According to doctors, Rashad Poole should have died a long time ago. The pain he endured as a child neglected by his father led directly to a life of substance abuse.
“My father was in and out of my life between my ages of four to seven,” Rashad says. “I’d call him up and ask him to come over and he’d say, ‘Sure, I’ll be there in a little while’—and I’d stand at the front door and wait for him, but he never came.”
He lost contact entirely with his dad, and well into his teen years, Rashad wondered if he was to blame for the way his dad treated him.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the gaping hole I felt in my life led directly to my addictions,” Rashad says.
“I did some drinking in order to fit in with the ‘cool crowd’ and that led to abusing pain meds after I had surgery on my hand about six years ago. The pills made me feel good and it coated the pain I was suffering.”
Rashad quickly discovered that the pain pills did more than help him cope with the effects of the surgery—the meds became a mask for dealing with his heartache. “I moved from painkillers to cocaine and soon on up to heroin,” he admits.That’s when Rashad woke up in a hospital detox room, where he was kept for seven days while his body recovered from the shock of so many drugs in his system.
“The doctor told me there was so much [drugs] in me that I should have died.”
Rashad stared at his hospital ceiling and told himself, “something has to change!”
He eventually came to The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Atlanta, Georgia. As part of the initial rehab program, the men go to a nearby Salvation Army corps for worship after their own chapel service on Sundays. Rashad went to the South Atlanta Kroc Corps Center.
“I felt the Holy Spirit’s presence as soon as I came into the front door,” he recalls. “I hadn’t felt love like that anywhere!”
Rashad points to a white Surrender flag on the platform—there’s also one in the chapel at the ARC where he lives and works—and says, “Seeing that flag reminds me that I must constantly reevaluate what surrender really means.”
Rashad has finally “surrendered” to God’s will and His gift of salvation through Christ Jesus. And every morning, he wakes up and surrenders again and again.
“My goal as a young Christian is to reach a Christ-like holiness. Do I believe this can be achieved? Most certainly,” says the 27 year-old born-again believer. “Through complete obedience, prayer, and Scripture reading, I want to apply His Word to my heart daily, and to show my love for Him by loving others.”
Rashad is now a uniformed soldier of the Atlanta Kroc Corps, and part of his Sunday ritual is to go out on the canteen to feed homeless people under Atlanta’s bridges.
“I certainly can relate to them because I was once one of them!”
Rashad’s pursuit of holiness is a major component of his rehabilitation. It is also his future: he plans to enter the Evangeline Booth College in 2018 to commence training for Salvation Army Officership.
“Christ constantly reminds me that I am a lamp that He puts on a stand to show the world His holiness within me,” he says. “Through the Holy Spirit’s guidance and my constant obedience to Christ and His plan for my life, only then can I walk in holiness and become transformed by His sanctifying blood!”
Major Frank Duracher, Assistant Editor