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Real-life stories: Involved in drugs and/or alcohol abuse or dependancy

Rasta On The Run Selling Crack And Bringing Girls Into Prostitution

noel mcnamee.jpg

Rasta on the run Noel McNamee was born and raised in Brixton. At the age of 14 he turned away from the church. His mother, ‘a praying woman’ let him go, not wanting to force Christianity on him.

Rastafarianism was sweeping through Brixton in the late 70s and Noel found his identity in being a ‘rastaman’. In time, his dreads grew to beyond his knees and at six foot plus, those dreads were pretty long!

Following the Rasta tradition he went forth and multiplied. He had six children by five different mothers.

‘I was brainwashed by the weed,’ he says. ‘But I made that choice. The more I smoked, the more I started to sink, to commit more sin.’ He joined the Twelve Tribes of Israel, a Rasta sect. He read parts of the Bible but did not understand its message.

Noel struggled to get work so he began to deal in weed and then cocaine. The drugs started to take over his thinking. By 27 he says ‘my life was just scattered all over the place.’ He ran away to America to escape his problems.

In New York he soon discovered that ‘America is a big place, with bigger problems. I never knew about crack until I went to America.’ It brought in the money quickly but made him enemies. Soon he was on the run again, back to Brixton. He brought with him the know-how and soon set up ‘shop’ selling crack.

He was his own best customer. For the next five years he was an addict. ‘My god was money. I had no feelings, I’d sell crack to anyone.’ When life got too hot, he moved to St Paul’s, Bristol.

He worked as a runner for pimps, bringing girls in to a legal prostitution house, and supplying crack to the girls. He saw an incident where people lost their lives, and fearing for his own life, he ran back to London.

He took refuge with his sister, a Christian, who urged him to seek help. Noel’s lifestyle finally caught up with him in October 2002 when he went out one night to deal and ended up in hospital. Beaten to near death, he woke up two days later with a ‘dead leg’.

‘That beating had brought me to my senses!

‘I looked up and I said “God, what’s this all about? I need you now.” At that moment a woman came in and gave me a Bible and a booklet called, “a whisper of love”.

‘My spirit leapt as I read some words from Proverbs 3 v. 5 & 6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”’

Later he rang his sister to find out what he had to do to have Christ in his life. He prayed the sinner’s prayer, and at last peace had come.

‘For 25 years I was frightened to sleep at night.’ That night he slept peacefully.

God brought physical and spiritual healing to Noel’s life. ‘I never went to rehab. During my two-week stay in hospital, God’s Holy Spirit took away my craving for crack.’

Today Noel is married and he works in Southampton. He has no need to run anymore.

‘What has God done in my life? He has transformed me. Even my speech has changed. God is good. Without the Word of God I am nothing. What God has done for me, He can do for you too.’

Noel prayed a prayer like this when he decided to follow Jesus.

Father God, I’m sorry that I’ve been trying to live my life without you. I am guilty of rebelling against you. I’ve fallen short of your perfect standard and I realise I can’t please you by my own efforts.

Thank you that you sent Jesus to die on the cross because of your great love for me. I believe that he died and rose again so that I can be forgiven and have new life in him.

Please forgive me and come into my life. Please send the Holy Spirit to help me live with Jesus as my Saviour and King from now on. Help me to live as your child, as part of your family.

I know I still have a lot to learn but thank you that right now I know eternity is secure.


If you sincerely prayed and put your trust in Jesus, then you have begun a personal relationship with God. Why don’t you email us, send us your address and we will send you a free Gospel of Mark.

Noel McNamee, 200

Story and photograph by courtesy of Challenge Newsline

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