Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126: 5-6
This is God’s story…for only He is able to reach His hand down into the darkest pit of evil and despair and bring His glory. Only God can breathe life and pure beauty into ashes and make a pool of tears a refreshing spring. Fountain of Grace, River of Mercy…this is a very small piece of the bigger story, a small sample of His boundless love.
I have gleaned some of the more known, sort of “Headline” transformations here. There are countless other stories of lives changed, redirected and touched indelibly through Spencer’s life and death. There are also many unsung heroes who stepped in to love, nourish and encourage these precious souls. Without their sacrifice, their true Christian service, many would be lost. God knows their names. Your reward is ahead!
It was the summer of ’96 and I had reached a place of desperation. Spencer was sentenced to 45 days in a juvenile detention center for a series of random crimes; from stealing cars, breaking and entering, pot possession to fighting. As I watched him led away in cuffs my heart tore. I made a decision to give his life over to God completely and I just prayed. He had left home at age 16 because he didn’t like my rules. I wrote him in lock-up and told him if he wanted to come home there would be the same rules. He decided to come home.
In January of 2002 I had just found a place to live, having been homeless up until December. Because of my lifestyle nobody could really put up with me – no money, no job – and I had burned all my bridges. In my heart I was a time bomb, easily frustrated, angry and violent. I tried to numb my pain with partying, drugs and girls.
One day a connoisseur of fine brass was searching through a pile of junk on the outskirts of an eastern city when he suddenly spied an old battered brass pot. It was dirty, stained and beaten up, but his practiced eye recognized a thing of value. He made his way through the junk and picked up the old pot and set it apart by itself. In so doing he sanctified that vessel. Of course he must spend many hours cleansing, straightening out the dents and polishing the old pot, until it becomes a thing of beauty to one day grace his living room table.
Before I can tell you who I am now I first need to tell who I was. I grew up in a single family home with a brother that was 15 months older than I was. Cape Verdean Families were very tight knit families and you always did what elders told you to do, especially if it was your parents. My grandmother had a falling out with my dad and told him never to come around her daughter anymore. This is all I know of why my father wasn’t in my life.
***Lawrence died tragically on November 18th 2014 in a head-on collision and was instantly ushered into glory. He is greatly missed by so many but his testimony will always remain. Can’t wait to see you again precious brother!***
Hello, my name is Lawrence Barros and I would like to share with you how the life and death of Spencer has forever altered the direction of my life. Spencer was murdered days before my 20th birthday in February 2002. During that particular time, my life was in transition. I had just moved back to the cape from going to college about 3 hours away and I was really hoping that life would settle down for me. I had been in trouble at college for possession of alcohol and marijuana and as a result the school had banned me from the dorms.
Back in 2002, something so powerful happened that my life was revolutionized for the good. It was a Tuesday morning, end of February, and I was taking an English class at the Cape Cod Community College that was part of the Access program. We read the newspaper every morning in class and that particular morning there was a story about a young man named Spencer MacLeod. The whole class was asking, How could this happen in a small town like Yarmouth?
My name is Josh Shapiro. I was born in Great Barrington, MA. My parents were divorced and my mother raised me on Cape Cod. My life was never easy. From a broken home I was heading fast on a road to destruction. I was sixteen when I left home. I wanted to party and have fun.
My name is Tyrone. I am 35 years old. I moved to the Cape when I was twelve years old. I grew up in a single parent home with my younger brother Brandon. We were poor. At a young age I began hanging out with older cousins who got me involved with the party life style. When I was fifteen I got my girlfriend pregnant.
I grew up in what appeared from the outside to be a good healthy home but when you stepped behind closed doors there was the reality of abuse, depression, and anger. There was constant fighting between my parents. Over the years I battled with a deep dark state of depression. It controlled me and no matter what I did I could not break free from its hold. Every day thoughts of suicide flooded my mind. I knew if I didn’t get help I would end up taking my own life, harming someone else, or completely lose my mind.
¬¬In May 2009 I was about to graduate college and I was lonely and confused about the future. I had spent the last four years isolating myself and wondering what was wrong with me. I noticed that I would walk around campus with a frown on my face all the time. This bothered me because when I was younger people would always ask me why I was always smiling. I was lost and broken and I didn’t know how to put myself back together.
In January of 2002 I did not know who I was. My life consisted of partying, drug using and drug selling and everything that came with those choices. I did not have a care in the world. My lifestyle would ultimately lead to a group of men and myself taking the life of Spencer Macleod.
Coming from a broken home and growing up in the 1990’s, influenced by hip hop culture made me a very confused and enraged young man. Not knowing or having a father in my life to help and encourage me only made it worse. I lived a reckless life once I graduated high school.