is the second of 12 tracks on the album.
“It literally almost sums up the whole album of what you can expect from the album and what you can expect from Aaron Moses not only as person but as a father, a gospel preacher and as an artist,” said Moses, who joined the ministry in 2008 and serves at Progressive Baptist Church in Dutchtown.
Other tracks on the CD are “Keeping Me Going,” “This Ain’t Living,” “My Side” and “Champion.”
The challenge in making the CD was yet another one in the life of Moses, He dropped out of high school in 2003 to take care of his ailing mother, a drug user who had contracted HIV. She died in March 2006.
“It stripped the ground from beneath me,” Moses said of mother’s death. “It literally forced me to God … I used to go to the clinic with my mother, and I’ve seen a lot of other kids there. So I knew that I wasn’t the only one that was going through it. And I knew that they needed a formula, and it was Jesus Christ and him crucified and resurrected.”
Later in 2006, Moses got married. In 2007, he earned his GED and started HopeMusic and Hopemovies Entertainment.
This fall, he is scheduled to graduate from Baton Rouge Community College with a degree in entertainment technology.
The Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church is offering 25 youth and young adults an opportunity of a lifetime with a field and fun trip to Washington, D.C.
The trip is planned for July 27-30. A visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial will top the itinerary. The group also plans to visit the Lincoln Monument, Smithsonian Institute and hopefully take a tour of the White House.
“When you look at the young people we have in church … they’ve heard about Martin Luther King, they’ve read about him in whatever is put in the history books, and they’ve seen whatever they’ve seen on TV, so I thought it was good to give them the experience of actually going to the monument and getting a feeling of being in the presence of that monument and what it means to people,” said Linda Kelly, trip coordinator and wife of the Rev. Herman O. Kelly, the church’s pastor.
Herman Kelly said, “Some of these kids would never get to go to Washington, D.C., had it not been for this church and this community being generous.”
The Kellys said the church has been planning for the $12,000 to $15,000 trip since January, garnering donations and holding fundraisers. He said the biggest fundraiser was a barbecue dinner at Dixon Barber Shop on Florida Shop.
The delegation, which has 10 adults chaperones, is scheduled to leave by train from New Orleans. A charter bus will to take the group to the various sites.
“All of these young people are riding a train for the first time” Linda Kelly said. “It’s just going to be a great trip for them.”
To help the group, call (225) 344-6931 or (225) 768-7535. Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to 1358 South Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70802.
Faith Matters runs every other Saturday in The Advocate. Reach him at (225) 388-0238 or email email@example.com.