Arianna Armour, from drug-addicted parents to transgender to Jesus

Inside her closet — the same closet she tried to hang herself in — Arianna Armour scrawled all the hateful words people said to her in life: “They never wanted you,” “You need to be locked up,” “She doesn’t want you.”

It was an appalling list, and Arianna rehearsed it as she proceeded from drug-addicted parents who dropped her off at foster care to lesbian and transgender. Injecting testosterone in her thigh, she became James Harley, a gym enthusiast and substance abuser who was in and out of mental health facilities.

It was at the gym that a joy-filled Christian employee felt led to invite her to church. “James” didn’t want to go, but when “he” did, God had a prophecy for him and started a years-long process leading him to Jesus and back to her biological identity as a woman.

“This thing has stolen my identity” she testifies to her church on a YouTube video. “I’m tired of looking at my body and thinking it was a mistake. I’m tired to walking with my head down because God loves me no matter what. God took all the pain away from, the identity the devil stole from me.”

Today, Arianna is involved in ministry. She reaches out to people like herself who want to alter their God-given sexual identity, and escape the confusion and depression. She recently helped a 13-year-old boy who was toying with becoming a girl but got a touch of God.

Arianna Armour’s journey through Dante’s Inferno began with a violent, drug-abusing dad and an actress/singer mom who gave birth to a baby girl with five different drugs in her system, Arianna says on YouTube.

Of course, the Department of Child Protective Services intervened. Foster care turned into adoption, but the love her Christian family tried to show her came up short, she felt.

When she was four years old, Arianna was smitten by a pretty girl in Sunday School.

“Immediately, I hated the fact that I was in a dress and I hated the fact that I was a girl,” she recalls. “I asked God, ‘Why did you make me a girl? Why couldn’t I be born a boy? This was the first sign of the Jezebel spirit in my life. The enemy couldn’t stop me from being born, so he had to try something else. He sent demons into my life from a young age.”

She started dressing like a boy and playing sports like a boy. She hated dress up and Barbies, “so I got made fun of a lot,” she says. “I was the girl who wore boys’ clothes. I dressed like a boy, I talked like a boy, I acted like a boy. I was openly gay and nobody wanted to be around that.”

While nobody wanted to sit with her at lunch in school, she lost herself in music, a talent she received from her birth parents, she says. Her adopted parents bought her a guitar.

In middle school, she fell into the wrong crowd, trying to fit in. “I started to lose myself, so I started to fall into deep depression. The enemy took advantage of my brokenness. I made friends with my demons and accepted that this is who I was.”

Trying to help, her adoptive parents got her a psychiatrist who prescribed meds for Arianna’s suicidal thoughts and mood swings.

“I let all the darkness on the inside reflect on the outside,” she says. “I was in such desperate need for love and affection, I got over-attached and obsessed” with a person.

She manifested violence and anger. Through the Baker Act, she was put in mental hospitals 13 times.

“Everybody told me I was crazy, friends, family,” she says. “If the devil tells you a lie long enough… Read the rest: Arianna Armour troubled transgender.

Eternal life on Earth? How can Christians participate with transhumanists?

Among the lofty goals of transhumanists is to guide human evolution so that we can live forever. Here on Earth.

If that notion alarms you, you are not alone. Russell Moore says the principles of transhumanism and Christianity are irreconcilably antithetical.

The idea of “Christian transhumanists is somewhat like having a carnivorous vegan society,” says the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “They are completely contradictory. Scripture tells us how to transcend death, and it’s not through our own technology or prowess.”

But have Christians cried wolf too many times? How many times have we identified the number 666 with bar codes, chip implants or even vaccines? We must not ignore the pledge of worship and loyalty to the Beast which is part of Revelation 13.

Micah Redding of the Christian Transhumanist Society says believers need to join the conversation about these advances in science collectively known as transhumanism, not rail against it from the pulpit and assume an anti-scientific posture.

If you thought the current transgender craze is insane, just wait until transhumanism kicks into high gear.

It is from the realm of medical science that we are seeing the first advances in transhumanism. Researchers now are able to implant prosthetics that interface with the nervous system. Patients can “feel” and guide their hand (or foot) because of a sophisticated adaptation to the body’s neurons (which transmit signals to the brain by mimicable chemical-electrical impulses).

From there, transhumanists say we can replace body parts, rejuvenate the brain, splice in genes to remove disease and re-craft the human body to extend natural longevity to ridiculous numbers of years. Some predict lifespans returning to the pre-Flood days of Methuselah.

All of that sounds incredible. But some of the modifications on the human body made possible by science are troubling, especially when it comes to gene-splicing.

In 2017, scientists replaced a mutation in the genetic code of a baby to eliminate a heart defect. The baby was born with a perfect, healthy heart.

That’s cool.

Let’s take it one step further. Can we create a superhuman? Can we splice in super-intelligence, good looks, musical talent?

Will rogue nations like China create an army of genetically modified super soldiers, with the stamina of a horse, the eyesight of an eagle, the muscular build of a baboon?

Will the threat that our rivals may be developing super soldiers constitute the next arms race and force our hand on a matter of dark, highly questionable ethics?

Already, the US’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) produces bullet proof material from spider webs produced in the milk of goats that have spider genes spliced in. What other technologies is the super-secretive DARPA doing?

If those questions aren’t troubling enough, another one is this: Will the genetical-modified super soldiers join together, turn against us and take over? The movie the Matrix might prove less science fiction and more science fact sooner or later, though with some variation.

The concept of these “transhumans” is very much a part of the current scientific dialogue, which bases itself on the assumption of evolution. By mutation and natural selection, man and all species evolved, according to Darwin’s theory.

Now, the transhumanists say, humans must take matters into our own hands to guide our own evolution. To not do so would be to risk extinction, they claim.

Most Christians would take exception to that language. It precludes God’s hand in creation and His sovereignty. The brash atheism of the majority of transhumanists is enough to turn off most Christians.

“It is a terrifying development in our culture. It’s part of the breakdown of our culture because it’s a breakdown of distinctions” established by God, says devout Jew Barak Lurie, a real estate lawyer in Los Angeles. “With transhumanism it’s very clear to me that it defies God’s overall plan for us. Your friend could come in with big eagle’s wings so that he can now fly. You don’t know whether to call him an eagle or a man, or a combination of a frog and eagle and a man. There are many reasons why God gives us animals, but it’s not to become one of them.”

A man with eagle’s wings? Such a notion is not merely in the realm of comic books. In 2016, scientists in Japan “grew” an ear on the back of a rat to be harvested and implanted into kids mauled by pitbulls. Reverse the process from animal to man and it wouldn’t be far-fetched for a person to develop animal parts.

If the story of Frankenstein science doesn’t unnerve you, how about “uploading” your brain to the computer, a goal of the AI transhumanists. Since the brain works by electrical impulse to warehouse memories, could scientists learn and copy its functions to the point that you could upload your consciousness to a computer and subsequently download it to another body in the future? Read the rest: What should Christians think of transhumanism?

Chris Hulvey: a mission trip set him on fire for God

Chris Hulvey’s family was poor in finances but rich in faith. So when they found themselves without soap and lacking the money for more soap, they prayed.

“I remember my mom back when we were living in a trailer in Brunswick (Georgia),” Hulvey recounts on a This is Me TV video. “She didn’t have no soap, and so she literally prayed to God for some soap, and then soap showed up in the mailbox.”

Excuse the pun, but God came CLEAN through with the answer.

Today Chris Hulvey is the latest signing on Reach Records, Lecrae’s label. Subsistence is no longer his problem. His life now involves many opportunities for performing on stage.

As a kid in Brunswick, Georgia, he actually liked going to church. When you’re poor, free Sunday school snacks are a draw.

“What I really liked about it was we had snacks,” he says. “They were just always busting every time, getting some goldfish (crackers). You can’t beat that.”

He accepted Jesus at age four.

Of course, he didn’t fully comprehend everything.

In the 9th grade, Hulvey went on a mission trip and saw undeniable healing miracles. One was a man whose six fused vertebrae got “unfused.” The tangible move of God challenged his experience of “church as usual.”

“When i got home, it was just like, man, what are we doing?” he says. He felt he should contend for more of God.

As a result, he turned into a pharisee, he says.

“I had a lot of judgmental tendencies. My friend felt judged by me,” he says. “I basically told my best friend that he was going to hell. I had conviction, but I wasn’t carrying discernment.”

As he matured through high school, he learned that his friends were lost because of confusion. They needed love, not condemnation. So he went back and asked them for forgiveness and patiently loved on them.

“In college people are doing the same things, but my whole approach was different,” he says. “I would just be there for them. God helped me to become a care-taker instead of judgement-giver.”

Drawn to hip hop, he participated in and won battle raps. He uploaded music to SoundCloud, and he started gaining traction with the listens. But since it was secular, God told him to delete it. “I was like dang,” he remembers.

What? Kill the momentum? Find out what Hulvey did. Read the rest: Chris Hulvey.

As if he were a piñata

For his dad, Tim Lasebnik was a pinata.

He beat him repeatedly as if he was trying to tear out his insides.

“Dad was just an angry man,” Tim says on a 100 Huntley Street video. “I guess I was his pinata. When Dad lost his cool, there was just no filter. There was no off button. He was truly brutal.”

After being beaten and then locked in the furnace room in the dark for hours, 11-year-old Tim resolved to run away. He packed his little suitcase and the next day instead of going to school he went to a nearby township in Canada.

He was hoping to be adopted by a family or live in a commune, but instead he was preyed upon by a pedophile. The predator pretended to call some nurses who agreed to take him in. Instead, he took Tim to his apartment and raped him brutally.

Those two wounds — the physical and sexual abuse — became his deep, dark secret that was too painful to talk or even think about.

As he matured, Tim turned to drugs to silence the screams in his head. He fell into Rochdale College’s 1968 cooperative experiment in student housing and free college, but it degenerated into a haven for drugs, crime and suicide.

“I was doing everything I could to medicate the pain that I was feeling from my wounds: drugs, alcohol, sex, everything, and I became a drug dealer,” he says. “Rochdale is where I would go to get my drugs.”

One day, his supplier informed he could no longer provide the drugs he needed to sell and consume.

“Why?” Tim asked.

“Because I found the Lord and I’m not doing that anymore,” he responded.

His response was completely off radar for Tim, so he agreed to go to church and see what it was all about.

It was 1972, and St. Paul’s Anglican Church was experiencing revival among the students. The movement was called the Catacombs, named after the underground hideaway of First Century Christians, where they could worship without harassment from Roman persecutors. Thursday night service attracted upwards of 2,000, and Tim went home afterward and fell to his knees.

“I asked Jesus into my heart,” Tim remembers. “And there was a change in me.”

But the wounds were deep and rejuvenation not easy, so he quit Christianity.

Tim didn’t just walk away. First, he prayed.

“One thing I ask,” he said to the Lord, “is that day when I stand before You on Judgment Day, please remember that I gave it my best shot.”

He let go of God. God never let go of him.

Years later, he was married with a 3-year-old son and stepdaughter. He was visiting his brother-in-law at Lake Aquitaine, talking, sharing, eating. They lost track of time when his stepdaughter ran in frantically.

“I’ll never see my brother again!” she screamed.

“Where’s your brother?” Tim asked panicked.

“He is drowned in the lake…”

Barefoot, Tim ran out into the frigid March waters.

He arrived as a stranger was coming out of the water with Tim’s son in his arms.

Tim grabbed the child, carried him to shore and tried to administer CPR. The child had been underwater for five minutes. There was no response.

“I cry out to God, ‘Please don’t take my son. I’ll do anything,” he pleaded.

Continuing in his attempt to revive him, Tim managed to expel not only water but also seaweed from inside.

Eventually… Read the rest: Beaten like a piñata, child grew up with pain

Rod Carew gave out of his heart, then one of the youths he mentored gave him his heart

Ed Mylett was still smarting from a humiliating performance at the basketball championship game earlier in the day. That evening, he was hitting line drives — his true love – into center field.

He was holding and swinging the bat flat and choppy like his hero, baseball legend Rod Carew, when he heard a voice from behind the backstop. “Who’s the little lefty? I like this kid’s swing.”

Ed glanced back. It was #29 himself, Rod Carew, MLB’s hitting maestro for 19 seasons. Ed was flabbergasted.

“Hey, kid, how would you like me to work with you and train you? Can you make it to my batting cages every Tuesday night?”

Wilting before his hero, Ed struggled to find the words. Yes, yes, yes. He would be there.

In the following months, Rod altruistically gave of himself and mentored 8th-grader Ed Mylett, as he did selflessly with hundreds of other talented young people throughout Southern California. Not only did he provide technical expertise, but he also spoke words of confidence into the kids’ lives.

Rod is a born-again Christian. His generosity eventually proved the Bible’s admonition, “Give, and it will be given you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be put into your lap.” (Luke 6:38)

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One of those hundreds of kids saved Rod’s life, Ed says on his Aug. 24, 2017 Elite Training Library video.

In September 2015, Rod suffered a massive heart attack on a golf course. Golfing by himself, he was on the first hole at the time. He drove his golf cart to the clubhouse and someone called paramedics. Read how the kid he mentored blessed Rod Carew with a heart.

Voices in her head told her to take her life

Lorena Saylor would get in her car and wind up at some random place, having no idea how she got there.

Depression had taken over her life.

“I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to go outside. I didn’t want to get dressed. I just basically wanted to be alone,” Lorena says on a CBN video. “There was times I wanted to commit suicide.”

Lorena’s problems started with sexual abuse in her childhood home in Kentucky. Although she was the victim, she was punished. “I was the one that got spanked for it,” she says.

Migraines set in at the same time. She couldn’t concentrate in school and was diagnosed with dyslexia. She also suffered from anxiety and low self-esteem.

Lorena married at age 25, but her problems persisted. Her husband was enlisted in the Air Force and would frequently be sent for lengthy deployments, leaving her and the two children alone for long periods of time.

“This voice would say, ‘Ram your car into this tree. Your family would be so much better off if you’re just gone.’”

She was raised in church, but “the back-stabbing of people talking about people, just the things I had heard and seen within the church, I didn’t want anything to do with it,” she says.

At age 33, Lorena suffered a back and hip injury at work. Unfortunately, her prescription pain medication turned into an addiction. “My body just craved more and more,” she says. “I become a functioning addict.”

She felt unloved. She wanted to be alone but despaired of the loneliness. Whenever she drove, she got lost in her thoughts and direction. The voices would tell her to commit suicide.

“I wanted to die,” she says. “Many times I put pills in my hands ready to take them. This voice would say, ‘Just take it. Your family would be so much better off.’”

But another voice… Read the rest: voices in her head.

Bedros Keuilian, gym mogul of Fit Body Boot Camp, a Christian

At age six, Bedros Keuilian was dumpster-diving to find expired but still edible food to feed his immigrant family as his parents and brother scrambled to earn money for their rent.

“I was the bread-winner of the family,” Bedros quips on an Ed Mylett video.

The “communist” from the former Soviet Union to “serial capitalist” in America, Bedros Keuilian is the founder and CEO of Fit Body Boot Camp, one of America’s fastest growing franchises.

In the dumpster, Bedros found a Herman Munster sweater that he wore to grade school. For the next three schools he attended, he was known as “Herman.”

Still, things were better in American than under communism. He calls himself a former “communist” because if you don’t sign up for the communist party, you get shipped off to Siberia, he says.

His father did tailoring on the side to save money to bribe the Soviet Consulate in 1981 to grant the visa so they could travel to Italy, where they applied for a visa to come to America. The KGB suspected he was engaged in “unauthorized capitalism” and raided his house various times, lining up Mom, Dad and the kids, while they searched in vain for needle, thread, cloth, anything that might confirm rumors that he was moonlighting as a tailor. He was good at hiding things, Bedros says.

There’s another very dark story in his background. Bedros was sexually abused by older boys in Armenia. His parents were unaware of this but when they saved little Bedros from communism, they also saved him from further exploitation.

The shame and rage boiled in the back of his mind and made him a terrible student and later a criminal who stole cars and ran from the cops.

Ultimately, Bedros learned to tame the raging beast in his bosom through Christianity and counseling. He became a better husband and a CEO. The beast, he says, caused him to sabotage his own businesses. He was unwittingly playing out the scenarios of his childhood until he learned to overcome them.

Today, Bedros also has a ministry to help called Fathers and Sons, a group he formed as a result of his own bungling as a new father.

His motivational speaking business doesn’t downplay but rather showcases his Christian faith: “Adversity is the seed to wealth, success, and even greater opportunity,” his website proclaims. “Look at Jesus Christ, he suffered to forgive us of all our sins.”

Being an immigrant has been an advantage in America, he says. It taught him to establish rapport quickly and to be resourceful. He calls it the “immigrant edge.” What the is “the immigrant edge?” Keep reading: Bedros Keuilian.

Nick Santonastasso’s indomitable spirit

Because his stubby arm impeded him from doing high school wrestling, Nick Santonastasso amputated it.

“Can I cut off my arm?” he asked his mom and dad.

Kids told him he wouldn’t be able to wrestle competitively. He fired back, “I’ll be on the VARSITY team.”

Born without legs and only one arm, Nick Santonastasson had Christian parents who taught him to not have the mentality of a victim. As a child, he learned not only how to eat and do chores but to ride a skateboard and play football and baseball.

Today, he’s a runner-up for the NPC Iron Bay Classic bodybuilder contest and a sought-after motivational speaker because he gets people to drop their excuses and give their all.

“I was put on this earth to be an example, to show people what they are truly capable of,” Nick says on a Forbes video.

Due to the extremely rare Hanhart syndrome, Nick should have been stillborn. But all his internal organs were fine. He just had his left arm (with one finger), an underdeveloped right arm and no legs.

His mom and dad decided to flout doctors’ endless list of “limitations.” Stacey and Michael Santonastasso of Bayville, New Jersey, didn’t baby him but encouraged him to fend for himself as much as he could.

“My parents told me, Nick, the world is not going to stop for this,” he says on an NPC video. “You’re going to have to figure out to do things Nick’s way. My mom would put a plate a food in front of me and say, Nick, figure it out. Here’s clothes, figure it out. That’s why I’m a beast in my head.”

The Christian faith provided the context of honoring the sanctity of life, of believing everyone has a special purpose in life and teaching a victor’s mentality rather than a victim’s mindset.

Stacey’s website, which promotes her book Born to Break Boundaries says, “Although her faith has been strongly tested, she remains grounded in her Christian beliefs.”

At age two, Nick was left alone in the living room. He pushed his wagon next to the table, clambered onto it, and began to dance to MTV.

He learned to skateboard, riding on his stomach and pushing it forward with his hand. Once it got going, he stood up on it. He even does a handstand. He took plenty of falls while he was learning and had more than his share of scrapes. But his mom didn’t scold him for being adventurous.

He catches the football between his arm and his neck and head. He can throw it and even “runs” plays. He can connect a bat with a ball to play baseball better than his peers.

Because his parents didn’t treat him gingerly, Nick says he didn’t really realize he was “different” until he got called a “cripple” in the third grade. That was his baptism by fire into the cruel world of stares and insensitive comments that left him depressed in junior high.

But by high school he had largely overcome the syndrome of an outcast. He wanted to be on a sports team, so he got on the bowling team his freshman year.

In his sophomore year, he yearned for a bigger challenge. His older brother had done wrestling, so he decided to try out.

Immediately, fellow students felt the need to give him a dose of reality. How are you going to wrestle? You don’t have any legs and only one arm.

“And I’m going to be on the varsity team!” he shot back. Read the rest: Nick Santonastasso wrestled and worked out with one arm and one finger.

The Watermelon Guy came to Christ out of porn

The son an NBA star, Chaz Smith was destined for basketball. There was only one problem: He didn’t want to play.

Today, Chaz is a Christian comedian known as the Watermelon Guy.

“My dad won an Olympic gold medal and all these other awards,” Chaz says on an I am Second video. “There was a lot of pressure on my shoulders. I always had to do everything right. My dad really expected me to be a basketball player.”

By insisting on perfection, Dad unintentionally turned his son off from “play.”

“After games it was always about correcting mistakes, what I was doing wrong so that I could be better,” Chaz says “But what I heard was, ‘You are not good enough.’”

One day, he turned on his dad and asked, “Yo, what did I do well?”

No answer came. “Do I even want to play anymore?” Chaz wondered.

The sense of not being good enough cast a very long shadow in his life.

Even in the church, “I felt like I had to walk on eggshells a lot of times, that I wasn’t doing enough and I wasn’t good enough,” he says.

Instead of basketball, he studied at the University of Pennsylvania and launched a short video humor channel on Vine before it was discontinued. He later became an Instagram celebrity famous for mispronouncing words.

But while he became a cultural icon, Chaz struggled in his relationship with God.

“At 12 or 13 is when I started struggling with masturbation and then at 17 I started watching pornography,” he says, being vulnerable. “I never thought I would become addicted to pornography for years. During spring semester of college, I found myself in my room one night just on the floor crying. My entire life was crumbling. I was angry and frustrated.

“What I found out was a pornography addiction is a symptom of a deeper issue,” he says. “For me throughout my entire life, it was just not feeling like I’m good enough. I had feelings of unworthiness.”

Filled with uncertainty, he cried out to God.

“God, if you are even real…I don’t even know if I’m talking to anyone right now,” he prayed. “I could be talking into the air, but if you’re real, just show me.” Read the rest: Chaz Smith The Watermelon Guy came to Christ out of struggle with pornography.

Belinda Lee, stardom didn’t lead her to the Star of Bethlehem

By participating in a talent contest sponsored by MTV, Belinda Lee of Singapore thought she might win a shopping spree or a 3-day vacation in Bali. She never fathomed that by winning she would wind up with a full-time job hosting a show and interviewing celebrities.

“The entire media of Singapore came and started interviewing me: ‘How does it feel to be an MTV VJ?’” she says on a Salt and Light Singapore video. “I was thrown into the limelight and I had to mingle with big international stars and regional stars all the time, so I flew all over the world.

“I wasn’t a Christian, so I was living a godless life…a life of no purpose, a life of no meaning. It was just party after party, but deep down, I was always searching for something more.”

Belinda found “something more” when her mother contracted cancer and, in a crisis-induced search for meaning, found Christ.

“Many people were most deeply moved by Mom’s unwavering belief in God,” Belinda says. “It was Mom’s faith that strengthened my faith.”

In 2013, Belinda accepted Jesus and began attending New Life Community Church in Singapore with her mother.

“She wanted to sign up for Bible study the first day she visited the church. The next week she started Bible study and the following week, she started cooking for the members. She told me that since she can’t do much for the church since she didn’t study, but one thing she can do very well is to cook, so she cooks for the members.”

From the moment she found Christ, Mom emanated joy Read the rest: Belinda Lee Singapore.

He hated Christians. Then God broke in for the taco-loving Muslim.

On Laylat al-Raghaib — the Night of Wishes — during Ramadan, nine-year-old Hussain asked Allah for — what else? — 100 tacos.

“On the Night of Wishes if you asked for anything, Allah was supposed to give it to you,” he says on a StrongTower27 video. “Because I had lived in America and then moved to Holy Land, one thing I really wanted was tacos. I used to eat tacos a lot, but there were no tacos over there. You’re supposed to stay up until 2:00 o’clock and then everything turns upside down and you ask for anything you want, you’re supposed to get it.

“It never happened,” he adds.

Today Hussain is a Christian, but he once was a very confused child. Born of a Brazilian mother and Palestinian father and raised in San Francisco, Hussain says he loved Jesus intensely as a nominal Muslim. Jesus, according to Islam, was only a prophet.

When his parents divorced, his dad took him to the West Bank of Israel and enrolled him in Muslim schools in the Palestinian territory. He learned to hate Christians so much that he would avoid looking at telephone poles. The lateral bars formed the image of the cross, a hated symbol for Muslims.

“They taught me, ‘You need to be very careful: Jesus is NOT the son of God.’ I was 100% convinced about it,” he remembers. “I was so spiritually hungry, I ate it up. I became the most religious Muslim in my family. I became very committed.”

As an American citizen, Hussain planned to return to America and convert untold multitudes to the truth of Islam.

He planned what he would say to his friends: “The Jews only accept Moses. The Christians accept Moses and Jesus. But Muslims accept Mohammed, Moses and Jesus, so everybody should become Muslim.”

At age 12, he had the opportunity to win America for Allah. He continued reading and memorizing the Koran.

“I was very committed,” he says. “One thing I used to do because I hated Christianity… Read the rest: muslim hated Christians.

African missionary to America, Samuel Kaboo Morris

When a light flashed around him and his bonds fell off miraculously, Prince Kaboo heard a voice to run from his captors, the warring Grebo tribe on the coast of Liberia.

So when he wandered into church on a coffee plantation and heard the story of Paul’s conversion on the Damascus Road, he burst out: “That happened to me!” and began to share about his daring escape, his wanderings through the jungle and his coming to Monrovia.

It was his first time in a church, so he didn’t know to keep quiet. But he was thunderstruck by the obvious parallels and was overcome with wonder. He immediately became a believer in Jesus Christ.

Ultimately, Kaboo — renamed Samuel Morris — became essentially a missionary to America. At a time when African missionaries are emerging as God’s antidote for “post Christian” Europe, Kaboo was a forerunner for this reversal of roles, when developing countries bring renewal and revival to First World nations.

For years in Monrovia, Kaboo painted houses to make money while he learned to read and was instructed in the principles of Christianity from his tutor, missionary Lizzie MacNeil. He immediately consulted his Father in prayer for everything and had a voracious appetite to learn more about the Holy Spirit.

One day, Lizzie teasingly informed him that she possessed nothing further to teach him about the Holy Spirit and that if he wanted to know more, he would have to go to New York and learn from her mentor, Stephen Merritt.

It was a joke, but Kaboo took her seriously. As soon as it was said, Kaboo concluded he needed to go. So he planted himself on the shore near the place he expected to confront the captain of a 300-ton trading vessel in port, a ship he found out was headed for New York.

“My Father tells me that you’re supposed to take me to New York City,” Kaboo told the surprised captain.

The captain, a rough and gruff seaman, however, had no time for idle talk and nonsensical freeloaders, so he kicked him aside.

Kaboo stayed on the beach for the remainder of the days the boat was in port. When it was about to embark, the captain discovered that some of his crew had abandoned ship, so he decided to take Kaboo on as part of the crew, assuming he knew the intricacies of rigging because he belonged to a tribe that often supplied crewmen.

Kaboo had no seafaring experience whatsoever, and when he climbed the rigging to trim the sails, he was absolutely terrified as the masts, 100 feet in the air, pitched from side to side and nearly touched the surface of the stormy seas.

Seeing his evident terror, the cabin boy, who wanted to graduate to sailor, proposed they switch jobs. But nobody consulted the captain, so when Kaboo showed up to attend the cabin, the captain grew furious and rose to beat him.

Charles Kirkpatrick

“All Morris knew to do was to fall on his knees and pray for God to calm the heart of this angry man,” says Charles Kirkpatrick, professor emeritus at Taylor University. “When he saw that boy kneeling in prayer, the captain was moved to recall the days when he had grown up on a farm in New Jersey in Christian home and had been taught the scriptures and how to pray by his mother.”

Over the next few days, the captain’s heart softened. He asked Kaboo about God and became a believer. He was Kaboo’s first convert from America.

After the captain, Kaboo turned his attention to the crew. Sailors at the time were picked up and dropped off in any port around the world. They were often dagger-wielding brigands closely resembling outright pirates. On Kaboo’s ship there was a Malay who had an unbearable temper and threatened people at will.

On a certain occasion, the Malay moved in to slash a fellow sailor. While others stepped back, Kaboo stepped in between the attacker and his victim and boldly told him to put away his dagger.

“The Malay didn’t like that interference and was about ready to use the sword on Morris,” Kirkpatrick says. “But his arm was seized and he could not bring it down. The captain witnessed that and realized that something truly miraculous had occurred in their midst. The result of that incident was that several people trusted in Morris’s God and became believers as well.

“By the time the journey was over about half of the crew became believers,” he adds.

When they sailed under the newly-constructed Brooklyn Bridge, Samuel — the missionary-given name he now used — embarked immediately to find Stephen Merrit among New York’s two million inhabitants.

The first person he asked, probably a vagrant, just happened to know him and offered to take Samuel to his mission eight blocks away.

“That this one person would happen to know Stephen Merrit is part of the miraculous nature of the story,” Kirkpatrick says.

Merrit told him to wait for him in the mission while he went to a prayer meeting and forgot him until hours later. When he sought Samuel at the mission, he found the young African had already converted 17 men in the mission to Jesus.

Merrit invited Samuel to live at his house.

One day he dropped Samuel off at Sunday School. “The altar was full of young people, weeping and sobbing,” Merrit found, when he returned for him.” I never found out what Samuel said, but the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit were so present that the entire place was filled with His glory.” Read the rest: African missionary to America Samuel Morris

Melanoma tried to tackle Kentucky defensive end Josh Paschal

Standing at 6’3” with 300 pounds of muscle, Kentucky defensive end Josh Paschal strikes fear into opponents. When he was diagnosed with cancer, the Christian player got his own chance to be afraid.

“I knew Who I was living for and why I’m here, and so I leaned on the Lord and I trusted in Him,” Paschal says on a CBN video. “No matter the outcome, I knew it was in His plan and that’s how I got through.”

From age five, the Washington D.C. native dreamed of joining the NFL.

“Even when I was little, I would go outside and get the kids in the neighborhood and we’d have a big game right in the middle of the field,” he remembers. “I would act like I was an NFL player. I had my jersey on while we were outside playing. When I would score, I would celebrate like the pros.”

His parents took him to church, but he didn’t accept Christ into his heart until he heard a chapel sermon from Fellowship of Christian Athletes chaplain Aaron Hogue during his sophomore year.

“I felt joyful. I saw what it looked like to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, not just pray to Him when times get hard,” he says. “I wanted to have a full-on relationship with Him, to trust Him and to let Him guide your life.”

Four months later, the team doctor wanted him to get a spot on his foot tested. It was malignant melanoma.

The fearsome footballer didn’t surrender to fear. He trusted in God and was concerned for his family and team.

“I really wanted to stay strong in order to keep them strong as well, for them to know that ‘I had it’ and that I was going to fight it and we were going to be okay,” Paschal says. Read the rest: Melanoma couldn’t take out Josh Paschal.

Roe v. Wade movie exposes lies behind legalizing abortion

The Roe v. Wade movie available now on livestream is an intense, chilling and frustrating documentary about how a small cabal of liberal leaders harnessed the women’s movement and complicit media to ramrod abortion through the Supreme Court using fraudulent statistics and a demonization of Catholicism.

The movie’s narrator is Dr. Bernard Nathanson, portrayed compellingly by Nick Loeb, who was an abortionist in New York City at the forefront of the push to legalize abortion on demand. Dr. Nathanson in real life recanted his support for abortion after ultrasound allowed doctors to see the fetus struggle against the abortionists’ pincers. His 1984 video “The Silent Scream” put science to use in explaining his change of position.

“I knew all along life exists at conception,” Dr. Bernard says in the movie. “I’d taken part in over 70,000 abortions. I knew in my heart that what I was doing was wrong, and I lied. I lied to the world, I lied to God, I lied to me. But I kept on killing until I had the courage to face the absolute horror of what I was doing.”

Dr. Bernard decided to bear the torch for abortion after he paid for his girlfriend to “terminate” her pregnancy. He teamed up with Larry Lader, the so-called Father of Abortion in America. A “disciple” of Margaret Sanger, Lader crusaded unscrupulously to push through his atheistic agenda. Both Nathanson and Lader made millions through abortions and referrals.

The nearly two-hour movie is unrelenting. There’s hardly a light moment. This is understandable given the gargantuan devastation abortion has perpetrated in America. Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, an estimated 64 million babies have been aborted. Every 30 seconds a baby is aborted. African American babies account for 40% of abortions. Planned Parenthood made $1.6 billion last year, according to statistics provided in the movie.

In one grim moment, Dr. Nathanson and Lader share a joke jingle from med school:

There’s a fortune in abortion

Just a twist of the wrist and you’re through

The population of the nation

Won’t grow if it’s left up to you.

There’s a gold mine in the sex line

You never bother for the father. Read the rest: Roe v. Wade movie

Headhunting Konyaks are now 90% Christian

To chop off an enemy’s head and carry it back to the village to be put on display was a great honor for the Konyaks, a tribal people on the Northeastern edge of India.

“I marked my enemy like a sniper,” says Wangloi Wangshu on a National Geographic video. “And when I got him, I chopped their heads off with a knife. If I happened upon an enemy, it didn’t matter if it was man, woman or child, I chopped the head off.”

“We used to compete with each other. We said, ‘This one is mine!’” Hongo Konyak says. “The person who took the head gained power in the community.”

Once a Konyak scored a kill, he got a tattoo on his face. It was a rite of passage, says Aloh Wang, chieftain of the Shengha Chingnyu tribe. “In those days, killing each other was part of the education.”

Today, the Konyak are no longer headhunters. They’ve left behind their ancient warfare and converted to Christianity, the last of the tribes to do so in the region. About 90% adhere to the teachings of Christ.

At a time when secular thinkers find it offensive to describe native people as “savages,” the Konyak are a reminder that the term was less offensive than the customs that gave rise to the term.

“When the Christian missionary came to the Konyak tribes, some people said they weren’t going to accept the religion,” says Wanton Kano, a Konyak pastor in the village of Lungwa. Read the rest: Headhunters come to Christ

Egg-sized brain tumors didn’t kill him

The parents of Jason Ong assumed he would wind up in jail or dead because he was such a poorly behaved boy, fighting and often getting into trouble. But God had other plans and purposes for his life.

Jason met the one true living God when his dad was dying. By his father’s bedside, Jason prayed to nearly all the gods he had ever heard of and nothing happened.

But when he invoked the powerful name of Jesus, Dad opened his eyes.

“Later on, there’ll be somebody in white.” he told his dad while his eyes were open. “He will stretch out his hand, so you can just take his hand and follow him, and you’ll be safe.”

Jason didn’t know what he was saying, but his dad closed his eyes and passed peacefully. Later Jason realized he had spoken prophetically, and the Good Shepherd, Jesus, had opened heaven’s door to his father.

“Jesus, You know that You saved my dad, so I owe You my life,” he said.

Jason went to church. That’s where he met Judith, a divorced mom with a special needs daughter, Joelle.

“We somehow knew that we are supposed to be together, so we prayed about it,” Jason says.

Two years into his marriage, he began experiencing dizziness and pain in his head, so he went to the doctor. The prognosis: an extremely rare brain tumor. It was so rare that there were no drugs and no protocols for treatment.

“Suddenly everything just went to darkness,” he says.

The surgeon removed 90% of it, leaving the optic nerves and main artery with a vestige of the tumor so he could still see, eat and not die from a broken artery. It was 2004.

The doctor told Jason he had six months to live.

The news was discouraging, but Jason and Judith decided to make the best of it. They decided to dedicate 100% of their efforts towards the Lord’s service. They launched a street food vendor business, working 12 hours a day, with profits destined for orphanages around Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Myanmar and the Philippines. The proceeds from the business allowed them to contribute to the care of 600 kids.

After six months, Jason showed up to see the doctor. He was surprised to see Jason alive.

The title of Jason’s testimony video is “If Tomorrow Never Comes” on the Hope Singapore channel.

Jason outlived the six-month prognosis. In 2007, the cancer flared up again. His new doctor said it was absolutely necessary to remove all the affected areas, including the nerves to his mouth and eyes. He would be blind. He would feed through a tube. And devastatingly for Jason, he would not be able to speak.

Jason declined the surgery. He needed to speak because his life’s purpose was to preach in the orphanages to the children about the good news of Jesus. He would rather die than lose his ability to preach.

“So there wasn’t an option for me because I still have to continue in the ministry and I said, If I cannot speak, that means I cannot share the gospel, I cannot teach, I cannot preach. So what is the point?” he says.

The doctor was grim, telling him: You don’t need to come back. You’re going to die. The cancer will eventually cause your brain to explode.

He took pain medications and kept hawking food on the street. He kept visiting orphanages with his wife and preaching.

“My encouragement to all the Christians was, ‘Even though I’m going to die, I still choose to stand and say God is good. I still choose to say: Jesus is my Lord,’” he relates.

By 2013, Jason sensed he was going to die. For his “last” birthday, he asked his wife to visit the orphanage once last time.

By 2014, he was bedridden and partially paralyzed. “Jesus, I’m coming home,” he declared.

But one night, Jesus spoke to him in a dream: I’m moved by the tears of your wife. I’m going to heal you.

Days later, he called the doctor to reorder morphine for the pain, and the doctor, a Christian and a medical professor, told him to come in. He got new scans and proposed another surgery. He would save the eye nerve, the voice nerve and the artery. He believed God would help him.

“It’s so amazing that you are still able to talk and sitting in front of me because looking at the scan, it has now grown to the size of two eggs,” the doctor told him. “One in the brain and one outside the cranium. Technically, it is supposed to have pushed your brain out of the brain cavity already. Or you should just get a coma or stroke and die. The fact that you are still alive and talking to me is a miracle.”

When Jason woke up from the surgery, he felt intense pain, couldn’t see or breathe.

“After 10 years of fighting cancer, that was my lowest point,” he says. “I just felt so tired.”

“I think I’m not gonna make it,” he told Judith. “Release me. I wanna go home.” Read the rest: Healed from brain tumors.

After cancer diagnosis, Jewish woman remembers vision of Jesus

After Shiri Joshua was told she had a rare, virulent form of breast cancer (already at stage 3) she faced a stark choice one Friday afternoon. Would she start chemo or undergo a mastectomy on the following Monday?

“I honestly didn’t even comprehend those words,” Shiri says on a 100 Huntley Street video.

An Israel-born Jew, she moved to Toronto at 19, but her family continued to speak Hebrew at home. She always had an inquisitiveness about spiritually. Due to her upbringing, she thought she could only be either orthodox or a secular Jew.

But after she moved to Canada, she fell under the spell of the New Age movement.

“I really did not feel that my traditional Jewish upbringing would satisfy what I wanted,” she says. “I knew there was a God, I just did not know Him.”

Two years prior to her diagnosis, she had a vision. She had heard about Jesus but felt she needed to avoid Jesus because of her Jewish background. But in her search for spirituality one day, she asked God if Jesus was real.

“I was in my bedroom not sleeping and I saw Him. I had an open-eye vision of the Jewish Jesus. He looked very Jewish to me,” Shiri recalls. “God in his brilliant way of doing things appeared to me in a way that I would not find threatening. He appeared to me with a talit, a prayer shawl.

“And he said, ‘Come to me.’ His eyes were just love. It must have been a split second, but it felt like eternity.”

So, in the cancer clinic in British Columbia, after the doctor left the room, she fell to her knees and prayed to Jesus.

“Lord I’m tired of fighting You. If I die, I die, but I want to come to You,” she said. “But if you let me live, I will live for You.

She gave her life to Yeshua/Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, and was born again. “A wave of peace came upon me. I wanted Him so much but I was so afraid because I was Jewish.”

Without delay, she underwent the mastectomy and started chemotherapy. She moved back to Toronto to be with her family. A friend brought a pastor to visit her and she received Jesus into her heart. Six rounds of chemotherapy took six months.

She moved in with her parents and was a secret believer for a while. Read the rest: a vision of Jesus helped heal cancer

School counselor persuaded him to go LGBT

When Daniel Delgado was only 14, a school counselor persuaded him he should change his gender.

“When I was dressing up like a woman, I thought this was going to be the place where I could become something, that my life could matter,” Daniel says on a 700 Club video.

Daniel Delgado’s confusion started when he was molested at age 5 by two boys in his neighborhood in Chicago.

“The feelings that I was experiencing of same-sex attraction were unwanted,” he says. “Those feelings were surfacing in my life and I didn’t know what to do with them.”

His mom was often distant, and his dad and stepdad were harsh disciplinarians who didn’t offer compassion to their sensitive son.

“I thought that masculine strength was too scary, and I didn’t want to become like them,” Daniel says.

So, as he grew older, he inclined towards feminine behavior and habits.

“When I told my father that I was going to embrace the gay identity, he said, ‘Don’t bring it around me,’” he remembers.

Life didn’t get better for him as expected.

Living outside of Dallas, Texas, he became the target for constant ridicule and bullying.

“I thought that there was no hope for me,” he recalls. “Life was too painful, and sometimes it just seemed like it would be better to be dead than alive.”

Daniel found acceptance but didn’t believe he could shed the same-sex attraction, so he eventually dropped out of church.

“I didn’t think that the church was a place for me. I thought that the LGBT community was my home,” Daniel says.

He dressed as a woman, put on makeup and called himself Danielle. He began competing in Drag Queen pageants. Read the rest: No longer drag.

Christianity in Mongolia: conquering Kahn’s kingdom

When the communist Eastern Bloc dissolved, Mongolia saw a resurgence of Buddhism. But another religion has taken root and is steadily growing, Christianity.

Newfound religious freedom after decades of communist/atheistic repression led to thousands coming to Christ, with over 50,000 followers of Jesus in a country of 3.2 million, or roughly 1.8% of the population, according to Joshua Project.

The growth of the evangelical community at 7.9% a year is outpacing most countries.

Surprisingly, young people see Christianity as hip, according to a Jouneyman Pictures video, “From Genghis to God: Christianity takes Mongolia by Storm.”

“Christianity, never destroys a culture; it will remove things from a culture that are holding it back, essentially that are killing its people, that are making life miserable.” says Paul Swartzendruber, with Eagle TV.

Land-locked Mongolia in East Asia was the birthplace to Genghis Kahn, who conquered all the way to Europe during the Middle Ages. After his decline, the region fell into oblivion and remained a nation of nomads and herdsmen.

In the 1920s, the Soviet Union annexed Mongolia and promulgated a “worker’s paradise” led by government. The religion of Marx and Lenin admitted no competition, so they stamped out all other religions. Buddhists were systemically decimated; a bloody purge wiped out 17,000 monks.

Then, communism fell in 1990 and religious freedom suddenly became a reality. People were free to practice Buddhism. Christian missionaries, eager to preach on virgin soil, arrived in droves.

Eagle TV, with American funding, usually outperformed the national channels in terms of computer graphics and snazzy programming. One show featuring Christian rock videos became very popular with young people.

They saw Buddhism as the religion of the older generation. Christianity emerged as the faith of the younger generation.

Christianity’s growth is seen mostly clearly by the criticism directed by “His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama,” the Tibetan people’s foremost leader and revered Buddhist leader.

“Whenever I give some Buddhist explanation in the West, I always make clear that Westerners, European or American, better to keep their own tradition in religious faith like Christianity. It’s better to keep their own tradition rather than change to a new religion,” he says. “Similarly, the Tibetan and Mongolian are traditionally Buddhists, so it’s better they keep their own tradition.”

Bolarchimeg was 16 years old when she started attending Hope Church in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.

“My mother was against me going to church,” Bolarchimeg says. “She said, ‘You are wasting your time on these useless activities like reading the Bible every day. Wouldn’t it be better to spend that time on your study?’ God gave me the power to get through.”

A decade after the missionaries arrived, they have largely… Read the rest: Christianity in Mongolia

The Christian Church in Turkey: how one man started the first church in Antalya

A Muslim extremist tried to kill Ramazan Arkan in Antalya Evangelical Church, the only Christian church in Turkey’s fifth largest city.

“One nationalist guy, he came to our church service to assassinate me and he was planning to kill me, but we had police protection during that time,” Ramazan says in a Stefanus video. “Police realized that guy was there and they arrested him and they put him in jail.

“After that, police thought that behind this guy there is some group that wants me to be dead. When I was single, I didn’t care very much. But now I am married; I have two kids. When you face persecution and when you know that there are people that want to kill you, that is scary. Sometimes I feel scared and sometimes I feel worried.”

There’s a price to pay for converting to Christianity from a Muslim background in Turkey. Sometimes your family disowns you. Sometimes you can’t find a job because of religious discrimination. When the church first opened, Muslims threw stones at it, Ramazan says.

But the 200 Christians who attend Antalya Evangelical Church remain undaunted.

The only thing Ramazan knew about Christianity was what the Muslim propagandists had told him, for example, the Bible was corrupted and unreliable.

So, when a co-worker came out as Christian, Ramazan was curious to ask for himself.

“I was a member of one of the conservative Islamic groups,” he says. “I practiced my faith five times in a day, and I was a very serious, devout Muslim. I never met any Christians until that time, and then we start to talk about Christianity, he told me a lot of things about Christianity. I was shocked by what he told me because what I had learned all those years from my society about Christianity, everything was wrong.”

At the time, there wasn’t a single church in Antalya, a city of 2 million and a resort destination on the Turkish Riviera. So Ramazan started one in the year 2000.

“Jesus changed my mind and he changed my life,” Ramazan says “Now my goal is to serve Him. I’m pastoring this church, I’m teaching and preaching. But most of my time is more like spending time with people, and there are a lot of visitors that they are coming and visiting our church during the weekdays and I usually sit with them and talk to them hours and hours, because Turkish people are very much interested in spiritual stuff.”

Order up a Turkish coffee and while away the time with Christian apologetics.

Alper Gursu was one of the Turks who engaged in long conversations with Pastor Ramazan about spirituality. Today, he is one of the leaders of the church.

“I had dozens of questions, like is the Bible real? Because I heard that’s changed,” Alper says. “So he started explaining that starting from the third century and the Nicene council he explained to me all the history. He gave me this circle of evidence. All my questions were being answered.”

Pastor Ramazan gave Alper a Bible, and he started reading and ended up getting saved.

Melis Samur is now one of the worship leaders. She got into God because she liked architecture and studied churches. When she found one in her city, she begged her parents to let her go.

“It was a really peaceful, really really beautiful place,” Melissa says. “They got really upset at me. They were like, ‘Why do you need another religion?’”

Eventually, her insistence ,,, Read the rest: Christian church in Turkey.

The Gospel in France rushes forward

The Gospel has grown by 10,000% in more than a century in France, evangelicalism’s holy grail in Europe.

In the year 1800, there were 2000 Protestant evangelicals, in 2019 there were more than 700,000, according to statistics in a FOCL Online video and news reports.

In 1970, there were 840 evangelical churches, today there are more than 2,440. Every 10 days, a new church opens, said David Brown, chairman of the Evangelism Commission of the French National Council of Evangelicals (CNEF).

“Their numbers are no doubt increasing with the evangelical churches’ emphasis of personal conversion and a direct relationship with God,” says anchor Stuart Norval of France 24 English news in a “Focus” report which characterized the growth as “surprising.”

The news is cheery since evangelical Christianity tails Islam and secular humanism in France. The humanist viewpoint that God is a “construct” used by the rich to suppress the poor was practically born in France. About 8% of the country is Muslim while evangelicals barely make up 1%.

Despite sobering demographics, evangelicals have been growing at about 2.4% a year, in line with most countries in the world, according to the Joshua Project.

Francois Loury is a recent convert in the Porte Ouverte Chrétienne church in Paris. He recently was baptized and brings his whole family.

“It feels like a church that belongs to the modern world,” François says. “That’s what’s so good about it. That’s what makes it stand out. The pastors wear jeans. They don’t wear suits. They like to have fun; they tell jokes. Sometimes we even find ourselves laughing about religion. I think that in today’s world, that’s important, to have an open mind.”

Porte Ouverte Chrétienne, which means Christian Open Door, stands out compared to the mass offered by the Catholic church. Porte Ouverte’s worship is dynamic and heartfelt, activities are family oriented, and they reach thousands with simultaneous streaming over social media.

“When I attended Catholic mass I felt like a spectator,” says Eric Richter. “Our faith is a bit like for a fan in a soccer stadium. They’re in it together; they have faith in their players. And we have faith in God.”

Daniel Lietchi presides over CNEF’s committee to foment church planting praises God for the growth but prays for much more.

“If we continue like this with a new church established every 10 days, we’ll never accomplish our goal of having one church for every 10,000 French citizens,” Lietchi says. “We want things to progress twice, even three times, as fast. But the outcome depends on God’s will. For example in Spain, a new church opens every three days. Here in France, that’s what we’re aiming for.”

Much of the current church growth stems from a surge of immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, where people in their native countries have a higher level of openness to the gospel.

Monique Kapinga immigrated from the Democratic Republic of Congo when her husband died. She found a similar worship style and the same earnestness of her native land in the l’Arche de Paix Church, which after 25 years has over 500 members.

“I came to the Arch of Peace because it is a church of truth,” Monique says. “We pray like we pray back home.”

But the spiritual support is not the only help she found at the Parisian church. She also received money and assistance with renewing her immigration status. It’s no wonder immigrants, lonely in a foreign land, congregate together for camaraderie and social networking.

CNEF’s Brown tracks the history of current growth of Christianity in France in the follow epochs:

>From 1935 to 1960, Assemblies of God led the charge with successful church planting

>From 1980 to 1990, the Charismatic movement brought a surge

>From 1990 to 2010, immigration brought a boon.

>Since 1995, native church planters are taking the lead.

Personal evangelism fuels the growth, but white French resist the gospel with a “double insulation.” He says: “They rebuff evangelism by saying they are Catholic or believers in secular philosophy, which is strong in France.

“A person says, ‘Well, I’m not really a believer,’ so you start talking about philosophy and try to convince them,” Brown says. “And then they suddenly say, ‘I’m a Catholic and we can’t believe that.’” Read the rest: Gospel in France

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle actor nearly OD’ed on ecstasy

His double life as a Christian father and drug user collapsed when Jeff Durbin overdosed on ecstasy.

“I realize I’m dying. I’m dying. This is where it ends, and I recognized that there’s no way to control this,” Jeff says on a CBN video. “At this point, I have probably limited moments left before I’m gonna pass out.”

How did Jeff get tangled in drugs out of a childhood of discipline and training as a martial arts competitor?

Jeff trained in martial arts from age four to 16.

“I was on a national karate team. I was competing in World Championships, International Championships, National Championships,” he says. “That was my whole life.”


With five black belts, Jeff played Michelangelo and Donatello for the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” franchise as well as Johnny Cage in “Mortal Combat.”

Flipping through the TV channels one night, he listened to Billy Graham and accepted Jesus into his heart. He wasn’t raised in a Christian home.

“I remember that something had completely changed,” he says. “In my mind, in terms of how I thought about Jesus and the Bible, and I immediately became the person that was interested in reading the Bible and telling people about Jesus.”

But the life transformation was only partial. Along with competing in karate, he liked to flirt with girls and indulge his lusts.

“If you would have seen me on a Friday or Saturday night, many times you wouldn’t have known I was a Christian because I was living with one foot in the Christian world and one foot in the world,” he recalls.

Jeff married his high school sweetheart, but he continued partying and clubbing.

When he tried ecstasy, his liked it and tried it again and again.

He told his wife he was working, but he would take drugs and disappear for a day or two.

“I would do ecstasy, cocaine, alcohol pills, whatever was available,” he recounts.

He hid his drug use from his wife by profusive lying, as she tried to nurture their one-year-old.

Despite the partying life, Jeff was a successful financial planner.

One night while on an ecstasy trip, his heart started racing wildly and his body overheated. Death was coming and he could sense it.

“It was the one moment in that year where there was some clarity about who I was and what was happening, and I remember that I said to God, ‘Please, don’t kill me yet. Let me come out of this…bring me out of this.” Read the rest: ecstasy overdose.

Gospel in Indonesia: a boy gets saved through Superbook cartoon

Bima, 9, received free tutoring after school in a poor Indonesian village.

Part of the Christian sponsored program, Orphan’s Promise, showed kids cartoons of Bible stories. That’s where Bima heard about David and Goliath.

“Goliath said to David that he would cut David to pieces,” Bima says on a 700 Club video. “But David said to Goliath, ‘You came to me with a sword and a spear, but I will fight you with the mighty name of God.’”

And Bima got saved.

“Lord Jesus,” he prayed. “I want you to be my Savior.”

Immediately, he prayed for the salvation of his family, composed of nominal Muslims.

Bima started behaving better at home and read his Bible at home. This piqued the curiosity of his mother. Read the rest: Gospel in Indonesia: Boy gets saved watching Superbook cartoon

‘America’s most self-loathing homosexual’

He’s been called “America’s most self-loathing homosexual,” but Doug Mainwaring, who struggled with same-sex attraction, was just trying to do the best thing for his kids and for the nation.

“I was living as a gay man at the time and I began to write about the need to maintain the definition of marriage,” Mainwaring says on a Ruth Institute video. “President Obama had just come out that he had evolved on the issue. It was suddenly becoming front and center in the national debate.”

His 2012 piece, “The Myth of the Same-Sex Marriage Mandate,” caused a commotion.

While he was sounding the alarm, writing and speaking on major media platforms about his concerns for his family and America, he was dating men.

Recently divorced and resentful about the dissolution, Mainwaring was indulging a same-sex attraction he had felt but never acted upon. But as he wrote, he began to see that he needed to fix more than just the nation. He needed to fix himself!

He was married in 1985 and adopted two boys. He told his fiancé of his attractions to men, but had never acted on the attraction.

In the late 1990s, his marriage fell apart.

“It remains the saddest moment of my life,” he says. “I knew I was same-sex attracted going into our marriage. I had been aware of that since I was a boy. I can understand when people say they were born that way because I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t same-sex attracted.”

His marriage had been a dream: kids, home, picket fence, dogs. When the dream ended like a nightmare, he decided to indulge his homosexual tendencies.

“I thought, ‘Dang it, I’m going to go check this out,’” he says. “I was just being selfish. And in a sense it was retaliatory.”

He answered ads, which is what you did in the late ‘90s. “I went and started meeting guys. I didn’t do anything. We just met for coffee or lunch. Eventually I did have a few relationships.”

Mainwaring was apolitical. But then Obama publicly affirmed his support for letting abortion survivors die on the operating table.

“That was a riveting moment for me,” he says. “That was when I got radicalized to a degree, especially since our children are adopted, I was well aware they could have been aborted.”

When the Tea Party movement launched with conservatives on the East Coast, he got on board. As he saw the media only slander the Tea Party, he began writing to dispel the media’s attempt to demonize it. He captured attention and was offered a chance to write for the Washington Examiner.

“But I quickly realized that our problem wasn’t fiscal in nature, but it was society,” he says. “As I began to write about social issues, I began to start looking at my own life. I couldn’t write about the importance of family life without doing something about my own family.”

He had been separated for more than a decade.

“I realized I’d better try to do something to put my marriage back together,” he says. “The evidence was everywhere screaming at me, ‘Doug, you need to put your life together.’”

His youngest son was beginning to act up at school. He was biting other kids and falling into disproportionately huge rages. He sat with his ex-wife to discuss how to respond.

“One day I realized, he’s not to blame. We’re to blame,” he narrates. “We took away his happy home and placed on him our stress on his shoulders and this was the result of it.” Read the rest: Homosexual opposes gay marriage

40 Vicodins a day for the doctor

Dr. Lou Ortenzio derived satisfaction from serving his patients in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Maybe, he got too much satisfaction because he was working 16-hour days.

“I felt like I had to perform at such a high level, be 10 feet tall, bulletproof and faster than a speeding locomotive and trying to make your patients happy,” he says on a CBN video. “I did take good care of people, I really cared about them and they knew that I cared.”

Ironically, caring for others made him neglect his family and himself.

“My wife certainly never saw me. The children hardly knew who I was,” he says.

What drove him to unreasonable exertions?

“At my core I didn’t love myself,” he says. “I needed everyone else to love me to make me feel adequate.”

Inevitably, the life he built in the idyllic mountain town from 1982 onward began to crumble under the strain.

His wife took the kids, separated from him and moved to Pittsburgh. It was supposed to provoke a change in him and bring about a reconciliation. Instead, they divorced.

Lou didn’t know what to do, so he did the only thing he had ever done. He kept working beyond overtime.

One night working late hours, he felt an excruciating headache. Over the counter meds did nothing to alleviate the pain, so he reached for something stronger: Vicodin. Read the rest: God set him free from opioid addiction.

Juan Luis Guerra becomes Christian

Juan Luis Guerra, the king of Caribbean music, longed for a Grammy, but when he finally received the coveted award he was disappointed.

“God allowed me to win the Grammy so that I could realize that there was not happiness in reality,” Juan Luis says on a testimonial video posted by Jaime Fernandez Garrido. “There was a hole in my heart that riches and the glory of the world can’t give.”

So the master of merengue who made hearts swoon and feet move fast with his lively rhythms surprised the secular world by coming out with a fully Christian album in 2004 “Para Ti” (For You) with his devil-mocking “Las Avispas” (The Hornets).

Its chorus: “Jesus told to laugh/ if the enemy tempts me in the race/ and he also told me, don’t cower/ because I send my hornets to sting him.”

The lyrics derive from Exodus 23:29: “I will send hornets ahead of you so that they will drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites before you.”

Juan Luis Guerra was born in the Dominican Republic in 1957, After studying philosophy and literature at the Santo Domingo Autonomous University, he then took a diploma in jazz at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

After selling 5 million Bachata Rosa albums, Juan Luis established international notoriety, residing at the #1 spot on Billboard’s Tropical Albums category for 24 weeks, going platinum. The album — with maracas, bongos and guitar — brought bachata out of the Dominican backwater.

Bachata Rosa wasn’t his only Grammy. La Llave de Mi Corazón also snagged a Grammy in 2008.

His renown and wealth continued to grow. He played on the same stages as the Rolling Stones, Sting, Juanes, Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock and Maná. His Afro-Latin fusion rhythms with his brass band made people happy, but he himself found happiness elusive.

From North America to South America, to Spain and even The Netherlands, he was a hot commodity. But he couldn’t sleep.

It’s a condition that has afflicted many performers who play into the late hours hyping up the crowd — and their own adrenaline — then have trouble coming back down. Like Michael Jackson, Prince, Elvis Presley and countless other stars, he took pills to induce slumber. Read the rest: Juan Luis Guerra Christian.

Smuggle Bibles into the Soviet Union? These Finns did.

For decades, Antti and Esko would smuggle Bibles into the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc nations starting from his hinterland farm in Finland. It was a private, top-secret volunteer operation they’ve kept mum until now.

“We never spoke to anyone about this,” Antti recounts on a 2018 Stefanus video. To do so could jeopardize their safety and cut off the supply of Bibles to people hungry for Scriptures under repressive governments that banned Christianity and punished anyone found with Bibles.

“The people there in the country that were working with us, when they were caught, some of them got three years, some got five years,” Esko says. “Mr. Horev who was one of the leaders of this operation (the Mission Behind the Iron Curtain), he got five years in prison, and after he had served that, they added two more years on to his sentence.”

Antti and Esko never got caught. Theirs was a game of cat-and-mouse, a Christian version of spy wars as was similarly carried on by Brother Andrew and is being carried out now in restrictive Islamic countries.

Antti had a great love for Scripture and felt he could help brothers just across the border in the neighboring Soviet Union. Through the Finnish forest, there were no check points, no fence, so getting in and out was relatively easy.

He rode his bike in, carrying 20 New Testaments, two under his jacket, on his shoulders, and the rest hidden in pockets inside loose trousers. Later he devised a gas tank with a hidden compartment to hide 40 Bibles.

But the cry for more Scripture was endless, so Antti secured a nine-seater Bedford minivan that could conceal 250 Bibles.

“When we realized the need was so big, and we had to constantly create news of doing it. Eventually they started to build pre-fabricated housing to transport through Greece and Cyprus, Esko explains.

In between the pre-fab wooden house structures loaded on tractor trailers, they stowed up to 40,000 Bibles to be unloaded under the cover of night by local collaborators in the Soviet Union, Romania and Czechoslovakia. They also took children’s Bibles and tracts. Read the rest: Smuggle Bibles in the Communist Russia.

‘Strangled by demons’ of addiction, he escaped via Jesus

Ira Forkish spent half his life “strangled by demons of loneliness, anger peppered with resentment and fear, all augmented by the daily use of alcohol and drugs.”

As he surveyed a “lifetime of darkness” one day, Ira, then 32, ruled out religion.

“My main teacher in Hebrew School was a bully and me not being a traditional learner could not grasp God’s language,” he told God Reports. “I searched for God in places like hallucinogens for years & even dabbled in researching dark arts, (and there was) nothing. So God was out.”

Drugs were his touchstone and he imbibed as many as he could, experimenting with different mixtures in the hope he could escape the clutches of depression.

“Sometime during this time of desperation, some of my partying buddies found Jesus and so they invited me to a bible study,” he remembers. “Why not? I told myself. In one of these studies Jesus appeared to me in a very real manifestation. Finally (there was) hope.”

The vast expanse of empty meaning was suddenly filled with a real God. There was hope outside of drugs.

But just because he found Jesus doesn’t mean he immediately found a way out of drugs. He was not completely free yet, and the parties turned darker.

“Every time I used, the depression got worse, like having a one-ton grain of sand piled one by one on my heart and mind,” he remembers. “Desperation, desperation, desperation — with no road out.”

He wondered where Jesus was. Had the Son of God abandoned him like God the Father appeared to have done from his childhood?

“My life had crashed into a point where all its pieces resembled a jigsaw puzzle dumped onto a table and no matter how I looked at it there were no visible moves, not even an edge piece to make a frame,” he recalls.

Of course, God had not abandoned him. He showed up in the form of a partying buddy, who enrolled in a treatment program for drugs and alcohol. That buddy called and asked how Ira was doing.

“I guess it was apparent that for me things were 180 degrees from smooth because his reason for calling was to tell me that they were bringing the program to LA,” Ira says. Read the rest: Addiction and recovery

He killed her dad. How could she ever forgive him?

Figure skating brought moments of peace to Katherine Thacker. She needed a healthy outlet because her mind was obsessed with hateful thoughts directed toward the suspect who killed her father, a cop, while he was on duty.

“I started writing very angry letters to the man who killed my dad and expressed my hurt,” Katherine says on a 700 Club video. “But not only did I express my hurt, I also expressed what I wished could happen to him. And they were really really hateful.”

Her ever-present hatred started in 1998. That’s when three Kentucky police officers arrived at the front door of their home to break the bad news to the family.

“It was like being hit by a Mack truck,” she says. “Watching the relationships that my friends had with their dads, I definitely envied them.”

Ice skating was a moment of beauty in her life. “It was always an outlet for me,” she remembers.

Broken in spirit, she turned away from God.

“Why did God let my dad die?” she asked. “If God’s good, why did He let the man who killed my dad do this?”

Her distancing from God continued until she became a junior in high school when she went to a week-long summer Christian camp. The motivational speaker displayed a genuine joy that Katherine realized she lacked. Read the rest: Forgiveness for her dad’s murderer.

He lost his house, car, kept tithing

When he broke his walkie-talkie as a child, he was able to fix it himself. But when his finances were broken, God fixed it.

“I broke the walkie-talkie on my birthday, and I was like, ‘Ah, man, I can’t tell Mom I broke it,’” Dennis Dixon says on a CBN video. “So I was like, ‘I’m gonna try to fix it.’ And I didn’t know how to fix it. But I opened it up and I saw the inside and it just caught me. And I’ve always been interested with electronics since then.”

Being adept with electronics came in handy. First, he repaired some friends’ devices, and they told others. At the encouragement of his father, he placed an ad as an adolescent, and the calls for help flooded in.

As money came in for his services, his father encouraged Dennis to honor God with the tithe.

“Tithing is you trusting God with what He’s given you and honoring Him, you know, 10% of the 100% that He gives us every day,” says Dennis. “Setting aside money for God, for His kingdom and for His purpose and learning how to trust God with everything you have including finances.”

He got a work at a large electronic store, but the company went bankrupt. Dennis lost his job at the same time his mother was laid off. Then they lost their car and their house.

How could he, under duress, stay faithful with his tithe? Read the rest: tithing

Healed of hammer toes without surgery

She didn’t want to bother God with something as insignificant as pain in her toes.

Or so thought librarian Janis Jordan, who often wore high heels to work.

“It was the suit jacket days, so you show up to work looking A-plus,” she explains on a 700 Club video.

After 15 years, she left the library behind and started a career caring for special needs students at a hospital. She was on her feet even more. She walked three miles every day inside the hospital.

After several years, she finally consulted a doctor who diagnosed hammer toe syndrome, probably induced by the high heels. A hammer toe or contracted toe is a deformity of the muscles and ligaments of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toe causing them to bend, resembling a hammer. The joints can become so rigid they can’t be moved.

The doctor started talking about surgery, and Janis wanted none of it. So she endured the pain for another 10 years.

“I’m a person who keeps on moving, and I just accommodated the pain,” Janis says. “I just didn’t really focus on it, to really pay attention to it.”

Even though she’s a big believer in prayer, her concern seemed so small in light of others’ sufferings, she didn’t ask God for healing.

Then on July 4, 2019 after doing some yard work, Janice hurried inside to catch the prayer segment… Read the rest: Healed of hammer toes without surgery

Navy SEAL David Goggins, once obese, says God trained him

David Goggins was a 300-pound exterminator recovering from the trauma of beatings by his father — a pimping owner of a roller-skating rink who made young David sanitize skates and scrape gum off the floor until midnight.

Then David watched, with milkshake in hand, a Navy SEALS reality show and made a decision to be a SEAL. When he showed up at the office, the recruiter scowled at his obesity. He would have to lose 100 pounds in three-months, the cutoff to get training. David decided to redirect his childhood pain into the arduous physicality of SEAL training.

The pursuit of that impossible goal is what made David Goggins the person he is today. He’s arguably America’s fittest man, the only serviceman to complete not only the Navy SEALs but also Army Rangers and U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party. He now runs consecutive ultra-marathons and is a motivational speaker.

David Goggins credits the voice inside his head, God’s voice, with training him.

Just as the Apostle Paul went into the Arabian desert for three years and was trained by Jesus himself, God’s voice led David through SEAL training.

“Even though people may not believe it because I cuss (which I think is hilarious), I believe in God big time,” David says on a YouTube video. “I’ve had this voice in my head since I was a young boy. What trained me was that voice. This voice in my head guided me to the spot where I’m at today.”

David Goggins, now 46, grew up in Williamsville, New York, where he was regularly subjected to racist taunts. His late-night work at Skateland started at age six, where he aired out the bathrooms from marijuana smoke and collapsed around midnight on a couch where his dad hid a loaded pistol.

David’s father, Trunnis, ran a side hustle of hookers, with whom he would indulge himself, cheating on mom. He was a brutal monster who regularly beat David and his mother until they escaped, with the help of a neighbor, to rural Indiana. The toxic upbringing left him poorly adjusted, and he drifted through school hovering slightly above a failing grade point average.

In his junior year, he decided to join the Air Force and amped up his studies to graduate and get in. He completed a 4-year stint but dropped out of Pararescue training because he was afraid of water. He was not fearless but would eventually learn how to turn his fears into energy to perform herculean feats.

After an honorable discharge from the Air Force, David picked up work in a pest control business, removing rats from fast food joints afterhours. Low self-esteem and a life adrift contributed to an easy slide towards obesity. Gorging on unhealthy food and a sedentary lifestyle contributed to his weight problem.

That’s when he watched a program about SEALs and decided quixotically to join.

The recruiter didn’t mince words. He was way overweight, and there weren’t a lot of African Americans who passed the SEAL training. He would need to lose about 100 pounds in three months to get in. He was almost too old to try out for the program, so three months was the cutoff. The recruiter probably thought he’d never see David again.

David decided to prove him wrong.

“I realized that not all physical and mental limitations are real,” David writes in his inspirational memoir “Can’t Hurt Me.” “I realized I had a habit of giving up way too soon.” Read the rest: David Goggins, once obese, Navy SEAL

Why I gave a kidney, even in the Third World.

Most people won’t entertain the notion of donating a kidney — even though it’s kind of like a spare tire.

But I did just that — and I did so in an underdeveloped country where surgical standards and hospital cleanliness are subpar.

What led me, a long-term missionary in Guatemala, to want to give up a part of my body to a mere acquaintance?

It started with a long Sunday article in an American newspaper. The author spoke about her own need for a kidney donor and the near impossibility of finding one. She was a public speaker who traveled, so dialysis wasn’t viable.

None of her family members were a match, and acquaintances who were a match demurred. When she’d lost all hope, an almost total stranger offered their kidney.

For reasons I ignore, U.S. law does nothing to encourage kidney donation. You can sell plasma but selling a body part is considered inherently abhorrent. Never mind that the recipient really needs a kidney and the donor could get by with one and probably needs the money. It’s just taboo.

America’s Social Security system is crushed by the national dialysis bill of $100 billion, but the U.S. government offers no tax incentives for donors. Recipients could become again productive members of society and tax-payers but have to wait on interminable lists for vehicular accident donors.

The article stirred me deeply. Here was a way to be like Christ, to give above and beyond to help a needy human selflessly.

I’d been a church planter and school planter for eight years in one of Guatemala’s roughest neighborhoods. We had started with street kids and had worked with gangbangers, drunks, prostitutes and their children. It was an adventure and taking on new challenges turned me on.

It wasn’t long before my desire, which I kept to myself, found an opportunity. Brother Alfredo (not pictured in this article for his privacy) was newly attending our church. Doing ministerial visitation one night, I learned that he had been suspended from work because of kidney failure. The dialysis left him exhausted. He had a strict diet and couldn’t do much. The wait for a donor was years.

How about if I give you my kidney? I asked undramatically.

I don’t know if Alfredo thought I was serious. We would have to make sure the kidney was the right shape, along with the correct blood type. There was a very strong chance I wouldn’t be an adequate match; I’d be off the hook.

As the days of testing in government hospitals drew on, the implications of my commitment began to hit me. I had a wife and three kids to worry about. I also knew that I was on my own on this one: I hadn’t consulted my pastor stateside. But I felt like my offer, given all too easily, maybe even flippantly, was a promise that I couldn’t’ take back. I had to face up to all the potential fallout alone. Part of me hoped I wouldn’t be a match.

But after days of testing at the government hospitals, everything lined up. It was green light. With somber joy and a little trepidation, I knew I was going through with it. Alfredo and I interviewed with doctors, support staff and psychologists.

I wasn’t too enthusiastic to learn that the surgery wouldn’t be laparoscopic… Read the rest: Kidney donation.

During near-death experience, he heard what nurse said, later told her

The nurse nearly passed out when Jim Аndersоn repeated to her what she said outside the room when he had an out-of-body experience in full-blown cardiac arrest in the hospital.

After returning to earth, he hovered over his body as doctors electro-shocked his heart so many times they burned the skin on his chest.

The nurse just outside the room commented to her colleague: “I don’t know why they are working so hard. He’s gone. If they bring him back, he’ll be a vegetable.” It was a harsh reality born from her experience in ICU.

She never expected the patient to wake up and repeat her words to her – words he couldn’t have heard.

Jim felt infinitely drawn to Heaven, but he has such great love for his wife that he asked Jesus to allow him to return to Earth. “Lord, I love you so much, but please let me go back,” he recounts on a CBN video. “My wife needs me, my children need me so much, so much. Please let me go back.”

Jim Anderson had experienced heart problems for the first time in the previous year. His doctor said it could be related to stress from the 12-hour days Jim put in as a supervisor at a waste management plant.

On the fateful day, Jim was in his bed resting when a wrenching pain seized his chest. He called his adult daughter with a blunt message: “You’re going to have to get me to the hospital. I’m not going to make it.”

At the hospital, Jim flat lined. The doctor applied the electro-shock pads on either side of his heart. The electrical pulse often restarts the heart beating. But for Jim, repeated shocks did nothing.

“I could see everyone rushing into the room, but I couldn’t hear the alarms going off. It’s like I had gone under water. The hearing had just faded away. That’s when I began to pray. I knew I was dying. I wasn’t scared praying. As I prayed it got darker ‘til the point it went black.”

As his body remained on the hospital bed where the doctor administered shock after shock, Jim traveled towards a light.

“It was beautiful. It wasn’t blinding but pure and perfect,” he remembers. “As I started to go towards the light, I could see the outer edge of it begins to spiral. And I couldn’t figure out what that was. But as I got closer, I could see it was the words of prayers revolving. The words broke off, going into the light. And I followed into the light.

“I felt I was being embraced, safe and secure. It felt wonderful. It felt like total love.”

Then Jesus returned him to Earth. He hovered over the medical staff trying in vain to revive him. Where was Debbie, his wife? he wondered.

The memories poured. In an instant, “I saw every aspect of our life together; from the first day we met, our marriage, the birth of our children, all the emotions we’ve shared … I couldn’t leave her. I just couldn’t leave her.” Read the rest: Near-Death Experience for Jim Anderson.

Pimped by mom, woman found freedom from guilt in baptism

To pay bills, Mom prostituted BJ Garrett until she turned 15.

“I had no healthy concept of love,” BJ says on a 700 Club video. “Love was very sexual to me. I just remember feeling very ugly, very alone, very unwanted.”

BJ’s journey through the moral sewers of America started with abuse from her own father.

“My dad did things that no dad is supposed to do to his little girl,” she says.

Her mother stopped pimping her when she got pregnant as an adolescent by her boyfriend. Having a baby represented the first ray of hope in her life. Finally, there was someone who would give her pure love, and to whom she could give pure love.

“I wanted to be wanted and having a baby fulfilled that — she was going to be perfect and lovely and love me unconditionally,” she says.

Her boyfriend abandoned her, however, and later she found herself pregnant with another teenage boyfriend, but that relationship also soured because the young man was not ready for the responsibility of fatherhood.

“All he said was, ‘I don’t want to be a dad,’” she remembers. “And I just thought there’s no way I will ever let my child feel even for a moment the way I felt my whole life.”

The answer was abortion.

“I really thought I was doing the very best thing for my baby by having an abortion,” BJ says.

Her ill-conceived decision brought guilt and self-loathing.

“It was like just a little section of my heart was to never beat again,” she recounts, grappling with her unexpected emotions. “I was the dirty, ugly, gross, vile human being that now just put this ugly cherry on top by ending my own baby’s life.”

At 19, BJ had a second child, and paying bills became her chief concern. Sadly, she turned to an income source that was available for someone with no education or training – she entered the adult entertainment business and became a sex worker on the side.

“I was mom by day and and stripper and prostitute by night,” she says. “My body had been used my whole life to pay for things, but it was always forced upon me. Now I was in control.”

But “being in control” didn’t mean she was happy.

“With every song, every dollar, every set, I just got more cold-hearted,” she says. Read the rest: Sex worker from childhood.

Why Jason Castro disappeared from the secular music scene

Jason Castro, with his dreadlocks and effervescent smile, won America’s hearts even though he didn’t win the American Idol contest in 2008. He launched billboard hits and then disappeared from the secular music scene, leaving fans confused.

“I just felt so detached from a church community,” Jason told CBN. “I just struggled to stay connected to God on the road through the exhaustion, and I wanted more God in my life.”

After dropping a Christian album, Only a Mountain, in 2103, Castro today is married with four kids and selling real estate in Texas, where he lives. His main desire is to be with his kids and God. Of course, he’s still dropping music.

After initial success, Jason Castro went dark on the secular music scene. But more than fame and money, Jason wanted a family.

“Music has that power to calm or to move, the power to give emotions of any kind,” he says on an I am Second video. “What’s the heart behind it? I’ve given my heart to Christ, and that comes through. People are drawn to that even though they don’t always know what it is.”

Jason Rene Castro was raised in Rowlett, Texas, where he was a wing-back on the high school soccer team. The son of Columbian immigrants studied construction science at Texas A&M University and tried out for American Idol. He was the first contestant to play a ukulele as he sang “Over the Rainbow.” Read the rest: Jason Castro disappeared from the music scene.

How Whispering Danny found God

Benign tumors growing on his larynx require surgeries every three months leaving his voice so weak that his low voice drops off into a whisper constantly. Called Whispering Danny, he’s also a popular tattoo artist in Kansas City, Missouri.

Danny Kobzantsev was a hard-living immigrant from Latvia who hailed from Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust. But when his good friend Shane crashed drunk on his motorcycle and very nearly died, he found himself praying to Jesus for a simple reason:

“It seemed like the thing to do,” he says on an I Am Second video.

Danny Kobzantev came to America with his mother in 1975 to seek better options for treatment of his unusual medical condition. As the plane circled the Statue of Liberty, people were hugging and kissing.

“I didn’t know who or what the Statue of Liberty was, but she was the symbol of America and freedom,” he says.

Danny and his mother set up shop in Kansas City, MO. In high school, he was drawn to tattooing. The more ink he got on his arm, the more he realized he wanted to become a tattoo artist.

“I lived a lifestyle that was pretty self-destructive in many ways and I was okay with it,” Danny says. “I pretty much had completely abandoned anything pertaining to God, and I just pursued my own interests.”

At Exile Tattoo shop, his drinking buddy Shane Kampe roared up on his motorcycle Sept. 4, 2001. He was drunk and had no business riding that day. So when Shane tried to drive off, Danny attempted to dissuade him.

“I watched him try to get on his motorcycle and I immediately saw him drop the bike cuz he was so drunk,” he says. “I begged him, ‘Please Shane don’t do this.’”

A couple hours later, Danny inexplicably felt compelled to go for a drive. He had nowhere to go but he arrived exactly where God wanted him: at the accident scene of his friend.

Shane was lying facedown in a pool of his own blood, his skull fractured open.

“His head was busted wide open,” Danny recalls. “He was laying in a pool of dark, dark blood.”

Shane bent down next to his buddy, even getting his own face bloody, and whispered, “Shane, you’re going to be ok.”

It was a lie. From what he surmised from the injuries, there was no hope. Still he tried to encourage his friend. Read the rest: How Whispering Danny the tattoo artist found God

Christian military man ‘aglow’ showed unbeliever the Bible couldn’t have been written by man

Matt Sinkhorn was seven when his mom slammed the door in the face of a woman witnessing about Jesus.

“If my parents don’t need Him, I don’t need Him,” he concluded, a rejection that stayed with him for two decades.

Matt Sinkhorn was always a good student because his dad was a teacher at the same school where he and his twin brother attended. His cumulative high school GPA was 3.6.

He went to college to study anthropology because looking at bones purportedly millions of years old fascinated him. He believed in evolution. “I didn’t care if you believed in God,” he says. “I just knew that I was on my own.”

But when he got on his own — at college, he couldn’t handle the freedom. While his dad had been present at the school, there was accountability, with less peer pressure to try alcohol or drugs.

“I was a teacher’s son. They thought I was going to narc on them,” Matt says. “They pushed me aside.”

But at college he tried weed later dropped acid. Soon he was skipping classes. After two years, he had lost weight and flunked out of college and was forced to return home. His twin, attending another college, did the same.

“When there were no parents around, it was like, ‘Wow this is amazing. We can do whatever we want,’” he says.

Getting kicked out of college was a shocker. “I had never not been good at school,” he admits. “My mom freaked out.”

But he didn’t mend his ways. Instead, he got a job as a busboy earning minimum wage and continued drinking.

Eventually, both boys figured they were too much of a burden to their parents and so they joined the Air Force, where they continued partying unabated. Matt cycled through a failed marriage in New Jersey before shipping out to Korea, where the hedonism knew no bounds.

By age 28, he was in England hanging out with airmen almost half his age. His life had become monotonous.

That’s when Mark Stoneburner, an older gentleman from Navigator’s, showed up in the Air Force dorms. Matt somehow knew the book in his hand was a Bible, but what took him aback was the visitor’s appearance.

“When I saw him, I actually saw that he was glowing,” Matt says. “There was this light that was inside of him. I said to my friend Elena, ‘Do you see him glowing?’”

Matt walked up to him and asked, “Why are you glowing right now? What’s going on?”

Mark chuckled, chatted and asked, “What’s your purpose in life?”

Matt knew the answer: “My purpose in life is to work to make money so that I can go to the store to buy food so that I can eat so that I can go to work.” Read the rest: Christian military man ‘aglow’ showed the Bible couldn’t’ have been written by man

Same-sex parents don’t and can’t give best outcomes to children, says author

On an unexceptional Tuesday in 2012, Katy Faust finally snapped and could no longer stay silent. Then-president Obama announced the “evolution” in his thinking to support gay marriage and the media immediately branded anyone with contrary concerns as “bigoted.”

She launched an anonymous blog facetiously called “Ask the Bigot.”

Katy’s parents split when she was 10. Her father dated and remarried and her mother partnered with another woman. Being raised with a foot in both of their resulting households gave her a love for the LGBT community but also an understanding of the fallout for children when family breaks down. While she remained connected to her father, some children with lesbian parents were not so fortunate, such as her friend Brandi Walton:

“I yearned for the affection that my friends received from their dads. As far as I was concerned, I already had one mother; I did not need another. My grandfathers and uncles did the best they could when it came to spending time with me and doing all the daddy-daughter stuff, but it was not the same as having a full-time father, and I knew it. It always felt secondhand.”

After being “outed” from her anonymous blog by a gay activist, Katy Faust decided to stand up to cancel culture and co-wrote a book under her own name, Them Before Us: Why We Need a Global Children’s Rights Movement. Kids are getting the short stick in the political football of catering to adults’ whims, it says. (Them meaning “children” before us “adults.”)

The activist who “outed” her from her anonymous blog actually emboldened her to find her voice and speak out unafraid.

In all the hype of “marriage equality” with its mantra that kids only need two supportive parents regardless of their gender, no one is asking kids what they think. Decades of data from sociological research tell us what kids need, but in the rush to embrace “forward thinking,” true social science is being ignored and kids will suffer, Katy says.

Many LBGTQ couples claim they have a right to children and a right to parenthood, even if forming their families violate the right of children to be known and loved by their own mother and father. We’re catering to adults’ desires and forgetting about children’s needs, Faust says.

As a child of divorced parents, neither of whom were particularly religious, Katy Faust did not grow up in a Christian world.

But then Katy got saved in high school and married a pastor. After working in youth ministry with kids who suffered from mother and father loss, and recording the stories of children of divorce, those with same-sex parents, and children created through reproductive technologies, she realized that:

Biology matters.
Gender is not a social construct.
Marriage is a safe space for children and should not be redefined.
Same-sex couples don’t and can’t attend to every need of their kids.

“Whenever you see a picture of a kid with same-sex parents, you’re looking at a picture of a child missing a parent,” Katy writes. “No matter how well-heeled, educated, or exceptional at mothering or fathering the moms or dads may be, they’re incapable of providing the gender-specific parenting and biological identity exclusive to the parent missing from the picture. Read the rest: same-sex parents don’t and can’t give best outcomes to children.

Anne Paulk’s book dumped from Amazon

The day after being exposed to pornography and being molested, 3-year-old Anne Paulk started dressing like a Tomboy.

“I was no longer interested in dolls,” she says on a CBN video. “It was everything to do with throwing off the feminine because it was unsafe.”

Anne was raised in a Christian home, but the seeds for lesbianism had been planted right there.

“I felt responsible for what an older person did to me,” she says. “I felt uncomfortable in my own body. I felt unsafe.”

When she was six, a little girl “made a pass at” her and kissed her.

“What I realized right then is I felt like I had power as opposed to being powerless in the other circumstance,” she says. “And that ignited a lesbian desire later on in life. That was really the starting point of that turning of my feelings.”

Up until college, she pretty much suppressed the lesbian inclination. But when she entered the university, a libertine environment and substance abuse created the perfect cocktail to carry out her curiosities and cloud her confusion even more.

“I found myself quickly getting involved in alcohol and drugs on campus. They were everywhere. And that also gave me room to explore my sexual desires.”

She sought counseling, but her advisor told her “the Bible and homosexuality go just fine together.”

Nevertheless, “I just sensed that there was something off about that,” she admits.

Even though she had been raised in a Christian home, Anne had only heard about God; she had never known Him personally.

She began attending gay support groups and hoped to find a partner to marry and live happily ever after.

The Holy Spirit had other things in mind. One day right in the middle of the gay support meeting, he spoke to her heart: The love that you’re seeking, you’re not going to find here.

“It felt like a ray of light from heaven hit me right in the middle of this gay meeting,” says Anne. Read the rest: Anne Paulk former lesbian.

Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett brings faith to science

At one time, Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett didn’t know that there was an academic degree called a PhD. Now, the outspoken Christian is leading a National Institutes of Health team developing a Covid vaccine.

“I would have never thought that I would be in this moment right now,” the viral immunologist says on Black Enterprise. She wonders if she is living in an alternate universe, one in which God is shaking the table.

Kizzmekia grew up in North Carolina and somehow caught the eye of her high school chemistry teacher who hooked her up with summer internships in a lab at the University of North Carolina after the 10th and 11th grades.

“I was in the middle of a laboratory with this world-renowned organic chemist, his name is James Morkin. And he paired me with a black grad student, Albert Russell,” said Corbett. “Beyond the love for science and the scientific process, I learned that being him was possible.”

Mentors helped her climb the heights of science, along with her Christian faith, she says.

“I am Christian. I’m black. I am Southern, I’m an empath,” she says. “I’m feisty, sassy, and fashionable. That’s kind of how I describe myself. I would say that my role as a scientist is really about my passion and purpose for the world and for giving back to the world.”

Researching on the cutting edge of science to counter the world’s deadliest disease in 100 years allows Kizzmekia to combine her faith and intellect to serve others.

“My team is responding to the world’s most devastating global pandemic in the last hundred years,” she says. “There’s something to be said about knowing who you are.”

Outgoing president Trump visited her lab and became aware of her service to the country. Read the rest: women of color in science.

Michael W. Smith took cocaine?

Michael W. Smith played drums at age five, picking out rhythms from the radio and replicating them precisely. He wrote his first song at the same age.

He joined the choir, felt the call of God in his Baptist church and only ever wanted to pick up the guitar and worship. “My heart was really after the Lord,” he says on an I am Second video.

So how did the laser-focused Christian music prodigy become the disoriented, drug-abusing prodigal around age 17?

“All my older friends went off to college and I moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to be a songwriter,” he explains. “I was playing in after-hours bars from 1:30 to 5:30, just in a bunch of trouble.

“I began to be enticed that maybe you could play with the fire and you won’t get burned.”

The first joint brought great guilt but it didn’t stop him from continuing down the slippery slope, using LSD and cocaine.

“I’m just doing this stuff and I got sucked into this thing,” he says. “For some reason, I justified it. You lose perspective. It’s almost like your compass sort of just like disappears and you enter this whole other world and you don’t really realize it’s going down. Then all of a sudden it’s too late.”

Next Michael nearly died when he snorted what he thought was cocaine and wasn’t.

“I thought I was going to die literally, but that’s when I began to pray that God would do whatever He had to do to get my attention,” he says. “I needed to be rescued.”

Rescue came in 1979 after midnight on the linoleum floor of his kitchen outside Nashville.

“I went on the floor and just began to shake,” he remembers. “I was curled up like a baby. I was just weeping, just weeping. I cried. I cried out for the God of the universe. I haven’t been the same since; it all changed.

He made key changes in his life. He got into relationship with the right people, brothers who would hold him accountable.

Eight months later, Michael landed his first songwriting contract.

“I thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” Read the rest: Michael W. Smith took cocaine?

Civil Rights pro abortion? One activist can’t fathom it.

Rev. Walter B. Hoye II believes the Civil Rights movement has sold out on the abortion issue.

“In the middle of the 60s, all of us knew that Planned Parenthood was just a racist dog,” he charges on LiveAction. “We’ve sold our civil rights legacy. We’ve said publicly, ‘a woman’s right to choose’ is a civil right. If you can’t get out of the womb, nothing — nothing — matters.”

In 1965, Cecil Moore, then-president of the NAACP, recognized the threat when he said, “Planned Parenthood’s plan is replete with everything to help the Negroes commit race suicide.”

So how did a movement calling for equality and respect for life degenerate?

It was coopted, Rev. Hoye contends. “The first two pro-life groups in America were Black,” Hoye says. “Even the Nation of Islam and the Black Panthers were pro-life. We’ve always known what abortion is and what abortion does. Always. And what we’ve done as a people — it’s us, it’s not white folk, it’s us — we sold out.

“The problem isn’t that Margaret Sanger fooled us,” he adds. “Yeah there was a Negro Project. And yeah, she paid many of the most influential Black history figures to be part of that project. They’re listed and that’s not a secret. They were getting paid to preach birth control sermons in church.”

Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, started advocating birth control as part of her eugenicist’s beliefs (the idea of Hitler that the white race is superior and other races needed to be eliminated from the Earth). Abortion factored into the end game.

As a result of this nefarious plan, the black community is in jeopardy of declining as a population, Hoye says. Read the rest: Civil Rights abortion

Hip replacement? Nah. God healed him.

As he lay on the floor from a sudden and unexplainable fall, John Hawkins shuddered, pondering the implications. There had been no obstacle to trip on. He had simply collapsed.

“it scared me to death because I didn’t trip on anything,’ the retired carpenter-turned-pastor says on a 700 Club video. “My hip just gave out. I didn’t understand why.”

John was 60. An orthopedic specialist said a tendon in his hip was gone and bone was grinding against bone, generating extreme pain. He would need surgery. But he didn’t like what he read about alloy hip replacement recalls. (Surgeons now use plastic.)

“I’m too young to be acting like I’m 89,” the retired carpenter-turned-pastor says on a 700 Club video. “I couldn’t move, and I didn’t like it.

John started using a cane and needed help from his wife, Rose, to put on his shoes and get in and out of the tub. The pain was so bad that most of the time he just wanted to stay home, feeling miserable.

“I’ve always been active, and I liked to work. I worked with my hands,” he says. “My mom was a good example of work and a lot of good work ethic in my family. Everybody worked all their life, always worked for what you want.”

Eventually, he realized he needed to pray for a healing.

“It felt so bad, I didn’t want to move. I was angry real quick,” John says. Read the rest: Instead of a hip replacement, God outright healed him.

Ministry in tech: James Kelly and Christian hackathons

Eight thousand people a month searched Google in Canada to ask about suicide and the first article at the top of the search page is: “Seven Painless Ways to Commit Suicide.”

This fact disturbed James Kelly and he resolved to do something by marrying Christianity to technology.

But the young minister in Waterloo, Ontario, didn’t know what he could do. Fortunately, he knew guys who could, techies who were Christians but didn’t know what role they could fill in the church. They didn’t want to do public speaking, and they couldn’t strum a guitar. They were nerds. What could they do for Jesus?

James gathered a bunch of them together in a coffee shop 2016 and asked how to solve the suicide search conundrum on Google. They went to work on the assignment and managed to place a website on top that offers hope and persuades despairing people to NOT take their lives.

A year later, a team member was talking about the site to a friend who suddenly seized her arm with eyes widening. What was the URL? she asked. The team member answered. The friend started misting in her eyes. Just the night before, she contemplated suicide and searched Google.

“I landed on that website and that site saved my life,” she confided.

The URL is howtokillyourself.org, which is a strategy to respond to the search terms. But inside the website there is encouragement for people struggling. There’s a video about Kevin Hines, who attempted and regretted suicide. The three tenets are: you are not alone, here’s information, here’s a phone number.

“Did anyone know where he could build a website that could literally save people’s lives?” James asks on a This Is Me TV video. “The Lord’s like, yep.”

Today, James leads FaithTech, a place where Christian technology is a thing. Since starting in Waterloo, it has grown to major cities in Canada with “hackathons,” events where techies brainstorm solutions for ministries and kingdom business. It has inspired knockoffs in the United States.

James was drawn toward trouble like many 13-year-olds. He had begun to dabble in the party scene. But his dad slapped a Bible down in front of him and asked him to meditate for a couple hours on Matthew 7:13: Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

Kelly got it. Instead of living wobbly faith, he made the convictions his own, got baptized and put on a Jesus bracelet, which he would deliberately leave on the table to witness.

His dad and siblings were all business majors in college, so he followed suit. But when he consulted a mentor, he got clarity as to what he most wanted to do in life: usher people into the Kingdom.

With his wife, he lived in South Sudan for three months to see what the rest of the world looked like. From that experience, he determined not to do “parachute ministry” — live in a rich neighborhood and land in a poor neighborhood for short-term ministry.

Along with more than a dozen other young, earnest Christians, he moved into the poorest neighborhood in town and launched raw ministry with the locals. Read the rest: Ministry in tech: James Kelly and Christian hackathons

Legendary missionary Bruce Olson went native, wore flea collar to reach Motilones

After venturing into the isolated Andes mountains of Colombia to reach the unreached Motilone tribe for Jesus, 19-year-old Bruce Olson was ambushed and shot in the leg with an arrow in 1961. His Yukpa guide fled as six warriors moved in and captured him, forcing him to stand and walk six miles to their tribal hut.

The Motilone indigenous peoples (they call themselves Bari) were feared by all outsiders because they killed anyone and everyone who made contact with them. Bruce says that such hostility stemmed from their fear that outsiders were cannibals, according his interview on the Strang Report podcast.

Bruce was allowed to recover, guarded in the hut. Three days after his capture, his first meal was a palm tree maggot, which he didn’t know how to eat. He was famished and when he cracked the exoskeleton with his teeth, the contents burst over his face and tasted like liquefied bacon and eggs.

When he spotted bananas hanging in the upper supports of the communal hut, his eyes pleaded with his captors to be able to eat one, which they granted. He quickly learned the word for banana and would ask often for the tasty treat. On the third occasion that he asked for a banana, they brought him an ax instead, and that’s how he discovered their language is tonal.

“I felt as a young Christian convert in Minneapolis that my place would be among the unevangelized tribal people of South America,” he says. “I felt uniquely drawn to Colombia because I liked the literature of Colombia. I bought a one-way ticket to Colombia. After one year of learning Spanish, I ventured into the jungle to make contact with the Bari people.”

Eventually, the Motilone realized that Bruce was not a hostile threat but a human being just like them. He learned their language and learned to fish and live among these primitives. He was accepted by everyone except a certain fearsome warrior who could not reconcile with the idea of a friendly outsider and threatened to kill Bruce.

On one night, the mighty warrior came to take his life. But Bruce had fallen gravely ill with jaundiced eyes, and so the warrior desisted. Tribal superstitions forbade killing sickly persons.

Bruce — or Bruchko, as they called him — was essentially “civilization’s” first contact with the tribe that killed all previous Colombian emissaries, prospectors and oil explorers. He would travel into cities to buy medicines and supplies. On one such trip, he discovered a newly-invented flea collar for pets. He bought one — for himself — and wore it around his neck.

Success for his efforts came with the winning of a convert, who was just about to be initiated into manhood. The ritual included a contest of chanting lengthy poems among the men. It sounded eerily demonic to Bruce, who was uninitiated as yet to the custom, but as he listened intently, he heard his young convert tell about Jesus as all the others perked up to his tale. Read the rest: Bruce Olson, Bruchko

Jeff Levitan on teaching orphans in the developing world the principles of wealth

Jeff Levitan had made millions by age 30, so he did what was expected: he retired to his beautiful home and a life of luxury funded by investments that would continue to churn out income for the rest of his life.

Two months later, he came out of retirement, finding himself bored.

Jeff realized that he needed something better than money and its trappings. He needed to find a higher purpose to animate his life.

Today, he’s back at financial advising and making money. The difference now is that he launched the All For One Foundation, which establishes orphanages around the world.

These are not your typical orphanages. He refers to them as “prosperity centers.”

If that name gave you pause, it does for a lot of people. They’re teaching the lessons of capitalism to poor little kids in countries with weak economies. Are the principles of wealth creation and wealth management the exclusive domain of developed countries? Or do they apply to the rest of the world also?

Jeff’s initiative is going to find out.

While the United Nations throws money at the world’s problems, the All For One Foundation is teaching some of the poorest orphans in the worlds how to break the cycle of poverty for future generations.

“All For One is doing more than just giving children of the world hope,” says a promotional video. “All For One is actively working towards building the systems needed not just to survive but to thrive. We’ve seen firsthand the lasting impact our projects have had around the world.”

For 20 years, these orphanages and schools in Sierra Leone, Nicaragua and 27 other nations, offer 25,000 kids (and sometimes their moms) shelter, food, health care, clothing and education — both regular academic classes and special financial courses.

Financial education – the stuff of Warren Buffett – in the developing world. Wrap your head around that.

Jeff Levitan is undaunted by the quixotic nature of his dream. Read the rest: Jeff Levitan’s ‘prosperity centers’ orphanages with All For One Foundation.

The ‘Oracle of San Quentin’ found Jesus, became a finance guru (yes, in prison)

For his first crime, Curtis Carroll was congratulated.

“It was the first time that I was told that I had potential and felt like somebody believed in me,” Curtis says on a TED Talk. “Nobody ever told me that I could be a lawyer, doctor or engineer. I mean, how was I supposed to do that? I couldn’t read, write or spell. I was illiterate. So I always thought crime was my way to go.”

Learning on the mean streets of East Oakland that crime was the way to get money led him to a 54-year-to-life sentence in San Quentin for a robbery that backfired and ended in murder.

Today, Curtis has served 24 years on that sentence, gotten saved, taught himself to read and learned about financial investment.

His success at picking stocks earned him the nickname “The Oracle of San Quentin,” but inmates call him “Wall Street” because he teaches a financial literacy class based on the idea that teaching convicts how to make and save money through legitimate modes will keep them from resorting to illegitimate means once they’re out.

Curtis Carroll was surrounded by the vicious hood devastated by the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 90s. His mother donated blood to get money to feed her kids. His uncle taught Curtis to steal quarters from arcade machines.

On one occasion a security guard spotted him stealing the quarters and Curtis ran, climbed a fence, but the weight of the quarters in his backpack caused him to fall back to the ground.

When he was released to his mother from juvenile hall, his uncle told him to be smarter next time: “You weren’t supposed to take ALL the quarters.”

Ten minutes later, they burglarized another arcade game because they needed to buy gas to get home.

At age 17, a botched robbery turned fatal, with Curtis pulling the trigger on 22-year-old Gilberto Medina Gil. Curtis turned himself in to police and was sentenced to prison for the murder of Gil.

Because he was illiterate, he would let his cellmate read the sports page to him. But one time, he accidentally grabbed the business section.

An older inmate casually asked if he traded stocks. Curtis couldn’t read, much less know about stocks, so he asked.

“That’s where white folk put their money,” the older inmate replied.

“It was the first time that I saw a glimpse of hope, a future,” Curtis says. “He gave me this brief description of what stocks were.”

Curious to learn more, Curtis, at age 20, taught himself to read.

“It was the hardest thing I’d ever done in my life. It was the most agonizing time of my life, trying to learn how to read, (facing) the ostracism from my family, from the homies,” he says. “Little did I know I was receiving the greatest gifts I had ever dreamed of: self-worth, knowledge, discipline.”

Next, he studied finance in general and the stock market in particular. He scoured the business sections of the prison newspapers and checked out books from the prison library. His role models changed from drug pushers to William Bennett and Bill Gates.

He started investing, with the help of family members on the outside of prison, in penny stocks. He used the money he got from selling unused postage stamps and selling tobacco to his fellow inmates, according to MoneyWise. As he earned small returns, he made bigger picks.

Outside prison, his money was growing. He will be well-positioned to become a tax-paying member of society contributing to the economy once he gets out — unlike so many other inmates who are expected to “make it” outside without support or money.

“A typical incarcerated person would enter the California prison system with no financial education, earn 30 cents an hour, over $800 a year, with no real expenses and save no money,” Curtis says. “Upon his parole, he will be given $200 gate money and be told, ‘Hey, good luck, stay out of trouble. Don’t come back to prison.’

“With no meaningful preparation or long-term financial plan, what does he do? Get a good job? Or go back to the very criminal behavior that led him to prison in the first place? You taxpayers, you choose.”

In response, Curtis led the charge to add financial education to prison reform. And prison staff responded, making arrangements for him to teach about finances in San Quentin’s chapel.

Curtis not only picked up financial knowledge in prison. He also picked up Jesus.

“I want to give all glory to God, because without Him I wouldn’t look or feel like this,” he says on Inside the Rift. “Real freedom is a mental state, not a physical one. I remain cheerful due to God’s grace and the gift He’s chosen to give me. I stay focused because with this gift I have been given, there is a job that needs to be done.

“I stay motivated because my life’s calling is to be of service to others. There is no better feeling or honor than to be of service to others. Like any Christian, I fall short every day, but I try my best to spread the gift that He’s given me to empower others. All glory to God.” Read the rest: the ‘Oracle of San Quentin’ found Jesus, became a financial guru (yes, in prison)

Dr. Ayman Srour forgives the Jews who killed his grandfather

Dr. Ayman Srour didn’t mind if innocent Jews were killed alongside guilty ones because Jewish soldiers beheaded his grandfather in retaliation for a Jewish soldier killed at Eilabun in 1948.

“When the Israeli buses were exploding, I would say, ‘Hail, Hamas!’ and ‘Cheers to Fatah!’ I used to say, ‘You are the jihadists, you are the truth, you are the strong who defended my honor!’ I became a young man whose heart was filled with hatred.”

Dr. Ayman no longer rejoices over such atrocities because he started thinking about his sister in Haifa. There was a terrorist attack in Israel’s third largest city and a lot of orthodox Jews were killed. What if his sister had been close to the explosion and been killed? Would he celebrate?

Should the innocent die along with the guilty?

The question began to unnerve him more and more and ultimately overturned his political worldview.

Dr. Ayman’s journey from Jew-hater to Jew-lover is a story of hope for the strife-plagued Middle East.

His story and the conflicts in his heart started in Eilabun, a tiny Arab town in Israel’s territory 11 miles west of the Sea of Galilee. The Arabs there are Christians, not Muslims, so getting embroiled in the Muslim-Jewish conflagration surrounding may have been unintended but inevitable.

In 1948, joint Arab Muslim forces moved in to “liberate Palestine” from the United Nations-decreed formation of the Jewish state of Israel. Israel was formed after the world saw the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust. The recently formed U.N. voted to officially recognize a homeland for the Jews.

Palestine had been under colonial rule as part of the British Empire. But the post-World War II zeitgeist was to grant independence to former colonies, and jurisdictional authority was awarded to the Jewish people.

The Palestinians were outraged, and so was the Muslim Arab world, who mustered forces and formed armies to wipe Israel off the map. Fawzi al-Qawuqji occupied Eilabun with his Arab Liberation Army. His forces killed two Israeli soldiers. The head of one of the soldiers was used as a soccer ball in town.

The barbarism was designed to manifest scorn for the hated “Israeli occupiers.” It enraged Israeli soldiers, who shortly thereafter captured the town.

“The people who cut off his head were not from Eilabun. They were the so-called Liberation Army that arrived from Arab countries to save Palestine from the so-called (Jewish) enemy,” Dr. Ayman says. “But the villagers mourned the death of the man. Eilabun’s people did not instill hatred and resentment into their hearts. Instead, they followed the basic human principles: Love your neighbor, Respect, do not scorn the other.”

Israel’s soldiers, which soundly routed the Arab armies on all fronts, came to Eilabun wanting to avenge their fallen comrades. They didn’t have the time to bother with the finer points of difference between the Arab Christians and the Arab Muslims. Though villagers waved white flags upon the advance of the Jews on the town, the Israeli soldiers decided to make an example of their superior power.

Without any trial or deliberation, they executed 14 men in what is known as the Eilabun Massacre.

One of those men was Dr. Ayman’s grandfather.

“He was killed in cold blood,” Dr. Ayman says. “My heart was full of anger. Very deep anger.”

As a child, Dr. Ayman accepted Jesus into his heart upon watching the JESUS film, put out by Campus Crusade for Christ. But his childish enthusiasm for a true relationship with Jesus got smothered by the hate growing in his heart for the loss of his grandfather. Read the rest: Dr. Ayman Srour

Amazon censors, pushes political agenda

Amazon, which once prided itself for offering a “diversity of ideas” in its books, dumped Christian books about homosexuality in July, including a carefully worded account of Anne Paulk about leaving lesbianism, according to Stream.

“These are perilous times for free speech and religious expression in America,” Paulk says. “But Restored Hope Network remains committed to speaking the truth in love to the culture about God’s design for sexuality. Among many in this current generation, there is no longer room for a diversity of belief systems.”

The move by Amazon to silence those who offer hope for people who want to leave homosexuality is part of a broader movement in technology in recent months to censor and “cancel” Bible-adhering Christianity. Silicon Valley, which by and large adopts values from nearby free-wheeling San Francisco, became the force, in the view of some tech observers, that threw the election to transgender-promoting Joseph Biden.

At the center of the Amazon censorship is Anne Paulk, no stranger to secular furor. Her husband, John Paulk, went from being ex-gay to ex-Christian and found himself heralded as a hero by the media. John walked out on Anne and their three children after tripping in temptation.

“My husband [began] stumbling instead of fighting well with his sin struggle,” Anne says on Ministry Watch. “He’d cover it up and hide. So at that point it became multiple situations like that. We had already moved back to Portland, Oregon, where we have family, and he eventually was no longer repentant. Our marriage broke up in 2013, which has been a point of grief. I never, of course, envisioned divorce as a possibility. So it’s a difficult process of grief to walk through.”

Gay exit psychologist Joseph Nicolosi Sr. and counselor Joe Dallas were also deplatformed by the monolithic online sales platform.

“Our mission is to restore hope to those broken by sexual and relational sin, particularly those impacted by homosexuality,” Anne Paulk says. +We do that through the Christian faith — the life-changing power and incredible love of Jesus Christ. It’s not about shaming, coercion, or anything else. It’s about joy and peace and resolution of things that have troubled people.

“My book titled Restoring Sexual Identity is designed to help women who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction and want to leave homosexuality,” she says. “When I wrote it several years ago, I took exceptional care for the tone to be understanding and compassionate.”

Paulk founded Restored Hope Network on the heels of the shutdown of Exodus International, a ministry to help gay people that folded in 2012 when the president decided that gay people couldn’t or shouldn’t try to overcome their temptations. At that time, the media ballyhooed the closing of Exodus International and featured stories about a slew of leaders who fell back into sin.

But if the symphony of secularism schemed for the demise of the ex-gay movement, they must have been dismayed to see a phoenix rise from the ashes. It turns out that a lot of leaders from Exodus just moved over to Restored Hope.

Restored Hope now comprises about 60 affiliates all across the United States which vary widely from “small groups to quite large ones” and minister to thousands of people each year. More than 4,000 teens have gone through an on-line program, Paulk says.

“We have a very strong board of directors. They’re active. We have monthly meetings. They’re about an hour and a half long. It’s a very active board,” Paulk says. “We have two retreats in person. So the oversight is very strong. We are very connected to the local ministries. In fact, they’re the ones who put a name out for the board of directors. The board of directors has all authority to remove the executive—that’s me—from the position. We don’t want to do, minimally, what [Exodus] got wrong, which was little to no oversight of the board of directors.”

If her ministry was born under fire, her desire to help others found its impetus in her personal experience.

“I identified as a lesbian in my college days,” Paulk says. “I had struggled for years. I had been molested as a 4-year-old multiple times by a teen boy. What I did as a result of that was reject the danger of being a woman. That was just my story. It isn’t everybody’s story, but it is very common that people who end up dealing with homosexuality have been molested. So in my teen years, I struggled with homosexuality starting at about 12 on up through 19, where I embraced it.”

A headlong hurtling into homosexuality failed to heal the hurt. And, Paulk says, she knew inwardly that what she was doing was wrong. Ironically, it was a gay support group that the Holy Spirit spoke to her and encouraged her to find true healing in Jesus. Read the rest: Amazon censors Christians