Chloe fell in love with and married Jason Ivey. It’s a heart-warming and romantic story. There’s just one notable piece of information to add. Both spouses are developmentally disabled.
Chloe has Down Syndrome. Jason has autism, ADD and bipolar disorder.
“People with autism want to feel important; they want to feel needed. Honestly, it’s magical. That’s how I actually feel,” Jason said in an interview with Special Books for Special Kids, a YouTube channel that promotes understanding of people with disabilities. “Yeah, there’s ups and downs. But I’m telling you Chloe is such a perfect wife. And even when I’m down she lifts me right back up and makes me so happy.”
To see Chloe and Jason talk about marriage and how God brought them together is a moving reminder that God has not made anyone inferior. People with special needs have much to teach others about happiness and simplicity in a world that seems overly complicated to many.
“I feel like I’m hit with a love bug. Sometimes I would say, ‘Thank You, God, for everything, all the positive things,” Chloe says. “I feel like I want to cry. I feel like I’m on top of the world.”
The love oozes from the video. “She is like drop-dead gorgeous,” Jason says. “I was worried, like, ‘Lord, I am way marrying out of my league.’ My goodness! Look at this beauty!”
But their fairytale story also raises unsettling questions the video doesn’t address: Would they have children? Would their offspring be more prone to being born with a disability? Who would care for the children?
“Sometimes I think in my mind ‘I want a baby so bad,’” Chloe says. She has a realistic doll that she treats as her baby. “This is Giselle. She represents what we want for the future.”
Both Chloe and Jason recognize their limitations. They say they are 80% independent, which means that 20% of their adult responsibilities are handled by care-givers, often family members.
In a world where abortion is pressed on parents when an ultrasound reveals a potential disability, in a world where government imposes decisions on private citizens in the name of the common good, some questions linger:
David Goggins was a 300-pound exterminator recovering from the trauma of beatings by his father — a pimping owner of a roller-skating rink who made young David sanitize skates and scrape gum off the floor until midnight.
Then David watched, with milkshake in hand, a Navy SEALS reality show and made a decision to be a SEAL. When he showed up at the office, the recruiter scowled at his obesity. He would have to lose 100 pounds in three-months, the cutoff to get training. David decided to redirect his childhood pain into the arduous physicality of SEAL training.
The pursuit of that impossible goal is what made David Goggins the person he is today. He’s arguably America’s fittest man, the only serviceman to complete not only the Navy SEALs but also Army Rangers and U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Control Party. He now runs consecutive ultra-marathons and is a motivational speaker.
David Goggins credits the voice inside his head, God’s voice, with training him.
Just as the Apostle Paul went into the Arabian desert for three years and was trained by Jesus himself, God’s voice led David through SEAL training.
“Even though people may not believe it because I cuss (which I think is hilarious), I believe in God big time,” David says on a YouTube video. “I’ve had this voice in my head since I was a young boy. What trained me was that voice. This voice in my head guided me to the spot where I’m at today.”
David Goggins, now 46, grew up in Williamsville, New York, where he was regularly subjected to racist taunts. His late-night work at Skateland started at age six, where he aired out the bathrooms from marijuana smoke and collapsed around midnight on a couch where his dad hid a loaded pistol.
David’s father, Trunnis, ran a side hustle of hookers, with whom he would indulge himself, cheating on mom. He was a brutal monster who regularly beat David and his mother until they escaped, with the help of a neighbor, to rural Indiana. The toxic upbringing left him poorly adjusted, and he drifted through school hovering slightly above a failing grade point average.
In his junior year, he decided to join the Air Force and amped up his studies to graduate and get in. He completed a 4-year stint but dropped out of Pararescue training because he was afraid of water. He was not fearless but would eventually learn how to turn his fears into energy to perform herculean feats.
After an honorable discharge from the Air Force, David picked up work in a pest control business, removing rats from fast food joints afterhours. Low self-esteem and a life adrift contributed to an easy slide towards obesity. Gorging on unhealthy food and a sedentary lifestyle contributed to his weight problem.
That’s when he watched a program about SEALs and decided quixotically to join.
The recruiter didn’t mince words. He was way overweight, and there weren’t a lot of African Americans who passed the SEAL training. He would need to lose about 100 pounds in three months to get in. He was almost too old to try out for the program, so three months was the cutoff. The recruiter probably thought he’d never see David again.
David decided to prove him wrong.
“I realized that not all physical and mental limitations are real,” David writes in his inspirational memoir “Can’t Hurt Me.” “I realized I had a habit of giving up way too soon.” Read the rest: David Goggins, once obese, Navy SEAL
Most people won’t entertain the notion of donating a kidney — even though it’s kind of like a spare tire.
But I did just that — and I did so in an underdeveloped country where surgical standards and hospital cleanliness are subpar.
What led me, a long-term missionary in Guatemala, to want to give up a part of my body to a mere acquaintance?
It started with a long Sunday article in an American newspaper. The author spoke about her own need for a kidney donor and the near impossibility of finding one. She was a public speaker who traveled, so dialysis wasn’t viable.
None of her family members were a match, and acquaintances who were a match demurred. When she’d lost all hope, an almost total stranger offered their kidney.
For reasons I ignore, U.S. law does nothing to encourage kidney donation. You can sell plasma but selling a body part is considered inherently abhorrent. Never mind that the recipient really needs a kidney and the donor could get by with one and probably needs the money. It’s just taboo.
America’s Social Security system is crushed by the national dialysis bill of $100 billion, but the U.S. government offers no tax incentives for donors. Recipients could become again productive members of society and tax-payers but have to wait on interminable lists for vehicular accident donors.
The article stirred me deeply. Here was a way to be like Christ, to give above and beyond to help a needy human selflessly.
I’d been a church planter and school planter for eight years in one of Guatemala’s roughest neighborhoods. We had started with street kids and had worked with gangbangers, drunks, prostitutes and their children. It was an adventure and taking on new challenges turned me on.
It wasn’t long before my desire, which I kept to myself, found an opportunity. Brother Alfredo (not pictured in this article for his privacy) was newly attending our church. Doing ministerial visitation one night, I learned that he had been suspended from work because of kidney failure. The dialysis left him exhausted. He had a strict diet and couldn’t do much. The wait for a donor was years.
How about if I give you my kidney? I asked undramatically.
I don’t know if Alfredo thought I was serious. We would have to make sure the kidney was the right shape, along with the correct blood type. There was a very strong chance I wouldn’t be an adequate match; I’d be off the hook.
As the days of testing in government hospitals drew on, the implications of my commitment began to hit me. I had a wife and three kids to worry about. I also knew that I was on my own on this one: I hadn’t consulted my pastor stateside. But I felt like my offer, given all too easily, maybe even flippantly, was a promise that I couldn’t’ take back. I had to face up to all the potential fallout alone. Part of me hoped I wouldn’t be a match.
But after days of testing at the government hospitals, everything lined up. It was green light. With somber joy and a little trepidation, I knew I was going through with it. Alfredo and I interviewed with doctors, support staff and psychologists.
I wasn’t too enthusiastic to learn that the surgery wouldn’t be laparoscopic… Read the rest: Kidney donation.
The nurse nearly passed out when Jim Аndersоn repeated to her what she said outside the room when he had an out-of-body experience in full-blown cardiac arrest in the hospital.
After returning to earth, he hovered over his body as doctors electro-shocked his heart so many times they burned the skin on his chest.
The nurse just outside the room commented to her colleague: “I don’t know why they are working so hard. He’s gone. If they bring him back, he’ll be a vegetable.” It was a harsh reality born from her experience in ICU.
She never expected the patient to wake up and repeat her words to her – words he couldn’t have heard.
Jim felt infinitely drawn to Heaven, but he has such great love for his wife that he asked Jesus to allow him to return to Earth. “Lord, I love you so much, but please let me go back,” he recounts on a CBN video. “My wife needs me, my children need me so much, so much. Please let me go back.”
Jim Anderson had experienced heart problems for the first time in the previous year. His doctor said it could be related to stress from the 12-hour days Jim put in as a supervisor at a waste management plant.
On the fateful day, Jim was in his bed resting when a wrenching pain seized his chest. He called his adult daughter with a blunt message: “You’re going to have to get me to the hospital. I’m not going to make it.”
At the hospital, Jim flat lined. The doctor applied the electro-shock pads on either side of his heart. The electrical pulse often restarts the heart beating. But for Jim, repeated shocks did nothing.
“I could see everyone rushing into the room, but I couldn’t hear the alarms going off. It’s like I had gone under water. The hearing had just faded away. That’s when I began to pray. I knew I was dying. I wasn’t scared praying. As I prayed it got darker ‘til the point it went black.”
As his body remained on the hospital bed where the doctor administered shock after shock, Jim traveled towards a light.
“It was beautiful. It wasn’t blinding but pure and perfect,” he remembers. “As I started to go towards the light, I could see the outer edge of it begins to spiral. And I couldn’t figure out what that was. But as I got closer, I could see it was the words of prayers revolving. The words broke off, going into the light. And I followed into the light.
“I felt I was being embraced, safe and secure. It felt wonderful. It felt like total love.”
Then Jesus returned him to Earth. He hovered over the medical staff trying in vain to revive him. Where was Debbie, his wife? he wondered.
The memories poured. In an instant, “I saw every aspect of our life together; from the first day we met, our marriage, the birth of our children, all the emotions we’ve shared … I couldn’t leave her. I just couldn’t leave her.” Read the rest: Near-Death Experience for Jim Anderson.
Benign tumors growing on his larynx require surgeries every three months leaving his voice so weak that his low voice drops off into a whisper constantly. Called Whispering Danny, he’s also a popular tattoo artist in Kansas City, Missouri.
Danny Kobzantsev was a hard-living immigrant from Latvia who hailed from Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust. But when his good friend Shane crashed drunk on his motorcycle and very nearly died, he found himself praying to Jesus for a simple reason:
“It seemed like the thing to do,” he says on an I Am Second video.
Danny Kobzantev came to America with his mother in 1975 to seek better options for treatment of his unusual medical condition. As the plane circled the Statue of Liberty, people were hugging and kissing.
“I didn’t know who or what the Statue of Liberty was, but she was the symbol of America and freedom,” he says.
Danny and his mother set up shop in Kansas City, MO. In high school, he was drawn to tattooing. The more ink he got on his arm, the more he realized he wanted to become a tattoo artist.
“I lived a lifestyle that was pretty self-destructive in many ways and I was okay with it,” Danny says. “I pretty much had completely abandoned anything pertaining to God, and I just pursued my own interests.”
At Exile Tattoo shop, his drinking buddy Shane Kampe roared up on his motorcycle Sept. 4, 2001. He was drunk and had no business riding that day. So when Shane tried to drive off, Danny attempted to dissuade him.
“I watched him try to get on his motorcycle and I immediately saw him drop the bike cuz he was so drunk,” he says. “I begged him, ‘Please Shane don’t do this.’”
A couple hours later, Danny inexplicably felt compelled to go for a drive. He had nowhere to go but he arrived exactly where God wanted him: at the accident scene of his friend.
Shane was lying facedown in a pool of his own blood, his skull fractured open.
“His head was busted wide open,” Danny recalls. “He was laying in a pool of dark, dark blood.”
Shane bent down next to his buddy, even getting his own face bloody, and whispered, “Shane, you’re going to be ok.”
Matt Sinkhorn was seven when his mom slammed the door in the face of a woman witnessing about Jesus.
“If my parents don’t need Him, I don’t need Him,” he concluded, a rejection that stayed with him for two decades.
Matt Sinkhorn was always a good student because his dad was a teacher at the same school where he and his twin brother attended. His cumulative high school GPA was 3.6.
He went to college to study anthropology because looking at bones purportedly millions of years old fascinated him. He believed in evolution. “I didn’t care if you believed in God,” he says. “I just knew that I was on my own.”
But when he got on his own — at college, he couldn’t handle the freedom. While his dad had been present at the school, there was accountability, with less peer pressure to try alcohol or drugs.
“I was a teacher’s son. They thought I was going to narc on them,” Matt says. “They pushed me aside.”
But at college he tried weed later dropped acid. Soon he was skipping classes. After two years, he had lost weight and flunked out of college and was forced to return home. His twin, attending another college, did the same.
“When there were no parents around, it was like, ‘Wow this is amazing. We can do whatever we want,’” he says.
Getting kicked out of college was a shocker. “I had never not been good at school,” he admits. “My mom freaked out.”
But he didn’t mend his ways. Instead, he got a job as a busboy earning minimum wage and continued drinking.
Eventually, both boys figured they were too much of a burden to their parents and so they joined the Air Force, where they continued partying unabated. Matt cycled through a failed marriage in New Jersey before shipping out to Korea, where the hedonism knew no bounds.
By age 28, he was in England hanging out with airmen almost half his age. His life had become monotonous.
That’s when Mark Stoneburner, an older gentleman from Navigator’s, showed up in the Air Force dorms. Matt somehow knew the book in his hand was a Bible, but what took him aback was the visitor’s appearance.
“When I saw him, I actually saw that he was glowing,” Matt says. “There was this light that was inside of him. I said to my friend Elena, ‘Do you see him glowing?’”
Matt walked up to him and asked, “Why are you glowing right now? What’s going on?”
Mark chuckled, chatted and asked, “What’s your purpose in life?”
The day after being exposed to pornography and being molested, 3-year-old Anne Paulk started dressing like a Tomboy.
“I was no longer interested in dolls,” she says on a CBN video. “It was everything to do with throwing off the feminine because it was unsafe.”
Anne was raised in a Christian home, but the seeds for lesbianism had been planted right there.
“I felt responsible for what an older person did to me,” she says. “I felt uncomfortable in my own body. I felt unsafe.”
When she was six, a little girl “made a pass at” her and kissed her.
“What I realized right then is I felt like I had power as opposed to being powerless in the other circumstance,” she says. “And that ignited a lesbian desire later on in life. That was really the starting point of that turning of my feelings.”
Up until college, she pretty much suppressed the lesbian inclination. But when she entered the university, a libertine environment and substance abuse created the perfect cocktail to carry out her curiosities and cloud her confusion even more.
“I found myself quickly getting involved in alcohol and drugs on campus. They were everywhere. And that also gave me room to explore my sexual desires.”
She sought counseling, but her advisor told her “the Bible and homosexuality go just fine together.”
Nevertheless, “I just sensed that there was something off about that,” she admits.
Even though she had been raised in a Christian home, Anne had only heard about God; she had never known Him personally.
She began attending gay support groups and hoped to find a partner to marry and live happily ever after.
The Holy Spirit had other things in mind. One day right in the middle of the gay support meeting, he spoke to her heart: The love that you’re seeking, you’re not going to find here.
“It felt like a ray of light from heaven hit me right in the middle of this gay meeting,” says Anne. Read the rest: Anne Paulk former lesbian.
At one time, Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett didn’t know that there was an academic degree called a PhD. Now, the outspoken Christian is leading a National Institutes of Health team developing a Covid vaccine.
“I would have never thought that I would be in this moment right now,” the viral immunologist says on Black Enterprise. She wonders if she is living in an alternate universe, one in which God is shaking the table.
Kizzmekia grew up in North Carolina and somehow caught the eye of her high school chemistry teacher who hooked her up with summer internships in a lab at the University of North Carolina after the 10th and 11th grades.
“I was in the middle of a laboratory with this world-renowned organic chemist, his name is James Morkin. And he paired me with a black grad student, Albert Russell,” said Corbett. “Beyond the love for science and the scientific process, I learned that being him was possible.”
Mentors helped her climb the heights of science, along with her Christian faith, she says.
“I am Christian. I’m black. I am Southern, I’m an empath,” she says. “I’m feisty, sassy, and fashionable. That’s kind of how I describe myself. I would say that my role as a scientist is really about my passion and purpose for the world and for giving back to the world.”
Researching on the cutting edge of science to counter the world’s deadliest disease in 100 years allows Kizzmekia to combine her faith and intellect to serve others.
“My team is responding to the world’s most devastating global pandemic in the last hundred years,” she says. “There’s something to be said about knowing who you are.”
Outgoing president Trump visited her lab and became aware of her service to the country. Read the rest: women of color in science.
Michael W. Smith played drums at age five, picking out rhythms from the radio and replicating them precisely. He wrote his first song at the same age.
He joined the choir, felt the call of God in his Baptist church and only ever wanted to pick up the guitar and worship. “My heart was really after the Lord,” he says on an I am Second video.
So how did the laser-focused Christian music prodigy become the disoriented, drug-abusing prodigal around age 17?
“All my older friends went off to college and I moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to be a songwriter,” he explains. “I was playing in after-hours bars from 1:30 to 5:30, just in a bunch of trouble.
“I began to be enticed that maybe you could play with the fire and you won’t get burned.”
The first joint brought great guilt but it didn’t stop him from continuing down the slippery slope, using LSD and cocaine.
“I’m just doing this stuff and I got sucked into this thing,” he says. “For some reason, I justified it. You lose perspective. It’s almost like your compass sort of just like disappears and you enter this whole other world and you don’t really realize it’s going down. Then all of a sudden it’s too late.”
Next Michael nearly died when he snorted what he thought was cocaine and wasn’t.
“I thought I was going to die literally, but that’s when I began to pray that God would do whatever He had to do to get my attention,” he says. “I needed to be rescued.”
Rescue came in 1979 after midnight on the linoleum floor of his kitchen outside Nashville.
“I went on the floor and just began to shake,” he remembers. “I was curled up like a baby. I was just weeping, just weeping. I cried. I cried out for the God of the universe. I haven’t been the same since; it all changed.
He made key changes in his life. He got into relationship with the right people, brothers who would hold him accountable.
Eight months later, Michael landed his first songwriting contract.
Rev. Walter B. Hoye II believes the Civil Rights movement has sold out on the abortion issue.
“In the middle of the 60s, all of us knew that Planned Parenthood was just a racist dog,” he charges on LiveAction. “We’ve sold our civil rights legacy. We’ve said publicly, ‘a woman’s right to choose’ is a civil right. If you can’t get out of the womb, nothing — nothing — matters.”
In 1965, Cecil Moore, then-president of the NAACP, recognized the threat when he said, “Planned Parenthood’s plan is replete with everything to help the Negroes commit race suicide.”
So how did a movement calling for equality and respect for life degenerate?
It was coopted, Rev. Hoye contends. “The first two pro-life groups in America were Black,” Hoye says. “Even the Nation of Islam and the Black Panthers were pro-life. We’ve always known what abortion is and what abortion does. Always. And what we’ve done as a people — it’s us, it’s not white folk, it’s us — we sold out.
“The problem isn’t that Margaret Sanger fooled us,” he adds. “Yeah there was a Negro Project. And yeah, she paid many of the most influential Black history figures to be part of that project. They’re listed and that’s not a secret. They were getting paid to preach birth control sermons in church.”
Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, started advocating birth control as part of her eugenicist’s beliefs (the idea of Hitler that the white race is superior and other races needed to be eliminated from the Earth). Abortion factored into the end game.
As a result of this nefarious plan, the black community is in jeopardy of declining as a population, Hoye says. Read the rest: Civil Rights abortion
Eight thousand people a month searched Google in Canada to ask about suicide and the first article at the top of the search page is: “Seven Painless Ways to Commit Suicide.”
This fact disturbed James Kelly and he resolved to do something by marrying Christianity to technology.
But the young minister in Waterloo, Ontario, didn’t know what he could do. Fortunately, he knew guys who could, techies who were Christians but didn’t know what role they could fill in the church. They didn’t want to do public speaking, and they couldn’t strum a guitar. They were nerds. What could they do for Jesus?
James gathered a bunch of them together in a coffee shop 2016 and asked how to solve the suicide search conundrum on Google. They went to work on the assignment and managed to place a website on top that offers hope and persuades despairing people to NOT take their lives.
A year later, a team member was talking about the site to a friend who suddenly seized her arm with eyes widening. What was the URL? she asked. The team member answered. The friend started misting in her eyes. Just the night before, she contemplated suicide and searched Google.
“I landed on that website and that site saved my life,” she confided.
The URL is howtokillyourself.org, which is a strategy to respond to the search terms. But inside the website there is encouragement for people struggling. There’s a video about Kevin Hines, who attempted and regretted suicide. The three tenets are: you are not alone, here’s information, here’s a phone number.
“Did anyone know where he could build a website that could literally save people’s lives?” James asks on a This Is Me TV video. “The Lord’s like, yep.”
Today, James leads FaithTech, a place where Christian technology is a thing. Since starting in Waterloo, it has grown to major cities in Canada with “hackathons,” events where techies brainstorm solutions for ministries and kingdom business. It has inspired knockoffs in the United States.
James was drawn toward trouble like many 13-year-olds. He had begun to dabble in the party scene. But his dad slapped a Bible down in front of him and asked him to meditate for a couple hours on Matthew 7:13: Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
Kelly got it. Instead of living wobbly faith, he made the convictions his own, got baptized and put on a Jesus bracelet, which he would deliberately leave on the table to witness.
His dad and siblings were all business majors in college, so he followed suit. But when he consulted a mentor, he got clarity as to what he most wanted to do in life: usher people into the Kingdom.
With his wife, he lived in South Sudan for three months to see what the rest of the world looked like. From that experience, he determined not to do “parachute ministry” — live in a rich neighborhood and land in a poor neighborhood for short-term ministry.
After venturing into the isolated Andes mountains of Colombia to reach the unreached Motilone tribe for Jesus, 19-year-old Bruce Olson was ambushed and shot in the leg with an arrow in 1961. His Yukpa guide fled as six warriors moved in and captured him, forcing him to stand and walk six miles to their tribal hut.
The Motilone indigenous peoples (they call themselves Bari) were feared by all outsiders because they killed anyone and everyone who made contact with them. Bruce says that such hostility stemmed from their fear that outsiders were cannibals, according his interview on the Strang Report podcast.
Bruce was allowed to recover, guarded in the hut. Three days after his capture, his first meal was a palm tree maggot, which he didn’t know how to eat. He was famished and when he cracked the exoskeleton with his teeth, the contents burst over his face and tasted like liquefied bacon and eggs.
When he spotted bananas hanging in the upper supports of the communal hut, his eyes pleaded with his captors to be able to eat one, which they granted. He quickly learned the word for banana and would ask often for the tasty treat. On the third occasion that he asked for a banana, they brought him an ax instead, and that’s how he discovered their language is tonal.
“I felt as a young Christian convert in Minneapolis that my place would be among the unevangelized tribal people of South America,” he says. “I felt uniquely drawn to Colombia because I liked the literature of Colombia. I bought a one-way ticket to Colombia. After one year of learning Spanish, I ventured into the jungle to make contact with the Bari people.”
Eventually, the Motilone realized that Bruce was not a hostile threat but a human being just like them. He learned their language and learned to fish and live among these primitives. He was accepted by everyone except a certain fearsome warrior who could not reconcile with the idea of a friendly outsider and threatened to kill Bruce.
On one night, the mighty warrior came to take his life. But Bruce had fallen gravely ill with jaundiced eyes, and so the warrior desisted. Tribal superstitions forbade killing sickly persons.
Bruce — or Bruchko, as they called him — was essentially “civilization’s” first contact with the tribe that killed all previous Colombian emissaries, prospectors and oil explorers. He would travel into cities to buy medicines and supplies. On one such trip, he discovered a newly-invented flea collar for pets. He bought one — for himself — and wore it around his neck.
Success for his efforts came with the winning of a convert, who was just about to be initiated into manhood. The ritual included a contest of chanting lengthy poems among the men. It sounded eerily demonic to Bruce, who was uninitiated as yet to the custom, but as he listened intently, he heard his young convert tell about Jesus as all the others perked up to his tale. Read the rest: Bruce Olson, Bruchko
Jeff Levitan had made millions by age 30, so he did what was expected: he retired to his beautiful home and a life of luxury funded by investments that would continue to churn out income for the rest of his life.
Two months later, he came out of retirement, finding himself bored.
Jeff realized that he needed something better than money and its trappings. He needed to find a higher purpose to animate his life.
Today, he’s back at financial advising and making money. The difference now is that he launched the All For One Foundation, which establishes orphanages around the world.
These are not your typical orphanages. He refers to them as “prosperity centers.”
If that name gave you pause, it does for a lot of people. They’re teaching the lessons of capitalism to poor little kids in countries with weak economies. Are the principles of wealth creation and wealth management the exclusive domain of developed countries? Or do they apply to the rest of the world also?
Jeff’s initiative is going to find out.
While the United Nations throws money at the world’s problems, the All For One Foundation is teaching some of the poorest orphans in the worlds how to break the cycle of poverty for future generations.
“All For One is doing more than just giving children of the world hope,” says a promotional video. “All For One is actively working towards building the systems needed not just to survive but to thrive. We’ve seen firsthand the lasting impact our projects have had around the world.”
For 20 years, these orphanages and schools in Sierra Leone, Nicaragua and 27 other nations, offer 25,000 kids (and sometimes their moms) shelter, food, health care, clothing and education — both regular academic classes and special financial courses.
Financial education – the stuff of Warren Buffett – in the developing world. Wrap your head around that.
For his first crime, Curtis Carroll was congratulated.
“It was the first time that I was told that I had potential and felt like somebody believed in me,” Curtis says on a TED Talk. “Nobody ever told me that I could be a lawyer, doctor or engineer. I mean, how was I supposed to do that? I couldn’t read, write or spell. I was illiterate. So I always thought crime was my way to go.”
Learning on the mean streets of East Oakland that crime was the way to get money led him to a 54-year-to-life sentence in San Quentin for a robbery that backfired and ended in murder.
Today, Curtis has served 24 years on that sentence, gotten saved, taught himself to read and learned about financial investment.
His success at picking stocks earned him the nickname “The Oracle of San Quentin,” but inmates call him “Wall Street” because he teaches a financial literacy class based on the idea that teaching convicts how to make and save money through legitimate modes will keep them from resorting to illegitimate means once they’re out.
Curtis Carroll was surrounded by the vicious hood devastated by the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 90s. His mother donated blood to get money to feed her kids. His uncle taught Curtis to steal quarters from arcade machines.
On one occasion a security guard spotted him stealing the quarters and Curtis ran, climbed a fence, but the weight of the quarters in his backpack caused him to fall back to the ground.
When he was released to his mother from juvenile hall, his uncle told him to be smarter next time: “You weren’t supposed to take ALL the quarters.”
Ten minutes later, they burglarized another arcade game because they needed to buy gas to get home.
At age 17, a botched robbery turned fatal, with Curtis pulling the trigger on 22-year-old Gilberto Medina Gil. Curtis turned himself in to police and was sentenced to prison for the murder of Gil.
Because he was illiterate, he would let his cellmate read the sports page to him. But one time, he accidentally grabbed the business section.
An older inmate casually asked if he traded stocks. Curtis couldn’t read, much less know about stocks, so he asked.
“That’s where white folk put their money,” the older inmate replied.
“It was the first time that I saw a glimpse of hope, a future,” Curtis says. “He gave me this brief description of what stocks were.”
Curious to learn more, Curtis, at age 20, taught himself to read.
“It was the hardest thing I’d ever done in my life. It was the most agonizing time of my life, trying to learn how to read, (facing) the ostracism from my family, from the homies,” he says. “Little did I know I was receiving the greatest gifts I had ever dreamed of: self-worth, knowledge, discipline.”
Next, he studied finance in general and the stock market in particular. He scoured the business sections of the prison newspapers and checked out books from the prison library. His role models changed from drug pushers to William Bennett and Bill Gates.
He started investing, with the help of family members on the outside of prison, in penny stocks. He used the money he got from selling unused postage stamps and selling tobacco to his fellow inmates, according to MoneyWise. As he earned small returns, he made bigger picks.
Outside prison, his money was growing. He will be well-positioned to become a tax-paying member of society contributing to the economy once he gets out — unlike so many other inmates who are expected to “make it” outside without support or money.
“A typical incarcerated person would enter the California prison system with no financial education, earn 30 cents an hour, over $800 a year, with no real expenses and save no money,” Curtis says. “Upon his parole, he will be given $200 gate money and be told, ‘Hey, good luck, stay out of trouble. Don’t come back to prison.’
“With no meaningful preparation or long-term financial plan, what does he do? Get a good job? Or go back to the very criminal behavior that led him to prison in the first place? You taxpayers, you choose.”
In response, Curtis led the charge to add financial education to prison reform. And prison staff responded, making arrangements for him to teach about finances in San Quentin’s chapel.
Curtis not only picked up financial knowledge in prison. He also picked up Jesus.
“I want to give all glory to God, because without Him I wouldn’t look or feel like this,” he says on Inside the Rift. “Real freedom is a mental state, not a physical one. I remain cheerful due to God’s grace and the gift He’s chosen to give me. I stay focused because with this gift I have been given, there is a job that needs to be done.
Dr. Ayman Srour didn’t mind if innocent Jews were killed alongside guilty ones because Jewish soldiers beheaded his grandfather in retaliation for a Jewish soldier killed at Eilabun in 1948.
“When the Israeli buses were exploding, I would say, ‘Hail, Hamas!’ and ‘Cheers to Fatah!’ I used to say, ‘You are the jihadists, you are the truth, you are the strong who defended my honor!’ I became a young man whose heart was filled with hatred.”
Dr. Ayman no longer rejoices over such atrocities because he started thinking about his sister in Haifa. There was a terrorist attack in Israel’s third largest city and a lot of orthodox Jews were killed. What if his sister had been close to the explosion and been killed? Would he celebrate?
Should the innocent die along with the guilty?
The question began to unnerve him more and more and ultimately overturned his political worldview.
Dr. Ayman’s journey from Jew-hater to Jew-lover is a story of hope for the strife-plagued Middle East.
His story and the conflicts in his heart started in Eilabun, a tiny Arab town in Israel’s territory 11 miles west of the Sea of Galilee. The Arabs there are Christians, not Muslims, so getting embroiled in the Muslim-Jewish conflagration surrounding may have been unintended but inevitable.
In 1948, joint Arab Muslim forces moved in to “liberate Palestine” from the United Nations-decreed formation of the Jewish state of Israel. Israel was formed after the world saw the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust. The recently formed U.N. voted to officially recognize a homeland for the Jews.
Palestine had been under colonial rule as part of the British Empire. But the post-World War II zeitgeist was to grant independence to former colonies, and jurisdictional authority was awarded to the Jewish people.
The Palestinians were outraged, and so was the Muslim Arab world, who mustered forces and formed armies to wipe Israel off the map. Fawzi al-Qawuqji occupied Eilabun with his Arab Liberation Army. His forces killed two Israeli soldiers. The head of one of the soldiers was used as a soccer ball in town.
The barbarism was designed to manifest scorn for the hated “Israeli occupiers.” It enraged Israeli soldiers, who shortly thereafter captured the town.
“The people who cut off his head were not from Eilabun. They were the so-called Liberation Army that arrived from Arab countries to save Palestine from the so-called (Jewish) enemy,” Dr. Ayman says. “But the villagers mourned the death of the man. Eilabun’s people did not instill hatred and resentment into their hearts. Instead, they followed the basic human principles: Love your neighbor, Respect, do not scorn the other.”
Israel’s soldiers, which soundly routed the Arab armies on all fronts, came to Eilabun wanting to avenge their fallen comrades. They didn’t have the time to bother with the finer points of difference between the Arab Christians and the Arab Muslims. Though villagers waved white flags upon the advance of the Jews on the town, the Israeli soldiers decided to make an example of their superior power.
Without any trial or deliberation, they executed 14 men in what is known as the Eilabun Massacre.
One of those men was Dr. Ayman’s grandfather.
“He was killed in cold blood,” Dr. Ayman says. “My heart was full of anger. Very deep anger.”
As a child, Dr. Ayman accepted Jesus into his heart upon watching the JESUS film, put out by Campus Crusade for Christ. But his childish enthusiasm for a true relationship with Jesus got smothered by the hate growing in his heart for the loss of his grandfather. Read the rest: Dr. Ayman Srour
On 24-hour shifts, rifle-ready Lee Yih peered across the border into East Germany, guarding against Soviet troops that never came. On his days off, the U.S. Army soldier fought with his wife and got stoned.
“I was real alienated,” Lee says on an “I Am Second” video. “I was just a loser, just not functioning in life.”
Before he lost his way in life, Lee Yih says he was born with great ambitions to be rich — a stark contrast to growing up as the offspring of a date rape in a single parent home. Being Asian, he felt like an outcast among all-white classmates in Mount Joy, Iowa.
“I hated to be Chinese. I told my mom I wanted to be white. In the town where I grew, there were no other Chinese people and I wanted so much to fit in. Basically, I had no identity.”
His mother bristled at his rebellious rejection of Asian culture, so she shipped him off to Taiwan to learn Chinese when he was 15 years old.
“Now I got worse problems because where once I felt so Chinese in Iowa and so foreign and not fitting in, now I’m really not fitting in because I am in China, and I am so American,” he recounts.
Then a friend invited him to a Christian camp. “I got snookered into going to a Baptist youth camp,” he remembers.
At the camp, he heard about Jesus, and, feeling lonely and unloved, he asked the Savior into his heart.
Unfortunately, when he returned to America, he forgot about Jesus. In college he joined a fraternity at UCLA. When some of his peers accepted Jesus through Hal Lindsey’s ministry, the rest of the guys jeered them. Lee pretended he didn’t know Jesus and joined the band of mockers.
He prolonged his four-year degree into five, ran afoul of the draft and found himself in the U.S. Army, stationed at Giessen, West Germany, guarding one of the most sensitive borders of the Cold War.
But as he peered across the Iron Curtain day after day on redeye shifts and no communist soldiers advanced, the nervousness eventually gave way to tedium.
“I had no meaning to my life,” he says.
Like so many other U.S. soldiers facing the noxious mix of tension/boredom guarding the border with East Germany, he fell into drugs.
“All the guys in Germany were back from Vietnam,” he recalls. “Here they are talking about killing gooks (the derogatory term used for North Vietnamese soldiers). And I’m looking in the mirror, saying, ‘Wait a minute. I think I’m a gook to these guys.’”
He also started a family — and promptly it faltered. His wife, Miltinnie, threatened to leave him. Read the rest: Lee Yih Christian
The free house and salary in Nashville offered to allow Drew Worsham to kickstart his career as a magician were tempting.
But the man who had traveled across the country in his car performing magic tricks — with a presentation of the gospel — for a meal, well, he wanted to go to the State of Washington because it was the most unchurched state at the time.
He wanted to minister to college and high school kids using magic, even though he had no financial guarantees.
“I was walking away from this sweet deal of becoming a national performer,” Drew says on a This is Me TV video. “Moving to Washington felt like moving to Africa. It was the farthest point away from where I lived in the continental USA.”
But he was drawn to the overwhelming need. Of 35,000 college students in Washington, only 200 or 300 of them attended church, he says.
So he put aside his dream for a big career in magic and said hello to a life of ministry.
“I decided to kill the dream and plant a church,” Drew says. “Then this phone call comes through. This guy says, ‘I would love for you to come and be a part of this event.’ It was a pretty large event in Texas, one that I’d actually been to as a student. That opened up the door for all of these platforms.”
Drew’s love for magic started with a Disney Mickey Mouse book of magic. Along with telling jokes, magic was a way to delight people, and every time Drew saw a new magic trick in a store, he wanted to buy it.
He wasn’t really interested in the Gospel (when invited to a youth group, he said he would attend, but didn’t show up) until an older man started hanging out with him and showing him what Christianity was without pressuring him.
The strategy of saying less and showing more worked like a magic trick. Drew disappeared from the devil’s hand and wound up in God’s strong grip.
In college, he continued performing while studying psychology. He wanted to be a marriage and family counselor. In psychology, he learned about mentalism, a special area of magic that gets people to say the word you want by subtle suggestions, as if you could read their minds. It causes a sensation in crowds.
Always, Drew incorporated the message of salvation with his magic (which many call illusions since there is no actual magic involved). For example, he’ll make a sponge ball disappear from a person’s hand and show up in his hand.
Then he will talk about how it’s impossible for man to cross the gap between a holy God and sinful man, but God provided a way through the cross of Christ.
Before graduating college during a 3:00 a.m. cram study session, he asked his buddy what he planned to do after college.
Matt Cline’s agent gave him certainty: “You will be drafted” in a Canadian Western Hockey League.
But then Matt went inexplicably into a scoring dry spell.
“I had 103 points in 27 games,” he says on a “This is Me” video. “But after Christmas I started struggling a bit. There was a mental block and I couldn’t produce like I did before, and I wasn’t confident making plays.”
To make matters worse, in his second season, while he was still draftable, a big defensive player skated up to him, when he hurled the puck around the backboard and “checked” him — which means he crashed into him with his whole body at high speed. Roughing up players is common in hockey and is meant to intimidate opponents and throw them off their game.
Matt’s helmet slammed the ice severely.
“My head just felt like it was 200 pounds and was just pounding,” Matt says. “It was a pain that to that point in my life I had never felt a pain before. I lay on the ice, and I remember that the crowd was silent and the place stopped and my trainer came running out. I just couldn’t figure out how to think. I couldn’t process what was going on.”
Pain related to his head injury lingered, and he was disqualified from the next game. And the next. And the next.
He missed the rest of the season.
He wanted to start his third and final draftable season but couldn’t. Finally, he left the team for good and returned home.
“I didn’t really cry early on to my injury,” he remembers. “But I cried when I left. I remember just thinking like, ‘What’s next for me? Who am I?’ From the time I was five years old, all I had ever thought about and done was hockey.
“It was the end of a dream.”
At his parents’, he was comforted by Matthew 6, which he stumbled across in an open Bible on the kitchen island: “Do not worry, for who of you by worrying will add a single hour to your life?”
Out of his schooling he started a business, but God called him to walk away from success.
For eight years, he had fallen into the trap of watching porn, and finding release from his addiction led to a ministry to help other struggling men.
When he met a girl and things seemed to get serious, he decided to share with her his besetting sin.
“I didn’t want to have a relationship with secrets, and so I went for it and I told he,” he recalls. I “It literally felt like a million pounds had been lifted off my shoulders because finally the secret was out. Every time I told someone, it became a little bit easier to confess and the shame started dwindling in my life because I realized that people are loving me when they know my secret.” Read the rest: Matt Cline Christian
In his ambition to become a millionaire, Jared Brock graduated college before most finish high school, and became one of the country’s youngest licensed real estate agents. Next he bought a four-plex, flipped it and made a ton of money.
He spent the money as quickly as he earned it.
“I blew it all,” Jared says on a This Is Me video. “I bought two cars. I traveled a lot.”
His ambition began with his dad’s supposed “failure” – in Jared’s eyes.
“My dad’s stated goal was to become a millionaire by the time he was 30, but in his 20s, God really gripped his heart, and he became a pastor instead,” Jared says. “As a teenager, I looked at that and said, ‘My dad has failed.’ So I decided to make it my goal, I vowed that I would become a millionaire by the time I was 30.”
Jared was well on his way to his goal when he married Michelle and honeymooned at Lake Nicaragua where there are fresh-water sharks.
The first disappointment was all the trash along the shore of the lake, which otherwise is a marvel of natural beauty.
The second disappointment was a 19-year-old boy with no legs who hobbled up on crutches to a leaky fire hydrant, pulled out a straw and began drinking.
“Daniel had no hope and it rocked me. I had never seen poverty before. I had never witnessed environmental degradation before,” he says. “And it changed me in that moment. My dream of becoming a millionaire just died there.”
Newlyweds Anthony and Jhanilka Hartzog didn’t worry too much about their $114,000 in combined debt since they both had good jobs. He worked for a New York-based IT firm and she was a licensed mental health counselor.
“I felt like we’ll pay it off whenever we pay it off,” Jhanilka says on a CBN video. “There’s no rush, just kind of like everybody else does, you have car payments, you have student loan payments, this is just part of life.
But as they attended church, they were challenged to think about giving more to help others in need and to think about creating generational wealth, what they hoped to pass along to their children one day.
“I’m going to church now. I want to be a part of it. I want to support,” Anthony says. “The same way we were budgeting for our food and for our clothes, we were budgeting for our tithing as well.”
By budgeting, they reigned in their expenses. The couple took another step; they supplemented their income with side hustles. Anthony signed up his new car for peer-to-peer rental. Jhanilka started a dog sitting business. Anthony worked at a gym on weekends. The industrious couple also started a cleaning business.
Within two years, they had paid off their student loans and credit card debt.
“As we were raising our income, we were tithing,” Anthony confides. “The money we were tithing was never ‘felt’ because we were always getting it back.” Read the rest: Get debt free in God.
He smoked a “death bowl” — an overpowering mix of marijuana laced with cocaine, heroin and PCP — and true to its name, he suffered a near-death experience.
“I stayed up for 10 straight days, and on the last day, actually had an encounter with, I believe, Satan. At the time, I thought it was my Buddhist god,” Steve Kang recounts on a video on his YouTube channel.
Satan growled at him: I know you’re having a hard time. It’s time for you to take your own life. Cut your neck; cut your stomach, and I’ll spare you from Hell.
Steve Kang immigrated from Seoul, South Korea, when he was nine. He was among a tiny minority of Asian kids living in the outskirts of Boston in the 1980s and ‘90s and hated standing out like a sore thumb.
“I wanted to be white,” he says. “Everyone was Caucasian or Puerto Rican or African American back then. So Asians were like the minority of minorities. Depression or sadness or anger is a sign of not having something you want, right?”
The confusion, he says, led to anger and rebellion. In college, he started smoking weed with his buddies, and they moved drugs for sale in duffle bags. That made him also a drug dealer.
When the overdose fully kicked in, Steve obeyed his Buddhist god, otherwise known as Satan. He went to the kitchen and got the biggest knife he could find and gashed his neck and stomach. His mom, who was home, came in, saw him and called 911. Police came within a few minutes and wrestled the knife from him.
He passed out and was taken to the hospital. In all, he lost 90% of his blood, he recounts.
While he was unconscious from the overdose, he went to Hell.
“I’m sinking and it feels like an elevator just falling down and after five minutes of just this horrific feeling of being abandoned and fear multiplied by 100,” he says. “I land and I look around and it’s Hell. How do I know it’s Hell? Instinctively, supernaturally, I just knew.”
Demons and people were piled high.
“I feel pain and I knew I was a sinner and I will never leave this place,” he says. “It’s like hopelessness, the spirit of loneliness. There is no quenching of fire and there’s no stopping of the gnashing of teeth and I did feel heat. I did feel darkness.” Read the rest: a visit to Hell.
Despite owing a combined $250,000 in student loan and credit card debt, newlyweds Dwight and Ashley Sanders committed to paying the tithe, 10% of their income to their church.
“Money in God’s kingdom is the opposite of what we think it should be,” Dwight says on a CBN video. “You tithe first, even though it doesn’t make sense, even though you can’t make ends meet, and God will let you make your ends meet.”
Their faith didn’t flounder when three years later Ashley gave birth to Levi, a baby needing expensive bone marrow transplants, and Dwight lost his engineering job and health insurance.
Against all odds and against logic, the couple tithed his severance pay.
Every day was a stressful myriad of calls from medical staff and insurance people. Ashley, a nurse, feared the compounding interest on their debt.
“I looked at Dwight and I said, ‘I have no idea how we are going to pay this off,’” Ashley says. “I just laid my hands on the stack (of bills), and I said, ‘God, I don’t know how it’s going to happen but You do. You are our provider, and we trust in You.’” Read the rest: Does tithing work?
He lived in America, she in South Africa. He fell into depression. She thought he was cute on Facebook and sent a friend request. God brought them together to get married.
“I was actually struggling with severe depression and I was seeing a counselor for two or three years and I remember just losing interest in the things that I loved,” Christian says on his YouTube channel. “I was in my car and I just said a little prayer to Heavenly Father: ‘What can I do to get out of this depression?”
He felt like he needed a vacation. Oblivious to Ziya’s friend request which he ignored for weeks, he selected his vacation location: South Africa.
“I honestly thought he was really really cute. I sent him a friend request” on Facebook, Ziya says. “He never accepted my friend request, so I decided to delete my friend request because I was a little bit embarrassed.”
Months went by. Christian says he wasn’t ready for Ziya. But as his vacation to South Africa approached, he happened to notice her message in Facebook to see if he wanted to be “friends.” He sent her a friend request in August 2018.
“I looked at her profile and gosh dang that’s a beautiful girl wow,” Christian says. “She was absolutely stunning.”
When Ziya saw his friend request, she was flattered and pleased. The two started chatting.
“I was crushing on her so much,” Christian admits. “She was so fun to talk to. She was funny. We could talk about anything. We talked about each other’s families, each other’s interests. We both love sports, love soccer. It was just perfect. It was too good to be true.”
For her part, Ziya kept a poker face, but inside she felt very attracted. She asked if marriage could happen.
“I knew this was a guy I wanted to be with, but I didn’t know how because he was halfway across the world,” Ziya shares. “I was in the other part of the world and it seemed so impossible. I knew that I was falling in love with him.”
It seemed natural, since he was going to visit her country, to meet up with her in person. She lived in the city of George, so Christian and his brother scheduled a visit.
In November of 2018, Christian and Connor landed in Johannesburg. Their first activity was diving in the shark cage, which was exciting. But all the while, he kept thinking about Ziya.
“I was so nervous and excited at the same time,” Christian says. “I kind of wanted this stuff to just be done with this, so I could go see her.” Read the rest: Christian and Ziya interracial romance.
After four failed marriages, Ruth Graham, the famous evangelist’s daughter, realized she had abandonment issues that could be traced to her childhood.
Billy Graham was always on the road for crusades or preparing for an event. Daughter Ruth had little quality time with her dad as she was growing up.
“If we find that we are repeating a sin or repeating a pattern, we have to look at the core issue and I had to look at the core issue,” Ruth says on a 100Huntley video. “My father is my hero and he would never have hurt my heart. But I knew it was true that piece of the puzzle fit and once I put it in the puzzle, everything sort of calmed down.”
One of five children born to America’s most famous evangelist, Ruth was taught to never show anger or be upset that her father was often absent. So, she put on a mask to hide feeling neglected.
“We grew up a normal family,” Ruth says. “I mean it was just as dysfunctional as everybody else. I didn’t have that kind of time with my father and I missed it and I wasn’t the kind that would assert myself and grab it.”
Her first marriage unraveled because her husband cheated on her.
“I grew up around honorable men. So it never occurred to me that my husband of 18 years had been unfaithful to me for a number of years,” she says. “It just pulled the rug out from under me.”
Ruth says she and her husband went through counseling and she forgave him, but after he kept cheating on her, she decided to call it quits.
“Forgiveness is unconditional. Reconciliation is conditioned on the changed behavior of the one who’s done the wounding,” she says. “My husband wasn’t changing.”
Finally, the anger she repressed boiled over.
She and her siblings were not allowed to be angry as youngsters, she says. “So I just stuffed it and I stuffed it and I stuffed it and I stuffed it and that’s not a healthy thing.”
Shortly after the divorce, her ex died, and she forgave him.
Her second marriage was a “rebound,” she admits. On the outside, she was saying Christ was her security, but deep inside in the secret place of her heart, she was filled with insecurities.
The marriage lasted only three months because the man was abusive.
“I think it’s important to remove ourselves from a toxic situation, out of an abusive situation,” she says.
Not long afterward, she remarried a man she adored, but he called it quits after a decade.
“I was just devastated, just totally devastated,” she says.
Annie Lobert was raised in Minneapolis. Her alcoholic father was relentlessly harsh toward her, so when the boys paid her compliments in high school, she swooned. Her high school sweetheart talked of forming a family, but then she found out he was cheating.
“I completely took my entire heart and gave it to this boy and when I found out that he was sleeping with several of my best girlfriends, it was such a shock to me.”
Annie moved out on graduation day. She was working three jobs to make ends meet, so when a friend told her she had a Corvette in Waikiki and a lavish lifestyle spending days on the beach, she agreed to visit.
“I knew something wasn’t right, but the lure of the possibility of having nice things and finally having money that I never had growing up” was too much to resist, she says.
Her friend was prostituting herself, and Annie joined her.
“I became a different person, became the harlot, became the Queen of Lies, that Jezebel,” she says. “I was embraced by the devil and his false love.”
At first the money was good, really good: between $1,000 and $10,000. But later she fell for a sweet-talking guy who took her to Las Vegas.
After she arrived she discovered her “boyfriend” was actually a pimp. She now had to work for him under threat of life.
After a day of working, she came home with a wad. “Break yourself,” he told her, meaning that she must hand over all the money to him. This was very different from his charming demeanor earlier, so she resisted.
“He proceeded to take me out by my hair,” she remembers on an I am Second video. “He choked me. He threw me on the porch on my knees and he started kicking me. My nose broke. My ribs broke.
“I was looking at the devil.”
He raped her, held a gun to her head and let her know she would never escape alive.
After five years, she managed to get free.
“You’ll leave the money, the cars, the houses all behind, because when you leave a pimp, you leave with nothing,” she says.
Annie wasn’t as young anymore, so the money wasn’t as good. She developed cancer and lost all her hair undergoing chemotherapy.
She started taking painkillers for bone pain and became addicted. From there, she went on to cocaine. She was wearing wigs and staying in seedy motels. Feeling debased and dirty, she decided one night to end it all with an overdose of freebase cocaine
“I went completely blind,” she recalls. “It’s like the whole room, the light that was on in that room turned dark, and I remember laying there. And I felt this demonic presence just come over me. I got really really scared and I just instinctively knew I knew that I was at death’s door.” Read the rest: Annie Lobert Hookers for Jesus.
As far as required qualifications, Brigitte Bedard possessed all that is needed for a militant feminist: she hated men, she hated Christianity and she was a lesbian.
As a young person growing up in Montreal, she got into drinking and drugs and experienced the thrill of libertine life.
“I discovered intensity of what I experienced for the first time in my life, something that was you know like so strong,” she says.” I was feeling alive.”
Hurtling into sin, she left behind any notion of faith and the ways of her parents. She was particular impressed with feminist teachings at college and fully adopted them.
“I was the good one. I was the victim, I was a woman,” she says. “Men, history, the church and God were wrong.”
She fell into the lesbian lifestyle and adopted it as her identity. She felt complete, whole and independent. She didn’t need a man.
While she projected affirmations of feminism, she secretly longed for a family and children.
“It was a big paradox. You hate men, but you want to be with them,” Brigitte says. “You cannot live with them and you can’t live without them. I wanted to marry, have children and a house — secretly, secretly, deep down.”
The internal contradictions bugged her and left her feeling ultimately dissatisfied
“The emptiness was like I didn’t feel anything,” she says. “I felt like when I was a little child. When you’re a feminist after eight years in that lifestyle, I was very confused.” Read the rest: militant feminist won over by priest.
The Undertaker — WWE’s longest-running and most-heralded villain — has had a major change of heart thanks to his wife Michelle McCool who married him only after “she realized I wasn’t Satan,” he says.
Mark Calaway resisted accompanying his blonde wrestler wife to church because, after 17 surgeries, he didn’t look forward to bowing down at the altar and because he feared “the pastor’s going to see me and he is just going to throw fire and brimstone right me,” he says on a YouTube video.
“I went reluctantly, but once I got there I found myself going from being tense and pensive to kind of leaning in and like, ‘Wow, this is pretty cool.’ That started my journey.”
Mark grew up in a Catholic school with nuns enforcing the rules with cracks on the head in Houston, Texas. The 6’10” 309-lb behemoth was drawn to sports, basketball and football, and even played for the Rams in 1985-86 before donning a red mask in the ring in his original guise as Texas Red.
In 1989, he was re-christened “The Master of Pain,” with an invented criminal backstory as a recently-released killer from Atlanta, but by the end of the year he had a new name with a new schtick that stuck: he became The Undertaker, a persona that endured three decades and won 21 straight matches.
All the way, he lived “a life of excess” and cycled through two marriages before he met and married Michelle McCool in 2010. He retired from wrestling in June of 2020 after concussions and injuries made it increasingly difficult to perform on par.
When he saw Michelle McCool, he noticed her terrific work ethic and golden locks.
She wanted nothing to do with him.
“She was truly terrified of me,” Mark says. “She did not want anything to do with me.”
But he wore he down. He also proved to her that the bad guy persona in front of the camera had nothing in common with his heart. Read the rest: The Undertaker is Christian
The voice was good, the look was good, but American Idol judges summarily dismissed Moriah Peters’ performance based on her Christian testimony. She wrote on her bio that she was reserving her first kiss for marriage.
“You need to go out into the world and make some mistakes and get some life experience and come back,” one of the judges said. “You need to go out and kiss somebody and that’ll make you feel sexier and then come back after for a hearing.”
Moriah had given up her high school prom and cut back on studies so she could participate in multiple auditions. Their response was crushing, but she maintained her faith in God.
“I was fighting the tears,” Moriah recounts on an I Am Second video. God had opened up the doors until that point, but now He seemed to close them, but she knew God had a greater plan and His strength would see her through.
Moriah got her start in Christian music at a church camp in the sixth grade. The worship music moved her and she felt drawn to God. Soon, she was singing in her church and leading worship. After a sensational Easter performance, people encouraged the Pomona, California, native to try out for American Idol.
But judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Avril Lavigne were harsh with her and sent her down the elevator.
As she walked out of the building, a random stranger congratulated her and asked to introduce her to Wendi Foy, who helped her put together a demo for record labels in Nashville.
She was struck by how quickly God opened the next door and saw it as a miracle. Since then, she signed with Reunion Records.
Then she got engaged to Christian music legend Joel Smallbone of For King and Country. How they met was the stuff of a Hallmark Channel movie.
The woman who invited her to a wedding that Joel also attended raved about him in the car, which made Moriah feel awkward. Then there was the line of women waiting to talk with him. She felt uncomfortable joining the line.
“This is not Disneyland, and you are not Pocahontas,” she was thinking. “I’m not standing in line. This is ridiculous.”
When she made it to the front of the line she still felt odd. The dude looked like a Ken doll.
As a part of the traveling Romani Gypsies in Scotland, David Buckland grew up in a trailer without heat or running water. His father was a farmworker and they connected the T.V. to the car battery when they wanted to watch something.
The Scottish kids called him a pikey, a pejorative term for the minority European group.
“We had to learn to defend ourselves. It was the only way I knew was fighting. I had a younger brother to defend as well,” David told God Reports.
Today at 49, David is saved after 25 years of heroin addiction. “I was a king of sin, but He is The King of Salvation,” the Victory Outreach volunteer says.
David Buckland’s dad was a given to blows.
“My father was a violent man and we were all terrified of him,” David says. “He beat up everybody, me, my brother, the neighbors.”
His mother abused alcohol and prescription drugs.
To cope with the brokenness of his home, David got into boxing.
“When I was eight, I got obsessed by boxing and put my all into becoming a Sugar Ray or Ali,” he says. “I loved boxing. That was my claim to escape.”
But at 17, his claim to escape became running with a youth gang. He drank and started smoking weed, along with hallucinogenic drugs.
“I dabbled in the occult not knowing what I was opening doors to,” he says. “I ended up becoming a heroin addict for 25 years.”
Once while serving a jail sentence, he read Blood in Blood Out, the story of Art Blajos who trained for the Mexican Mafia in San Quentin and became a big-time drug dealer and abuser before coming to Christ and dedicating… Read the rest: Victory Outreach England.
Of 50 top mob bosses in the 1980s, 47 are dead, two are doing life in prison, but one, Michael Franzese, found a way to exit the luxurious but violent life of extortion and racketeering.
“I spend a lot of my time with young people, and they’ll watch a movie like The Godfather and Goodfellas, and they’ll see all of the glamour, they’ll see the riches and the wealth and all,” Michael says on a YouTube video. “I always tell them, ‘But did you see the end of the movie? Who went to jail? Who got killed? Whose family don’t have a father?”
As a kid, Michael wanted to play centerfield for the New York Giants, but he wasn’t good enough. He tried to become a medical student because his dad didn’t want him to follow in his footsteps. But when he had a scrape with the law, Michael decided to join the Colombo family mob.
“I grew up with a distorted sense that good was bad and bed was good,” he says. “I was never addicted really to anything. I was worse. I was a stone-cold criminal. For God to change my heart and mind, it took years.”
In 1980, Michael was named a captain on the streets. With a shrewd cunning to cook up scams, he worked his way up in the mob, generating $5 million a week defrauding gas tax from the government all along the East Coast.
“The gang life is an evil lifestyle,” he says. “The reason I say that is because I don’t know any family or any member of that life that hasn’t been totally destroyed.”
His renown splashed on the pages of Fortune magazine. They profiled him and five others in an article featuring the “most powerful mob bosses in America.”
What brought 15 years of mafia life to an end? It was a beautiful girl named Camille. She was a girl from Southern California who met him in South Florida when he was producing a film. For all she knew, he was just a movie producer.
“I realized I wanted her in my life and that my life was really a direct contradiction to what her and her mom believed,” Michael says. “I respected their faith because it was true to them yeah, and I knew that I had to make some changes.”
So his plan was to marry Camille, move West, serve a couple of years in prison, get out and drop all communications with the Colombo family and turn over a new leaf.
“I figured maybe after 10 or 12 years the guys in New York will forget about me. I’d live happily ever after out in California, so that was my plan,” Michael recounts. “Unfortunately, someone above had a different plan for me and it didn’t work out.” Read the rest: Michael Franzese Christian mob leader
Add to Dave Ramsey’s credentials of Christian financial guru, best-selling author, radio cohost and television show presenter, a new title: Santa Claus.
That’s right, because Christendom’s Apostle of Assets just paid off $10 million of debt of thousands of random strangers just in time for Christmas.
By melding secular financial planning principles with Biblical concepts of stewardship, the Tennessee resident amassed a huge following after nearly three decades of counseling church members to get out of debt and save for retirement. He is famous for 10 books and “The Dave Ramsey Show” on 500 local radio stations heard by more than 14 million across the nation.
That was not enough for Dave. Apparently, he aspired to become Saint Nick also.
In December, his Ramsey Solutions bought $10 million worth of debt from two private debt collectors representing medical and car bills and canceled it. His employees (they’re not elves though) have been working feverishly to call and notify the 8,000 individuals involved that they no longer owe any money.
“I always tell my team that we are blessed for one reason, and that is so we can be a blessing to others,” he told the Christian Post. “Why the heck would anyone scoop up $10 million worth of debt and pay it off just like that? Well, the answer is simple: to show the love of Jesus Christ. You see, this whole completely forgiving a debt thing has been done before — by Him. No other gift could compare to that one, but we felt this was one small way we could continue to pass on that love.”
Recently Ramsey ran his Santa sleigh into a bit of controversy when at one of his seminars he encouraged attendants to not wear masks during the time of Covid. The media howled and portrayed him as a holiday villain.
But his latest un-Scrooge-like debt cancellation will undoubtedly improve his public relations image.
Today, Burn 24/7 outreach praise concerts led by controversial Sean Feucht have more than 300 hubs — or furnaces — spread out across more than 60 nations, some of which are “closed” to the Gospel.
But the missional worship movement started on a staircase.
That’s where Sean reconnected with God on his guitar after a disillusioning start at Oral Roberts University. The talented musician wasn’t admitted to any band and bombed every tryout. HIs roommate wore him down with worldly hip hop.
So Sean, who had seen God visit him so powerfully before, shelved his guitar and very nearly quit on God. But the day God called him to the 8-story staircase where Sean strummed his guitar for the first time in months brought back the fire.
He married his high school sweetheart, Kate, quit his successful home-flipping business, packed up a 1998 Toyota Camry and hit the road in 2006. The plan? To sing.
“Where are we going, Sean?” his young bride asked, as related by Sean’s autobiographical book Brazen: Be a Voice, not an Echo.
“I don’t really know,” he answered. “But we are on a journey pursuing his presence, and we’re going to give our entire lives to this.
It didn’t sound like a plan she would enthusiastically endorse, but she was young, naïve, and trusted God with their future.
God didn’t fail. The invitations started flowing in. He turned down fulltime job offers as he traveled relentlessly to some of the most out-of-the-way places. He named the worship concerts The Burn (later Burn 24/7).
He also traveled abroad: Indonesia, India, Nepal, Turkey, China and East Africa. After seeing Hindus and Muslims convert in Uganda, he made a grueling late-night bus ride to the airport and caught a little sleep at a location nearby.
Out of nowhere, three men with AK-47s appeared shouting in Swahili, telling Sean and his team they needed to hand over their money, passports and valuables. Kicking and beating them and driving their gun barrels into their skulls, the men shouted they would “rob, torture and kill the American,” Sean writes.
The fact that they found Christian literature in Sean’s bag only enraged them.
“Are you followers of the Way?” one of them barked.
Here we go, Sean thought to himself expecting the worst.
But then the Holy Spirit filled him with an unnatural courage.
“YES!” he shouted back. “I am a follower of Jesus! YES!”
At least, he wouldn’t go out a sniveling coward.
Sean, whose face was against the concrete, awaited the inevitable.
But instead of gunshots, there was silence.
(Later he learned his wife back in America was awakened and felt an urgent need to pray for Sean — exactly at that moment.)
As he awaited a bullet, Sean felt the presence of God fill the whole room profoundly.
Since, no shots were fired, he eventually turned over and looked around the room. The men were gone. They had taken what little money he had left at the end of his trip but had left him unscathed.
“I don’t know whether those thieves saw giant angels standing in our midst,” Sean admits. “But I firmly believe that God saved our lives that day.”
His home base moved from Dallas to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. After struggling with infertility for years, his wife finally conceived the first of four kids, a girl named Keturah. Her name meant “fragrance,” and she brought great consolation at a time when Sean lost his dad, the example who had taught him to live a “brazen” faith.
For his next mission trip: Pyongyang, the capital of Christian-killing North Korea. Despite incessant supervision from a military escort, Sean and crew were able to pass out Bibles to believers. At the Korean Demilitarized Zone in the “blue room” that straddles the border with South Korea, he brought out his guitar and played worship.
Back in the U.S., he staged concerts where the first and second Great Awakening burned brightly: Boston, New York, Washington D.C. He targeted the Ivy League schools — Harvard, Yale, NYU, Princeton — for concerts. MTV wanted to produce a show on the worship phenomenon Sean led. “They could not fathom university students forgoing the life of independence and unrestraint to commit themselves in the holiness to God,” Sean writes.
After watching Jihadi John cut off journalist James Foley’s head during the rise of ISIS, Sean decided to go to ISIS-held territory in Iraq. Going to the most dangerous hotspots against all sane advice had become his M.O.
As missionaries pulled out and Kurds, Yazidis and Christian Arabs were being slaughtered by the brutal Islamists of ISIS, Sean was going in.
And he brought his wife and three small children.
“Since the rise of ISIS, all the media portrayed was death and destruction that promoted fear,” he says. “I wanted my kids to see things from another perspective, from God’s perspective. I wanted them to witness firsthand God’s power to transform places that the world deemed a lost cause.”
They were ministering to the Kurdish Peshmurga in tents on vast white sand plains. During the day, “my kids were the greatest agents of healing, kindness and joy to the refugees” as they handed out “smiles, toys and candy.” During the night, they fell asleep to constant machine-gun fire.
Sean moved from Harrisburg to Redding, CA, where he joined the influential Bethel Church and recording label. He has recorded 22 albums and written five books.
It was then God opened the doors for Sean to visit Saudi Arabia, another highly restrictive country. He got connected with an underground pastor through encrypted messaging and was set up to lead worship at a secret location in the desert.
Sean expected a few dozen in attendance, since such gatherings could bring the death penalty for Saudis. Instead, up to 1,500 secret followers of Christ showed up, he says.
When he saw it, Sean says, “I immediately broke down and crumpled to the floor. The raw passion, hunger for Jesus and sacrifice of praise mingled together and rose up like an offering before the Lord.”
Before she found a different path, Daniela Oyeeun was an instagram girl, a party girl and heart breaker.
“All these years i thought i would be happy if i had popularity, wealth and money. All these people around me, admired by men,” she says “i thought i would be happy, but i saw that i became a slave for peoples lust, comments and likes. i couldn’t sleep at night.”
Growing up in a Buddhist and Shamanist home, Daniela would bow down to statues and mumble her prayers, but what she really wanted was to be an atheist who never would have to answer to anyone for her sin.
“For me personally I wished that there was no god,” she says on her YouTube channel, “because If there is a god, it meant that I cannot do what I want to do. I loved sinning so much that I thought god was a god who would morally stop me.”
She made herself beautiful with flash and fashion, but deep inside she feared she was ugly. She was even bullied when she was 12 and 13.
“That’s why I started to put so much makeup on because I felt very insecure and I learned to change my face with makeup,” Daniela says. “The beauty I was trying to gain was related to lust and temptation. I thought that was the only way to get love.”
While she projected an image of confidence, inside she was crumbling. Every New Year’s Eve, she contemplated suicide. But the thing that held her back was the fear of a possible afterlife.
Due to her insecurities, she lashed out at those around her.
“I was a very demonic person. I would really hurt my mother mentally,” Daniela says. “She was very scared of me because I was such a mean person. i thought it was my parents’ fault that I wasn’t special.”
When she was 16 she started clubbing and partying.
“I knew somewhere inside me I was evil and I was so lonely.” she states. “I knew that they only liked me for my body and that if they saw the way I abused my siblings, father and mother they would see me for who I really was.”
As she dove deeper into worldliness, she convinced herself she was a lesbian.
“I would try to find love by having guys and girls like me, but it made me more miserable.” she says.
Her obsession with her appearance led to surgery.
“There came a point in my life when I was hopeless. I even got plastic surgery and I thought I would be more popular.” Daniela says “ I thought I would be more loved.”
To escape the pains of the real world, Daniela became engrossed in the world of anime.
Finally, during one night of despondency, she remembered when she was 12 and had an encounter with God. She turned on a praise song.
“I was compelled to listen to a worship song,” Daniela says. “As I was searching I was mocking myself, ‘There is no god. What are you doing? There is no god.’”
Nevertheless, as the chords flowed melodiously and the words spoke of hope and new life, she felt an overwhelming peace come over her. Read the rest: Instagram party girl finds Jesus
Alton Brown was bored to tears by the cooking shows he watched in the 1990s, so he set out to change that.
“I remember writing down one day: Julia Child/ Mr. Wizard/ Monty Python,” he explains on Mashed. “Everybody thought I was insane, but I knew I was doing what I wasn’t supposed to be doing.”
And that’s how the “greatest genius of the Food Network” remade cooking shows forever to the style of the mad scientist.
A born-again Christian who unabashedly says grace in fancy New York restaurants despite drawing stares, Alton Brown describes himself as a man of faith who’s simply executing a job: he’s a T.V. cook and internet personality.
“One of the things I pray for on a daily basis is that whatever God wants me to be doing, it’s reflected through my actions, how I deal with other people, the way I do my job.,” he told Eater in 2010. “And I hope I do it in a way that pleases Him.”
Born in Los Angeles in a family that soon moved to Georgia, Alton Brown suffered many disturbances in his childhood. First, his dad died on his last day of the sixth grade. It was ruled a suicide, but Alton suspects foul play.
His mom remarried four times, leaving a host of half-siblings scattered around the country, but he doesn’t have any significant relationship with them. He keeps his mom at “a 100-mile distance,” he says. “My mom didn’t respect me until I became famous.”
He married DeAnne Brown, an executive producer on Good Eats, and appeared happy until the couple divorced in 2015. When his Southern Baptist Church insisted he work things out, he resigned from membership of the church. Apparently, the potholes of his mom’s relationships punctured his own tires.
When he upended staid cooking shows, he injected nerdiness and madcap humor to liven things up. Arming himself with a New England Culinary Institute degree in 1997, he revamped the recipe of a TV chef.
A poor student of science in school, he delved into the chemistry of the cooking process, not just explaining how but why. He tiraded against exotic ingredients and single-use cooking utensils, often make-shifting his own with tools from the garage.
He cooked up Good Eats in 1998, which ran 14 seasons and won awards. He adopted the role of Dr. Yukio Hattori in 2004 for Iron Chef America Battle of the Masters, a knockoff of the Japanese cooking competition.
He hit the road on his beloved motorcycle to feature roadside eats on Feasting on Asphalt in 2006, then in 2013 premiered Cutthroat Kitchen in which battling cooks could remove either an ingredient or utensil from their opponents to win $25,000.
During Covid lockdowns, Alton took to YouTube to launch Pantry Raiders and Quarantine Quitchen.
‘Overzealous’ Mormon missionary Micah Wilder attempted to convert a Baptist pastor during a two-year mission in Orlando, Florida, but something surprising happened instead.
The Baptist pastor told the young man to go home and to read the Bible as a child. “I promise you that if you’ll do that that God will change your life and He will open your eyes and show You for the first time in your life, what the gospel, the true gospel of Jesus Christ really is.”
Micah left the pastor’s office in a huff.
As far as upbringing and credentials in Mormonism, Micah lacked nothing. His zeal surpassed many of his peers.
His mom was a professor at Mormon-stronghold Brigham Young University and his dad was a temple priest.
“I did not believe that I was saved by grace as a free gift,” Micah says in a Kassie West video. “I believed that I had to earn my way into God’s love and prove myself to God and show Him that I was worthy enough to be saved.”
Accordingly, at age 19, he trained to be a Mormon missionary with the best and the brightest the Church of Latter-Day Saints had to offer. After preparing at the Missionary Training Center at Provo, he was sent to Orlando.
“I was being very zealous and trying to convert people into my faith and riding my bicycle and knocking on doors, and I’d been there for a few months, and I got a little, you might say, overzealous in my attempt to convert others because I actually attempted to convert a Baptist minister and his whole congregation to the Mormon Church.”
Micah sat down with the pastor in his office and the two compared notes. Micah wielded the gospel of works, and the pastor illuminated Scripture. Micah was none too pleased with his fruitlessness, but the patient pastor encouraged him to re-read the New Testament, taking off the dark lenses of religion, and begin again “like a child.”
Micah didn’t give him the pleasure to say he’d take up the challenge. But, eventually, he began reading the Bible on his own over a two-year period.
“That seed was planted in my heart as a young Mormon missionary,” he recounts. “I took that Baptist minister’s challenge and I started to read the Word of God as a child for the first time of my life. I started to pour over the pages of the New Testament and every day that I did, God washed me with the water of that Word, and he consumed me with this amazing love that I did not know that my religion could ever offer me and He unveiled to me his grace in a way that I had never before seen.”
Only three weeks before the completion of his two-year mission, Micah was born-again.
“So I now found myself in a very difficult predicament because I’m a born-again Christian and a Mormon missionary, and that doesn’t work,” he confides.
Then came the first of the two most terrifying moments in his entire life.
At three weeks to completion, Mormon missionaries are called to testify about what they’ve learned on their mission trip to area colleagues. Micah agonized: should he tell them he was now born-again?
“I remember standing at the pulpit in this Mormon chapel and just trembling in fear, but Paul says in Philippians, ‘I can do All things through Christ who strengthens me,’ and by the power of God and by His grace, I was able to share a very simple testimony.”
Jesus was his all-sufficient salvation, he shared. He had confidence to enter Heaven, not based on works, but on grace alone. It was an innocuous explanation but the language didn’t line up with the works- and ritual-based salvation prescribed by Mormonism.
“There was a very awkward hush over the audience, and two days after I publicly shared that testimony, I received a phone call from my Mormon leadership and they said that they wanted to have a chat with me.”
If giving his testimony in front of his fellow missionaries had been “very terrifying,” being called in to give account to his leaders was “probably the single most terrifying moment of my entire life,” he says.
Apart from the sheer dread of appearing before something of an Inquisition, Micah stood to lose, practically speaking, his future and family. He would lose his scholarship to BYU. His family were in good standing in the church. His older brothers had been missionaries. Even his girlfriend was Mormon.
“But Jesus says that what is a profit, a man to gain the whole world, but to lose his soul and even though Mormonism had the whole world to offer me,” he says.
Haithman Besmar was a closet Muslim in London when he contracted a rare virus that hospital doctors told him would kill him overnight.
“I started praying for Allah to take me because I didn’t want to be a vegetable,” the Damascus-born economist told GodSpeed magazine. “I didn’t want to be dependent on anybody, and I didn’t want to be a burden for my young family.”
Raised by a devout family, Haithman yearned to please Allah. With uncommon intelligence, he memorized the entire Koran in high school. But he started asking questions. Since it is a sin to question Allah, his parents punished him severely “to save him from Hell,” he says.
At age 17, he departed for England to study civil engineering, finance and economics.
In the West, “I concealed my identity as a Muslim because it was so embarrassing for me, everything that was going on in the Muslim world,” he says. Aside from beheading of infidels in the Middle East, the Arabs who came to England displayed flagrant hedonism (while very religious at home, Muslims often give unrestrained abandon to their fleshly desires abroad.)
“I didn’t want to be associated as one of them,” he says.
In the office, he projected the image of being a native from England. But in private, he prayed five times a day, fasted during Ramadan and prayed his beads beyond what was expected — a dreary regimen of trying to appease Allah.
“There was nothing out of love and relationship with Allah, it was always out of fear,” he admits.
His integration into England was so complete that he married a born-again girl. As they fell in love, he confessed to her that he was, in fact, a Muslim. She lost her smile.
“Your religion freaks me out,” she said.
“Don’t worry,” he responded. “It freaks me out too.”
From time to time after marrying him, his wife would sweetly suggest something from the Bible, but Haitham always took refuge in the standard Muslim reply: the Bible has become corrupted through years of copying and translating.
(Not until later did he see that the Koran’s pretensions to being unadulterated are not irreproachable either. Ninth century scholar Sahih al-Bukhari says the Koran comprises 116 chapters, but Sahih Muslim vol. 3 attests to only 111. The current Koran has 114 chapters, which means either two were added or three were removed from the original, he says.)
But the breakdown of his faith in Islam didn’t come from discrediting the Koran. It came from his hospital visit at age 50.
“I lost vision in my left eye from a virus in the optic nerve,” he remembers. Doctors warned him that if the infection invaded the brain, it could be fatal.
“The statistics are against you,” the doctor told him. “If you survive until the morning, we’re gonna have to induce a coma to slow the virus.”
Beaten up with a swollen face, Jeffrey waited in the ER for medical attention and surveyed his life since becoming a transgender. A woman with whom he did drugs had just pushed him down a flight of stairs.
“Where did I get to this point in my life? I hate my life,” he thought as he sat in a wheelchair. “My life is nothing but doing drugs and prostitution. I don’t like myself. How did I end up with breast implants? Why do I have all this confusion in my mind?”
Suddenly, he looked across the room and saw an elderly couple. They beamed love at him. The woman asked him, “Do you know Jesus?”
That was the beginning of the end of a dark journey down the path of gender confusion, of drugs, prostitution and self-loathing. Jeffrey regrets his decades in the underbelly of American sin, but he says he’s gained compassion to help others trapped in the same lifestyle.
It all started in his childhood. Mom told him he should have been born a girl.
“When somebody says that to you, you just live with rejection,” he says. He heard his mom’s voice repeating the refrain over the years and eventually he accepted it.
At age nine, he was raped by one of his dad’s employees, who threatened to kill him if he ever told anyone.
Two years later, his parents divorced and he moved to Portland, Maine. One day in Deering Oaks Park, he met some gay men who invited him drinking. Accepting, he went with them to their apartment, where he was raped by one after another.
At age 18, Jeffrey met some transsexuals in this gay bar who flirted with him and planted more seeds of confusion.
“You’re too pretty to be a boy,” they cooed. “You should start female hormones.”
He meditated on what they were saying: “I would chew on those things that they spoke to me.” It coincided with what his mother had told him.
“I was so sick and tired of the turmoil in my mind of hearing those voices, those lies in my mind: ‘You’re, a girl. You should have been born a girl,’ he remembers. “I was so sick of it that I actually just came into agreement with them.
“Why do I feel like a girl trapped in a man’s body?” he says. “It was a lifelong torture for 41 years.”
He started drugs, prostitution and female hormones all at once.
But the promised happiness of transitioning never materialized. Instead, he had a nervous breakdown.
“In a nightclub one night I just started smashing my fists on a car,” he says.
Living in Boston, he was a transgender by age 20.
“I needed a job,” Jeffrey says. “I met another transgender in a nightclub in Boston and the individual said to me: ‘Well I work at a strip joint called The Combat Zone? I think I can get you a job’. Well anyways, I got that job and I did that job for almost 20 years.”
One day, he was taking drugs with a woman across the hall in the other apartment, and they got into a fight. Lying, he said he would call the police. He walked out and towards the stairs.
“She come running full force and just pushed me face first and my face smashed the handrail as I went down the stairs,” he says.
“But as I lie at the foot of the stairs, something just miraculously came over me and I heard a voice say to me, ‘God had to have been with you’ to have survived the fall.’
“Well, you’re right. God had to have been with me,” he replied in his mind.
At the emergency room, he waited for medical attention. His face was swollen and he ached all over.
“I’m in so much pain,” he said to himself. “There’s no way when the doctor calls my name I’m gonna be able to go walk with him out of this waiting room. So I looked outside the waiting room and there was a wheelchair.”
Will Wang is lucky to be alive. Because of China’s one-child-per-family law, Will should have been aborted. China allowed families to have more than one child only if they pay a huge sum of money to the government.
His parents weighed their decision carefully. It was a lot of money, but they made the sacrifice.
Originally, Will pursued math but in his senior year of high school he grew more fond of English. Being from Shanghai, the metropolitan coastal city, he had the chance to meet and talk to expats. One was Nick, an American with whom he could practice English and enjoy friendship. Nick was a Christian and this intrigued Will.
“I used to be a pretty bad man on the streets,” Nick told him. “It is God of the Bible who has transformed me into what I am today.”
China teaches atheism. Believing in God gives people something other than the government to hope in. A communist, totalitarian government cannot allow any competition.
So Will didn’t, couldn’t believe easily in God. He had been drilled about the preeminence and reliability of science.
“To me reading the Bible was like fairytales and it wasn’t anything real,” Will says.
Will applied and was accepted into college in Detroit Michigan. A Chinese church took him in; he loved the people, but when it came to the Bible studies he was practically dozing off. Making a Christian friend on campus, Will started to believe in God — a little bit.
But what pushed him over the top was placing his wallet — with $900 in cash and credit cards on top of his trunk at the gas station and forgetting it after he filled up, driving away.
“I was really really really upset,” he remembers. “I was blaming God. Why would You make my wallet lost today? That’s a lot of money.”
He did his best to not be gloomy.
The next day, someone came to the dorm looking for him, but he was out and had to be informed. Will waited the following day for him. He was a Black man. (Most Chinese feel some amount of bias towards Blacks, Will says. He overcame his own biases instantly; the guy gave him his wallet.)
“I started hugging him,” Will remembers.
After Will thanked him profusely, the man turned to walk away. But he couldn’t resist asking a question.
“You know sir, um, I’m just curious,” he said. “Why would you return my wallet back to me with the money in it? Most people wouldn’t return it.”
“I’m a Christian,” the man replied. “God wants us to love each other as brothers and sisters. I hope what I have done to you today, you will do to others one day.”
The power of the man’s example of living out his faith with integrity caused Will’s faith to become complete. The wallet was the tipping point. After virtually a lifetime of God calling him out of Buddhism, he knew it was time to surrender completely to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Read the rest: Chinese student find Jesus when man brings him back his wallet with $900.
Just four minutes into his first battle in Iraq as commander of a company of 100 men, 21 tanks, seven Bradleys and a handful of Humvees, Chris Plekenpol heard the three letters no American leader wants to hear: KIA.
KIA stands for Killed In Action. One of his own men died in an explosion that formed a billowing black cloud 250 feet into the air.
“You got one job. And that’s to bring back everyone home alive,” Chris says soberly on an I am Second video. “In the first four minutes, I fail. I’ll, be honest with you, it kind of felt like, you know, God took a day off.”
Ever since he became born-again, Chris Plekenpol was an ardent evangelizer. But on that day of bitter battle, Chris’s faith was wounded. Ironically, it was the death of an enemy combatant that brought him back to Jesus with full force.
It all started when the West Point graduate, after serving six years in the U.S. Army, was persuaded to sign up for one more year. His colonel needed a good leader. He was stationed in South Korea, but in 12 days he shipped out to live combat in Iraq.
Waves of heat rose from the minarets in 125 degree weather. The explosion a quarter mile away sounded off alarms, so Chris, donning his flak jacket, sprinted down to his tank and mounted himself behind a 50 caliber gun. Men and machines moved in, searching for the culprit, the enemy who had blown to pieces one of his men.
After moving towards the city, they searched house to house, kicking in doors. After seven hours of intense searching, they came back with nothing. No enemy.
Frustrated and forlorn, all Chris could do back at his base was write the newly widowed wife, Michaela and their 13-year-old daughter, news about the soldier’s death.
“When I came to faith in Christ at 22, we kind of had a deal,” he says. “So here I am six years later and it kind of feels like that whole thing about ‘never leaving nor forsaking you’ is just kind of church…jargon. Where are You at the moment of when my companies were in battle and in combat?
“I’m frustrated. I’m tired, man. I don’t even feel like I’m a Christian at all. I feel like, you know, I’m not praying. I’m not reading my Bible, I’m struggling here.”
Then came the terrorist attack. Unrecognized because he dressed like a civilian, a man drove a car bomb into one of the unit’s tanks. But the detonator didn’t go off, and the perpetrator fell out of the car and rolled away as gas caught flame.
Chris knew the 7-ton tank would resist the inferno. He saw the terrorist rolling on the ground and realized he could rescue him.
He didn’t. He wouldn’t risk his life to save an enemy combatant.
“I could have saved his life,” Chris remembers. “I saw it, but I didn’t do it. I wasn’t willing to die for my enemy.”
Instead, he just watched. The burning gas set off the bigger explosion of the bomb.
“The explosion erupted and we watched his body ripped apart,” Chris says. “After the explosion, the dust settles. I jumped off my tank. I sprint up to his body and I watched crimson fill the sand.”
It was his enemy. But still it haunted him.
“Sometimes I regret not saving that guy’s life,” he says. “That’s probably what a Christian would do, and yet I didn’t.”
Without motive, Alexander Pagani stabbed two 17-year-old inmates at Rikers Island Prison Complex. Just to make a statement.
“If I was going to be evil, I would become very evil,” he says on a 700 Club video.
That landed him in solitary confinement for one year. That’s where God started dealing with him.
From his earliest childhood in The Bronx, New York City, Alexander felt complete abandonment by his parents, who were lost in the drug culture.
“I felt completely rejected and totally embraced that sense of orphan or abandonment,” he says. “I just lived for myself like it’s just me and I’m gonna, do whatever I have to do to survive.”
To survive he joined a gang. By 11, he was getting arrested. By 14, he spent a year in juvenile imprisonment. By 16, he was doing time for robbery, burglary and kidnapping.
While waiting his trial in the infamous Rikers prison, he stabbed two 17-year-olds.
“I stabbed them for no reason, honestly, just to make a statement,” Alexander admits.
The subsequent solitary confinement began breaking him down. His Grandmother was a Christian who reached out to him. So was his Aunt Vilma, and she worked in Rikers as a youth counselor and would talk to him whenever she could. A Christian guard took interest in him and began ministering to him.
He made up his mind that he didn’t want to go to Hell.
At his hearing, Alexander heard a voice. It wasn’t his lawyers. It wasn’t the judge’s. It wasn’t the bailiff’s. He marvelled at whose it might be.
“They’re going to give you nine years, you are to take it.”
Immediately, his eyes fixed on “God” in the phrase “In God We Trust” on the wall behind the judge. “The word God shot like rays of light,” he says.
If he pled guilty, the judge explained, he would lower the sentence from 21 years to nine. Alexander blurted out and admitted his guilt even before his lawyer could say anything. “I knew God was talking to me,” he says.
As a madame in Atlanta, Pamela Hillman had a mansion and drove a Hummer.
“I always had a lot of money,” Pamela says on a CBN video. “It was a very big business.”
Pamela was a small town girl, whose mom was a free-spirited Playboy bunny and whose Dad was an abusive alcoholic.
Trouble started for her when she was 5 years old and begged her dad to be able to keep a stray puppy she brought home.
“If you come upstairs with me, you can have him,” her dad told her.
When she ascended the stairs, she was violated. “Something happened that day. It planted a seed that I could get what I want by going upstairs.”
The horrific happenings altered Pamela’s life forever. She went from a happy-go-lucky girl with dreams of growing up to becoming a PTSD-warped automaton whose emotions were guided by the sordid underbelly of American sin.
She DID tell mom what dad had done to her, and mom got him kicked out, but other members of the family picked up where dad left off. The curse had spread.
At age nine, Pamela found marijuana lying around the house and discovered she could be free from her room, from restrictions, from pain — all by smoking.
“When I discovered pot, I just went somewhere else,” she says. “I felt free from being trapped in that bedroom.”
Soon she was progressing through harder drugs and found cocaine.
But sex was her major coping mechanism in the quixotic quest for love. She was married and divorced three times before she turned 20. Prostitution, drugs and being in and out of jail became a way of life.
The men who consort with strippers and prostitutes while using and abusing them, denigrate and antagonize them. They would echo to her the dehumanizing words from her own self-condemnation.
“I was a whore. I was a slut. I was never going to amount to anything.”
The never-ebbing undercurrent of her life was shame. “That was all that I knew. Filth.”
Fortunately for Pamela, not every influence in her life was bad. If her mom and dad contributed to her downfall, her grandmother was a voice of reason and Christian love.
A friend of her grandmother prophesied over Pamela when she was young. “This one here is special. She’s going to do great things for God.”
Many times those words of hope would come back to Pamela. They especially reverberated powerfully when Pamela, at age 26, decided to kill herself. With enough cocaine in the needle to end her life, Pamela heard those words again as she held the syringe, ready to jam it into her arm.
“God, if you’re real, help me, rescue me,” she cried out. “I need you.”
The voice spoke. “You don’t belong here. You’re going to do great things for God.”
“In that moment, I heard my grandmother’s voice,” Pamela remembers. “I heard so many of her prayers.”
Instead of committing suicide, she committed her life to Christ. She got off drugs, abstained from extra-marital sex and went to church for two years.
But Pamela had one slip-up, one moment of weakness in which she fell into sin again. She was overcome with grief, shame and hopelessness. She thought there was no recourse but to dive headlong into full-blown sin.
“I relapsed because I couldn’t deal with that shame and guilt,” she says. “I was unworthy to be in His presence, to be a child of God.” Read the rest: God saved the madame.
Egged on by friends in middle school, Samuel Perez felt same-sex attraction but he had been raised in a strict Christian household.
“Oh my gosh! I don’t want to go to hell!” he thought, after he “came out” to his mom, and she warned him. “I didn’t know what I was feeling, I didn’t know how to control it. I didn’t want to like men, I just did.”
It all started because the Cuban youngster didn’t fit in with boys. His friends were girls. When he finally got a masculine friend, he got excited and confused and started to think it was a romantic thing. Lesbian friends reinforced the confusion, urging him to plant his flag of gay identity.
“Am I gay?” he asked. “Do I like this boy? Is this who I really am?”
When he told his friend, he got rejected. This prompted him to fall into a dark depression
A war waged for his sexual identification, with his parents fighting for God’s way, and his friends pushing for the world’s. When he finally told his mom he didn’t want to “suppress” his same-sex attraction, she sent him to an ex-gay camp.
“This is such BS,” he thought at the camp. “These people are trying to not come to terms with themselves.”
The camp had no effect.
“The world was telling me to love myself, so i accepted I was gay and was always going to like men,” he says.
In high school, he was homeschooled. That only made things worse because he was cut off from all his friends. Lonely, he became addicted to his computer and cried every night.
“I used to go on virtual realities and pretend to be someone I wasn’t because I was so insecure with myself,” he remembers.
College was going to be his escape. He found his passion in acting and the arts and rekindled his love for music.
“I remember having this app where you could find men in your area and meet up with them,” he says. “I was addicted to the app. I was desperate for someone to love me”
Samuel met up with a guy and made him promise him that he wouldn’t leave if he gave himself to him. The man promised but left him the next day.
At this time, Samuel got really sick and was hospitalized and heartbroken. His depression worsened till he dropped out of acting school.
“For the first time I felt completely lost,” he says. “I had no aspirations, no relationships. I didn’t even know if I liked singing and acting anymore.”
Samuel found a new love, working out at the gym, and became a personal trainer.
Then he decided to finally move out of his parents’ place. “Mom and Dad, I’m moving to New York! ,” he told them one day. “So I moved to New York with their help, like the gracious loving parents they are, even though they knew it wasn’t the best thing for me. They knew I had to make it on my own.”
Samuel had no money and no friends, but he worked as a personal trainer. He started to train a drag queen, who encouraged him to gogo dance and entertain people.
During the day, he trained at the gym. At night he booked appointments left and right. Read the rest: Freedom from gay life.
Being the Left’s cause célèbre for persecuting Christians is no piece of cake.
Just ask Jack Phillips. The Colorado baker politely declined to decorate a cake for a homosexual wedding because of his Christian convictions. He offered to sell the gay couple anything else in his store.
Instead of going down the street to another baker, that couple sued in 2012. The State of Colorado joined with fines and punishments. The Left, which sees the cake as a symbol of the continued fight for Civil Rights since the 1960s, made the targeting of a simple baker a high priority for the national spotlight.
Ultimately, Jack’s legal case made its way to the Supreme Court in 2018, where the justices found that the State of Colorado violated the neutrality laws with an overt hostility towards religion. Disappointingly, they came up short on clearing up the emerging conflict between civil liberties versus free religious exercise.
Behind the matter of the cake lurks bigger questions: Will churches eventually be forced to marry homosexual couples? Will they be obligated to ordain LBGT as clergy? Will passages of the Bible be removed or changed? Will the State take over the church?
Most importantly, can Americans depend on the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of religion and prohibition against government involvement in issues of faith?
The 2020 presidential election figures in. Whoever occupies will appoint countless federal judges and Supreme Court judges that will likely settle those unsettling questions.
Jack is back — in the news and in court.
This time a transgender woman, Autumn Scardina, is suing because Phillips declined to design a cake celebrating Autumn’s transition from man to woman.
What’s obvious was voiced by Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president of Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal group defending Phillips. The suit is perpetrating “harassment… because he won’t create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in conflict with his conscience.”
“This attorney’s relentless pursuit of Jack was an obvious attempt to punish him for his views, banish him from the marketplace and financially ruin him and his shop,” Warner said to NBC.
He backed posting the Ten Commandments outside the Charleston City Council before it was declared unconstitutional. He is anti-abortion and opposed to same-sex marriage. He belongs to a large evangelical church in Charleston, formerly serving on its board.
So how did Tim Scott, a black Republican Senator from South Carolina, find himself sitting across the desk of Donald Trump, lecturing the president about racism in America?
His improbable ascent in the political world has God’s fingerprints all over it, because at a fractious time in American life, he’s become a leading conservative voice on racism, straddling the divide between Democrats and Republicans.
By all accounts, his unique position is a tightrope walk.
Senator Scott knew he would be called a sell-out if he remained mum. But he risked incurring the wrath of his president and party if he spoke out.
“When you’re criticizing the president of the United States, talking about the compromising of moral authority, it can strike a nerve with someone who is not typically a person who listens well in those instances,” he told the Washington Post.
But Trump listened intently, nodding his head and focusing without distraction. At the end, Trump asked what he could do to help people who might have been offended, and Scott presented him with the idea of setting up Opportunity Zones to facilitate investments in poor neighborhoods. It was incorporated in the Republican tax overhaul of 2017.
“Am I trying to make up for comments made by the president? Definitely not,” Scott says. “What I am trying to do is make the country stronger, and I can do that by working with the president.”
Tim Scott — a strong Christian whose conservative values were formed in a Chick-fil-A — has managed to fill the at-times contradictory roles of ally and agitator with aplomb.
He’s helped pull down Confederate flags and championed police reform legislation as part of the GOP response to George Floyd’s death. (Democrats had criticized his police reform legislation as being “token,” a not-so-veiled racially-charged term that implies skin color must dictate voting patterns. Scott took the floor and with tears in his eyes and recounted how police brutality is real and under-reported. Ultimately, his bill didn’t pass.)
Scott is a monolithic figure in the Blexit movement, which encourages blacks to actually read the Democratic Party platform and see it if lines up with their values. (Blexit, which stands for “black exit” from the Democratic Party, is a term adapted from Brexit).
Scott grew up in North Charleston and struggled academically. “When you fail both English and Spanish, they don’t call you bilingual,” he quips. “They call you bi-ignorant.”
His mother was single and worked 16-hour days as a nursing assistant to provide for her three boys. His grandfather became an inspiration for him; the man maintained his dignity through the 40s and 50s when people abused him with the N-word regularly. Grandpa was illiterate but pretended to read the newspaper in front of young Scott to inspire him to study.
Scott loved football and excelled as a high school running back. He hung out at the local Chick-fil-A where the franchise owner took him under wing and became something of a mentor for him. John Moniz was a Christian who encouraged Scott to pursue football and talked extensively about conservative politics.
The love for football ended in a partial scholarship to Presbyterian College. The conservative politics ended in a campaign for the Charleston County Council, which Scott won in a landslide with 80 percent of the vote.
After a stint in the South Carolina legislature, he launched his long-shot candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives and trounced Strom Thurmond’s son in the primary. He managed to dodge the controversy that fellow black freshman Allen West courted, put his head down and worked on many issues besides race.
For his quiet and effective work, he won the approval of both the Tea Party and the Republican Party, which the Tea Partiers despised.
When Jim DeMint stepped down from the senate in 2013, then-Gov. Nikki Haley tapped Scott to fill the seat.
Scott’s appointment was historic. He was the first African American senator from South Carolina since Reconstruction.
Nevertheless, the New York Times chose to celebrate the feat by race-baiting. Political analyst Adoph Reed in an op-ed said his appointment “obscures the fact that modern Black Republicans have been more tokens than signs of progress.” Read the rest: Sen. Tim Scott Christian conservative sensitive to racism.
Vincent Dorsett was Blexit before there was Blexit.
Blexit is a shortened version of “Black exit” as in from the Democratic Party because blacks tend to be more socially conservative than whites but continue to vote Democrat despite the radical positions on abortion up to nine months and transgender surgery at eight years old.
Blexit is a knockoff from Brexit, a shortened form of “Britain exit” from the European Union. Blexit is being led by Candace Owens, who recently married one of the movers and shakers of Brexit.
Blexit is a movement that started in 2018 and accounts in part for a recent surge in black voters turning to Trump. A HarrisX-Hill poll found in August that Trump’s approval rating among blacks shot up to 60%, a fact that could swing the election in his favor.
This is all good news to Dorsett, who himself was raised in a family 100% Democrat. He left the Democratic Party sometime after he got saved.
Dorsett, now 68, became a drug pusher in New York. He was the kind that never used drugs himself, a trick he learned from a girl in high school who, taking advantage of her own attractiveness and his loneliness, swooped in to corrupt him.
He made lots of money selling drugs, but noticed that other pushers caught the eye of authorities when they bought fancy cars and eventually wound up in jail. Savvier, he used taxicabs and dressed formally.
Dorsett’s operation grew to impressive levels. He even had cops on his payroll.
But he didn’t like the person he had become. All through high school, he had wanted to be a Treasury Dept. agent and bust traffickers. But now he was one.
“I really didn’t like what I did for a living even though I was very successful,” he says.
He thought he would leave behind the old life with a change of scene, so he moved to Tucson, Arizona.
“I thought my problem was New York. I thought if I left New York City, I would change. I was a drug pusher. I was running away from me,” he remembers. “But when I came to Tucson, I found out the same Vincent was here with me. I found that the drugs were even cheaper here and I could become a very powerful person here very quickly. I started to do that.”
He purchased drugs and recruited pushers for the street, but two days before the illicit business launch, he got distracted. He was with his girlfriend when he heard a man yelling at a Christian on the street.
“He was saying the blood of Jesus was a lie.” Dorsett remembers. “He said the blood of Jesus was the same as anybody else’s.”
His curiosity piqued, Dorsett — who had worn on his gold chains a Muslim crescent, a Catholic crucifix and a star of David without knowing what any of them meant — sidled up to the angry man and asked for an explanation.
They set an appointment for later that afternoon at Dorsett’s house.
The man never showed up.
The next day, Dorsett spotted him on the local basketball court and approached him to ask why he had left him hanging.
“You were the guy who said the blood of Jesus was a lie,” he said to the confronted and mystified man.
It turned out to be a case of mistaken identity because the man invited him to a Bible study. “He looked at me like I was insane,” Dorsett says.
The man distanced himself from his unbelieving lookalike.
“The blood of Jesus has set me free,” he said.
At the study, Dorsett wondered secretly at the evident joy of the other guys, so when the leader asked openly if someone wanted to experience that same joy — as if he read his thoughts — his hand shot up. It was 1974.
Upon accepting Jesus into his heart with a prayer of salvation, Dorsett felt nothing.
But they gave him a little booklet that he read at home in his recliner. When he saw that his sins were forgiven and he was made a new creation, he experienced something supernatural.
“It felt like somebody poured something all over me,” he said. Then the joy came in waves. “I started laughing so hard that I fell out of the recliner I was sitting in.”
When his girlfriend came over, he was still on the floor. She started to hug him, but he took her arms off of him.
It really bothered Stephany that she couldn’t understand — or even hear — the lyrics of Christian music played by her aunt and uncle.
“I was a lost child. I wore tons of makeup to try to fit on. I got into lots of fights. I was really depressed. I tried killing myself several times while I was in middle school and in my freshman year. I felt very unloved,” she says. “I didn’t have the Holy Spirit. The way Christians sang was like another language to me then.”
Because her parents got into drugs and alcohol, she was physically abused and neglected and fell into the foster care system.
“I was very angry at the world. I hated people because of my upbringing. I didn’t understand how God could have let this happen to my siblings and myself. I was just angry at God and I didn’t even know God. I hated God.”
Stephany and her siblings would sleep on floors of just about any friend’s house. One couple was very nice and even offered to adopt.
Mom was incensed by the idea that someone wanted to take her kids from her. So when Stephany returned, mom started beating her viciously. “My mom wasn’t well,” says Stephany, who had just finished her freshman year of high school.
In response, she ran away and hid in another friend’s house.
Her uncle and aunt took her to Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, CA. They played Christian music, which Stephany found incomprehensible.
“When my aunt and uncle played Christian music, I couldn’t understand the words,” she says. “That really bothered me because I didn’t understand.”
When they sent her to youth group, she thought the other girls were strange.
“Ew!” she squealed to her aunt. “Nobody wants to be around Christian girls. Don’t ever send me with those crazy Christians again.”
She projected a tough exterior, but inside she longed for a love she never felt.
“I felt so lost, so abandoned. But at the time I felt God pull on my heart,” Stephany says. “All I wanted was to feel that freedom. But I didn’t feel like I was good enough. How can God love me, not even my mother loves me?”
One day her aunt shared the complete story of the gospel with her. Still, the message of God’s love didn’t penetrate.
“The more she shared the gospel with me, the more I felt saddened because I didn’t understand God’s love,” she remembers. “All I felt was that I was doomed because of how awful I was and how I was abandoned.”
Finally at a Greg Laurie Harvest Crusade in Angels Stadium, she relented and descended to the baseball field to receive Jesus.
“That moment that I stepped out into the grass, because my heart longed for him, I felt his presence surround me,” Stephany says. “I prayed and cried. From there I felt like I was really open to the Lord. I asked God for forgiveness, and I asked him to love me.”
She surrendered her life to Jesus and was born again.
A few nights later, her aunt “caught” her listening to music late at night on headphones. She asked what Stephany was listening to.
With tears in her eyes, Stephany said: “I can hear what they’re saying!” It was Christian music. Read the rest: Jesus foster care
Police-bashing with the rant of “systemic racism” is only hurting the black community, according to an African American police chief on the East Coast, who asked that his name not be used for fear of being fired.
“When you say policing is systemically racist, you are hurting the poorest communities because the police pull back and then violent crime rises,” he says.
“That’s what we’re seeing happening in New York, Chicago, Austin and across the county. Poor people die, the disadvantaged people who live in these communities,” he adds. “They did a recent survey and blacks in these neighborhoods want more police, not less. It’s whites from middle neighborhoods who make up about half of Black Lives Matter that want to defund police.”
Black cops are taking a lot of heat from Black Lives Matter, the organization with Marxist leadership that maintains they are fighting for racial equality. They’re portrayed by BLM as sellouts worthy of double reviling. He’s not sympathetic to BLM, which appears to support Marxism and promote African-style witchcraft.
“Am I on the side of Marxist anarchists? No,” he says. “I’m on the side of law and order and Christianity.”
Growing up in a middle class home in New England, he became a Christian after attending a Vacation Bible School as a pre-teen.
In 7th grade, he was first introduced to an environmental police officer at his school’s career day. He was impressed the game warden was armed.
“That got the wheels turning,” he says
About a year later, he joined a branch of the Boy Scouts called Law Enforcement Explorers and realized that he wanted a career in the police department.
He also liked being a school safety monitor. Among other things, he gathered up stray 5th graders after recess when they were skating on the frozen pond across the street from the school and forgot to go back to class.
“The first badge I carried was a school safety patrol in the fifth grade,” he says. “It was great opportunity to serving and protecting in the fifth graders”
Then in the seventh grade, his teacher sent a classroom “hoodlum” to the principal’s office and picked the future cop to escort him. It was his first taste of taking a suspect in.
By casting blacks as perpetual victims historically, the loudest racial activists in America right now are hurting — not helping — African Americans, according to Christian civil rights leader Robert Woodson.
To counter the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which provides the premises for rioting and violence against police, Woodson launched 1776 Unites, a collection of scholars to affirm traditional American values of hard-work, honesty and self-determination.
The 1619 Project’s arguments represent “the most diabolical, self-destructive ideas that I’ve ever heard. And what they’re doing is rewriting American history and unfortunately, they are using the suffering and struggle of black America as a bludgeon to beat America and define America as a criminal organization,” Woodson told Fox News.
“And it’s lethal,” he added. “The message that they are saying is all white Americans are oppressors and all black Americans are victims.”
The message of the 1619 Project — named after the supposed date the first slaves arrived in America — is to “exempt the black community from any kind of personal responsibility,” Woodson says.
Recently, a Black Lives Matter protester in Chicago justified looting on television news because the stores have insurance. And hard left firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a congresswoman from New York’s 14th district, said widespread robbery in the Big Apple during protests was just people who “need to shoplift some bread.”
Protests erupted nationwide after May 25th this year when a white cop was filmed kneeling on the neck of an already hand-cuffed and subject black suspect in Minneapolis. Sadly, many of those protests degenerated into arson and vandalism that rose to $2B in damage by one estimate.
Bringing organization to the spontaneous outpouring of rage is Black Lives Matter, a movement started by the L.A. chapter seven years ago. Because the secular media has lionized BLM, many Christians have been drawn into support the good fight despite the group’s foundations on Marxism and African witchcraft. Read the rest: 1776 Unites a positive alternative to Black Lives Matter.
Dr. Jerome Adams grew up poor in rural Maryland on a family farm. Government assistance sustained the family.
Recently, his mother had a major stroke. His brother struggles with substance abuse. His grandparents — all four — died prematurely of chronic disease.
Today, Dr. Adams is the U.S. Surgeon General.
“I’m a Christian and I believe God doesn’t put you where you’ll be comfortable,” he told the Richmond Free Press. “He puts you where he needs you to be.”
An uncomfortable childhood prepared him for an “uncomfortable” tenure as surgeon general — and not just because of the pay cut from previously working as an anesthesiologist. Dr. Adams has been criticized for initially recommending against using masks. He’s been bashed for working with a president that some see as insensitive to people of color. He pushes back against the incessant carping.
“Our issues as people of color are too important to go four years without representation in the highest levels of government. I personally have faith that I am put where I am most needed. I spent my life fighting and will keep fighting for the poor, the disadvantaged, the people of color.”
Jerome Adams was born in Orange, New Jersey, but his family moved to St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Though his family farmed, young Jerome was drawn to the sciences and attended the University of Maryland in Baltimore on a full scholarship where he earned dual bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry and biopsychology.
He continued his studies at Indiana University’s School of Medicine where he focused on internal medicine and completed his residency in anesthesiology. In 2000, he earned a master’s degree in public health from UC Berkeley.
After that the former farm kid worked in private practice at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Indiana while teaching as an assistant professor of anesthesiology at Indiana University.
Mike Pence, who was then governor of Indiana, tapped the talented doctor for Indiana state health commissioner in 2014.
“I grew up in a rural, mostly white Southern community. I benefited from WIC, reduced lunch and other government assistance,” he told the NAACP in March. “I know what it’s like growing up poor, black and with minimal access to health care, and I’m personally experiencing the lifelong impacts that stem from that.” Read the rest: Dr. Jerome Adams Christian
Posted onAugust 27, 2020|Comments Off on Fear of God clothing brand founder really does fear God
Jerry Lorenzo was supposed to give his $100 sneakers to 100 influencers around the nation to promote the brand in October 2016, but instead he decided hand them out to the homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles.
“I work in Downtown LA and we pass the homeless people sleeping in tents and sleeping bags as we come into work every day,” Jerry says on Fast Company. “We were in a position to give and were ignoring these people that are around us. I just told my staff, ‘We’re going to pack up all these shoes and clothing and give it to people who need it.’ If I’m in a position to give, how dare I give it to someone that doesn’t need it?”
Jerry’s charity that day totaled more than $10,000. But Jerry is a born-again Christian and understands that high-end fashion and fame are ephemeral; only what’s done for Jesus is eternal.
“I’m a Christian, and I love God with all my heart,” he says.
His brand — Fear of God, which he says is cool, not corny, because it counters a lot of dark, empty religious symbolism in fashion — produces street luxury garments that have caught the eye of Kanye West, Rihanna, Kendall Jenner, Justin Bieber and Travis Scott. His Desert Storm-inspired tennies sold for $1,100.
“The idea for my brand came one day when I was reading a devotion that talked about clouds and darkness around the Kingdom of God. It talked about the layers to Him. For the first time in my mind, God was really cool. He was a dark image in my mind, not in a demonic way, just dark in terms of the layers and depth to him — the kind of figure that is beyond our understanding.
“When you’re at peace with God, there’s a fear of God that’s a reverence. On the flip side, when you don’t know God, there’s a literal fear. I wanted my brand’s name to play on these two different meanings. If people dig deeper with this brand, they can find truth.”
Jerry Lorenzo came to Los Angeles to finish grad school. Being out from under his parents’ covering, he embarked on a journey of self-discovery, ditched his Christian upbringing and sampled the party life in Hollywood. He made lots of friends and supplemented his own income by staging his own parties. At the time, there were either black/ hip hop scenes or white/techno. Jerry fused the two and created his own space.
“It was through the night life that I really began to understand the power of my own influence here in Los Angeles,” he says on a “Now with Natalie” video on the Hillsong YouTube channel. “I had the ability to get people out of their homes five nights a week. I had the ability to influence fashion trends. I saw that I would wear something and people would start to dress like me.”
After eight years in the party scene, he realized he could launch a successful fashion brand.
“I enjoyed the partying. It was fun,” Jerry admits. “Yes, I had my own battles with my convictions, but we are as much human as we are spirit. But as my faith started to grow, I realized that I was not only in the wrong circles but that I was the creator of this platform. I was bringing the alcohol sponsor and the women. It was a heavy realization.
“Being from a Christian home, you think you know what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “I thought I was doing a good job juggling the two. But it got to the point where God said, ‘That’s enough. I have something for you to do and you either do this or you live this other life.’”
His party scene was THE place to be seen in L.A. and have significance.
“But as I grew in Christ and grew spiritually, I realized how insignificant this platform was that we had made,” Jerry admits. “I was fearful that my personal significance would be tied up with something as empty to that.”
He was coming to the end of himself, squandering his resources in his own plan to the exclusion of God.
“I just fell on my face and realized that I can’t do anything without God and that He is the source of anything good and positive in my life,” he says. “If I needed anything, it was to seek Him and not promote myself. Once the blinders were off and I saw if for what it was, I knew that wasn’t the place for me.” Read the rest:Jerry Lorenzo Fear of God clothing Christian.