by Ken Camp
An unwashed, heroin-addicted ex-convict walked into First Baptist Church of Palacios, Texas, one Sunday morning. A couple of hours later, he walked out the same doors as a new creation in Jesus.
Jimmy LaQue told his faith story at a statewide evangelism conference in Fort Worth. He described being abandoned at age 9 because his mother's live-in boyfriend didn't want kids around. After living with his heroin-addicted brother for some time, he left to fend for himself on the streets.
"I learned how to steal to survive," he said. He also learned how to be a "mule," transporting heroin across the border for a drug dealer.
LaQue spent time in a California maximum-security prison and served two terns at the Walls Unit in Huntsville. For 30 years, he was enslaved by a $250-a-day heroin habit.
One Saturday afternoon in July, 1998, he was sitting in Palacios Bay when a young girl approached him. "She told me Jesus loved me. She said He could change my life," he related. "If she'd known who she was talking to, I don't think she would have come close to me," he confessed. "I was an ex-convict. I hadn't taken a bath for days. People didn't want to be close to me. They would walk the other way when they saw me."
To get rid of her, he accepted her gift of a Bible, even though he had only a
third-grade education and could barely read. And when she urged him to go to church-any church-he agreed.
Walking the streets the next morning, LaQue saw the Christian Life Center. "I thought that was a church," he recalled. He approached a woman who was unloading supplies at the center and asked her for food. "She gave me a burrito and a soda water, and she invited me to church," he said.
After some thought, he decided to accept the invitation. When he entered the church's foyers, two ushers approached him. "they were coming toward me, and I said, ‘Man, these guys are going to kick me out. But to my surprise, they shook my hand and invited me in. They took me to a Sunday School class. They didn't care how I smelled. They didn't care how I was dressed."
After Sunday school, the class members invited LaQue to join them in the worship service.
"I went in to hear the message. After the preaching, at the altar call, something pushed me into the aisle, all the way to the front," he recalled. LaQue told the pastor he wanted to become a Christian.
"So we prayed there," he said. "I accepted Jesus into my heart. And when I accepted Jesus, the craving for drugs was gone."
Texas Baptist Communicatiions
via Baptist Standard