Advocate staff writer
Athletics had always come easy for Carl Brown.
He was a standout baseball player coming out of Capitol High School with a full scholarship nearly 40 years ago when he ran into an opponent he had a difficult time beating: drugs.
“I got involved in drugs for the first time on a college campus, and it probably shot my athletic career,” Brown said.
Drug use robbed Brown of his baseball career and sent him into a death spiral until he found the way out and a new life in Christ.
In his new book, “The Process of Coming to Your Self,” Brown, 58, shares his powerful testimony of overcoming his three years of drug abuse. He hopes his message will help deliver others.
“I tell of the story of how I came out and it takes the power of God to bring somebody out of that,” Brown said. “People do get out but are still considered drug addicts after they get out if they don’t come to the Lord. But there is a way to come out and be completely free, and that’s what happened to me.”
Brown later joined the ministry and is now an evangelist with a TV ministry.
The book was written to help Brown share his testimony through prison ministry, but he said it also may be helpful to athletes — athletes such as Tyrann Mathieu, a former Heisman Trophy candidate who was booted off the LSU football team this year for multiple failed drug tests. Mathieu checked into a drug treatment program in Houston shortly after his dismissal from the team and has since enrolled back at LSU.
“This young man’s career’s on the line right now and he may not be able to get out of it,” Brown said of Mathieu.
“He may be talking to psychologists who are really not going to help him, but it’s an effort to do something. My testimony shows how to get away from it altogether with help of the Lord.”
Brown based the book’s cover and title upon a pivotal moment in his journey from drug abuse.
It was in 1979 and the then-23-year-old woke up one morning and went to the bathroom after a night of doing such drugs as cocaine, marijuana and angel dust.
“I used to be a physical specimen of an athlete, and I looked in the mirror that morning and looked at myself and saw that I was a droopy-eyed weakling,” he said. “I broke down and began to cry at what I was seeing.”
A few weeks later, Brown was on his way to New Orleans for a night of gambling when he had a life-changing experience.
“Somewhere between Baton Rouge and the Bonnet Carre Spillway, the spirit and the presence of God came into my little yellow Volkswagen and touched my heart,” he said.
Brown said the Holy Spirit so convinced him that he dumped all his drugs on the interstate and gave his life to Christ.
“I came back to Baton Rouge and I’ve been changed every since,” he said.
More change came a few years later when Brown was called to preach the Gospel. He got his practice when a woman next to his neighborhood church allowed him to enter the church at night and pray.
“I would mount the pulpit and preach as if I was preaching to a full church and the church was empty,” Brown said.
In his 35 years in ministry, Brown has pastored churches and has worked on staff at Jimmy Swaggart Ministries and Promisekeepers. But he feels his real calling is that of an evangelist. His TV broadcast, “Wind of the Spirit,” airs on Sunday mornings in Baton Rouge (Cox Channel 10 and High Definition Cox Channel 710) and throughout the week in southwestern Louisiana and reaches 4.2 million viewers, he said.
In addition to overcoming his drug addiction, Brown said he also overcame the challenges of being raised in a single-parent household with six other siblings.
“I’m awed at what God is able to do with me considering where I was and where I came from,” said Brown who enjoyed a career as a chemical plant worker and in management. “The Lord is definitely blessing me big time.”
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Hitting the road
A rural Pointe Coupee Parish church is hitting the “Romans Road” to Baton Rouge.
St. Alma Baptist Church of Lakeland is gearing up to lead an evangelism campaign on the streets around Gus Avenue and North 37th Street.
“It is a part of the pastor’s vision (the Rev. Mary Moss) to evangelize on the east and west sides of the Mississippi people,” said Nicole Moss Raby, who leads the church’s evangelism and outreach ministry with Minister Sharon Newman.
The event called “Witnessing Without Walls” is set for Sept. 22. Street witnessing will be held from 11 a.m. to noon, with Romans Road evangelistic presentations set for 1 p.m. in a lot near Greater St. Michael Baptist Church, 1619 N. 37th St.
“We sought the Lord and that’s where he placed in our hearts to go,” said Mickey Batiste, a minister and the music leader at St. Alma.
Batiste said the church’s goal is to carry out the commission of Christ to go into the world and preach the Gospel.
“We go out into the streets and we street witness,” Batiste said. “We offer Christ to people. We present Scripture from the Book of Romans … We just try to present Christ to the people and get them saved in those communities.”
Among the speakers for the event will be Batiste, Robert Lockett and Newman. Free food and clothing will also be available, Batiste said.
To assist in the evangelism effort, call Batiste at (225) 354-6510 or Raby at (225) 302-1698.
A trip to Washington, D.C., proved eye-opening for many of the youth and young adults from Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, said Linda Kelly, the church’s youth director.
The 25 youth visited the nation’s capital in late July, taking a train to get there.
“Our young people walked around the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the White House, the (Capitol) and the Smithsonian, with an amazing look on their face. They were ready to get back to school because they had so much to tell their teacher and classmates,” Kelly wrote in a letter thanking sponsors and others in the community who aided the group for the trip.
Several students wrote about their experiences, with the tour of the White House topping most lists. Among them:
Kyrid Brown: “Even though we didn’t meet the president, we still learned a lot of stuff, including all the old presidents.”
Ryane Bickham: “I also learned that the top of the Capitol has a statue on it called the freedom statue. It was so hard to put it up there.”
Samantha Smith: “The most important part of this trip was seeing America’s history up close and personal … Before this trip, I never realized how much history Washington, D.C., held. The things I learned will forever stick with me and there was so much that I still want to go back and learn.”
Faith Matters runs every other Saturday in The Advocate. Reach Terry Robinson at (225) 388-0238 or email firstname.lastname@example.org