After years of partying and selling drugs I found myself a young man faced with a choice. I wasted my time in high school not making the grade so college was not an option, so it was either continue on the path of destruction, or simply become a responsible functioning member of society, aka a MAN! After making this decision I met a young woman who later I would call my wife. Before we married one of her stipulations to being in a relationship with someone was that they had to attend church. I was not against the idea, honestly I had no idea what it was like to go to church and welcomed the adventure. I went every Sunday high as a kite and never heard a word that was being spoke, I was simply there for her.
This is how the story went for a solid three years, until one day I was asked to go to Nashville, TN and do some mission work there after a historic flood. Also, note I went there with an extremely hard heart, and had absolutely no desire to be there. Upon arriving after an 11 hour drive due to a rock slide, we were welcomed by a very nice lady that had opened her home to us. I found this strange that a person would risk their safety, not knowing anything about us other than we were from a church and were there to help. The next morning we woke and traveled to the church we were partnering with to be assigned our task. I went there with the intention of rebuilding a home, because I am a carpenter by trade, only to find that FEMA had not approved money to any of the flood victims at that time, so basically we were left to pick up trash, pull weeds and mow grass. This did not help my horrible attitude in any way, shape or form. I was given a house to help at and two girls to help me do the work, we were at the house for probably thirty minutes to an hour, and we had already mowed the front and back lawns and pulled ten 20 gallon trash bags full of weeds and trash. I stood on the curb looking more amazed than the home owner, the girls and I where pumped and ready to do more. The man that owned the home pulled me aside and thanked me, he also said something i'll never forget... "Son you got a wife?" I said "yes sir." "How long you been away from her since you got married?" I said, "I guess this weekend would have to be it sir." "Son could you imagine having to send your wife away for 6 weeks while you lived in the bonus room above your garage eating fast food three meals a day?" I replied, "no sir I could not." He looked at me and said, "I know God has a plan from all this."
That conversation set up what might have been the most spiritually in tune I had ever been in my life. We said our goodbyes and moved to the next house where the rest of our people were already working on another home. I noticed the grass had not been mowed in sometime, asking the lady if she had a mower, she just broke down in tears.... my husband is the one that did the yard work, she could barely get it out, he died the week before the flood! At that moment her 4 year old son ran across the yard to hug her leg. I stood there speechless. I noticed the next door neighbor had a mower, he was a man of Indian decent. I approached him and asked to borrow his mower, I offered to mow his yard if I could use it to mow her yard, he agreed. Nearing the end of my adventure i was pushing the mower between the two houses toward the front the man was walking my way toward the back, we made eye contact and that very instant a message that was given the week before I left hit me dead in the heart. See, my pastor had preached that as followers of Christ we should look peculiar to the world, in my thinking I have been black-balled my whole life the last thing I want to do is stand out and I was ready to start blending in for a change. Although in that instant I realized just what he was saying; that day this man did not understand... we all looked peculiar. After completing the yard he pulled me aside and asked "why are you all here doing this?" My only reply was cause Jesus told us to.
In that moment I realized God was for real and wanted me to serve him. I came home a new man, I quit my job because I did not agree with the way they ran the business, I kicked my weed habit to the curb, and God really started to make himself real to me. I began to meet with my pastor who really poured a lot into me while discipling me. I found a new job and was able to provide for my family, and simply by quitting drugs we were able to afford a home. I started to plug in and get involved, as I grew in my knowledge of God and His word I began to feel something. I later found that what I feeling was a calling to serve God fully with my life, it was a feeling that I had never experienced in my life. I began to share with the youth about what God had done in my life, and soon a door was open to serve as the youth pastor at NorthView Church. I also began to host a small group at our home and it immediately started to grow. I was approached by a man that served with youth for Christ and he asked me to begin leading one of the groups at a local high school. I also started seminary at the same time, attending for two years.
That same year we traveled to Honduras to serve a village doing youth ministry, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. At the end of the eight days there I really felt a major pull of my heart that this is what God would have for my wife and I. We came home and began to really seek God and see if this was a real possibility for us to be able to serve God. I fasted and prayed none stop, I grew so much in this time. God allowed us to travel to Nashville, TN and serve the missionaries, doing some updates and repairs on a home they had purchased. At the end of that weekend I got an opportunity to sit down with Sam and Peggy and ask them if what I was hearing from God was true. I truly felt that God had called us to serve them, anxiously awaiting their reply. Peggy said "well, Sam why don't you share with them our need." Sam began to share that he was in need of a leader and someone that was familiar with construction to lead the teams that wanted to do that form of mission work. He added that they had already considered us and that when we were ready they would be ready for us. It was the most amazing thing ever, getting confirmation that God had truly spoke to my heart. What took place next rocked me to my core. In the process of trying to figure out how to make the transition and sell all of our possessions, I uncovered that my wife had been having a affair for the previous ten months. I tried to reconcile our marriage, but she did not want to, we sadly divorced a year later. After this took place I fell into a dark period of my life and found myself doing things that I never thought I would do again. People did not give up on me and began to speak truth into my life. To the praise of God I was able to bring myself out of those things and get my heart and head back fully on the Lord. That allowed me to start speaking at my home church.
Over the last year I have had the opportunity to preach every few months, and the last message I preached I stated that there is no excuses not to fulfill God's calling. From that, a very faithful woman contacted me and asked if I would be willing to serve in the mission field. Speaking about no excuses my only response naturally was YES! That is how I have found myself preparing to board a plane and move to Honduras in May. I am asking that you would commit to support and follow me in this journey.