Category Archives: Christian living

Brooks Buser and Bible translation for the YembiYembi

After years of learning the language, developing an alphabet, teaching literacy, missionary Brooks Buser and team gave the YembiYembi tribe in Papua New Guinea copies of the Bible five years ago.

“It has been a long time, almost 2,000 years, that we the YembiYembi church have waited for this translation of the Bible into our own language,” says a tribe leader on a Radius International video.

Waving palm-like branches (or feathers) and dancing, about 100 tribe members received the printed and bound Bibles – the labor of nine years delivered by small prop plane – with fanfare, preaching and jubilation.

The YembiYembi live in the Lower-Sepik Swamp of remote Papua New Guinea. With an estimated 5,000 members, the tribe with only three villages is so small that it’s not even in Wikipedia. You can reach it by plane or paddling 270 miles upriver. Their language is Bises.

Once the translation was finished, Radius International missionaries sleft trained local pastors to take charge of the church. From the video, it appears the majority of the tribe accepted Jesus, but a “vocal minority” remains in opposition to abandoning the customs of its elders.

“The Bible is important,” preached Brooks, 37, in Bises, which the video translates into English through subtitles. “But what’s more important is what you do with it as the church, the body of Christ. The Bible is here to help believers grow. I will visit you, but this Bible will guide you now.”

Brooks was a missionary child who grew up in Papua New Guinea evangelizing another remote tribe in the lush jungle. “The seeds of missions were planted in my mind,” says the man who counted San Diego as his American hometown.

As a child, Brooks spent half his time in the mud of the jungle with native friends and half his time at the missionary school, playing basketball and learning a traditional Western education.

“I remember getting on the plane here at 9 o’clock in the morning and flying to school and playing a basketball tournament that night in the gymnasium, looking down at my leg and I still have a little bit of mud on my leg from the tribe,” he remembers. “It wasn’t a normal upbringing. The blending of these two worlds was a unique way to grow up.”

Armed with an accounting degree from San Diego Christian College, he married Nina and pursued a career counting numbers. He became finance manager and even traveled to Paris, “on track for the American Dream,” he says.

But on a visit to his parents in Papua New Guinea, the newly married couple’s hearts were stirred. “She got to see where I grew up,” he explains. “God began to lay on our hearts the nation. We felt an incredible level of comfort leaving the American Dream behind and coming back here as missionaries.”

In 2001 with their newborn Bo, they began training with New Tribes Mission where they learned how to set up solar panels and build airfields. “There’s no power, there’s no stores” in these isolated areas where they reach tribes, Brooks says.

“During the class there was a lot of things that brought us out of our comfort zone,” Lynn says. “There was a class on animal butchering which was not my favorite.”

They learned phonetics and grammar to learn and codify the language. They launched into Third World life in Papua New Guinea in 2003. The Busers began surveying and exploring land to find an ideal unreached tribe to work with. Tribes actually write letters requesting missionaries be sent, probably because they have heard of the benefits of civilization and medicine that missionaries bring.

Because the airstrip was flooded at their first choice on the day of their launching into the mission field, the Busers went to their second choice, the YembiYembi. They flew to the nearest airfield, traveled by canoe and then hiked – a five-hour journey – to arrive.

The tribe was so excited and received the missionaries with a welcoming ceremony. “In 2004, we started building our houses,” he says. They had a team of fellow linguist missionaries. They had batteries for their laptops and a two-way radio to communicate with their base.

They began building an airstrip with the help of 1,000 Yembis, removing stumps with power tools. After days of intense labor, the mission group sent a barge with a tractor to finish clearing the field.

“That gave us our lifeline back to base,” Brooks says.

Simultaneously, they learned about their language and culture, hunting in the jungle late at night.

“The callouses on our feet got a lot thicker,” he says. “We learned how to throw a spear and hunt pigs, basically live like a Yembi in their environment.”

Missionaries are routinely criticized by secular intellectuals for altering native people’s customs and “Westernizing” them. The Yembi were animists.

But Brooks… Read the rest: YembiYembi tribe in Papua New Guinea

Ex Vampire evangelizes Muslims

As an immature Christian, Nathaniel Buzolic got a big bite of international fame as Kol Mikaelson on The Vampire Diaries. But now that he’s committed more deeply to Christ, Nate preaches regularly to his 2.4M Instagram followers and many have gotten saved.

A lot of those saved are Muslims behind the “Islamic veil,” a set of borders where strict Muslim beliefs are enforced and evangelizing is punishable by death.

“I won’t name the countries that they’re in for their protection, but I’ve got Muslim people who have converted to Christianity because of my social media,” Nate says on a 700 Club Interactive video. “I interact pretty boldly with the Muslim community on my social media.

“I don’t think God goes, ‘Hey, I’m all for vampire shows,’ but he goes, ‘I’m going to use them for my glory.’ Look how God can use what the world tries to push, a demonic thing and witchcraft, for himself.”

The son of poor immigrants in Australia, Nate dreamed of acting and moved to Los Angeles when he was 24. He first heard the gospel and responded when he was 27 at a Passion Conference in Atlanta but wasn’t strongly impacted until six years later.

“It made me ask what’s my life really all about it in an Ecclesiastes sort of way,” he says. “It made all the things I was pursuing like acting and fame really sort of meaningless. I thought there has to be something more.”

At the time, he was working on The Vampire Diaries, the internationally famous CW teen series that launched him to fame as he played the sympathetic villain Kol Mikaelson.

Regarding Christ, he was convinced but not so committed. He had a French Muslim girlfriend and gloated that he didn’t judge anyone. But when she broke his heart by cheating on him, Nate was so shattered he wanted to die at 33.

“I was at rock bottom,” he admits. “I was in a very dark place. I’d be on an airplane, and I’d say, ‘God bring it down. I want it to all be over.’ I wanted to be numbed. I didn’t want to feel anymore.”

At the time, ISIS was raging and… Read the rest: Nathaniel Buzolic Christian.

Native missionaries go the extra mile in Liberia

To get to some of the most remote Liberian villages, a native missionary walks seven hours through the jungle.

“Sometimes we encounter mosquitoes, snakes or lions, among other animals,” the unnamed missionary told Christian Aid Mission (CAM). “We get sick. Idol worshippers sometimes threaten us, saying that if we don’t leave their village, they will kill us.

“We have to contend with all of that relying on God, the author and finisher of our faith.”

His willingness to endure hardship to bring the gospel to the unreached shows the value of “native missionaries” – locals who carry out the Great Commission to their nation. As a general rule, they are willing to suffer more than foreign missionaries and have the capacity to reach more people.

“In some places we go, there is nowhere to sleep; we just lie on the dirt floor,” says the unnamed ministry leader. “There may be no good, safe drinking water or light. When the battery in the flashlight I carry is finished, there’s nowhere to get additional light at all. There are no shops or stores in the jungle.”

In Liberia, 43% of the population follows an ethnic religion. About 40% are Christian, 12% of which is evangelical. Islam holds 12%.

But the labors of native missionaries are improving those statistics. Within a recent six-month period, the missionary and team led 270 people to confess their belief in Christ, the report says.

One recent convert formerly had lived like a prodigal. As a young girl, she wasted most of her life abusing drugs, alcohol and smoking.

“When I shared the gospel with her, I told her the story of the two sons in Luke 15, then I told her, if you will only believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and ask Him to forgive you, He will. Without hesitation, she immediately accepted the Lord Jesus, and she was baptized and is serving in the church as an usher, doing it with joy.”

How do the local missionaries make inroads into remote villages that are resistant to the Gospel? Sometimes, by farming… Read the rest: Missions in Liberia.

Crippling anxiety even as a child

For Mia Dinoto, the crippling anxiety attacks started when she was 8.

“I was diagnosed with OCD and anxiety. I got really, really depressed,” Mia says on her YouTube channel. “I got panic attacks 24/7 every single day. I would not leave my house. I was terrified to leave my house. I felt stuck inside myself. I was trapped inside myself.”

Raised in Christian home, Mia didn’t know Jesus and, trying to pray, found it difficult and neglected it for years at a time.

“Is my life going to be like this?” she asked her parents, who signed her up with a therapist three times a week.

“I got put on medication,” she says.

She wavered between being able to function “like a normal person” and relapsing, she says.

In her teens, Mia was diagnosed with anorexia. “It consumed my life,” she says. “I no longer cared about anything other than what I ate, what I looked like, working out. All my goals, priorities and values got thrown away. I didn’t care about anything else. I would do anything to get skinny and have the perfect body.”

Mia argued with her family members and treated them rudely, she says. “I got in fights with them every day,” she says. “I pushed all my friends away.”

“I got to a really unhealthy point where I was starving myself. I was malnourished,” she says. “I still looked into the mirror and thought I was fat. It consumed my thoughts. My anxiety and depression came back worse this time.”

Under the crushing weight of depression, she was fatigued and slept 16 hours every night. Living in California at the time, she would be outside in 90-degree weather with a jacket and comforter because her malnourished body felt cold; it didn’t have the nutrients to produce heat to warm itself.

Her regular menstrual cycle stopped for a year. “My body was shutting down,” she admits. “I didn’t care about my health. I just wanted to be skinny.”

“Saying it seems so stupid. Anorexia isn’t just a health problem; it is a mental health problem,” she now realizes. “It consumed me.”

Her parents enrolled her in a strict, in-house treatment center, but it didn’t work. Hearing a podcast about overcoming anxiety through chakra meditation and manifesting, she fell into New Age practices trying to get more balanced and “control her destiny.”

Then she stumbled across a video that challenged chakra ideas from the Christian perspective. She considered herself a Christian and was startled to hear, for the first time, that chakra was anti-Christian. She found out she was drifting ever farther from God.

“I didn’t want to do anything against Christianity,” she says. “I watched a lot of videos, and I realized I was being pulled away from God because I was depending on myself to fix things and not the Lord.”

Her brother started reading the Bible and this prompted Mia to do the same.

“I had never… Read the rest: crippling anxiety even as a child

A vision of her daughter in Heaven helped heal the regret of having an abortion

Dell made the painful decision to abort because she believed she couldn’t provide the upbringing her child deserved. But she was unprepared for the years of anguish and guilt following that decision.

“I felt like my baby would be better off not coming into this world,” Dell says on a 700 Club video. “I wasn’t any good for anybody.”

Immediately after aborting her daughter in the second trimester, Dell wanted to kill herself. She even took a razor blade and began to slit her wrist.

“I went home, and I just wanted to die,” Dell says. “I couldn’t live with what I had done.”

She kept saying over and over, “I’m sorry, Baby. I’m so sorry.”

That’s when a man from church called with a prophetic message: “The Lord told me you were in trouble. The Lord told me that if you will walk in the straight and narrow and trust in him, he will restore what the locusts have eaten and give you back tenfold what Satan has taken from you.”

Eventually, Dell got her life together and married a loving man named Cary (spelling is uncertain). They’ve been married 42 years and have two sons and two daughters.

But she never escaped the regret, depression and nightmares that stem from Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS).

“I longed to see my daughter,” she says. “I thought, how could there be no tears in heaven? When I got there, and when she saw me, what would she say: ‘Why did you do that, Mommy?’ I couldn’t forgive myself.”

In an effort to find a soothing balm to her inner wound, Dell and her husband went to some revival services preached by Pastor Rodney Howard Brown. She was disappointed, not finding the help she sought to heal her emotional wounds.

As she was leaving, she collapsed in the church foyer. While her body lay prone, apparently lifeless, she had a near death experience. Dell was transported to Heaven in a vision.

She saw Jesus – and a child.

“I saw this little girl with pigtails and a little white dress, and she was skipping and dancing and twirling around the feet of Jesus,” Dell says. “She turned and looked at me. Our eyes met, and I immediately… Read the rest: How do I heal from Post Abortion Syndrome?

Robert Borelli, former mafioso

Despite being involved with the Brooklyn mafia, drug dealing, and losing his connection with his daughter, Robert Borelli made a 180 degree turn that changed the future course of his life.

“As a young kid growing up in Brooklyn, New York, being a small guy, I had to be a little rough kid. You had to learn how to fight,” Robert told DadTalk.

Robert’s neighborhood was tough and, unbeknownst to him initially, it was run by the Gambino crime family.

“They protected the neighborhood and got all the respect from just about everybody in it, including police officers.” Robert continues. “There was mutual respect between the officers and the mafia guys.”

Robert was well-liked by the mafia affiliates, and he often attended their social clubs to run errands.

“At the age of 17 years old, I started hanging out with one of the mob guys’ sons,” Robert says. “His dad often had a big spread every Friday night where all the wise guys from the neighborhood would come meet him and give him respect.”

Robert was impressed by the influence of the men there and was drawn towards the criminal lifestyle.

“My family had a hard time making ends meet. There were financial arguments in the house over rent, and at that age, that was not something I was looking forward to having for the rest of my life.”

Robert’s gravitated towards the mafia life, drawn by the respect, money, and nice clothes offered by it.

“See the people?” a mafia man told him one day as they observed some people at a bus stop. “They are the suckers; they have to go to work, and they give half their money to the government. We’re gonna keep that money for ourselves.’”

But by age 20, he was deep into trouble with the law. He had a murder case and possession of a weapon case. Prison offered the proof that he was good for the mafia because he didn’t “rat anybody out.”

So when he was released, he was ready to operate and scale up in the lifestyle portrayed fairly accurately, he says, by the movie “Goodfellas.”

“I was getting recognition,” Robert says. “I got involved in selling drugs.”

Robert was living a fast-paced life of partying, drugs, recognition and excitement. Robert demanded respect, and he would even resort to violence to get it. He wasn’t only running drugs; drugs were running him. He became a “crackhead.”

But then something happened that would change everything.

“In 1993, a little girl was born, my daughter, Brianna, and seven weeks into having her home, I walked out of her life to get high just for that night,” Robert states. “It ended up not being just for that night, and I ended up staying out getting high.”

Mom didn’t like his newly adopted lifestyle and forced him to stay away from their daughter so she wouldn’t get corrupted.

Finally the law caught up with Robert and he was Incarcerated for a long stint. He missed his daughter, but his wife wouldn’t let him talk to her on the prison phone.

“No matter if you’re a mobster or a crackhead, to walk out of your daughter’s life… Read the rest: Robert Borelli mafioso

Little Mermaid actor saved from divorce by God

Jodi Benson, 1989 voice actor for the main character in “The Little Mermaid,” repeatedly begged her Christian husband for a divorce when the movie came out. Jodi’s career was successful, but her home life was failing.

“My personal life was plummeting,” Jodi says in an article published by the Billy Graham Association. “I had a real crisis of belief.”

Jodi wound up staying with her husband Ray. They got counseling and had two kids. Her home life is now successful, as is her career, and she credits Jesus for everything.

Raised in a single parent household in Rockford, Ill., Jodi dreamed of singing.

“This dream that I had in my mind was so far-fetched from where I was,” Jodi said. “I’m sure everybody just thought I was crazy.”

She attended Millikin University in Dacatur, Ill. In 1983, she earned her debut role in the Broadway musical Marilyn: An American Fable. The next year she met Ray Benson, became a Christian, and got married to him.

Moving to New York, Jodi landed an ensemble spot in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Two years later, she landed the starring role in Smile on Broadway.

Her biggest role, however, came when she auditioned for the part of Ariel. Out of a field of hundreds of applicants, Jodi was chosen. Ironically, she wasn’t excited with the part.

At the time, animation voice-overs were viewed as jobs for people whose careers were winding down. Voice-over actors didn’t even get mentioned in the credits. Benson, who was in her mid-20s, didn’t like the idea her career might be viewed as fading.

No one could have imagined how big “The Little Mermaid” would become. Instead of earmarking her for a dying career, it catapulted her to stardom.

But when she hit the apex of her career, her marriage was hitting its lows. She was focusing on her career, but her family was on shaky ground. She and her husband wavered between reaffirming their relationship or trashing it.

“I begged him for a divorce,” she says. “I had my foot on the pedal on a cliff in California. I was ready… Jodi Benson Christian.

The Russian mafia didn’t carry out the killing

Vitalii Glopina may never know what the three Russian gangsters sent to kill him saw as one raised the knife to stab Vitalii.

“They turned white. They were shaking,” he says on a Virginia Beach Potter’s House podcast. “He threw the knife down. They ran out of there. In that moment, I knew there was a God.”

Well, of course. He had just prayed that if there were a God, to rescue him.

That was the end of atheism for Vitalii, who blamed God for the death of his sister and played out his anger against the injustice done to his family by getting into drugs, alcohol, and easy money.

With his sister growing up in Ukraine, Vitalii had a peculiar hobby, looking for mushrooms. On one occasion, he asked his sister to get out of work early so they could get a headstart on their mushroom enthusiasm. “I felt responsible for her death,” Vitalii says.

On that fateful night, his sister was kidnapped. They found her injured and took her to a hospital where she lingered between life and death for two days. Young Vitalii pleaded with God for her life, and when she died, he vowed to become an atheist.

From 18 years, he pour his life into substance abuse and crime. He joined a Russian mafia gang and made good money as the key man; he was the one who broke into cars and got them started.

He was a brainiac for technology. He got straight A’s in school, but he also had keyed all the rooms and could break in at will to classrooms and offices.

When he graduated high school, he got a scholarship to Romania, where he would learn cybernetics.

He vowed that in the new place, he would turn over a new leaf. His vow to be sober and make good lasted only three days, within which time he found a dealer and the mafia and fell back into his old habits.

Vitalii would show up and get into the BMW7 series vehicles. Sometimes they would steal the car outright, sometimes they would just steal the parts. When the insurance paid for new parts, his team could fill the order through a front company and rebuild the car they themselves had disassembled.

It was lucrative work, but every night Vitalii was hobbled by crippling guilt.

“I had to be stoned to death to be able to sleep,” he admits.

His penchant for heavy substance abuse caused him to wind up with overdoses: three times on drugs, twice on alcohol. A triple dosage brought him to the hospital on Christmas Eve, where he confessed to hospital staff where the drugs were.

The cops raided, and he lost $5,000 worth of merchandise.

All of sudden, Vitalii was indebted to the mafia, and they weren’t… Read the rest: Vitalli Glopina, pastor in Ukraine

How TikTok star Cristina Baker found Christ

From Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Christina Baker’s stepdad sent her with a one-way ticket to Maui, where reportedly her biological dad lived.

After waiting six hours to be picked up at the airport, Dad finally showed up.

“This is crazy that you’re here,” he told her as they drove from the airport. “I need to tell you something. I’m homeless and I’m living in a tent on the beach.”

That is how Christina’s life flowed into uncharted waters.

The bedlam began when her parents divorced. Mom flew straight to Bolivia. To the ache of not having her father, add the confusion of culture shock and language barriers.

“When my parents divorced, it really set me over the edge,” Christina said on a 100 Huntley Street video interview. “I was just drawn to the darkness because I felt that way inside.”

Christina took refuge in the Goth lifestyle with its emo depression.

“My life was totally spinning out of control,” she says. “He basically told me that I needed to leave his home.”

Underage drinking and clubbing caused her to run afoul of her stepdad, who sent her to Hawaii. Maybe he thought she would do better with her biological father, but he was in no place to help his daughter. He had been an oil executive, but drugs drove him to homelessness.

Christina lived with Dad homeless on the beach for some time.

Then she went from house to house sleeping on the couches of friends. She got in touch with her brother, who hooked her up with a local church.

That’s when she landed in the foster care system with Sharon Hess, who gave her a warm welcome and a warm bed at her home in 2001,

“We have two rules. Your curfew is 11:00 p.m. and you need to go to church with us,” Foster Mom told her.

“I just wanted a warm bed to sleep in at that point,” Christina remembers. “I looked around. I’m like, ‘I’m an atheist; I don’t believe in God.’ But I knew that if I wanted that warm bed and somewhere to stay that I needed to go to church with them.”

Sharon and the rest of the family didn’t judge her Goth clothes and makeup. They even let her wear all black to church. Little by little, the Word of God was planted in her heart, after three years in foster care.

“This woman loved me just the way I was,” Christina recalls. “She wasn’t trying to change the way I looked.”

After those three years, she moved to Houston, Texas, where she relapsed into drugs and soon found herself pregnant. She planned on an abortion when her drug dealer’s girlfriend showed her a report that the abortion doctor was being sued by the State of Texas because a 15-year-old patient died in his abortion chair.

“She pulled me and she said, ‘I know you don’t believe in God, but I’m begging you not to kill this child,” Christina remembers.

“His grace met me in my darkest moment. His grace met me in a moment where I didn’t believe.”

Christina became a functional drug addict. She worked and took care of Ethan, her newborn, and did drugs when nobody was watching. That worked for some time, until she got pulled over by police.

While she was awaiting trial on bail, a co-worker invited her to a Bible study. At the meeting, a man named Hillroy gave her a “word of knowledge,” a supernatural revelation about her present state of mind.

“What he didn’t know and what stunned me at that moment was that he didn’t know I was contemplating how to take my life that night,” Christina remembered. She still didn’t believe in God but couldn’t account for the supernatural knowledge of her inner thoughts.

So Christina went to the breakroom Bible study. When she entered, they were praying, which surprised her.

“If there is a God,” she thought, “These people have come face to face with him. It was so personal; it was so intimate; it was so passionate, something I had never in my life experienced or encountered.”

Hillroy read to her from Jeremiah: “This is a matter of life or death,” he told her.

Immediately, a mental picture of a car accident flashed through her mind, something that is a common reality for those who abuse alcohol.

“I was driving home drunk every day, Monday through Monday, from the bars,” she admits… Read the rest: How TikTok star Cristina Baker found Christ

Insistent, annoying roommate kept talking about Jesus

Tom Payne’s roommate annoyed the Hell out of him.

Quite literally.

“Just shut up!” he said in his mind, frustrated that Jeff would argue with Louie, who had gotten saved, and that he had to listen to it in their one-bedroom apartment.

Tom, then 19, had come from New York to Prescott, Arizona, because it was famous as a college party town. “Getting saved wasn’t part of the plan. We were in a prolonged adolescence with the feigned attempt at getting an education,” Tom says on a Don’t Sell the Farm podcast.”

So when Louie got cornered by a Christian and acceded to go with him to church one day, Tom offered to provide the alibi when the Christian accompanied him to service.

“Just hide in the bathroom, and we’ll tell him you’re not in,” Tom told him.

But Louie was a nominal Catholic and used to showing up every so often to Mass, so he stayed true to his word.

That night, when Tom and Jeff stumbled out of the bar and walked home, Tom remarked sarcastically: “What if Louie got saved.”

They found him in his bed reading his Bible. Suddenly, their fears, however they were treated in jest, now became reality.

Louie told them he had gotten saved and invited them to church. Jeff started to argue with him. Tom rolled his eyes.

For the next days and weeks, the litany was unending. Louie invited them to church, Jeff argued, Tom fumed. “He was in our faces telling us about Jesus,” Tom told him. “Fine, we’ll go to Hell all by ourselves. But just shut up. I don’t want to hear it.”

Jeff was arguing with him nonstop. Louie was just devouring his Bible and was answering him. I couldn’t escape it.”

One evening as he lay on the bed trying to not hear the other two argue in the other room, Tom asked God if he was real. “I was laying on the bed with my hands behind my head, and I said, ‘God, I’m not going to do this just because Louie did this. But if you’re real, I’ll serve you.”

The “presence of the Holy God of the Universe came into that room,” he says. “I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t believe anybody had heard that prayer or would answer that prayer.”

Awestruck, he told God: “Ok, just don’t kill me.”

Tom attended a new convert’s class with Louie. He accepted Jesus. “I had already been confronted by the Holy Spirit,” he says. He was delivered from drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. The next day, he started looking for a job.

Finding a job was no easy matter in Prescott, then a town of 20,000. There weren’t many jobs to be had. He wanted to stay with the Prescott Potter’s House, a booming church. His first job to support himself and continue learning about Jesus as a “disciple” was to water plants at the community college. His last job was working on a trash truck.

Tom and his buddies were used to staying up to 4:00 a.m. partying, so when church let out at 10:00 p.m., he didn’t know what to do with his time. Fortunately, some of the brethren went out for coffee and fellowshipped after service.

He came home buzzed on caffeine, and he and his buddies went home afterward and wrote letters to all their friends back in New York that they were going to Hell and needed to get saved. “We bombarded them with letters,” he recalls… Read the rest: Roommate annoyed the Hell out of him.

Darren Munzone, Australian rugby player and pastor

Darren Munzone reacted to his wife’s newfound faith in Jesus and belief in the rapture by sneering: “Oh, you’re still here? The UFOs haven’t gotten you yet?”

He could tolerate the fact that she had gambled away their savings of $10,000. But he couldn’t stand the fact that afterwards she became a born-again Christian. “To me it was like she had become a nun or something. I was just not happy.”

He lashed out at her: “If I would have wanted to marry a Christian, I would have gone to church, But I met you in a pub. This is a rip off.”

Born to an Italian immigrant father, Darren always identified as an Aussie because of discrimination against immigrants, he says on a Virginia Beach Potter’s House podcast. He had basically no background in Christianity.

Admittedly, he was the bully of the classroom and got into scrapes frequently. When his mother divorced and remarried, he took out his frustrations by fighting with the neighborhood boys. His penchant for violence went right along with his dream to be a rugby player.

“I got into lots of trouble because of fights as a teenager,” he says. “I rebelled against my mom and my stepdad.” He didn’t talk much to his stepdad except two to three times a year.

For rugby league, he practiced very hard but wasn’t big enough and wasn’t gifted in the sport. Ultimately, a series of injuries sidelined him when was semi-professional, so instead, he turned to coaching, where he excelled.

“I’ve broken all my fingers,” he recounts. “I literally had my ear ripped off the side of my head and had to have it sewn back on. My AC joint in my shoulder – serious shoulder problems. I’ve had two knee reconstructions.

“I was far more successful as a semi-professional coach.”

The woman who became his wife was a nurse, and together they made enough money to qualify for a home loan. But when the broker informed them the term would be 30 years, Darren and Joanne looked at each other and walked out.

Instead of tying themselves down for 30 years, they decided to travel to England and Europe for two years for a work-cation. “I was running away from the broken dreams of becoming a professional sportsman,” Darren says. He played cricket in England.

After one year of living in England, Joanne had a miscarriage, and the subsequent sadness deprived her of all desire to keep vacationing. “She was devastated by that,” Darren says.

They returned to Australia, where Joanne’s depression deepened and widened even though they finally married.

“She blamed herself that we’d come back from our overseas trip a year earlier than expected,” Darren says. “She thought I was angry that we’d cut our holiday. To escape the depression, she started gambling.”

She played poker machines at the local bars. “This went on for some time until she had gambled all our money away,” Darren says.

The depleted savings was not just bad – she sought Jesus because of it after a co-worker invited her to church.

She broke the news about her secret gambling addiction and subsequent losses to Darren, who despite being hooked on money didn’t get too upset. “I was annoyed but I thought we’ll recover from that.” Read the rest: Darren Munzone rugby coach Australia now pastor

Four more inches, please

Everyday, before class gets underway with academics, Allie Scribner asks for prayer to grow four more inches — to be an even more competitive volleyballer.

Those four inches would have come in handy on Tuesday. Hillcrest Christian School, with taller girls, deployed effective blocking to stymie Lighthouse Christian Academy’s spiking game.

Lighthouse lost in five sets: 25-18, 20-25, 25-18, 16-25, 9-15.

The girls huddled in prayer after their first loss in four games so far this season.

“Lighthouse was so good at digging the ball that it got in our heads ,” admits Hillcrest Coach Michael Westphal, commenting on a battled, drawn-out victory that required the full five games to liquidate.

Lighthouse employs a dynamic style of play that culminates in spiking even when it starts with some of the most mind-boggling digs. It’s a team effort that has steamrolled so far this season.

To knockdown the LCA powerhouse, Hillcrest put to good use its mostly taller players. About one-third of the spikes fell back to Lighthouse, which mostly couldn’t pop back up to keep in play.

“Our blockers were great,” Coach Michael says. Read the rest: Four more inches, please

Halla Mahler escaped government oppression to fall into it again

To escape war-torn Iraq, eight-year-old Halla Mahler and her family fled to Jordan, then Lebanon and finally to the United States, where an uncle had prepared their green cards.

“It was a very traumatic time,” she told God Reports. “I don’t remember much.”

After Covid, Halla, 48, her husband and two children are “closer to Jesus than ever.” They attend a church in Newbury Park that insisted it was an essential service and flouted bans on church services imposed by government authorities.

The masks and distancing rules killed the spirit at her former church, she says.

Halla was born into a small minority of Iraqi Christians who trace their beginnings back to Saint Thomas and have dwindled to about 500,000 in recent years. As a minority among hostile Muslims, her family feared for their lives constantly.

Halla was never allowed to play over at a friend’s house or in the streets because the threat was constant.

“My parents were afraid we would be abducted,” she says. “The Muslims would abduct the Christians. Historically in the Middle East there’s always been that battle.”

Raised at the time of the Iran-Iraq War, Halla never passed a day without sirens. She lived in Baghdad and day and night, awake or asleep, ran for cover whenever the sirens blared to the dugout beneath the house her father had dug. It was a tunnel of sorts that served as a bomb shelter.

One day, an Iranian jet flew over undetected by radar, so no sirens warned the people of its coming. Suddenly, Halla remembers, there was an explosion in the sky and debris fell on their roof. She doesn’t know if the Iranian jet was hit or if it was something else.

“They didn’t care if they bombed homes,” Halla says. “If they saw lights, they would bomb it.”

The dangers of the war and the dangers of Muslims terrorists weren’t the only hazards. The family feared Saddam Hussein himself, who had the custom of personally visiting schools and asking students what their parents thought of him. If the kids unwittingly responded unfavorably, a death squad was dispatched immediately.

“My parents would sit us down every day and coach us on what to say or not say if Saddam Hussein visited our school that day,” Halla remembers. “If we didn’t say exactly the right thing, we would be assassinated.” Read the rest: Halla Mahler Thousand Oaks

Rick ‘the barber’ Warren dropped drugs instantly

Slipped intoxicating beverages by an uncle when he was only five years old, Rick Warren “developed a taste for alcohol” and wanted to stay up all night partying as a young man. So he kept a packet of NoDoz with him at all times.

“I would go to the club, then I would go to the after-hours club, then I would go straight to work from there,” says Rick “the barber” (not “the purpose driven”) Warren. “I was the type of guy who wanted to just keep going and going and going.”

Somebody introduced him to crank, and the snortable meth kept him up for two days straight. “This is it!” he exclaimed at the time, as re-told on the Virginia Beach Potter’s House podcast Testimony Tuesday.

Rick lived in the fast lane because he admired the uncle who delighted in getting him drunk as a kid growing up in Indiana.

”My uncle enjoyed seeing me drunk at a young age,” Rick says. “My uncle was the guy. He partied. He had the girls. He traveled. He lived life on the fast edge. He became the one who I wanted to model my life after.”

When he was 17, he got busted for breaking into cars in a hospital parking lot. When his dad got him a job at the place he had worked for over two decades, Rick stole from there and got his first felony.

“There’s nothing worse than your dad working at the same place for 20-something years, and everybody knows you since you’re a kid, and they watch you getting hauled off in a police car,” Rick says. “Any time I ever got arrested, it was for stealing. I had a problem. I couldn’t keep things that didn’t belong to me out of my pocket.”

When his brother moved to California with the military in 1992, Rick went with him and got on the basketball team at Barstow College. But he quit about three-fourths of the way through the season – during half time! – because “I wanted to party more than play basketball,” he says.

“It was actually half time of a game,” he remembers. “I told the coach, ‘You know, I think I’m done.’ I turned in my uniform and walked away.”

At one point when he was 19, three young women were pregnant with his kids. “I was out there,” he says. He had a daughter and two sons.

He moved back to Indiana and then he moved out of town with a friend. He was the party deejay until they got evicted. Then he moved in with his latest girlfriend.

One night as he watched the NBA all star game in 1993, a boy came to avenge a grudge he had with his girlfriend’s brother.

“He pulls out a gun and points it at me and says, ’Hey come over here and lay on the ground,’” Rick recounts. “He made everybody lay on the ground. I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. He shot her in the head. He shot me in the face. He started shooting everybody. He shot me two more times in the back.”

Rick lay motionless, pretending to be dead. When Rick heard the man leave, he got up to run. The perpetrator saw him and shot at him again. One bullet hit him in the butt and he fell to the ground.

Rick eventually made it to a restaurant, where they called an ambulance. Remarkably, his life was saved. His girlfriend, the sister, and one of the four-year-olds died. The other two kids survived multiple bullet wounds.

“You would think that would be enough to cause me to slow down,” he says. “But it didn’t. I continued to live a reckless life.”

After surgeries to reconstruct his face and six months of recovery, Rick simply returned to the fast life.

He got a barber’s license and opened a shop in Indianapolis. It was a good career for him because barbers never had to submit to drug testing, and he could continue smoking marijuana continuously. He cut people’s hair while he was high.

“I had a good thing going making a boatload of money, but still I was under demonic influence and that money was just not enough, so I needed more money and started doing stuff I shouldn’t have been doing,” he acknowledges.

The police were investigating, so he quickly sold his shop and moved to Philadelphia. He sought a place where nobody knew him. He left behind yet another daughter. “I never was a good dad,” he admits.” At that time in my life, it was all about me. The only thing that mattered to me was me – satisfying the flesh with no regard for anything.”

He vowed to never open a barber shop, never get married, and not have any more kids.

From there, Rick moved to Las Vegas and the opportunity to buy another barber shop “fell into my lap,” he says. “It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

He met the woman who became his wife and had more children, breaking every one of his vows.

It was at this time that a regular customer, Larry Shomo, invited him to church. Being the type of barber “invested” in his customers’ lives, he attended funerals, weddings, and school programs with his customers.

Why not church?

He had never been taught anything spiritual in his life. His family only did sports. From everything he knew about church, he concluded it was a “clown show.” He thought of hypocrites hitting on young women and high-flying pastors with lavish lifestyles.

“The only repentance I’d ever had was when I was too drunk at night and I would lay down and say, ‘Oh God, please don’t let me die,’” he says. “I had no… Read the rest: Pastor Rick “the barber” Warren

His family thought he was crazy, but he was fighting demonic oppression

Never mind that driving him towards suicide were demonic voices, schizophrenic episodes, and the opposition of his family. What bothered Adrien Lamont in the Bible conference – where he had gone seeking deliverance – was that there was only one other black person.

Fortunately, she came straight over to Adrien with a prophetic word: “God sees what you’ve been doing and how you’ve been chasing after him, and he’s so proud of you and he loves you and all the people that have done you wrong and called you crazy are gonna see what God is doing in your life in the direction that he’s taking you and they’re all gonna apologize.”

Adrien stayed and received intensive prayer. The deliverance was decisive. Today Adrien is a rising star in Christian Hip Hop, though his music is oriented more to the street than the pew, a rough-edged message of salvation, not cleared for Sunday School.

Adrien Lamont’s father abused heroin and died when he was young, so Mom did her best to raise him. Grandma was the driving force behind church attendance, but Adrien never developed a personal relationship with Jesus.

He was drawn to music and wanted to make it big. As he searched for his identity, he began drinking, smoking weed and using other drugs. He also liked to wear a brand of clothing with occult symbols. Today he says those symbols opened him up to demonic interference.

“I was really involved in satanic imagery and satanic clothing,” he says on Testimony Stories, a YouTube channel that focuses on Christian rappers. “It got to a point where all these things I was surrounding myself, started to affect my spirit. I realize now in hindsight that a lot of those garments and things I was wearing actually had demonic forces on them.”

He had a ring that every time he took it off and put it back on, he felt like a different person.

Connected with the producer, he began his path to stardom in secular rap.

“I remember just getting very high and drunk one day and I remember him telling me about all these satanic rituals and blood sacrifice and sacrificing his daughter,” Adrien says. “Under the laptop we were recording on, there was a Ouija board. I felt like I was demon possessed and that demons were speaking out of me into the microphone.”

On that day, he says he felt Satan’s presence. Words were impressed into his mind.

“He asked me if I wanted to sell my soul to Satan,” Adrien relates.

“Yes, okay,” he spoke out.

The rest of the night, he felt a darkness he had never experienced.

Hours later, he was listening to his recording when his computer “glitched.” Up popped another musician who shared his testimony about how demons came out of him and how he ran to his mother, who had a shotgun in her hand. He was saved from evil.

Adriend couldn’t explain the sudden, mysterious site change on his screen. He knew he needed to leave Hollywood immediately and return to his mom, who was living in Long Beach. Early next morning, he wandered around Hollywood asking for a phone to call Mom. Eventually, he got an Uber home.

Immediately… Read the rest: Adrien Lamont Christian rap.

Pastor 007 takes on Mexican drug cartel and wins

Full of excitement to serve God as a missionary, Diego Galvan woke up on his first morning in Tijuana to a freshly decapitated head of a woman left in the street.

The grisly murder was a sign of what was to come for the fearless missionary who tried to avoid angering the wrong people but found himself entangled in a nation and city overrun with rampant corruption and cartels.

“If I die, I’d rather die doing the will of God than live as a coward seeking money and pleasure,” determined Diego, who was born in Uruguay but raised in America just across the border in San Diego and had never known the dark and dangerous world of drug cartels.

Diego Galvan’s father got his family out of Uruguay through some first-class shenanigans. Being a bodyguard for U.S. diplomats, he divorced Diego’s mother, married a lady diplomat, moved to the United States, got U.S. citizenship, divorced the diplomat, returned to Uruguay and brought his family to America.

Diego grew up in the world of guns. His father got into gunfights with terrorists of the likes of Che Guevara.

Diego was saved at a young age and stayed faithful in the church. As he grew up, he got married, got a great job at the Acura-Jaguar dealership and bought a house in San Diego. He had pioneered a church and was currently serving as assistant pastor in the border city when God interrupted his fairytale life with a call to leave luxury and throw himself into the godless land of Tijuana. He would do his best to stay out of harm’s way.

“What you do with the cartel is you ignore it,” Diego says on a Virginia Beach Potter’s House podcast. “They were there before you and they’ll be there after you. You don’t be nosy. You’re just there for souls.”

Diego took over a church in Tijuana established by his brother, who moved on to another ministry. In the yard of his first house, a man was killed by revenge-seekers from the cartels. So he decided to move.

At his second house, a man who had been committing adultery with a drug trafficker was killed on Diego’s doorstep. He moved again.

Unwittingly, he fell out of the frying pan and into the fire. His next-door neighbor was a drug lord. What happens when the drug lord faces off with the Lord God?

The drug lord’s henchmen were annoying, parking in front of Diego’s driveway. When he got home from church, he couldn’t park in his driveway. He asked them to move their cars; they ignored him. They were drinking and partying.

Realizing he was never going to get away from the cartel, Diego decided to send his wife with food to evangelize the dealer’s wife. “My wife can cook some good food,” Diego explains.

“You try to avoid the cartel,” he adds. “But the problem is that as you preach, you begin to mingle in their world.”

It wasn’t the first time he directly evangelized them. Out on the streets passing out handbills for the church, he would run up to their SUVs with darkened windows and pass out flyers to occupants of the cars that only the drug traffickers drove. As a general rule, the cartel members received flyers and were respectful.

One even opened his heart: “God could never forgive me.”

“That’s a lie,” Diego countered.

“I’m in so deep,” the man mused.

But it was his interaction with the drug lord next door that pulled him into a full-blown war with the cartel. The wife got saved, and the drug lord didn’t like it. She showed up to church with black eyes and had clearly been beaten.

For some days, Diego remained quiet about the physical abuse he was witnessing. But eventually, his outrage got the better of him, and he went over to talk to the drug lord. He knocked. Mr. trafficker opened the door.

“Hi, I’m your neighbor. I’m the pastor,” he started. “I see what you’re doing to your wife. Men who beat their wives are cowards. One day you’re going to stand before the living God, and you’re going to give an account for all the mess you’re doing.”

The drug lord didn’t respond a word.

“This man is dead,” he thought (he admitted later).

The drug lord’s four-year-old daughter scampered out. Diego saw her. “This is your daughter, right? Do you want men to treat your daughter the way you are treating your wife?

“Listen, I have the real deal,” he continued. “It’s Christ. If you call upon him, he will save your soul. But you must get right.”

Still the drug lord said nothing. So Diego went home.

A few days later, the drug lord’s wife came over panicked. Diego had been out of town preaching for another church. The wife implored Diego to come over; her husband had been locked up in his room and hadn’t spoken to anyone. He was out of his normal mind.

Diego decided to go and visit. Diego’s wife tried to dissuade him. “It’s a trap,” she cautioned. “He’s going to kill you.”

Diego remained firm in his resolve. He knocked on the neighbor’s door.

“You wanted to see me?” he asked. “Here I am.”

The drug lord’s eyes said it all.

“When I saw his eyes, I knew something had happened for the positive,” Diego tells.

“You know what you told me a few days ago?” the drug lord told him. “That’s real, dude.”

He no longer consumed or wanted to consume drugs. He was going through withdrawals. Diego led him in a sinner’s prayer. It was Friday night. On Saturday morning the former drug lord who had met the Earth’s Lord participated in outreach. He was handing out handbills and testifying to people about the wonders of Christ.

He was filled with wonder and joy and thrilled with the reality of Jesus.

On Sunday morning, Pastor Diego preached about repentance. Unbeknownst to Diego, the ex-drug lord just happened to be carrying 2 kilos of pure cocaine left over from his just-ended trafficking career. In a flourish of enthusiasm, the ex-drug lord flushed them down the toilet after the sermon.

Had Diego known, he probably would have counseled his new convert to give the drugs back to the cartel – and to negotiate an exit from the cartel.

You don’t run off with the cartel’s drugs. You either give them the money or the drugs.

Sure enough, the higher ups showed up. Where’s the money?

I don’t have it. I threw it down the toilet.

Curse words. Threats.

The new convert’s days were numbered.

Sure enough, the hitmen showed up.

It was Sunday after church. Pastor Diego was napping and woke up to the blood-curdling screams of the new convert’s wife. From his second story room, he looked over the wall and saw the screaming wife.

“Help us,” she pleaded. “They’re going to kill us all.” They had four kids.

Diego sprang into action. Once again, his wife warned him not to get involved. “You’ll die,” she said.

“Then I’ll die,” he responded and went out the door.

When he entered his new convert’s house, he distracted the gang of hitmen, so that the new convert grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed one through the heart.

It was the capo’s brother. The capo was a woman.

The hitmen didn’t think. They panicked and packed up the brother and rushed him to the hospital.

Pastor Diego called the Mexican police. Eighteen SWAT-like cops showed up with masks and “AK-47s and AR-15s. Diego explained to them the situation.

Sure enough, the cartel showed up in their bulletproof Suburbans with darkened windows. When the cops saw the high-ranking cartel members, they panicked. Read the rest: Pastor 007 takes on Mexican cartel and wins.

Christian artist James Tughan doesn’t blame the cops for the death of his son

James Tughan doesn’t blame the cops for shooting his son after he pointed a (toy) gun at them. James himself had called the police after his adult adopted son, his brain altered by drugs and concussions, had called to threaten James’ life. He recognizes the police were there to protect the innocent.

“I can’t really hold anybody responsible for that except Alex,” James says on a 100 Huntley St. video. “He provoked it”

He could not defuse the family tumult that resulted from the incident, so he now pours his pain into his drawings on paper. An accomplished artist in the realism genre, James explores the fragility of relationships in a world fraught with sin, but at the same time offered hope through the redemption of a loving Savior.

“This is how I deal with this phenomenon,” he says.

James Tughan grew up in a Christian home in Toronto and found faith in Christ, but not all was as it seemed. There were fissures. Unlike many who reject the faith of their parents because of some level of inconsistency between action and diction, James incorporated the jarring dissonance into his art.

With eye for detail, James excelled in realism and became a sought-after artist for commercial pieces for 25 years.

But recently, he’s turned more to fine art, wanting to give voice to a vibrant faith struggling with a shattered reality.

He married and had a beautiful family. He and his wife adopted Alex, who excelled in sports.

It was accidents on the snowboard (he preferred not to use a helmet) and a drug habit that started in the 7th grade that doomed Alex. His parents didn’t catch on to his drug use until it had devolved into ecstasy and heroin. Alex warped into an aggressive and hateful young man.

“In the end we ended up with a perfect storm,” James recounts. “Alex stopped being Alex, he became someone else. Our house was a war zone. He had become a con artist and… Read the rest: James Tughan Christian artist, troubled son.

Brushes with suicide, Rick Palma comes to Christ

The Holy Spirit prompted Rick Palma, a sophomore in high school in Guam, to witness to one of his buddies at school. But the friend was talking and the bell rang, so Rick went to class.

At the end of the day, there was no sign of the friend. The next day, no sign. Nor the next. Three days later, the teacher broke the terrible news to the class. That student the Holy Spirit wanted Rick to witness to had taken his own life.

“It shook me,” Rick says on the Virginia Beach Potter’s House podcast. “I felt the Spirit of God just leave me.”

The unsettling tragedy was not the only brush with suicide for Rick Palma, who felt profoundly enmeshed by failure for much of his life due to his own shortcomings and the stalking of the Grim Reaper.

Rick Palma is a Polynesian born in Guam. His family got saved in a church, and he loved witnessing for God. It seemed he had a direct connection of communication with God; whoever God told him to witness to, he carried out with great success.

Until he missed his friend at school.

“There was nothing I could do at that point. I couldn’t pray because I felt such a failure in my life,” Rick admits. “It shocked to my core so bad that I started backing away from the things of God. His blood was on my hands. I couldn’t face myself to go back to God and say, ‘God, I failed you.’ It was that one moment that I let slip that weighed me down. I carried that as such a burden. I ended up backing away from church.”

Not only did Rick miss opportunities for street-preaching, he found ways to schedule work and miss church. The young men invited him, and he would “simply run in the other direction,” Rick says.

“A lot of the girls would invite the guys to the Bible study at school. I would go hide in the bathroom until it was over,” he says. “Failure can really bog you down when you attach that to your life.”

After high school, he moved to the States to stay with relatives. The initial plan to study got lost as he made friends who got him into hip hop, drugs and fornication.

One day at work, God prompted him to witness to a co-worker: I want you to tell him about me.

Rick wavered. He was in sin, and according to his theology, God doesn’t talk to sinners. So he balked at talking to the co-worker.

“I was doing heavy drugs, so I thought there’s no way God could be talking to a sinner like me,” he recalls. “So I ignored it. The next day they had a meeting at work. This same young man had taken his own life.”

Was God trying to call me back? Rick wondered. But still he was in bondage to sensual gratifications.

It wasn’t until his girlfriend took his daughter and left him that Rick hit rock bottom.

“For one whole week, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink,” he says. “I was so stressed out. I lost 24 pounds in one week. I was spiraling out of control.”

His work tried to get him therapy. But… Read the rest: Rick Palma brushes with suicide until God rescues him.

Skateboarding, drugs, fighting, suicide attempts, Daniel Sherwood’s wild journey to Christ

His last hope to make something of his life – as a skateboarder – shattered when his knee shattered.

“I was a guy who had never heard the gospel and who lived a reckless, dangerous life,” Daniel Sherwood says on a Virginia Beach Potter’s House podcast.“

Sherwood grew up in Mesa, AZ, doing normal childhood things like camping, hunting, fishing, and riding his bike. What was less normal was that he started driving when he was 10.

“My father was an alcoholic and he played music, so I spent a lot of time around bars,” Daniel remembers. “He would play his sets, and I started to have to drive him home when I was 10, 12 years old.”

By the time, he was 12, his parents got divorced. “I saw physical and mental divorce of my family,” he says. “I got punted back and forth between Mom and Dad. One would get tired of me and send to the other. I took advantage of that. I wanted to be like my dad, play music and be in bands. What was OK for him seemed OK for me. I kind of just spiraled from there.”

Daniel excelled at baseball and wrestling, even earning a state championship. But when he transferred to Chandler High School and didn’t even make the A-squad, he quit completely in disgust.

I’m just gonna go skateboarding, he thought at the time. “I got really good at skateboarding, started filming, got a few sponsors.”

For Daniel, drugs, liquor and partying came with the skateboarder life. By 16, he had attempted suicide a few times.

“One time I took 80 sleeping pills after a breakup with a girlfriend,” he recalls. “I was pretty much a goner. That will pretty much kill anybody. But somebody found me actually, hauled me down to the hospital, (and they) pumped my stomach.”

Fighting was favorite thing to do when he was drunk at parties.

“I would wake up the next day just covered in blood. No idea what happened,” he says. “I’d have to call around the next day to find out why I was covered in blood. People would tell me, ‘You fought this guy. They hit you over the head with a bottle. You chased this guy down the street with a knife.’

“It was a wild life.”

Daniel got kicked out of high school for leaving a kid so badly beaten he was sent to the intensive care unit.

Daniel scaled up from cigarettes and drinking Dad’s liquor to marijuana, then LSD.

“It was the party life,” he says. “They say skateboarding picked up where rock-n-roll left off.”

With consumption came trafficking also. He sold marijuana by the pound, guns, whatever he could get his hands on. “It just got worse and worse and worse,” he says.

Daniel sold marijuana to an undercover cop at a party. Next thing he knew, the cops raided his house, kicked his door in and put a Glock to his head. Police were disappointed that the sale – only 2 pounds – wasn’t significant under the law, so they pressured him to turn State’s witness and turn in his dealer. At their direction, he bought five pounds of pot, but instead of collaborating with the cops, he turned around and sold it to make money.

“They found out about it and brought me in a small office,” he remembers. “I was so high. I was surrounded by these undercovers: a Mexican cowboy, a biker, a workout bro. They were screaming at me. I’ll never forget what the biker guy said to me: ‘You’re high right now, aren’t you? You are a menace to society.’”

He was 17-and-a-half, which meant he would be tried as a minor and given a lighter sentence.

“They pushed for adult court, and if they would have gotten that, I probably would have done 10, 12, 15 years. I got six months. Like all juveniles, I got a slap on the wrist. I didn’t learn my lesson. When I got out, I went right back to it.”

When he was 18 and moved out on his own, he got a two-bedroom apartment whose second room was exclusively used for growing hallucinogenic mushrooms, which he consumed.

He stopped selling drugs because, as an adult, the sentences in court, if caught, were higher. But he didn’t abandon crime entirely.

“I was very adept at stealing,” he admits. “Me and a buddy of mine would steal carts full of liquor and throw these massive parties. We had a little crew and called ourselves the ‘40 Crew.’ We would get drunk, and the goal was always to find somebody and beat him up. We just loved it.”

But God, in his infinite grace and mercy, was pursuing Sherwood’s heart, and brought the Gospel into his life.

Drunk at 3:00 a.m., he rear-ended two guys on Harleys, pulled a gun on them, drove off and, trying to escape pursuing police, scraped up two cars when he tried to drive his ‘88 Cutlass Sierra between them.

Under the police chopper spotlight, he surrendered to police. He spent a month in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s tent city jail, shivering at night, wrapped in a plastic bag during winter trying to stay warm.

“My time in tent city was so awful that I swore I would never go back again,” he says. “As critical as people like to be of Joe Arpaio, it worked.”

Daniel was placed on a work release program that… Read the rest: Skateboard, drugs and suicide, Daniel Sherwood’s wild journey to Christ..

Mikhaila Peterson saw her Mom get healed of cancer in the strangest of ways

Mom’s rare form of cancer offered a bleak 0% survival rate, but she declared to her husband – mystically – “I’ll be better by our anniversary.”

Daughter Mikhaila Peterson dismissed the proclamation as “spooky weird.” But when Mom recovered a month later on the day of her anniversary, Mikhaila “couldn’t logic my way out of that.”

“How did you get better?” she asked Mom.

“God,” was her cryptic reply.

Mikhaila is a Canadian podcaster who is almost more famous for being the daughter of heralded culture critic Jordan Peterson, who himself recently passed from admirer of Christian teaching to follower of Christ.

Mikhaila’s journey to Christianity shadows her dad’s, but the critical factor was her mom’s brush with death.

Mikhaila grew up learning the Biblical stories, but they were taught for their psychological significance by her psychologist father who viewed them through the lens of Carl Jung. They weren’t taught as literal events and truth.

“In the 4th grade, somebody asked me if I believed in God,” Mikhaila remembers on a Big Conversation video. “I said, ‘I don’t know.’”

Inwardly, she envied Christians. “I hoped that one day I could find some sort of support, like God,” she says. “I heard Christians talking about it and it was like that sounds fantastic, but I don’t have that.”

Ironically, consuming psychedelic drugs in her youth made her open to the possibility of there being a deity.

“I took a lot of psychedelics, and I do think the psychedelics opened my mind to the possibility that there was something there I couldn’t see,” she says. “I think that had a fairly large role to play.”

Dad, who was a cultural phenomenon, came to Christ and stopped viewing the Biblical narrative only as an expression of humanity’s deep-seated needs and realized they are also true stories. Mikhaela, who always admired her dad, took note.

But it was her mother’s rare cancer that led her towards faith.

“She was unbelievably sick. She was movie sick. She got this rare cancer that nobody gets and there were no studies on it and the death rate was 100%,” Mikhaila relates. “It was a cancer that nothing helps and it kills you right away.

“It tore my family apart because it was so sudden.”

Three consecutive surgeries failed.

Only a Catholic woman who visited her in the hospital to pray with her offered hope.

“A lady started visiting her in the hospital and they were praying together,” Mikhaila says. “My mom’s demeanor changed. She just… Read the rest: Mikhaila Peterson Christian.

When the Goth guy with one blue contact lens showed up at church

He dressed in all black, wore long dark hair, and had one blue contact lens – 90s Goth style. So when a church-goer saw him at the store, he freaked and thought: This guy will never get saved.

So when Genaro Nava showed up at church the following Sunday, the Christian guy felt rebuked internally for judging people: “It was like God just slapped me across the face. It blew my mind.”

Today Genaro is not just rescued from the darkness of underage clubbing across the border in Mexico, he’s a pastor in Brownsville, Texas, his third pastoral assignment.

Genaro came with his family to America to start the 1st grade. When his mom got divorced, she fell into a deep depression. Genaro and his sisters fell into drugs and partying in high school. Genaro’s room was painted black, covered with worldly posters.

One night he left a club, and there were Christian street preachers from the Door Church declaring the love of Jesus. Genaro joked to his girlfriend: “One day, I’m going to do that.”

The next night after a movie, there were the street evangelists again, passing out flyers. Genaro said he wasn’t interested but accepted the flier and pinned it to his wall (where there was a clutter of things on display).

The street evangelist said: “You can’t go to Heaven if you don’t have Jesus in your heart.” Those words haunted Genaro.

Years later, his sister got saved and invited him to church. It was, startlingly, the same Door Church whose flier was still on his wall. It seemed more than coincidental, so Genaro, then 19, agreed to go.

Bit by bit, he began attending church more and leaving his sin behind. At one point, he had to break up with his girlfriend of the time because she vowed to continue using drugs while he wanted to get clean. He left his old friends for the same reason.

“We would do drugs there in my house,” he says. “They would be there drinking and say, ‘Hey come on, join us.’ I had to make a stand.”

Eventually, he needed to read them the riot act: either come to church or stop coming over.

“I invited my friends to church,” he says. “They all went once and never came back. It’s not like you’re cutting them off; you’re just choosing different paths.”

People at church were really nice, and they threw him a small birthday party just a month after showing up at church. That made quite an impression.

“I was asking myself, how could you have a good time without drugs?… Read the rest: Goth gets saved

Military ‘brat’ ran from home after mom jailed for DUIs

By the time Alyssa Gordon went to high school, her mom had been thrown in jail for too many DUIs.

“My family was pretty dysfunctional,” she says on her Wonderful Acts YouTube channel. She was a military brat born and raised in Italy. Her mom was an alcoholic. She ran away from home from time to time and grew up seeking in guys the love she felt was missing in her family.

She played the part of the social butterfly party girl with a smile facade but internally she was frustrated that guy after guy just took advantage of her and never wanted a true and lasting relationship.

“I began to get in this cycle of me really desiring love, to have someone genuinely care about me,” she says. “I would give myself to these men physically looking for that true love that I never got. I got really dark, it got really depressing and the cycle just kept continuing. The last guy who I thought genuinely cared about me cut me off…would act like I didn’t exist.”

The last guy broke her heart badly and she took it out on God.

“I’m cursing at God, I’m throwing things,” she relates. “I was yelling and screaming, ‘God if you’re real, I need you to show me…right now!’”

She had attended church, but, with her mom’s example speaking louder than her words, Alyssa didn’t respond to God’s offer of grace and love.

As a sophomore in college, she luckily had a friend who encouraged her.

“I don’t know if God is real anymore, because if he’s real where is he?” she asked him.

“Alyssa, God has you in the fire right now and… Read the rest: Suicidal military brat gets Jesus, happy and married.

‘Can you hear me now?’ God asked backslider who ran from him once he got in jail

For 15 years, Victor Martel was running from God. His mother got saved, his father, his two brothers and five sisters. He was too busy consuming drugs and hanging with the homies. Everywhere he went, Christians witnessed to him, and he tried to avoid them.

Then he received a life sentence in prison.

During the first week in his cell, God spoke to his heart: Can you hear me now?

Victor’s journey into darkness, coming to Christ at age 19, his subsequent falling away and jail sentence is a lesson of what happens to those who run from God.

Victor grew up in rough neighborhood in Banning, California, where he joined a gang, drank alcohol, and consumed drugs. In his hood, he couldn’t conceive of any other kind of life because it was all he saw.

“I had no choice. I was born in that neighborhood,” Victor explains to God Reports. “There was a principality that covered the area. There was no way out. It was the only lifestyle I knew.”

At 15, he got shot in the back and cried out to God for the first time to spare his life.

Despite God answering his prayer, Victor stubbornly persisted in sin. His house got shot up as result of his involvement in the gang. At 17, he started heroin.

Two years later, Victor lost his best homie, and he cried out to God again.

Then God did something remarkable. He placed a burden on the heart of a pastor from the Potter’s House Church, so the pastor began looking for the most desperate person to evangelize and was drawn to Victor’s house.

“He came to my house,” Victor says. “I wasn’t trying to be famous that way.”

In response to the gospel message, Victor accepted Jesus and began attending church in Beaumont, a few miles away. Victor attended for three months and then “didn’t follow through. I got caught back in doing what I wanted to do.”

The pastor visited regularly to encourage Victor to return to church. “Tell him I’m not here,” Victor told his mom… Read the rest: He ran from God, got jailed, then God got his attention.

Modern day Job: Myron Leavitt

Caleb’s Ford Escape

After being handed a bloody bag of personal items of their dead son, Myron Leavitt was informed that his other son had a 5% chance of surviving surgery and that – if he lived – he would probably be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

“The other kids were 18 years old and were drunk out of their minds, but the state trooper said, We have a witness that thinks that your sons ran the red light,” Myron says on a Virginia Beach Potter’s House podcast.

Talk about Job being informed of calamity after calamity.

Myron and Jenny Leavitt

“Over 75% of marriages that have a tragedy like this in their lives, their marriage does not survive because people grieve differently, people process things differently,” Myron says. “But the grace of God, when he is the only answer you have, he is able to navigate you through these things.”

Not only did Myron’s marriage survive, they’re pastoring a church showing mercy, love, compassion and strength to others in Sanford, Florida – as incredible as Job’s recovery.

“I made a decision very early on that I’m going to choose forgiveness. I wasn’t out to hurt these kids,” Myron says. “I wanted, after everything is said and done, to be able to witness to these kids and to share the love of Christ with them.”

Myron as a senior in high school.

Myron’s journey with God began in the U.S. Navy. His girlfriend of the time took him to the recruiter’s office. They were both supposed to sign up so they could be together. But Myron found himself shipped out to Scotland, and his girlfriend never signed up.

His father had been a “Jack Mormon,” an insincere adherent. His violence and alcoholism turned Myron off to Mormonism. In Scotland, he met some on-fire Navy men who served Jesus on and off the ship and showed him an authentic relationship with the living Lord.

Back Stateside, Myron started attending a startup church in Jacksonville, Florida, where the pastor, after one month, asked him to be in a rap group for outreach. “Here I was a corn-fed country boy, what did I know about rap?” he quips. He grew up in Notus, Idaho.

But Myron already sensed a passion for Christ, so he was given a tambourine and went off to the local park to perform in the crowd-getting concert that members preached to. At that outreach, a woman got saved who ultimately became his wife (moral of the story: say yes to pastor).

Myron, the ‘corn-fed country boy,’ performs in a rap group in 1992.

Thirteen times, the Navy gave him orders to ship out. Thirteen times, Myron ignored them. He loved his pastor and wanted to continue growing in the Lord at the Victory Chapel.

“I don’t recommend to anyone they risk a court martial,” Myron cautions. “All I know is that I believed that God wanted me to stay in my church.”

Myron did indeed grow in the Lord, to the point that he was ordained and sent to launch a church, since his church believed launching new works is the most likely way to quickly fulfill the Great Commission. He has pastored a few churches.

The last family photo with Jacob in 2014

Once when he was back in Jacksonville church, his wife, Jenny, got diagnosed with cancer. It was stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma with less than 25% chance of survival, and the doctor didn’t give her much hope. “You may want to call your family in,” he told Myron at one point. “I don’t think we’ll be able to bring her back.”

With a 3-year-old and a 3-month-old, Myron felt that God would have to save her, so he told the doctor to do his duty while he prayed. Jenny survived, though she has suffered secondary diseases that resulted from the cancer treatment.

Years later, his sons crashed. They were closing the church after a drama and concert outreach close to midnight in the Jacksonville church. Caleb was 20, and Jacob was 17. Myron and Jenny left first.

Myron got the call as soon as he arrived at home. The pastor’s wife spotted a wrecked car, just like Caleb’s, on fire on the side of the road. Myron called and texted them, neither answered. So Myron drove to the… Read the rest: modern day Job Pastor Myron Leavitt.

In the Navy, he mocked the Christian. Then…

The thirst for alcohol, the perverted thoughts all left him the instant Mitchell Collins prayed: I don’t want to be the man I am anymore. I’m sorry for the things I’ve done. Jesus if you’ll come into my life and change me, I’ll live out the rest of my days for you.

“When I gave my life to Jesus, there was a dramatic change,” Mitchell told God Reports. “The thoughts that I had towards women changed overnight. Before Jesus I had thoughts all the time about women when they walked by. Afterwards, there was self-control. I no longer wanted to think of women in that manner. I had respect for them.”

As a lead petty officer in the Navy over a group of men, Mitchell had mocked the Christian in his group mercilessly. Now that he had accepted Jesus into his heart, what was he to do? “I didn’t tell anyone that I got saved for two weeks.”

The leadup to salvation was a long history of sin and soullessness. Born in Merkel, Texas, population 2,500, into a family of alcohol and crime, Mitchell didn’t see much future for himself as a cattleman. So he shipped out with the Navy straight out of high school.

He got his porn addiction and promiscuity from his stepdads and his drinking from his grandmother, a back-slidden bartender. He was consumed by dirty thoughts, knew how to get into relationships with women but not how to sustain them.

“I got started into that when I was little,” Mitchells says of being exposed to porn at 10. “I didn’t have an understanding or respect for the value of what it costs to have a woman.”

In the Navy, Mitchell completed one tour in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf and spent the rest of his time in Norfolk Naval Shipyard, assisting with maintenance on the nuclear-powered U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier.

That’s where he met Freddie Valero, who had stopped drinking after accepting Jesus and talked to everybody about salvation. Mitchell, who was in charge of the group, mocked him and incited the others to tell dirty jokes and drink. He also would deny Freddie’s request for Sundays off to attend church.

Pastor Mitchell (right) with Freddie Valero

“I was giving Freddie a very hard time as his supervisor,” Mitchell admits. “I was always telling him he was using his religion as a excuse to get out of his work.”

But then Grandma died. Mitchell had spent the last weeks with her in the hospital and watched how cancer consumed her.

A short time later, the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers happened.

Both events shook him to the core.

“Everything that I thought was firm and stable… Read the rest: Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Meat cleaver attack did not deter Rene Celinder from evangelizing Denmark

Rene Celinder was leading an all-night prayer vigil in support of the Jews at the Israel Plads in Copenhagen 2002, when a Palestinian immigrant struck him over the head with a cleaver at 3:00 a.m.

“Luckily, I have a hard head,” Rene quips. The doctor explained that had the attack not been a glancing blow, he could have died or wound up in a wheelchair.

From the hospital, he called his wife: “Don’t worry I’m alive,” he told her. “I just took a cleaver blow to my head. No problem. I’m ok.”

Such is the life of a Christian evangelist is Denmark. Today, he travels internationally to preach the gospel to people lost in darkness. He, too, was once lost in darkness.

Raised by an abusive father, Rene became a painter and a handyman. When he contracted stomach cancer at age 30, he made a promise to God: “If you heal me, I will serve you for the rest of my life.”

He didn’t know God but remembered his childhood prayers from the ritualistic church he visited in his youth. The surgery removing the egg-sized mass was a success. Rene didn’t immediately fulfill his promise to serve God.

Three years later, he received a $50,000 insurance payout for the damage done by chemicals he worked with as a painter and fiberglass worker. He traveled and drank extensively until he spent all the money in under two years. Later he would resonate with the Prodigal Son when he read the Bible.

After the “living it up” was over, he had no money and nothing to do. An aunt told him to go to church and get saved. So that’s what he did.

Almost immediately, he enrolled in Bible school and was fascinated with the truth of Scripture. As he grew in the Lord he stopped swearing.

Unfortunately, he didn’t stop all sin. He fell into fornication with another student at the school. Caught by administrators, he got kicked out.

He returned home and avoided Christians and church because of his guilty conscience for some time. The brethren sought him out. Why aren’t you coming to church? they asked. “ I was afraid because I had been sinning so bad,” he said sincerely.

They encouraged him to return. When he did, he was embraced. He vowed to sin no more.

Eventually, he met and married his second wife, Dora, to whom he has been married for 25 years. He is now 66.

At a Christian camp years later, he spotted the old fling from Bible School. He asked his wife what he should do.

“You need to go ask for forgiveness?” Dora responded.

He did so. Then he asked her “spiritual parents” for forgiveness and then her kids. On the final day of the camp, both went up to the altar and asked the Lord for forgiveness.

“I learned forgiveness,” he comments. “Then I was free.”

Rene and Dora had a child, Emma, who was born with three holes in her heart. Doctors operated for 12 hours but were unable to save her. Baby Emma died six days after birth.

“I was really really angry at God,” he remembers. “I’ve never been angry like this before.”

Rene wanted to run away. But the doctor encouraged him to cradle his baby and to say goodbye. The grieving process was very healing. On the day of Emma’s funeral and burial, snow was falling, and the wind was blowing inhospitably. But after the sermon inside the church when they all came out, the storm had passed, and the sun was shining. It was beautiful moment to bury Emma. The birds were singing. He felt God’s presence.

Rene prayed a very unusual request: “Lord, show us our little girl one more time. I know that we cannot ask anything like this. But if you can, can you do something about it?”

Typically, a request to communicate with the dead is strictly a no-no because it derives from witchcraft. King Saul, in an attempt to contact the dead prophet Samuel, went to a medium. It was his last act of life; the next day he was killed on the field of battle.

But God took Dora to Heaven, Rene says.

One night she had a dream and in the dream she went to heaven. The first person to greet her was God.

“Father, have you seen our daughter?” Dora asked.

Yes, yes, she’s over there crawling around having a joyful time, He responded.

Then she talked to her baby, who, not limited to earthly constrains, could talk, Rene says.

“It’s really beautiful up here,” she told Mom. “I’m going be more blessing here in Heaven.”

Dora woke up happy. “We knew that we are going to see her again,” Rene explains. “She now would be 25 in human years.”

Moved on by the Lord, Rene opened his first cafe in a cellar. He invited people, gave them coffee and food, prayed for them for healing. It was a continual outreach center.

How he got the cafe is a miracle. When he first saw it available, it cost $5,000 a month. He felt God’s urging towards this place but couldn’t afford the rent. So he waited a year. The next time he saw it, the rent was now $2,000. He made his move.

Saying he had no money, he offered to paint for the owner to be able to use the cellar. After thinking it over for three days, the owner told him that he had no need of painting but if he would clean up and repair three flights of stairs, he could use the cellar for free. The job took four days.

“That’s how I got the key for free,” he says.

For three years… Read the rest: René Celinder evangelist in Denmark.

Mamba #5 rewritten for Jesus: Lou Bega turns Christian

David Lou Bega, the Berlin mamba singer whose catchy tune “Mamba #5” set the world dancing, has turned himself over to Christ after reading the Bible in a bungalow in the Maldives when unending rain wouldn’t let him, his wife and daughter out for sun and snorkeling.

“In depression, I found a bible and started to read. After a few pages, I started to realize this was the truth that I was always looking for,” he says in The Last Reformation documentary. “I’ve looked into different sets of religions before, everything that was trendy and cool, like Buddhism and some New Age stuff.

“But I had passed over Jesus Christ for so many years, to my regret,” he adds. “There he was calling me, giving me the opportunity. I started reading and I felt so convicted. I broke down, started crying. That was the Holy Spirit.”

He had seen Torben Sondergaard’s miraculous street evangelism ministry on YouTube and called him to baptize him in 2018. Sondergaard filmed the meeting at which he baptized and prayed for David and his extended family.

“I felt like a baby,” David says. “I felt like a newborn. That’s why the term born-again is really fitting. You’re fresh. Your transgressions, your iniquities are gone. I was so joyful and clean.”

David Lubega Balemezi hit #1 in many European cities in his 1999 remake of Mamba #5 “A Little Bit of Monika in my life.” For it, he earned a Grammy nomination. The pinnacle of his career pales compared to his simple encounter with Christ.

“Even in the days I was rebellious and didn’t listen to you (Jesus), didn’t obey you, you never dropped me, you gave me a family, you gave me love, you gave me everything I have,” he says. “It’s weird; you want to sing; you want to dance. It was the… Read the rest: Lou Bega Christian

A man of God, Torben Sondergaard, in jail for arms smuggling?

Friends are expressing dismay that a Danish man who works tirelessly spreading the gospel around the world has been arrested in America over charges of smuggling arms from Mexico into America.

“Today Torben (Søndergaard) is sitting in jail because somebody made a false accusation against him, something that is not true,” says Jón Bjarnastein on a Facebook post on The Last Reformation page. “It’s because he’s preaching the gospel. This is nothing new under the sun. The Bible says that everyone who wants to live a godly life will experience persecution.”

Torben Søndergaard fled Denmark in 2019 after repeated attacks by the government to discredit his street ministry, which riled secularists by casting out demons in public places. If you don’t believe in the supernatural, much less demons, then one might think Torben is a manipulative charlatan. He applied for asylum in America and now is being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


“I was invited to a meeting with Homeland Security who wanted to talk about my asylum case – a case where I, in Denmark three years ago, was accused of doing many things I had not done, and where I ended up fleeing to America seeking asylum,” he wrote on Facebook. “But then, they suddenly said that the real reason I was there was because they had been notified that I was smuggling weapons from Mexico to America.

“I was in shock.”

The accusation of arms running is strange because the illegal flow of weapons is generally southward, from America to Mexico. America is a manufacturer of arms, not an importer. What America imports illegally from Mexico is drugs, not weapons. CBN says the Department of Homeland Security had no comment on the case.

Doing ministry in Denmark for 18 years, Søndergaard, 45, founded the Last Reformation street evangelism movement with the purpose of restoring Book of Acts-style ministry. His Jesus Center trained disciples from 30 nations to spread the gospel worldwide, CBN reports.

But authorities in secularist Denmark didn’t like him and, starting in 2016, launched investigations from six separate Danish ministries into everything from food safety to unpaid taxes. They found nothing wrong, CBN reports.

The persecution continued when Søndergaard decided to homeschool his daughter. Seeking an abatement from the persecution, Sondergaard re-enrolled her in public school. But the attacks continued… Read the rest: Torben Sondergaard Danish evangelist.

Selah the Corner, PK who walked out on God

Everyone else he knew didn’t have a dad. So, the fact that he had a father should have been a blessing for Nathaniel Martinez, but he got picked on by envious boys and felt like an outsider. Still, he projected the proper pastor’s kid image until he could no longer stand it.

“When I was about 17 I just kind of blew up,” Nathaniel says on Testimony Stories YouTube channel. “I just was so angry. “I 100% rebelled against the church when I came of age.”

Today, Nathaniel is better known as Selah the Corner, a rising rapper on the God Over Money label.

Born in the rough South Side of Yonkers, New York City in 1985, Nathaniel had to wend his way through the warzone of rival gangs and drug deals. First his mom got saved, then his dad. His parents became pastors.

Again, the blessing turned into a curse.

“I thought my parents were taken away from me by the church,” he confesses. “At 3:00 in the morning when I had a nightmare and I wanted to talk to my mom and my dad, sometimes mom and dad were on the phone with somebody who was dying in the hospital. You understand as a young child the ministry comes first, and that stops you from even asking your parents to choose between you and the ministry because you love them. But doing that 20-30 times, and you’re a grown man and you’re like, yo, I let these people take my family away from me.

“That’s the negative way to look at it.”

When he got a car and didn’t have curfew anymore, he started indulging his flesh and only attended church on holidays.

At Stony Brook University where he always stayed on high honor roll, he took drugs and partied – in a highly “organized” way so that his parents wouldn’t find out.

“Being a pastor’s kid, you learn how to organize your sins because you realize how important it is that no one ever finds out anything,” he says. “I had everything on strict times. I was gonna be in the streets for this long. I was gonna do these amount of drugs and what time I would need to be sober. I had the Visine and the cologne.

“I just perfected my negative craft in that aspect.”

But behind the “organized” facade, his life was… Read the rest: Selah the Corner.

Jamaican culture ruined his marriage. Jesus saved it.

His marriage was in shambles because, despite loving his wife, he fooled around with other girls.

“Our mantra was we don’t fall in love, we stand in love, because in case something goes wrong you can always just walk out,” says Orlando Patterson, a Jamaican immigrant to New York. “It was very common in the culture, we live in this apartment complex to be living with your supposed wife and a couple of kids. And you have another woman a couple streets over and she has a couple of kids for you. And you have another woman in another apartment complex and she has a couple of kids for you. That is business as usual.”

So when an officer in the U.S. Navy turned and abruptly and asked him about his eternal destination, Orlando responded with genuine self-examination: “I’m pretty confident I’d probably go to hell.”

Orlando Patterson knew nothing about God and fidelity because he grew up with his non-Christian parents fighting over custody. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to a high-society dad and a pretty mom whom the dad’s relatives detested.

At age five, his dad tricked his mom into letting Orlando go to Queens, New York. What was supposed to a be a summer visit, turned into a permanent stay. Dad simply called mom: “By the way, he’s never going back.”

Dad’s intentions were to give Orlando a good education and the opportunities that arise in America. But the young man grew up “a square peg in a round hole.” By the time his mom was able to come over to America, the damage was done.

“I had drawn certain conclusions about life,” Orlando says on a Virginia Beach Potter’s House podcast. “I was a problem child and felt horribly unwanted. No one really wanted me around. I never got rid of this feeling.”

He fell in with “miscreants.” His first arrest was for grand theft auto. An older boy was showing him how to steal a car when the cops pulled up. The older boy ran, Orlando hid in the car hoping the police would pursue the older boy. When he crept out of the car, an old lady trained a gun on him and ordered him to sit still until the cops came back.

“This lady was shaking,” Orlando says. “I knew I was gonna die that night if I would have flinched. If I breathed too hard that lady was gonna shoot me, so I just held my hands up and just kind of froze.”

Throughout high school, he butted heads with his mom, but she eventually prevailed with the plan he would join the military. He and his 8th grade sweetheart, Vanessa, both joined the Navy.

He became a jet engine mechanic.

Though they tried to stay together, their union was beset by troubles from the beginning because infidelity was what Orlando had learned from his Jamaican upbringing. “My marriage was shot, you know, infidelity on my part, just foolishness that I had done,” he recognizes.

On his first tour on the Adriatic Sea on the U.S.S. Enterprise, he was pulling an overnight shift. There wasn’t much to do, so he wandered to the other shops. That’s where he overheard a sailor evangelizing another man. “He was chopping wood,” Orlando remembers about the serious discussion.

Though not directed at him, the conversation unsettled Orlando. He’d been raised Catholic, but faith had never factored into his life as being real or relevant. As an altar boy, he’d report hung over at 8:00 a.m. mass.

“I couldn’t shake what I just heard,” he recalls.

Troubled by what he’d overheard, he continued to wander the deck. When he reported for his “midrats” midnight meal, he wound up eating next to an officer because the mess was unusually crowded.

The officer turned to Orlando and asked him point blank: “Young man, let me ask you a question. If you were to die right now, would you go to Heaven?”

“The whole world just stood still in that moment,” he recalls. Read the rest: Jamaican infidelity, marriage and Jesus.

Her black history class taught her Jesus is a myth

Searching for identity, Paige Eman fell for the ploys of the African-American history class which taught her the Jesus narrative was counterfeit, stolen from ancient Egyptian myths of Seth and Osiris. Christianity, she was taught, was the white man’s religion designed only to subjugate slaves.

“I started as a Christian and then I transitioned into African spirituality and to New Age,” Paige says on her YouTube channel. “I’m back to Christianity and Jesus. I wasn’t willing to call myself a witch, but I was open to it. That’s the scary part”

The enticing part of the African American history class was twofold: cast doubt on the story of Jesus and drum up anger over historical and systemic racism (to our shame, there were Christians who justified slavery by saying Africans were children of Ham, accursed by Noah).

Despite her own personal apostasy from God, Paige does not regret studying at an HBCU, a Historically Black College or University. She made lifelong, supportive friendships, and the education was excellent.

Her only complaint? The assumption that the Jesus story is a fraud based only on the grounds of a somewhat similar story in mythology.

In fact, many cultures have resurrection and virgin conceptions stories. But none have a real, historical person associated with them. Undeniable historical people attest to Jesus, to his virgin birth and to his resurrection. So, if you’re going to dismiss these parts of Jesus’s life, you must account for the hundreds of witnesses who were willing to die for their story.

Paige Eman’s problems began when she was raised in a primarily white suburb. Her black friends said she “talked white,” and her white friends didn’t “really accept” her, so she felt “conflicted.”

When she graduated from high school, she made the decision to go to Hampton University in Virginia to figure out her identity.

“I met some amazing amazing people who were really like raised the same way that I was,” she says.

But the African American History class exposed her to some radical ideas that undercut the legitimacy of the Bible and Christianity. The Egyptian goddess Isis had a son by divine conception, she was told. The fact that this originated more than 2000 years before Jesus suggests to some scholars, especially the anti-Christian ones, that the disciples simple plagiarized the story.

It was compelling stuff, and the teacher provided proof after proof. Paige stopped believing in Jesus.

“We’re not supposed to worship Jesus as a black people right, so I totally rejected Jesus altogether,” she admits. “But I still believed in God.”

Having dismissed Christ, Paige embarked on a quest for the correct worship. She found out about ancestral worship and witchcraft, neither of which she fully embraced or practiced because her background in Christianity left her wary about it.

What she did get involved with was the law of attraction, burning sage and palo santo, and following black women’s spirituality groups on Facebook.

Little did she realize that dabbling with the things of the occult… Read the rest: African American history against Christianity

Vision of Hell sobered up man

When the angel encounters started, Andrew Aggrey cut the partying and insincere Christianity. The supernatural visions came regularly, but nothing prepared him for his visionary descent into hell.

“I feel this magnet power pull me down,” Andrew says on a Delafe video. “The only way I can really describe it is a dark vortex. Imagine skydiving at nighttime without the fun. And boom I land in hell. And I know exactly where I am.”

Because he had heard of others who visited Hell, he inexplicably asked God if he could experience it himself. He believes God gave him the experience to warn others about the danger beyond the grave.

Andrew grew up in a Christian household. But as with many other young people who grow up in a Christian family, he suffered from the “my parents’ faith” syndrome. He lacked a wholehearted relationship with God.

At college, he threw himself into drinking, drugs and clubs. He had no doubt God was real but felt no compulsion to serve Him.

“I had the awareness of God, but I still kind of wanted to live my own life.” Andrew says.

But when the pandemic hit, he found himself locked up at home with tons of time to read. He read the Bible. Then the dreams began.

The first was an angel that guided him through a house with opening doors. He realized it was an angel because when he tried to worship it (thinking it might be Jesus), the angel stopped him from doing so.

It was an emotional encounter, but when he tried to share about it with his family, he felt like they doubted its legitimacy.

Another encounter was with Jesus. In his dream, the Lord walked past him. He had previously struggled with childhood rejections. In this case, he felt rejected by Jesus. “Lord, do you not love me?” he pleaded.

Then Jesus looked at him, and there was no doubt.

“He didn’t say anything to me, but the look was enough,” Andrew says. “Just looking in his eyes, face to face, was enough. I knew… Read the rest: Vision of Hell.

Shintoist finds God

Shinichi Tanaka believed vaguely that an all-powerful god who created the universe was out there somewhere. But it was not until a near death experience that he found his way to God.

From a young age, Shinichi had a great respect for nature and the “gods” of the Shinto religion. However, when visiting the shrines to pray, he felt that something was missing.

“I went there to feel a sense of purification, also to pray and give thanks,” Shinichi says on a Japan Kingdom Church video. “But it was like praying to a vague God, like the air.”

It was at 40 years old that Shinchi began to take on a different perspective on God. In a moment of introspection, he began to see God not as a group, but as an omnipotent Creator.

“I realized the existence of God, which had immeasurable power,” he continues. “Since then, I would close my eyes and meditate that the universe would send energy like bright and dazzling lights. That was my God.”

Shinichi did not know God yet. This would change when, at 49 years old, he experienced a heart attack that left him hospitalized.

“My life hung in a fifty-fifty balance,” Shinichi says. “But I kept a strong will to survive.”

At one point during his hospitalization, Shinichi underwent a near-death experience that led him closer to finding God.

“One night, while sleeping on the bed in the hospital, a beautiful world spread out before me, and I was drawn outside my body,” Shinichi recounts. “It was actually the entrance to death.”

“Then, suddenly, a voice shouted ‘No! Don’t go!’” Shinichi continues. “When I regained consciousness, I suffered from strong pain, and tried to get out of it.”

Shinichi believed that an invisible being saved him from entering death’s… Read the rest: Shintoist finds God.

Her ‘hit list’ was her prayer list

Only 8 years old, Casey Diaz tried to kill his father by pushing his face into a portable gas heater and turning the gas on. He didn’t stop even when his mom rushed in, horrified.

“Just leave him,” Casey told her. “I’ll take the blame.”

It was Casey’s way of ending the brutal, bloody beatings his drunken father inflicted upon his mother. Though the fratricide was unsuccessful, the anger smoldered and turned Casey into a fearsome gangbanger in South Los Angeles. He stabbed his first victim at age 11. There were many more after.

“It was so easy for me,” he says on a 700 Club video on YouTube. “I put the face of my father on every single one of my victims.”

By age 16, he was locked up for 12 years for one count of second degree murder and 52 counts of armed robbery.

With his proclivity towards violence and aggression — and because of his reputation on the street — Casey ruled the gang in the jail.

He nearly strangled to death a rival and landed in solitary confinement with an “upgrade” to Folsom State Penitentiary from juvenile hall.

That’s where Francis met him. When the chaplain invited him to a monthly Bible study, he responded harshly.

“You’re crazy,” he snarled. “I’m not going to your Bible study. I’m not interested. Do you know who you’re talking to?”

Undaunted and undeterred, Francis responded that she was placing him on her prayer list. She called it her prayer “hit” list, using the underworld’s slang for people… Read the rest: 8-year-old would-be killer

Hope for children of divorce

As a result of her parent’s divorce, Savannah Hernandez felt shame, had insecurities, depression, and had given up on believing in God.

“I hated God at this point of my life,” says Savannah on YouTube, “I just felt like, man, there is no way that God is real. I’m going through so much stuff. How is God real? How did he make this earth?”

Many fall away from God and don’t come back, but Savannah is proof that restoration of faith is possible.

Savannah’s parents got divorced when she was 11 years old. From there, she swirled downward emotionally.

“It was really hard on me just to face as a child and trying to figure out what was going on and just how to really just grow up to be a woman,” she says.

Savannah had a strong dad who never left her or made her feel alone, but she still felt an emptiness inside. She looked for masculine approval, which caused her to feel worse about herself and develop more insecurities.

“I did feel like I was alone at some point in my house, and I did run to guys and just love to try to find some type of love and temporary fix in those areas that I was hurting,” Savannah says. “It just caused me to hurt, and it caused me just shame and feeling like I wasn’t worthy and that was really hard for any girl to face.”

After she graduated, Savannah tried smoking and became stubborn and prideful.

“I was just doing all these things behind my dad’s back,” she recounts. “I’m not doing anything to pursue any of my goals, I’m not doing anything, I don’t believe in a God.

Then her sister got saved.

“I saw… Read the rest for free: Children of divorce have hope

Aerospace engineer finds the Creator of space

His vaunted career in aerospace engineering led him to being featured in National Geographic for his research with NASA.

But the PhD from a German university couldn’t save Dr. Dragos Bratasanu from personal heartbreak when his startup flopped, and he went back to his parents apartment depressed, in wretched pain and envying the dead in the local cemetery.

“The pain was so intense, I took my pillow and cried out to God from the bottom of my heart,” he recalls on a CBN video. “God, if you’re real, I need you.”

Growing up in Romania, Dragos was turned off by religion because it involved “bowing down to bones,” burning candles and the belief that you can only get to Heaven through your local priest.

Instead of seeking religious truth, he sought scientific truth. Excelling in his studies, he got the chance to study in Germany, where earned his PhD in space science. He worked with the Romanian Space Agency, got a chance to work with NASA and was commended in a National Geographic article.

At the top of his scientific career, he fell to the depths of inner despair. His business failing, he was humbled to the point of not being able to pay his bills and moved back with his parents. He cursed his fate.

When he considered embarking on a spiritual quest, Christianity was his last option. He studied Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and other major religions. He even traveled to the Himalayas to study under the most renowned Buddhist monks. All seemed to offer good tenets, but didn’t resonate with his soul.

While he was on a sabbatical in Hawaii, a non-believing friend recommended he read Katheryn Kuhlman… Read the rest: Dr. Dragos Bratasanu Christian.

A Shamanistic pastor’s son?

Isaac Perez descended into the inner regions of the earth, down a spiral staircase, through the forest, over a bridge to the place he had been told he would meet his animal spirit guide. Finally, a hawk with a penetrating gaze faced him.

“What are you doing here?” the hawk asked him. “You don’t belong here. They are coming after you.”

It was a strange message for Isaac, who sought to become a full-fledged shaman through practices he learned online, which resonated with his Mayan heritage.

It was strange for Isaac, the son of a pastor from a charismatic church, to be seeking supernatural experiences in the occult.

“The Holy Spirit worked somehow to tell me I didn’t belong and what I thought was my spirit animal was very much definitely the Holy Spirit telling me this isn’t it, you need to get out, this is not the place,” Isaac says on a Doreen Virtue video.

Isaac’s testimony shows you can’t blend New Age teachings and shamanism with Christianity and that Jesus Christ is the only way.

Isaac’s parents were both charismatic pastors. Isaac became a youth pastor, but when he began to have unanswered questions about the supernatural, he turned to shamans online.

“I thought that I really understood this,” he says. “God created nature, so why can’t I serve God but also you know just enjoy this, his natural beauty and all the work that he’s done and created.”

Isaac began to explore shamanism and thought that with his Mayan ancestry he could blend Christianity with shamanism.

At first, he got involved with drumming circles in nature, then he began using crystals and other New Age practices. He didn’t go to his parents for answers out of shame and guilt.

“It killed me,” he said. “I kept thinking am I failing God being in this charismatic church, or am I failing God being in shamanism? So, I could really never figure that out.”

While he was involved in shamanism, there were works, like a sun dance, which was a dance including fire and self-mutilation in order to be forgiven for his sins and for God to hear what he was saying.

“I sacrificed myself physically either by physical pain through burning, or through cutting,” he said. “There was supposed to be some sort of release. There was supposed to be some sort of… Read the rest: Shamanism vs Christianity

M.I.A. is now Christian, says her new music will reflect her new worldview

M.I.A. – the UK rapper who was banned for a time from the United States because she was thought to have ties to terrorism – has become a born-again Christian after a supernatural encounter with the Messiah.

“I had a vision and I saw the vision of Jesus Christ,” she told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe in an interview.

Born to a Sri Lankan Tamil family in the United Kingdom, Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam reached overnight success with her multiple platinum song “Paper Planes,” which pokes fun at discrimination against immigrants from war-torn countries.

After being denied a visa into the U.S. in 2006, M.I.A. blamed “them thinking I might fly a plane into the World Trade Center.” Her hit was born.

M.I.A. is an outspoken critic of the Sri Lankan repression of Tamil peoples. She has also spoken up for Palestinians on Israel’s West Bank.

Turning to Christ, she says, has caused her worldview to shift – a makeover that jeopardizes her standing with her mostly progressive fanbase.

“Basically, all of my fans might turn against me because they are all progressives who hate people that believe in Jesus Christ in this country,” says the singer.

M.I.A. was born in London. When she was six months old, the family moved to Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka, where her father founded the Eelam Revolutionary Organization of Students, after a succession of pogroms against Tamils in the island nation off the coast of India.

For a time, M.I.A.’s family went into hiding, as the government hunted them down. Though born Hindu, M.I.A. studied at Catholic convent schools. The Sri Lankan army reputedly shot bullets randomly into the school on a regular basis to terrorize the locals. Along with all the other students, M.I.A. would dive under the desks and tables to avoid getting shot, a regular occurrence she described as “fun.”

At age 11, M.I.A. was brought as a refugee to England where she grew up in the “incredibly racist” Phipps Bridge Estate, a slum. There, she mastered English, and her mom worked as a seamstress for British royalty. Immersed in political activism, M.I.A.’s father was absent from the family, leaving a hole in her heart. Her mom became Christian.

M.I.A. loved art and pursued film but got sidetracked by hip hop and dancehall music, which she was introduced to by eavesdropping on the beats blaring from neighbor flats after her own radio was stolen. Her stage name came from the time she lived in Acton and was looking for her cousin who was “Missing in Acton.”

Once on vacation in the Bequia in the Caribbean, M.I.A. was dancing in the street at a “chicken shed with a sound system,” and some Christians… Read the rest: M.I.A. Christian

Bible study in the Pentagon? Yes, and Navy Seals are getting saved.

The first time Bud Greenberg showed up at a Bible study, he introduced himself as a Jew, and the leader asked him to teach the next week’s study.

“You’re Jewish,” the leader told him. “Wow, you’re an expert on the scriptures. We’re just finishing up the study and we’re going to start the book of Esther. Since you know it a lot better than us, you being Jewish, will you teach us?”

There was only one problem: Bud had never read the Bible.

Notwithstanding, he assumed the invitation to teach was standard operating procedure. He went home and, starting from Genesis, thumbed through the Bible until he got to Esther.

“I didn’t want to disappoint,” he says on a Delafe Testimonies video. “It gave me a desire to read more, so I thought to myself, ‘Well, maybe I’ll read the New Testament.’ So I started in the book of Matthew.”

Today, Bud leads Bible studies in the Pentagon with Navy Seals and Special Operators, leading America’s elite fighters to Jesus. God has spoken through him in a way that unnerves the highest military professionals famed for having nerves of steel.

“I’m scared of you,” a Delta Force operator told him one day, arriving at the Bible study.

“You’re scared of me?” Bud responded. “I’m just a pencil-neck geek bureaucrat; you’re the killer.”

“No, no,” the operator said. “They tell me what goes on in these bible studies. I have no idea. I came early just to see for myself.”

Bud Greenberg was born Jewish but married a Christian girl. He loved baseball but wasn’t good enough in umpire school to make it in the Big Leagues. So, he joined the military and carted his wife with him to Germany.

She wasn’t too happy with the sudden move, and their marriage began to suffer. He asked a social worker what he could do to improve his marriage. Do something with your wife that she likes to do, was the answer.

So Bud… Read the rest: Bible study in the Pentagon.

Madonna of Korea, Uhm Jung-Hwa comes to Christ

Whenever Uhm Jung-Hwa’s friends told her about Jesus, she cringed.

“God loves me? What’s that? People are really weird. What God loves me? It is myself who loves me the most!” Jung-Hwa said at the time.

Today, the “Madonna of Korea” has converted from Buddhism.

One of the most influential singers, actors and dancers in South Korea, Jung-Hwa only regrets that it took her so long to come to Christ.

“I was jealous,” she says in a YouTube video in Korean. “I was curious why I knew God now, why didn’t he meet me quickly? Those who were born with a birth faith can meet God earlier than me. I was jealous and thought it was unfair.”

Jung-Hwa was born in 1969 in the city of Jecheon. She had one brother and two sisters. Her father died in a car accident when she was six.

Jung-Hwa had a gifted soprano voice with a wide range, so she launched a career. At her height in the 1990s, she was the queen of the music industry and one of the most popular celebrities. Her most recognizable singles were “Poison” and “Invitation.”

She became known as the “Madonna of Korea” and is a role model for many emerging singers today.

Some of her friends were Christians, but Jung-Hwa spurned faith in God.

Born a Buddhist, Jung-Hwa consulted with fortune-tellers and witch exorcists.

All the while, her Christian friends were… Read the rest: Uhm Jung-Hwa Christian

Christian golfer Scottie Scheffler won Master’s because of wife’s calming advice

With $2.7 million on the line to win or lose the most legendary golf tournament in the world, the fabled Masters of Augusta, Georgia, 25-year-old Scottie Scheffler, who had won his first PGA Tour title only weeks earlier, broke into tears of nervousness on the morning of the final day.

“I cried like a baby this morning, I was so stressed out,” he admitted later.

His wife, Meredith, a strong Christian, told him: “Who are you to say that you’re not ready? Who are you to say that you know what’s best for your life?”

“If you win this golf tournament today, if you lose this golf tournament by 10 shots, if you never win another golf tournament again, I’m still going to love you,” she said. “You are still going to be the same person, Jesus loves you, and nothing changes.”

Scheffler was grateful for her wisdom, “What we talked about is that God is in control and the Lord is leading me and if today’s my time, then it’s my time…if I shot 82 today then somehow I was going to use it for His glory.”

His wife’s advice and the Lord’s presence helped calm his nerves, and Scottie coolly chipped his way to the championship. As he donned the storied green jacket given to Master’s tournament winners, Scottie spoke about his Christian faith.

“All I’m trying to do is glorify God,” he said. “That’s why I’m here and that’s why I’m in this position and so for me it’s not about a golf score. I need a Savior and that’s probably one of the coolest things about our faith is recognizing your need for a Savior.”

Scheffler was born in Ridgewood, New Jersey, but moved with his family to Dallas, Texas when he was six. Throughout grade school Scheffler, filled with a fascination for professional golf, would wear golf attire to school, even though his peers made fun of him.

He attended Highland Park High School, where he played both golf and basketball, and then the University of Texas, where it was strictly golf. He helped the team win multiple championships.

It was in college that Scheffler “truly felt alone and didn’t know what to do.” He then started attending church and began to give his heart to God, piece by piece. “Gradually with time he just started taking over my heart,” he recalls.

“When I was growing up I always thought God was this far away thing that… Read the rest: Scottie Scheffler Christian golfer

Dreamless Korean kid becomes famous Christian rapper

Lee Byung-Yoon was an uncommon Korean child; he had no dreams for his future.

Then, to the chagrin of his parents, he wanted to be a hip hop artist.

“I had a dream in my first year of high school, and it was to make music,” he says on a YouTube video in Korean.

Eventually his parents supported his dream. Then BewhY (a simplification of his name that he uses as a stage name) won the prestigious Gaon Chart Awards in 2020. And every song he does is based on a Bible verse.

“I praise the Lord of my fathers today,” he raps in “On that Day.” “Even if many walls of oppression block me, I wait for the Lord only. Oh, the day of glory. Oh, God, please accept my heart.”

Of the South Korean population, 28% identify as Christian, so having Christian artists is not uncommon. What’s unique is that BewhY – noted for his sincerity and the fervor of his convictions – would win the secular “discovery” award when all his lyrics are Biblical and his testimony squeaky clean.

At the time he launched, other “Christian” rappers weren’t so Christian.

“When foreign rappers listened to K-pop or hip hop at that time, ‘idol culture’ was a bit of a bad… Read the rest: BewhY Christian Korean rapper

She attended real version of Hogwarts — and got demon possessed

As she sat on the playground at the Waldorf Steiner school in England, 11-year-old Naela Rose became demon possessed.

“I remember sitting in the playground and I felt the spirit enter me, and I was instantly suicidal,” says Naela on a Doreen Virtue video. “I knew this was an outside entity. From that moment on, I suffered from obsessive thoughts of self-harm and depression. It just hit me.

“Satan just loves to go after children. Children are so young and open and sensitive. If you’re unprotected, it’s very dangerous.”

Naela’s parents were liberal, open-minded, Reiki-instructed and thought the occult-based school, a real-life version of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts, would be perfect.

Beginning at Waldorf, she learned pagan rituals, worship of the creation, tantra yoga and empowering the feminine through worship of ancient goddesses.

“I was a proud pagan. I loved Mother Earth. I called myself a witch. I was into all these things,” Naela says. “I was completely seduced by the idea of divine feminine rising, and that I am in fact a goddess.”

At first she touted herself as a high priestess only. But as the adulation of followers progressed, she decided to become a full-on goddess. She felt it very flattering to hear followers in her training affirm her god-status.

Naela had become a New Age master raking in beaucoup bucks with constant seminars and training. “At the peak of my success in New Age, I felt the most hollow and empty,” she recognizes.

Meanwhile, she internally battled suicide, depression, anxiety and nightmares. She came from a broken family. The idea was to be a “wounded healer,”… Read the rest: Waldorf Steiner student possessed by demons.

She became a mother of 13 in 18 months

Katie Davis Majors was a Tennessee high school homecoming queen headed to nursing school. But instead, she became a mom to 13 girls – all in 18 months.

Katie adopted them all in Uganda, where she ditched her high-paying career path to work in poverty as a missionary at an orphanage in Africa.

““God just designed me that way because he already knew that this is what the plan was for my life — even though I didn’t,” she says on madehanaqvinews.com.

In 2008, she was class president of her high school Brentwood, Tennessee, when she went on a short-term mission trip to Uganda. Short-term missions make a lasting impact on many, but for Katie it was off the charts.

The poverty she observed moved her to compassion. Believing she could make a difference, she made a heartfelt decision: to put off college for one year and teach kindergarten in the Christian-run orphanage.

During her time there, a terrible rainstorm caused a mudhouse to collapse, burying several children. Leaders scurried to rescue the kids buried under the remains of the earthen house. Fortunately, none were seriously hurt and could recover in a local hospital.

After being rescued, Agnas, 9, whose parents both died of AIDS, plaintively asked if she could live with Katie forever.

Looking into the pleading brown eyes, Katie could not say no.

That was the beginning. Katie didn’t immediately embrace her destiny. To please her parents, she returned to the United States to get her nursing degree but found herself longing for the orphans in Uganda.

Ultimately, she returned as a full-time missionary. As she worked with the children, she felt a bond growing in her heart and wondered if she could adopt. Under Uganda law, she had to be 25 to adopt, but she could initially be granted custodial care.

She began her missionary work by teaching kindergarteners who were eager to learn.

Katie stayed in Uganda, serving. Everyday was filled with love and joyful sacrifice. She wound up marrying a fellow Tennessean missionary, Benji Davis, and they started a family, with God providing two biological sons.

When she was old enough, she began adopting orphans — 13 of them! Wow! Read the rest: Tennesseean adopts 13 Ugandan girls

Hunted by rivals, gang banger rescued by God

After they both became Christians years later, Tomas Bueno became friends with the gang banger who smashed his skull and left a scar on the back of his head.

“I’ve been able to reconnect with him,” Tomas says on a Virginia Beach Potter’s House premium podcast on Spotify.

Tomas Bueno grew up in the Los Angeles area. His dad was a bar owner and often wouldn’t come home from drinking, and his Mom took the kids driving around at 1:00 a.m. looking for him.

“It was around the age of 12 that I started getting enticed by what I saw around me,” Tomas says. “I started seeing these guys. It was the time when Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre had an influence on the white kids in suburbia. I thought this was really cool watching MTV for hours.”

When his dad was followed home and shot up in a case that originated from Mexico, the family moved to Huntington Beach in 1992 where few Hispanics lived.

“He came in, he was shot in the shoulders, he was wounded, he was asking for a gun,” Tomas says. “I was a little kid just trying to process this. Come to find out it came from Mexico, problems there that spilled over to the U.S. Needless to say, we had to move. We moved in the middle of the night.”

At 13, he started ditching school getting high, giving sway to the influence of a street kid. By 15, he was “running amok and being crazy, partying and going wild.” At 16, he smoked meth.

“All my friends were already doing it and they were like ‘You gotta try it. You can stay up all night and drink,’” he recalls. He worked at Subway and a co-worker showed him how to pack the balls and smoke speed.

By 1995 his friends were gang members when he lived in Fullerton. He met a girl, Karina (who now is his wife), and got her pregnant at 17.

“My dad’s not going to be down for this,” she told him. “I’m going to have to move in with you.”

“Ok, no worries, we’ll make it work,” he replied. They barely knew each other. “I’ll call you tomorrow.”

But because he was partying, Tomas didn’t call her the next day. Nor the next. Nor the next.

For three months, he didn’t call.

“Basically, I left her hanging,” he admits. “It’s not that I was trying to avoid this. It’s just that I was so wrapped up in what I was doing that I was in the streets doing drugs partying that kind of procrastinating. After three months I was embarrassed. What do you say? I just kept partying and doing whatever I was doing.” Read the rest: Hunted by rivals, Tomas Bueno rescued by God.

Freed from the sequels of being molested

Taneisha Upperman’s idyllic childhood evaporated when she saw her stepdad hit her mom with a hatchet.

“It was in the middle of the night, blood was streaming down her face, and I was terrified, so I ran all the way down the street to my aunt’s house, probably about two in the morning crying,” she says on a Delafe video. “I remember being so scared and not knowing what to do and knocking on my aunt’s door for like 20 minutes because they were asleep.”

From the age of six, Taneisha’s life was a nightmare. Yes, her mother gave birth to Taneisha as a 16-year-old single mom, but they went to church with Grandma, and Taneisha had a happy life singing in church.

But her childhood innocence was tarnished when stepdad let the kids see porn.

Once when arguing with him, Mom locked Taneisha up in a room with her uncle, who sexually abused her.

“I was not understanding it, but being exposed to porn, I’m like, Well maybe this is

supposed to happen,” she says. “I just did not understand.”

She was seven-years-old, and told no one about the incident.

Mom moved the family to New York and then back to the country. Remembering the happy years when she attended church with Grandma, she begged her mom to be allowed to live with Grandma.

Little did she realize, Grandma had changed.

“That’s when I experienced verbal abuse and physical abuse,” Taneisha recalls. “My grandmother was angry. I don’t know why. She would just yell at me and call me names and say, ‘You’re nothing. You’re gonna be nothing. You’re lazy.’”

Grandma provided shabby clothes for Taneisha to wear to school, which was embarrassing and led to being bullied.

But the worst thing was that her uncle would come and go and take advantage of her sexually. At 10, she lost her virginity because of his abuse.

“In the fifth grade, I started having a warped view of guys,” she acknowledges. “I thought in order for them to like me or to be popular I had to let them touch me. I began to get promiscuous in school.”

All the while, Grandma took her to church, where she discovered she had a great singing voice. She was told she had a gift from God. When she sang solos, the church “went crazy.”

Taneisha elevated the family’s status in the church.

She started dating at age 12, and she… Read the rest: how do you get free from being molested?

Freed from the demons of Buddhism

Despite experiencing terrors of demonic oppression as a child, Apisit “Ide” Viriya didn’t abandon the syncretic Buddhism of his childhood when he began experiencing clinical levels of obsessive-compulsive disorder with anxiety as a college student.

“Buddhism acknowledges suffering in the world,” says the Thai immigrant to America. “But for me it didn’t provide a solution. I fell into a survival mentality.”

Ide was raised in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism. Raised in America, Ide was told by his parents to always double-down on the teachings of his family, as 95% of Thais are Buddhist.

So he hung on to Buddhism, even when the animism of his village opened him to demonic influences. His parents didn’t believe him or his brother when they were awakened by terrors or heard voices during the night, so they comforted each other.

“I felt like there were fingers touching my body,” he says on a Delafe video. “I could see two eyes looking down at me.”

At the University of Maryland in Baltimore, Ide first encountered an enthusiastic believer. He felt like she genuinely cared for him, but he was put off by her exclusive attitude, saying that Jesus was the only way to God.

He listened to her as she witnessed to him and even attended church, but he also shared Buddhism with her.

In his early 20s, he began to suffer from depression and OCD, believing that something bad would happen to his mom if he didn’t repeat a phrase a number of times.

“I would keep having to repeat things as a thought in my head until I felt peace,” he says.

He sought help from university student psychological services and got referred off campus because the case was higher level than they could handle.

Thus began years of therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. At the height, he was taking 12 pills a day to calm the irrational fears. He also dove deep into Buddhism, visiting the temple and praying with monks every evening.

Still, he sought solutions that Buddhism couldn’t provide.

While Buddhism teaches the way to peace is by not setting your hopes on the things in this world, it was completely at a loss for aiding with OCD.

Trying to manage his OCD, finish college, and hold down a job, was a daunting task.

Desperate at age 25, he saw a Christian psychologist, who asked if he could pray for him each time. “I was hurting, so lost, I said, that’s fine. I just didn’t care,” he says. Read the rest: Demons in Buddhism

‘Shut up and die!’ she shouted at her mother. She didn’t mean it.

In a moment of extreme accumulated frustration, Chiaki Gadsden told her alcoholic mother during a fight: “Shut up and die!”

Chiaki’s mother died that day.

“The next morning my father told me, ‘Chiaki, you mother died today,’” she narrates on a Japan Kingdom Church video on YouTube. “I didn’t feel anything. I just couldn’t believe it. I went home and saw her body and still couldn’t believe it.”

Chiaki’s childhood frustration and source of loneliness and abandonment was her mother’s alcoholism. Her father didn’t like to see his wife drunk, so he stayed away from home. Her older sister had become hardened and unfeeling, so she paid no heed to Chiaki’s pleas that they help Mother.

Eventually, Chiaki became uncaring also and took drugs and became promiscuous as a coping mechanism, she says. The coping mechanism never worked very well.

Meanwhile, she grew hard-hearted and distant from everyone.

That morning Chiaki and her mother fought, as they did many days. The sinister effects of alcoholism over many years reached a boiling point and Chiaki uttered the words she later regretted: “Shut up and die!”

She pronounced the awful words, but didn’t want the horrible result.

So when Mom died that day, Chiaki was staggered.

“I started to blame God: ‘Why didn’t you help me?’” she remembers. “I thought, What’s the point of this life? No one can help. My family didn’t help. God didn’t help. What is this life?”

At a family meeting, Chiaki’s father made a terrible announcement to everyone.

“He said my mother’s death was my fault,” Chiaki says.

“I was shocked that he said that,” she says. “I could not understand why he would say that.”

“Oh, it’s my fault that my mother’s dead?” Chiaki thought. “My father said so. Then it is bad for me to be here. If I’m not here, then everyone will be happy.”

From that moment, Chiaki no longer sought to have relationships with people. She cut herself off. She lost all hope, all purpose.

“Everything just became darkness,” she says.

Then Chiaki was invited to a gospel music festival.

“When I saw and listened to the gospel music, suddenly I felt something warm in my heart,” she recalls. “I thought, wow, gospel music is amazing. Then all of a sudden, tears started to pour out. I thought to myself, Why am I crying? I thought, What is this? What is this?” Read the rest: Christianity in Japan

A black pastor in Japan

Blacks aren’t generally accepted in Japan. Even Japan’s 2015 Miss Universe candidate Ariana Miyamoto, being half black, was widely rejected on social media as not being truly Japanese.

So how does Marcel Jonte Gadsden – and a handful of other black pastors – lead churches and evangelize in Japan?

“No matter what you do, no matter how you treat me, I respond with a deeper love, an unconditional love, agape love,” Marcel says on The Black Experience Japan YouTube channel. “The Bible tells us to love our enemies. How can you love your enemy? You can’t do it. That’s why the L of love is written from the top down. You must receive love vertically from the Father, down to you and then you can give it out.”

Marcel arrived in Japan as a military brat in 1999.

“I thought coming here there’d be samurais everywhere with swords,” he says. “I was scared to come to Japan. I thought we’d be the only black people in Japan. All I knew was Ramen noodles and samurais.”

When he got out among the people, he was smitten with compassion – so many hordes without hope, without Jesus.

“If what I believe is true about God, what is the hope for these people?” Marcel remembers. “The passion began to rise.”

Motivated to reach the people, Marcel threw himself into learning Japanese and when he had memorized some verses, went out as an adolescent to street-preach in Japanese in the Shinjuku neighborhood.

Japan has virtually no context for understanding street preachers. While there are street performers, they make a poor reference point. Some stared at him as if he were crazy, others ignored him.

While the initial response wasn’t exactly warm, Marcel was warmed by the fires of the love of God.

“Some people were listening and others were like who is this guy?” he remembers. “I began to learn about Japanese people and how they’re not expressive like we are.”

He took a job at 7Eleven to immerse himself in the culture and get to know the people. When he started a church in his living room, many of his first visitors had met him at 7Eleven.

“It was a training ground. I learned so much. It turned a lot of heads when they saw me at the counter. To see the reactions in people’s faces, they look and look again like, he works here?”

When Marcel met and married a Japanese girl from church, he had to overcome the resistance of his father-in-law, who shared the typical entrenched racism of Japan. Every day his future father-in-law would drop his girlfriend off at church, he would pop up to the car, open the door for Chiaki and warmly greet her dad.

“I think he had this image of me being a gangster and trying to steal his daughter,” Marcel relates. “He totally ignored me. And this continued until finally one day, he slightly looked like he slightly acknowledged me. He gave an inch of a nod. I was really convinced that love could destroy his prejudice.”

After Marcel and Chiaki were married, the formation of a relationship with his father-in-law began… Read the rest: black pastors in Japan

He had scratches on his back in the morning

She was Bahai, he was a militant agnostic, they fell in love, what could possibly go wrong?

After declining the offer to receive Jesus at a friend’s church, Emily and Aaron Armstrong found out what could go wrong: a dark presence began to torment them.

“We would wake up in the evening and really feel like somebody else was in the house when there really wasn’t,” Emily says on a 100 Huntley Street video. “He’d wake up with scratches on his back that I didn’t put there. He’d be fighting in his sleep all the time. He’d be swinging his arms as if he was trying to fend somebody off.”

The demons – the presence – left when the Canadian couple accepted Jesus into their hearts. To get to the place where they grappled with demons didn’t take a pact with Satan. Actually, very prosaic events in Emily’s life led her the wrong way.

Despite having lots of Christian friends whose company she enjoyed and with whom she went to youth group activities, Emily didn’t receive Jesus.

She received Bahai, the Iranian-based hodgepodge religion of idealism. It believes that one day, we’ll all have one religion, one economy, one language and universal harmony and equality.

“Because I was a perfectionist, I thought this was a beautiful and wonderful thing,” Emily says.

After graduating from college, she dated Aaron, who was sweet and charming but was an unmovable agnostic. Emily thought that inviting him to enough events would convince him about Bahai, but he always took a dim view.

Not long afterward, Aaron got invited to a 10-week seminar on the basic doctrines of Christianity, and they attended because they didn’t want to make their friend feel bad. It was interesting, but Emily and Aaron politely declined the invitation to receive Jesus.

That’s when the presence showed up.

“Strange things started to happen,” she says. “We would wake up in the evening and really feel like somebody else was in the house when there really wasn’t. I wasn’t seeing things that weren’t there.”

The scratches on Aaron’s back in the morning were really bizarre. Why was Aaron flailing his arms, as if fighting someone off during his sleep? Read the rest: Bahai opened couple to demons