It’s a stunning story of a second chance.
Sunday, the man arrested and charged with burglarizing and vandalizing a Raleigh church last month is now a member of that same church. 24-year-old Deandre Bramlett asked Living Life in Victory church leaders for forgiveness for the crimes that cost the church tens of thousands of dollars in damages.
The church’s pastor said he was speechless today when Bramlett not only came to apologize for the crime but committed to be a member of this congregation. That pastor told Local 24 News, he’s welcoming Bramlett with open arms, an open mind and an open heart.
“I am not asking for sympathy but forgiveness,” Bramlett said. “God brought me here today.”
Instead of hate, there are hugs.
“I am overwhelmed, I am speechless,” Pastor Henry Lavender said. “We are so excited to have him and speechless because this is unheard of.”
Bramlett said he returned to the church a different man than last month, when Memphis Police caught him in the act burglarizing a church building and stealing thousands of dollar’s worth of copper. When officers arrested Bramlett, the church had already been ransacked three times in a week.
“I was the one that broke in the church and did a thing I shouldn’t have did and asking the community for forgiveness and for my wrong decisions,” Bramlett said.
Pastor Lavender granted Bramlett that forgiveness. He said he’s not looking backwards at the damage done, but forward with Bramlett’s spiritual growth and new beginning.
“It means to me that people can change, people make mistakes, people do things based on money and reasons for that but when a person finds god in their life, they are looking for answers,” Pastor Lavender said.
As for the vandalism at the church’s campus, Pastor Lavender said renovations are underway to fix the damages as soon as possible. Bramlett is due back in court later this month.