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'George was a gentle giant': Pastor working alongside George Floyd talks about his faith one year since his murder

by Kelly Valencia

A pastor who worked alongside George Floyd for several years has described him as a "gentle giant" who wanted to change the future of young kids in the neighbourhood.

His comments come as events take place across the world to mark the one-year anniversary of Floyd's death.

Before moving to Minnesota, George Floyd lived in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of Houston where he helped Pastor Patrick Ngwolo, from Resurrection Houston, develop local relationships and build his ministry there.  

Pastor Ngwolo told Premier he believed it was Floyd's "generosity of spirit" which gave credibility to Ngwolo's ministry and efforts to spread the gospel in the community. 

"[Floyd] knew that we were outsiders. He gave his time, his talent and his credibility. When people see him and see him associated with what we're doing, they're like 'Okay, that's fine. They're not the police. They're not here to hurt us or to do anything bad to us. They must be "good people".' So, he lent his credibility to that," Pastor Ngwolo said. 

He also recalled how Floyd used to say "if it's God's business it's my business" when asked about why he was helping them with their ministry. 

"It's the reason why he believed he should play an integral role in helping open the doors to the neighbourhood."

Pastor Ngwolo went on to describe Floyd's faith story as a "not one of perfection, but one of redemption" and added that his experience growing up in that neighbourhood gave him the ability to help kids turn away from crime and break generational poverty. 

"To see what God was doing with him, taking those other young men and saying: 'Put the guns away, this is not the way to live, this isn't the way to do things. I've been through this, and you should never have to go through this'. I just saw him mentoring these young men, what we call discipleship, it was amazing to see.

"Frankly, for someone who is an outsider, it helps to make my job easier. There's somebody else hitting them in the head saying: 'No, keep going, we're going to keep going the way of the Lord. We're going to try our best to do what God is asking us to do'," Pastor Ngwolo continued. 

Talking about the global impact of Floyd's murder in reigniting the fight against systematic racism, Pastor Ngwolo said that was what helped him to come to terms with his death.

"His murder has opened up the doorway for us to talk about how black bodies are created in the image of God, and should be accorded the same dignity that we would accord to anybody else who was created in the image of God". 

Pastor Ngwolo concluded by encouraging Christians to continue to work towards tackling systematic racism and police brutality. 

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