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Barry Randall The People's Pastor(Men's Issue)

Yearning For My Father

Today I’m known as “The Peoples Pastor.” I was born and raised in Portsmouth Virginia, I serve in the community as a local pastor, and community activist, and I’m a full-time worker with the Portsmouth City school division. I'm also a candidate for the Portsmouth City School Board this coming election cycle on November 3rd, 2020.

A single mom raised me along with my grandparents, and I must attribute my passion for serving the community to my upbringing. My father was taken away from me early in my childhood at the age of two years old from gun violence, and he only reached the age of twenty-one. His death is one of the reasons I advocate against gun violence when it comes down to our youth; I have a soft spot for impoverished children, and disenfranchised communities, which is why I also serve as the Civic League President for the Brighton and Prentis Park neighborhoods here in Portsmouth VA. I would say that this is one of my most significant accomplishments in life because I always wanted to serve those communities. After all, that's where my father sold a lot of drugs. He was a drug dealer, and I don't say that to bash or be proud, I speak on the situation because that is the reality, and I'm on a mission to save others from the road my young father traveled before he lost his life.

When I was able to recognize that I didn't have a father in the home, I was hurt. I never understood why his uncles and aunts, along with the rest of my family, didn't stand in and help him through his troubling times. I'm not going to say they didn't try, but I can only speak about how I felt and still feel. I felt robbed when it came down to not getting the chance to know my father. Women raised me, and my mother was at the tender age of fifteen when she gave birth, and she was eighteen when my father lost his life. My deceased maternal grandmother and my father's mother, Bertha Mae, who is still alive, did all they could to make sure they raised me adequately to become the man I am today. I have a vivid memory of when my father used to come and pick me up from the house and take me to the basketball court. He used to put me on his shoulders so I can shoot the ball, but it still hurts me to this day because I see so many children living this continued cycle of the same predicament that I had to overcome.

"I believe if we began to pour back into our communities and our children, your life ceases.” What I mean by that is your aspirations, goals, and dreams should be put on pause. It’s wise for us to be careful of the choices that we make as adults because those choices may affect your children."

Growing up, I used to always ask if my dad loved me because I felt that if he loved me, he wouldn't have risked his life. I went through a dark phase in my life, believing that my father didn't love me, and he didn't care about my sister as well. I felt as if he was only concerned about himself, but as I grew and got in a relationship with God, I started to heal.

Today I'm grateful that I'm no longer bitter or carrying around that burden of feeling betrayed. I no longer feel angry because I recognize that God does all things well. I believe that God had placed a mandate upon my life to be there for single boys and single girls that are without their fathers. I mentor these children to learn how to do the things that I'm doing in the community. Children's ministry, along with outreach ministry, is some of the things I love to do, and I'm always out in the streets giving back my time and my resources. "I always say that wherever there's an injustice, you will find me."

“I want to tell young men and women that God does not make mistakes, and his word is true. God knew you before He formed you in the belly of your mother's womb.

Despite your obstacles, your deficiencies, and the parts of you that you don't like about yourself. Despite your insecurities, your level of fear, and your level of growth.

“I will always encourage you to trust God and trust the process and enjoy the ride.”

My future goal is to become the Mayor of Portsmouth Virginia, and as the process goes, I’m enjoying the progress that I’m making.