'Jesus Had Profound Impact on His Life': Friends of George Floyd Share About His Faith, Ministry
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Corey Paul Davis described learning about the death of George Floyd like being hit with a ton of bricks.
"It just hit me in the chest," Davis told CBN News. "As I was starting to watch the video and then see what happened, the weight of it. I could literally feel the weight of it immediately."
Floyd, 46, died Monday in Minneapolis while being held down by a white police officer. Video from a bystander taken outside a local grocery store captured the officer pressing his knee on Floyd's neck.
Officials suspected Floyd of trying to pass a forged check.
Davis, a Christian rap artist posted a video on social media to paint a picture of the man he knew as a man of peace.
I knew #GeorgeFloyd personally. So, the media can’t tell me nothing. When we did community outreach in the hood he was a “person of peace”. He wanted to see us come together as a people. They murdered him in the street. You see why #BlackLivesMatter has to be stated. This hurt pic.twitter.com/uwAH1ygiQX— Corey Paul (@CoreyPaulMusic) May 26, 2020
"Knowing him as a person and then seeing the humiliation and ultimately the murder of him it was enraging," said Davis. "That's why I had to speak."
While living in Houston, Floyd, known to many as "Big Floyd," worked alongside Davis and other ministry partners who held a Christian outreach called "Church in The Bricks."
The ministry took place in one of most notorious housing projects in the city.
"Church in the Bricks was essentially we're bringing a church service to the projects," said Christian Rapper Reconcile. "I think Floyd loved that idea. I remember being out there one day and I was moving the baptism pool to the court to baptize some young men that had got saved and he helped pull the pool out. He was just so ecstatic, just the fact that young men were making decisions and choices for Christ and that it was happening right in the middle of the mud of the community."
Reconcile added, "There was a distance between setting up chairs in front of the community center onto the actual court and he's in there picking up chairs, there setting them up. He's waiting til everything's done. Putting chairs back. Making sure there's no problems during events. Inviting other people from the street and the block to participate and that was the George I knew."
"We were explicit about everything that we were doing, and he empowered us to do that," said Nijalon Dunn. "He literally pushed everything to the side to allow us to be able to come in. So, he knew the work that we were doing. He knew we were on the front lines with the gospel. We were existing to raise followers of Jesus in the city."
"He was making sure that we had everything we need to do it," Dunn added.
Floyd, who had done time in prison for a 2007 robbery, had left his past behind him.
In 2012 Pastor PT Ngwolo of Resurrection Houston started the community outreach that Floyd enjoyed and it's still happening in 2020.
"I think we came along at a time where God was moving in his heart," said Ngwolo.
He explained that Floyd left Houston for Minnesota on a mission.
"When he went to Minnesota, he was there as part of a discipleship process," Ngwolo explained. "It was a church work program that was going to help him get his licensing and certification so that he could drive 18 wheelers. That's why he was there in the first place."
He added, "We just want to make sure that people understand that this man had a profound impact in his community and that Jesus had a profound impact on his life."
Ngwolo described how that impact played out in Floyd's life.
"There was a murder in the neighborhood and George was making a post, 'Hey look I'm a tell all you young guys in the neighborhood you don't want to live this life, this is a dead-end type of life and there's only one way you can go," explained Ngwolo. "You either gonna go to hell or you're going to go to heaven. You need to make a choice on the type of life that you want to live. And I think that George had kind of made that decision for himself years before. He wasn't the same man that he was in his 20's."
Reconcile recalled how others in the community looked up to Floyd which is why many also called him "OG," a catch-phrase used for elder leaders.
"For a lot of young men in Third Ward area, George was a mentor," said Reconcile. "He was a person of encouragement. He was a person that resolved issues. But he was also, to many young men, a father figure, an uncle, just an older voice of reason and wisdom."
Meanwhile, the National Guard has been called into Minneapolis as violent protests escalate in the city following Floyd's death.
His ministry friends say the violence is not something Floyd would approve of.
"Big Floyd, he was a person of peace," said Reconcile. "I think if you want to honor Big Floyd, you're not gonna run in the store and loot. If you knew George, you would know that's not the type of person he was."
His friends also say now is the time for believers of all races to stand as one to bring about healing and justice to the nation and cases like Floyd's.
"Let us come together," said Nijalon. "Let us pray, make decisions, in wisdom let's figure it out, and then let us put a plan of action together. And then it's going to take some empowering, the church at large hasn't really empowered black people."
Davis specifically has this message for white evangelicals. "If you as one white person immerses yourself in an understanding of the injustice and then contextualize and communicate that to a demographic of people you have influence over, you are aiding in that and you can bring them into that same immersion experience by us coming together. Through that unity, we can start seeing each other as humans."
"White folk need to eat, break bread, dinner table with people of African American descent in the hood and then go back and have those same dinner conversations with people in your neighborhood," concluded Ngwolo.
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