Yannik McKie



   Yannik McKie grew up in a loving home with all the luxuries his father, an airline executive could afford. Though not religious, his parents sent him to a Christian school where he heard the Gospel for the first time.

   Because my father worked for Delta Airlines, it was nothing for us to hop on a plane, fly to Hawaii, Bermuda, and the Bahamas. We were like the Cosby family. People always referred to us as that quintessential perfect family.

   I remember going home at night, and kneeling at the side of my bed, telling Jesus I wanted a relationship with Him and at six years old; I received Jesus Christ into my life. I continued to flourish, taking frequent trips with my family. But later, my parents started going away on their own for the weekends. I was eleven when my father sat me and my sister down and explained the trips were to hospitals for experimental medical treatments.

   When he told us that he had HIV, I didn't know what that was; but I certainly knew what no cure meant. It meant no more fancy trips, no more fun and games and eventually, it would mean no more mom and dad. I can't really tell you how long I cried at that moment, but it was a while.

   My father admitted to an affair with a woman. A short time later, my mother told me the truth.

   My mom looked at me and said, "Yannik, it wasn’t a woman. Your father's gay."

   I really didn't grasp what was happening. My father wasn't the man that I thought he was. Because if he contracted a disease that they didn't have a cure for and gave it to my mom; my father was going to be guilty of murder. Although I was angry at my father, I also blamed God for letting it happen. In my mind, it was God's fault. I believed that God was in control. So You're going to allow my dad to contract a deadly disease and then give it to my mom, an innocent person? Why?

   When I was thirteen, my father died of AIDS. I remember my father dying, but felt like that was a consequence of his choice. So why should I feel sorry? He's getting what he deserves. My mother died of AIDS two years later. I loved mom. I was a mother's boy and felt like she was innocent. She died a slow death and that ate at me. If you had seen my mother, she was beautiful, healthy, young, and brilliant; but AIDS took her away from me.

   My sister and I were adopted by family friends. Devastated by the loss of my parents, I started using drugs. It started with the wrong crowd. Hurt people attract hurt people, and I began to hang around teenagers with problems. People who didn't have strong father figures: Young men who liked to do drugs, and hang out and party was what we would do. I soon began selling drugs.

   When I went away to college, I discovered that I could make a bigger profit buying guns and selling them illegally. A friend and I started running guns to drug dealers in New York City.

   I knew that I was wrong, and knew God was real. I would hurt myself to hurt Him. It was almost like I was trying to get His attention some somehow; to get Him to pay attention to me and see if He really cared, because I didn't know if He did. I continued running guns for the next few years; but the guilt I felt for having put hundreds of them on the street began to weigh me.

   I remember one night, telling God, “I'm gonna give You a chance. If You want me to change, I'm going to need Your help because I'm too deep in this to just stop.”

   A short time later, I was arrested when a gun buyer gave me up. I faced five years in prison. I remember almost being happy. I wasn't angry with the police for doing their job. I got in that van, went to sleep and remember thinking, You're answering my prayer, and they took me to a federal prison in Savannah. While awaiting trial, I had an encounter with God. I began to see that the situation I was in wasn’t God's fault; it was my fault. I'm guilty of making the same detrimental decisions as my dad, but in a different way. It's all still the same and it was at that moment, I forgave him. I realized I was just like him. I felt like a weight was lifted off of me. I was in prison, but I was free.

   Once able to forgive my father, I rededicated my life to the Lord. Out on bond, I began attending Church. One Sunday I had a chance encounter with a prosecutor there, who wanted to know more about me. I told her about losing my parents and returning to God after years of rebellion. Then, I had my day in court.

   This is a big case, with college students involved in gun trafficking. I mean, they wanted us in jail. Now, this is a federal prosecutor and she defended me. I was guilty, but because of what she did for me, the judge showed me grace. She did such a good job. My attorney says I acquiesced to the argument the prosecution presented. It was amazing. It was God on my side.

   A charge was dropped and instead of five years in prison, I was sentenced to five years’ probation. I began working with the prosecutor, teaching hundreds of at-risk kids to read. Today, I am married and have a family of my own. I owe it all to the God, who both forgives and restores faith.

   We forgive because we realize if it wasn't for the grace of God, we could all be guilty of the grossest sin. I believe there's a direct correlation in the grace that I showed my father, and the grace that was given to me. You cannot believe that you've been forgiven of an eternal death of sin, and not be willing to forgive someone who sins against you. I experienced true forgiveness. When I felt that weight lift off of me, it was a weight not just for that moment; but a weight for the rest of my life.


Yannik McKie Hearing His Voice Testimony

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Yannik McKie Testimony