Desmond Lockhart, 28-year-old Miami, native, knows all about the power of religion.
Lockhart moved to Tallahassee, seven years ago to escape his dangerous lifestyle.
“Only thing I saw was going to the penitentiary,” Lockhart said.
He was affiliated with gangs, acted off of impulse and lacked self-control. Because of his poor life choices, Lockhart lost everything and became homeless.
One day, Jeffery Humphrey, an elder from Life Deliverance Ministry in Tallahassee, approached him on the street. Humphrey expressed to Lockhart how Jesus loves him and invited Lockhart to join his church.
“It was the first time anyone said they loved me,” Lockhart said. “It sunk in because I didn’t live a Cosby life.”
The church was persistent in helping Lockhart. It became the foundation in his new life. Lockhart grew up in foster homes. Before he came to the church, Lockhart was broke, busted and disgusted.
“I was sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Lockhart said. “I was walking the streets like a mummy because I didn’t know my purpose in life. The church is my backbone and I’m the body.”
Lockhart said the church taught him the meaning of unconditional love. It helped him with his faith, love, finances and transportation.
“I experienced the glory of God’s goodness and now I can see the fruit that manifests my life,” Lockhart said. “When people look at me, they see a change.”
The church also taught Lockhart accountability.
“I’m not held accountable for how people treat me, but how I treat them. That’s the kind of love Jesus was talking about,” Lockhart said. “I never experienced peace and joy because I lived according to my emotions. If something bothered me I responded to it with the same energy.”
Robert Clemons, college health education sophomore at Tallahassee Community College from Macon, Ga., said Desmond is on a good foot.
“I believe that God has placed a vision in his heart and he is executing to get there,” Clemons said.
Lockhart is now the co-owner of H&H Smokehouse and the head of Life Deliverance’s Collegiate Ministry. The church has helped him publicize, endorse and set goals for his business.
“Goals without a plan is just a wish,” Lockhart said. “I set plans to execute my goals.”
Shannon Williams, a criminal justice sophomore at TCC from Tallahassee, Fla., is a member of the collegiate ministry at Life Deliverance Ministry. Lockhart helped her build her confidence and spirituality and she thinks the Lockhart is a great spiritual leader.
“He likes to have fun within the House of the Lord,” Williams said. “Any ideas he has, he pursues and he’s never shy to ask for input.”
Lockhart said the church works with him to do the things he wants to do. His purpose now is to serve Jesus and love people.
“They taught me to have faith no matter my circumstances, or situation,” Lockhart said. “There is an expiration date on bad times, which means they won’t last long.”
Lockhart said there is no perfect church, but his church is exceptional because of the love.
The Life Deliverance Ministry has Sunday services at 11 a.m. The church is located on 3377 Jim Lee Road in Tallahassee.