My Testimony

I never met my American great-grandfather, but I believe I will one day. He was a district superintendent in the United Methodist Church, and He provided spiritual and administrative leadership to several Indiana districts of churches and their pastors. A very old copy of the New Testament and Psalms that once belonged to him sits on the desk in my office. My American grandparents have passed away, and they attended Methodist services every Sunday.

At a very young age, my father or mother would drop me off at the local United Methodist Church in Avon, Indiana, on Sundays. I attended church services there until second grade when my dad got a new job, and we moved to Brazil. When I came back to Avon in third grade, my friends helped convince me that church services were not cool so I stopped attending Avon UMC. Additionally, my mother was dissatisfied with the lack of child-friendly programs that were provided. From third grade to tenth grade I basically never read the Bible or attended a church service.

In tenth grade my speech teacher asked us to rank several different items from greatest to least. Some of the items that were on this list included love, family, friends, law, school, and religion. I ranked religion at #10 as least important while two of my classmates, Lori and Carrie, ranked religion at #1. This made me think. I started to attend church services again, but this time at another Danville United Methodist Church with my grandparents. I also purchased my very first Bible. I had no idea what kind of Bible to purchase so I selected one that looked nice. I ended up with a dark blue hardback - King James Version. That was probably not the best translation for me to start with.

One day while I was walking the campus of Purdue University, a guy started talking to me. I did not understand why this complete stranger was trying to have a conversation with me and thought he liked me in a homosexual manner. When our roads were about to diverge, he asked me if I would like to go to a Bible study with him. I stood there for a few seconds in silence before saying yes. At the study there came a point when I did not understand how “nice” people could go to Hell yet a murderer could go to Heaven. The college students in the study showed me how the Bible said that those who place their faith in Christ go to Heaven, and those who reject Jesus go to Hell. I rejected what I was told and stopped going to the study.

During high school and college, I attended church services sporadically and rarely opened a Bible. I lived for myself and for my glory. I was my number one fan. A moralist and cultural Christian would be a good description of who I was. If you would have asked me who Jesus Christ was, I would have said that He is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for me. However, I did not live life differently and merely accepted Jesus intellectually. He was simply my ticket to Heaven. I believed I was a pretty good person and that attending church was the right thing to do.

When I was 21 I started attending Hillcrest Baptist Church in Danville, Indiana where I became a member when I was baptized the next year. Although I made a public profession of faith, I was not a true believer. I participated in some Christian activities such as teaching Sunday School classes, praying before my meals and before I went to bed, going to Promise Keeper Conventions and Billy Graham Crusades, taking up the offering at church, reading the Bible and lovely devotional books, but none of this really excited me. I participated in these activities out of duty.

It was not until I was 26 that I was called and regenerated. This is when my first wife, Joy, left me to my complete surprise, and when my eyes were opened to the fact that I had not been living my life for the glory of God. I was an absolutely horrible husband who was in love with the world, money, and myself. The night my ex-wife left me was actually the best night of my life. As I paced my house yelling out loud with tears streaming down my face, God brought me into His family, and I acknowledged that I was His. I was unable to resist surrendering my life over to God, and I firmly declared repeatedly that I belonged to Him. I now had a true desire for Jesus to become the all in my life, and I became a new creation in Christ.  
Although I was unable to prevent my wife of four years from divorcing me, God used Joy’s departure from my life to bring me to my knees and repent of my sins and believe in Christ. The Holy Spirit began residing in me and renewing my heart and mind. By the grace of God, my faith in Christ has grown leaps and bounds over the years.

Since meeting my wife, Megan, in 2001 and moving overseas in 2002 to serve as a teacher, the power of God has continued the divine process of transforming me more and more into the likeness of Christ. Through some major trials and tribulations, God has taught me that He must increase, and I must decrease. I was deserted, my oldest daughter's adoption faced considerable difficulties, and disease affects my family on a daily basis. Despite all of that, I rejoice in the Lord. I am so thankful how God has shown me my need for Him and how He prunes me. His grace is sufficient, and I have nothing but thanks for I always have hope through the Lord Jesus Christ. God is with me every step of the way, and I can only praise Him. He is good all the time. All the time. 
I am so thankful for my wife and children, for the Body of Christ, for the life our Heavenly Father has given me, and for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. I deserve nothing but eternal torment in Hell, but God has blessed me with purpose in this life to prepare me for life everlasting. To Him be the glory.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21