SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio man transformed his life from that of a gang member to a life serving God, and now his mission is to spread the good news of the Gospel.
Michael Ford, 24, has been performing Christian music on the streets of San Antonio for the past year and a half.
“I live to worship God,” Ford said. “I live to tell other people about the same love that I experience on a daily basis.”
Ford said he now has only joy in his heart, but his life was once on a downward spiral.
“I grew up in a violent domestic household,” he said. “My dad would physically, mentally and emotional abuse my mother and I.”
Ford said that, at age 13, he found out the man he called Dad wasn’t his biological father, and he believes that is what gave his anger momentum.
“Both of my parents were alcoholics,” Ford said. “My dad at first and then, when he divorced my mom, she took up alcohol and depression.”
His mother was eventually convicted of capital murder after she was driving on the wrong side of the roadway while drunk and hit and killed another drunken driver.
“Because this was her third DWI, she was given life in prison for manslaughter,” Ford said.
Ford was only 16 at the time.
“I was on my own,” he said. “I took to the street life and had a lot of hatred in my heart. I got into the gang life and started selling drugs.”
He said that, though he was forced to sing in the choir at church growing up, he was an atheist during his hard years. He even spent some time in jail for burglarizing a car.
Ford said that, in 2012, someone he knew, from the church he attends now, Sold Out Believers Christian Fellowship, told him it was time to change his life.
“While I was selling crack, I was selling death to people,” he said. “Someone told me, no matter who you are or what you do, Jesus still loves me. Regardless of who I hurt, who has hurt me, regardless of how many times I have been to jail, regardless of how many times I have cheated people, Jesus still loves me.”
When Ford was 18, parentless and homeless, the kind acts of the pastors of his church transformed him into the man he is today.
“They adopted me,” he said. “The wanted me to experience true love, and because they gave that to me, I want people to feel the same joy that I have in my heart now.”
Before, Ford was working a regular 9-to-5 job, but he decided that he wanted to pursue music for his faith.
“I prayed and I said, 'Lord, take this gift that you have given me and multiply it for your glory and not my own,'" Ford said.
Since then, Ford plays Christian music and preaches several times a week, starting in the afternoon and ending into the evenings, in various populated areas in downtown San Antonio.
“On this very corner, people have been baptized in the spirit, slain in the spirit and have given their lives to the Lord, and it is all through God,” he said. “It is never me.”
Ford is now married to a woman who has been in recovery for three years after being addicted to heroin. She also gave her life to Christ. They have five children together and are very active in the church.
He said, if he had one message he wanted people to take away from him as they listened to him play on the streets, it would be to love and to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, despite the circumstances people may be going through.
“When we, through our pain and through our hardships, choose to praise God instead of praising our situation, we will see blessings in an abundance of words that we can’t even explain," he said.