- Associated Press - Saturday, July 2, 2016

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (AP) - Deshawn Tatem doesn’t want to see Elizabeth City’s youth hanging out on the streets and falling into a life of crime and violence.

Tatem, 37, a pastor and a musician, along with his wife, Shantelle, 33, lead Yahshua the Movement, which is now located in a renovated house off North Road Street downtown, next to Muddy Waters Coffeehouse.

Yahshua Ministries is part house of worship, part community center, part computer lab, part cafe and part recording studio. The studio part of the ministry, which Deshawn Tatem showed to a reporter earlier this month, is on the second floor and is filled with state-of-the-art equipment for those seeking to perfect their musical skills.

Tatem said while the ministry doesn’t take up collections or offerings, a person can, for a $25 monthly membership fee, participate in gang prevention workshops and job training, as well as learn graphic and website design, music production and how to play the piano.

Tatem, who relocated from Virginia’s Hampton Roads area, is keenly aware of the Pasquotank County seat having both a crime and a heroin problem. He believes he and his family can help.

“If we distract the people, if we distract them with positive things to do or the things that can actually benefit their career or their future, rather, that’s going to decrease crime,” he said.

Deshawn Tatem said he became a minister in 2007, after having lived a life of crime in the tough neighborhoods of the Hampton Roads area.

“I was a drug dealer,” he said, adding that his life was headed in the wrong direction. “I was on the way to the penitentiary or death - that’s the way I felt,” he recalled.

That was before he found his religious calling in 1999. Tatem starting ministering a few years later.

Yahshua Ministries is similar to a place Deshawn Tatem and his wife once had in the Hampton Roads area.

As for what led him and his family to move to the Elizabeth City area, Deshawn Tatem said, “I came here because at this point I reached a pinnacle of what my finances had enabled me to do in Virginia. I had done so much and won so many awards and done so many things. He said he felt called to Elizabeth City.

Tatem said the former house on North Road is where God told him to put Yahshua the Movement, which opened on North Road in May. It has about 15 members, and Tatem said he would like to have as many as 80 in the future.

The ministry is open Tuesdays through Fridays, with the community center hours being from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There’s also a teen night on Thursdays, starting at 6 p.m. On Fridays, the ministry focuses on conducting a 7:30 p.m. worship service. The ministry is also open from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

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Information from: The Daily Advance, http://www.dailyadvance.com/

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