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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NW chef captures, delivers faith after youthful rebellion

NW Campus sous chef Terry Alexander enjoys cooking for large groups of people. He also ministers to prisoners and ex-convicts sharing the many life lessons he’s learned through his experiences and his faith.
Photo by David Reid/The Collegian

NW Campus sous chef Terry Alexander ran with gangs for years but is now a mentor to those seeking a new start in life.

“I’ve seen people shot, stabbed,” Alexander said. “I never did any of those things, but being in the environment was tough.”
Alexander said he grew up in Chicago in the ’70s and was raised by a single mother.

“I had five other siblings, and even though my mother raised us all in the church, I still rebelled,” he said. “Not having a father, I just had a lot of selfish things going on.”

While Alexander made a series of bad choices, he said his heart was never really in the lifestyle he lived. He said he always kept his faith in God.

He moved to Texas in 1983 and worked in the food business for many years. Cooking for large crowds was his specialty, and he worked for major hotels and catering vendors.

“I was selling drugs, too,” he said. “But I wasn’t very good at it.”

Finding himself in the middle of a police raid, he fled to Mississippi.

“I was in my 30s, and I just realized it [selling drugs] wasn’t working for me,” he said.

While in Mississippi, Alexander said he found favor with a supervisor for the light company and was about to get hired.

“In the town where I was, working for the light company was a good job. It had benefits and paid pretty decent,” he said.

The catch was he had to get his driver’s license transferred. When he went to register, he discovered a warrant out for his arrest. He said he was devastated because he lost the opportunity to get a good job.

“It just threw me off. It broke me,” he said. “I had a choice. I could rebel and get depressed, or I could surrender to God.”

Sentenced to probation, Alexander said he wanted to change his environment. He was sent to a discipleship home where he learned to apply biblical principles in his life.

“I stayed in his word. I just saturated myself,” he said. “Sometimes, I’d read the word 10 hours a day.”

Participants in the discipleship program were required to complete at least one year, but Alexander said he stayed two. He accumulated more than 15 Bible study certificates since his first day at the discipleship house. He eventually became an ordained minister and is now an overseer in the discipleship home.

“When guys get out of prison, I’m there to teach them how to apply the word of God in their lives,” he said. “It’s hard for a guy to come out of that type of environment. I have to deal with a lot of different types of attitudes.”

Alexander said he has to be patient and tries to be an example so people can see what God is doing in his life. He goes to the discipleship house every night where he teaches a Bible study on Mondays, but his influence is not limited to the program. On weekends, Alexander also works with a prison ministry that is projected to go to 70 prisons this year.

On NW Campus, many of the students look up to him. Nursing student Paul Matthew Peters said Alexander’s faith is real.

“Everybody is searching, but this guy goes above and beyond to help people,” Peters said.

Alexander’s wife, Sarah, who works alongside him at the café as a manager, said he encourages many students. She said they worked together for three months before she asked him a question.

“One day, I just walked up to him and asked him, ‘Don’t you wanna marry me?’ And he said, ‘God ain’t told me nothin’ like that,’” she said. “I told him, ‘He will.’”

Alexander said he had to accept that his way of doing things in the past wasn’t getting him anywhere. He credits God for bringing his wife into his life.

“When I first met her, I would not have thought in a million years that we would be married,” he said. “Differences in marriage pull individuals out of themselves. If you think of someone more than yourself, that’s real love.”

Together, they continue to be an inspiration to people, especially students.

“I feel a place right here,” Alexander said. “This is the new generation.”

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