This is an old article, but thought you would enjoy reading it.
EDDIE ECHARRI ~
Pensacola, Florida Raised in Brooklyn, New York, Eddie was an altar boy in the Catholic Church before being dismissed for getting drunk on stolen parish wine. By the age of 15, he was a school drop-out, stealing cars and selling drugs, which led to a $400-a-day drug habit.Eddie sold drugs for the Gotti crime family. He nearly lost his life in a shootout with the New York City Police when he jumped out a third story window to avoid capture, landing hard on the street – his lumbar vertebrae was broken in five places and both ankles fractured. Eddie has served time in Attica and Sing Sing for armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and drug dealing. During his last prison term, he began calling a friend in Pensacola who invited Eddie to stay with him and his family, but Eddie would have to stop using drugs and cursing because they were born-again Christians. Eddie was a little leery of his friend’s “fanatical beliefs.”Upon his release, Eddie returned to his $400-a-day heroine habit. Then a drunk driver killed his young niece, and he decided to move far away from the heartaches and temptations of the New York City streets. He accepted his friend’s offer. Eddie determined to kick the heroin habit by going “cold turkey” – he didn’t sleep for 13 days. In pain and despair, he called out to God, he read his friend’s Bible, and he went to church. Six months later he committed his life to Christ.
One day, as God was dealing with his past failures, Eddie read Matthew 12:43-45: “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.'”Eddie realized willpower and eight detox programs had not conquered his 15-year battle with drugs. The void in his life (his “empty house”) was filled by drug demons, which progressively made his life more miserable. He began filling the void with God’s Word and attended Olive Baptist Church’s new The Most Excellent Way meeting. In turn, God began to remove his anger, his bitterness and his craving for drugs. A few months later, a couple from church paid Eddie’s airfare to a The Most Excellent Way workshop in California. Eddie says the conference changed his life. He saw how God could use his life experiences and past failures to help others. Under Eddie’s leadership, The Most Excellent Way program quickly grew from four people to more than 60, and expanded to other churches. There is a The Most Excellent Way meeting every day of the week in churches throughout Pensacola, and the only One who can conquer an empty lifestyle has filled the hearts of many addicts and alcoholics. Eddie has been the Director of Community Ministries at Olive for two years, ministering to addicts and to inmates in local jails – leading them to Jesus Christ. Eddie is The Most Excellent Way Area Director for the Southeastern United States. Glory to God!