My name is Louis Ciccia. My wife, Alicia and I gave our lives to Christ in September of 2011 at my uncle’s one month memorial service. He passed away after a long battle with liver cirrhosis and was a member of the Potters House Christian Fellowship church in North Providence RI. I can remember as if it were yesterday when I bowed my knee and prayed a sinner’s prayer of repentance accepting Jesus with brother Brandon Gomes. My whole life prior to this moment was full of hate, anger and bitterness.
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. I committed crimes, sold drugs and had no sympathy whatsoever, for anyone. I knew there was a God having been to a few catholic churches but did not understand His mercy. I remember at least having some respect for God when I wanted to cry out and ask Him for help but I felt hypocritical in asking, so I never did. However the good Lord always looked out for me. I remember doing the wickedest things and somehow coming out without a scratch from un-imaginable impossible circumstances. I assume Jesus looked down from his throne and said, “One day I will use you for my glory.”
The bible teaches us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us and there is no better example than His love and mercy towards me even before I ever thought of loving Him. Slowly but surely the Lord took me from a hopeless situation and restored me at the age of 27 giving me a wonderful wife, family and a career in the financial world. However over the next 10 years I became blinded by money, ambition and selfish pride; my heart grew colder each day. Bitterness and hate festered in my soul to the point where 12 years had gone by that I refused to speak to my mother, swearing that even if she passed away I would really not care or go to the funeral. I remember laying my head on the pillow at night thinking about this universe and in comparison the insignificant speck of dust that we as humans are, living a merely 70 to 80 years and then what? A hopeless generation with no future, I watched my own children grow up bound by rap music, marijuana use, sexual promiscuity, alcohol and drug addiction along with thousands if not millions of kids that looked up to us, the first hip hop culture generation who paved the way for their destruction. I look back now and finally I can see, because Jesus has opened my eyes.
When I gave my life to Christ that day at the memorial service I met a young Pastor. His name was Jermaine Concepcion. I wasn’t sure who he was or why I was even at a store front brick building called a church. After service he began to tell me about his testimony. Before then, the only time I had heard of the word testimony was when I had been to court. He began telling me about his best friend, Spencer Macleod. He told me about his life and where he came from which was the same place I came from. We both came from a broken home and grew up in the same culture. I said to him “It can’t be the same, Cape Cod don’t have projects or drugs! Everything is nice over there! “He laughed and told me about Spence, how he gave his life that day in 2002, how Jermaine deserved hell and through the power of forgiveness, God had spared him. He told me about Spence’s love for people how his mom Robin was able to forgive him for the tragedy that had occurred. He told me about Jesus and His mercy, he told me about the other friends involved and how they were also saved through Spencer’s life, how they became pastors and how in a tragedy, God can still get glory. I was blown away by this and went home that night with a new found understanding of God. When I woke up that morning as soon as I stepped out of bed I heard a voice in my head say Thessalonians. I asked an uncle of mine what that meant and he told me to read the book in the bible. This is what it said:
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know
As you can see for yourself brothers and sisters God has chosen each and every one of us. I went back that Sunday and now I was really blown away. Pastor Jermaine did a rap song a remake of the song “like woe” a classic hip hop beat but with some good news about Jesus. I said to myself this is real and I want this in my life it was powerful! I began steadily going to every service and calling my Pastor on the phone daily nagging him and asking him to tell me more.
A couple of months later we went to our mother church Victory Chapel on the Cape for the Spencer Macleod 10 year memorial. I was blessed to meet Robin Farnsworth, her husband CB and all my newfound brothers and sisters in the Lord. I watched Spence’s memorial and had an instant connection with him. I saw the genuine love he had for people and the love people had for him. I saw him rapping in Africa and people redeemed through the same hip hop music that we used to ruin lives with. I witnessed people from all walks of life and all colors just loving each other and fellowshipping. Towards the end of the memorial a clip was shown of all the people that had given their lives to Christ through Spencer’s testimony. Words cannot describe the joy I felt. I am so thankful first of all to God for saving my family and for my Pastor and his family and the Cape congregation, Sister Robin for being a true Christian for standing in the gap, to Spencer Macleod for laying down his own life for his friends and so that future believers can have a second chance at life. I am encouraged at what the Lord is doing in North Providence we are using Spencer’s lyrics and vision of a rap ministry to change the unchangeable, to minister to this dying generation to take back all we lost; our kids, our families, our freedom and liberty, our minds and most importantly our souls.