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From Dealing Drugs to Sharing Hope

From Dealing Drugs to Sharing Hope

Ricky Wilson’s journey begins in a tumultuous environment.

Born to parents who became drug addicts when he was just 12 years old, Wilson experienced a childhood marked by neglect and abuse. His parents exposed him to dangerous substances and subjected him to harmful situations, leaving deep scars on his young soul. “I would look at people with this anger inside of my heart, knowing that I didn’t have parents who cared for me, knowing that I didn’t have a family who cared for me,” Wilson said.

Battling Addiction

As he entered his teenage years, Wilson became a drug dealer, selling drugs to his peers and resorting to violence to protect his territory. Violence became routine as he spiraled deeper into a world of darkness and despair. To cope with the anguish he carried within, Wilson turned to drugs that offered him temporary relief from his inner turmoil. For eight long years, he battled addiction while also shouldering the responsibilities of raising his young niece, who had been sold into trafficking by her own mother.

Amidst the chaos and brokenness, a glimmer of hope emerged in the form of Wilson’s oldest sister. She invited Wilson to church, but he initially resisted, harboring negative perceptions of what church represented. “I didn’t want to go to church because I didn’t think they cared about me,” Wilson said. However, after persistent invitations, he relented and agreed to accompany his sister.

Experiencing Grace

The moment Wilson stepped into that church and heard the song “Nothing but the Blood,” something within him shifted. “When I heard that, something inside of me snaps. It felt like I had been changed,” Wilson said. As he sat in that congregation, the words of the pastor echoed in his ears, proclaiming the boundless love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

Intrigued and desperate for answers, Wilson sought out the pastor and expressed his doubts and disbelief. “I said, ‘there’s no way that Jesus loves me because look at all the ways that I’ve failed,'” he told the pastor. The pastor’s response was profound: “It doesn’t matter what you have done because Jesus, the one who loves your soul, forgave everything that is and is to come. Because he loves you, he desires you, and he forgives you.”

A Life Transformed

With those words, Wilson’s life was forever changed. “That day I entered into a relationship with Jesus,” Wilson said. Ten years have passed since that moment, and Wilson has dedicated his life to following Christ. Today, Wilson devotes his energy to spreading the message of God’s love and redemption. Wilson has been pivotal to the planting of ID Clifton, where he serves as the lead pastor, and ID Downtown, both in Spartanburg, SC.

As the Next Generation Evangelism Strategist at the South Carolina Baptist Convention, Wilson plays a crucial role in sharing the Gospel with young people and empowering them to live lives of purpose and meaning. He understands that his past has uniquely prepared him for this calling. Through his own journey of redemption, he exemplifies the transformative power of God’s love and serves as a living testimony to the fact that no one is beyond salvation. “If God can use a drug dealer from Cincinnati, how much greater can he use you? How much greater can he transform lives through the story he has given you?” Wilson said.

  • SCBaptist Creative Team

    SCBaptist Creative Team

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