When a Kentucky-born Amish leader dared to listen to a gospel preacher on the radio (in violation of Amish rules), he was astounded by the simple message of grace and forgiveness by faith that conflicted with his ideas that “God love you, but he loved you so much he would punish you.”
“I never knew that you could know that you are going to Heaven,” Vern Yoder says on a 700 Club video. “I couldn’t wrap my head around a warm, hug-type love.”
Vern was born to a well-respected deacon of the Amish, an American East Coast religious group that have strict rules for dress and behavior, which includes not using automobiles. The Amish are considered Christian, but their application of scriptures can be seen as legalistic.
Vern struggled through his teen years to maintain the standards of his church.
His constant thought: What can I do to be a better person? What can I do to have a better shot to make it into Heaven? “It would drive me down into this pit of despair.”
The overemphasis on rules and laws weighed on his soul.
“I was so miserable,” Vern says. “I didn’t know (if I would make it to Heaven), so I would work and work and work at trying to be the best Amish.”
He married and had children, but carried the pharisaical spirit into his roles as husband and father. He went overboard as a disciplinarian and his marriage was strained, he says.
Reflecting on the frustration of his brand of Christianity, Vern pleaded with God: “God, I can’t do this any longer. You’re going to have to help me with this.”
One day he got a job as a tractor driver. That day he listened to a radio preacher expound the doctrines of the simple gospel. It challenged everything he knew about God.
“He was going through a series about faith, about grace, about mercy,” Vern says. “He was telling me things I had never… Read the rest: Amish
All the Merritts wanted was to enjoy boating on the lake after several days of rain. What they didn’t take into account was that the floodgates on the dam were open and the undertow would suck their boat onto the dam where it would be smashed, their family thrown into peril.
“The water was very calm on the surface,” Kelly Merritt says on a 700 Club video. “Our boat was being pulled without us realizing.”
But all the extra water was the reason authorities, unbeknownst to the Merritts, had opened the gates to allow the overflow to run off down the spillway. It created an unseen undertow that sucked the Merritts toward danger.
Three days of rain had left the family stir crazy. So when the rains abated, the family of four thought to get out and relax on the lake, which was glorious and serene.
The closer the Merritts got to the dam, the stronger the undertow. When the family finally realized what was happening, it was too late. The current was stronger than the boat’s motor. Try as they might, they could not escape.
“We had lost control of the boat,” Kelly says. “The motor didn’t seem to matter anymore.”
With mounting fear overwhelming them, the boat struck the concrete barrier on the lakeside of the spillway, quickly fracturing and coming apart.
“All of a sudden, my (teenage) son jumped out of the boat and began swimming as hard as he could,” Kelly relates. “I watched him get sucked underneath the boat.”
Kelly grabbed her daughter and hugged her impulsively, but as they were pushed over the dam, her daughter was ripped from her arms by the force of the water.
“It was very much like I was dead,” Kelly says. “I dropped for what felt like an eternity. I reached up and felt the carpet on the bottom of the boat, and then behind me I could feel the concrete. I was pinned there. It was a horrifying feeling.”
By the time his family found him locked in an outdoor freezer on a Mississippi farm, Victor Marx was unconscious, clutched up in a ball, where his molester had left him to die because he realized the 5-year-old wouldn’t keep quiet about the rape.
Today, Victor ministers to kids in juvenile hall. He’s a 7th-degree black belt in martial arts and trains cops and military. He ministers in war zones in what he calls “high risk mission work.”
“The closer we are to danger, the more we’re helping people,” he says on his podcast. “I minister to these kids because I know where many of them have been. I know where God wants to take them. That which was meant for evil in my life has actually turned for good.”
How did Victor Marx heal the innumerable childhood traumas and become an effective minister of the gospel?
His biological father became involved in the Louisiana mafia, pimping women in honky-tonk bars and selling drugs. Dad didn’t cut or shoot up people like the Italian mafia in New York; he fed them to the alligators in the swamp, he says on the self-made documentary of his testimony.
Because Dad was splitting with Mom around the time of Victor’s conception, he never acknowledged him as his own child.
At five, Victor was taken advantage of by a neighbor who invited him into a room between two chicken houses where he threatened him with death if ever told. Since the neighbor got the idea that Victor would tell, he locked him in the commercial cooler to die.
“I remember being unbelievably terrified,” Victor says.
Victor kicked against the door and screamed until he succumbed to the pain, the horror and the intense cold. He curled up in a ball and passed out.
Meanwhile, his family began to miss him and began to search about. They looked around the pond and woods and checked the chicken houses, the building, and finally the freezer.
“Thank God they checked the freezer,” he says.
When Victor regained consciousness, he told them what happened. His family administered “country justice.”
“They kicked down his door and beat him in front of his family,” Victor relates. “They took him outside and hogtied him to the tractor and they drug him outside the house. They drug him all the way around. There was this one big pecan tree. They made a noose and threw it over this limb. They hooked it to the back of the tractor.
“They pulled the tractor, and he started going up, choking, trying to grab. They waited for him to go limp, and they cut him down and left him. They didn’t want to kill him and go to prison. They just wanted to put fear in him.”
His family’s crude justice did nothing to free Victor from the PTSD. Nor did it free him further trauma… Read the rest: Overcoming trauma Victor Marx
The moment Chad Williams knew he wanted to be a SEAL was outside the college classroom, in the parking lot, where he was doing donuts in his jeep and smoking weed. He didn’t want to go into class because he hadn’t studied for the final exam.
Nevertheless, he was incensed that Mom and Dad questioned his tenacity. He had already given up on baseball, skateboarding and professional fishing. How could he make it as a SEAL? they wondered. Still, Chad’s father went to the effort to hook Chad up with a real SEAL to try some grueling trainings — hoping to dissuade him.
At the first training, Chad, a cocky kid, initially outran Scott Helvenston until Scott caught up, passed Chad, then stopped suddenly and met him with a right hook to Chad’s stomach. He had the wind knocked out of him.
“You want to be a SEAL?” Scott bellowed, standing over Chad as he gasped for air. “You better stay three paces behind me! Three paces behind me!”
After that, Chad didn’t attempt any more hotdogging. But he did keep up with the workout and was invited for another day. Dad’s plan to discourage Chad was backfiring. Instead, Scott finished pre-training and pronounced his surprising verdict: I know you’ll pass.
“I felt knighted,” Chad reports in Seal of God, his book tracking his progress from a trouble-making kid bored with school and church, one who lived for thrills, both legal and illegal.
Growing up in Southern California, Chad loved baseball and pranks. He would ride bikes on top of the school building roofs and run from the cops, hiding under trees when police helicopters searched for him.
Once he put a bunch of bones in his sister’s pockets so that their dog would chase her around and overpower her to eat the bones. She had to be taken to the hospital for that one.
Chad liked collecting gunpowder from model rocket engines and making mini bombs to blow up. Once a particularly big bomb blew up in his face and arms, resulting in second degree burns that required a trip to the hospital. Sometimes, his brother told his parents, and Chad got in trouble for his mischief.
At some point, Chad’s parents became Christians and started attending church. Chad never opposed the idea of being a Christian and believed in his heart that he was good, but services and Sunday school bored him.
When he dropped baseball because the coach didn’t accept him on the team in his freshman year, he took up skateboarding and would sneak out of Sunday school to go practice tricks in the parking lot.
Chad excelled at skateboarding and used all his free time to get better (he didn’t do homework). He got so good he competed in extreme sports competitions and got sponsored by Vans shoes, which gave him notoriety among the kids and free gear.
With boyish face and charm, he even was cast for several commercials to do tricks on his board.
Over summer vacation, he did stints as a fisherman on a professional boat, working 18-hour days alongside the professionals. With his money, he bought a jeep. Upon graduation, he enrolled in college simply because it was the thing to do.
By now, a friend had introduced him to drinking and smoking dope. As he partied more, he dropped skating and fishing.
His life was adrift and pointless, every passion abandoned, with nothing in the future to work for. Then his epiphany came in the college parking lot: He didn’t want to take a college test he hadn’t studied for. He would become a Navy SEAL.
He immediately told his parents. He didn’t need college. He was going to be a SEAL.
They lacked his enthusiasm. His capriciousness was only one problem. Another was that his mom worried he would die in Iraq.
Dad set out to dissuade him. He located online Scott Helvenston and cajoled him into showing Chad he didn’t have the right stuff. Instead, Chad proved to Scott that he did have the stuff.
With just weeks to go before Chad entered the Navy, Scott was contracted by Blackwater to join operations in Fallujah, Iraq, because it paid so well.
Chad’s trainer and friend, Scott Helvenston, was brutally killed in Fallujah, just days before Chad was to report for training.
After Shin-Wook Kim scored a 2014 World Cup goal against Costa Rica, a TV broadcaster asked who he wanted to thank in his moment of glory. Usually, players honor their parents or fans, but Shin-Wook surprised the reporter.
“God!” he boldly declared. “I am a soccer player who belongs to God.”
Today, Shin-Wook plays for the Hong Kong premier league team Kitchee. Whether on the field or off, he talks about Jesus so much his teammates call him “Church Brother.”
Shin-Wook Kim made his professional debut in 2009 and quickly rose to the top of the K League 1 and won the MVP Award, Best 11 Strikers, and Adidas All-In Fantastic Player Award in his first five years. Because he’s so tall (he’s 6’5”), Shin-Wook’s nickname is “The Advancing Giant,” a reference to the Japanese manga series “Attack on Titan” in which humans fight giants. Height is often an advantage in soccer to win balls in the air.
During the 2014 World Cup selection, Shin-Wook was not a starting player but was used to great effect as a substitute. He cemented a reputation as a “super sub” by often scoring within three minutes of being substituted on to the field.
Reporters have often been surprised by his answers to their questions. They expect a lengthy dialog about soccer, but he gives short discourses about Jesus.
“The average person doesn’t understand, but every soccer player has abandoned everything for the goal in front of him since he was young,” Shin-Wook told the CTS channel. “That is how soccer is played.”
The first time Shin-Wook attended church was during middle school. It began with a book that his friend gave him: Joy Dawson’s Forever Ruined for the Ordinary. At the time, he didn’t believe in God, but it caused some self-introspection.
Is there such a thing as a god? he wondered. Wouldn’t I really need someone to rely on in my life? He kept such thoughts to himself.
Since the third grade, Shin-Wook had played soccer. But suddenly he was presented with something to consider that is bigger than sports.
To combat depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, Eden Frenkel delved into personal development, self actualization, Buddhism, meditation, Hinduism and the mystical interpretation within Judaism known as Kabbalah.
“To be honest, I enjoyed the process of studying those cultures, but they were very temporary fulfillments,” the Jewish born singer says on her YouTube channel, Graves into Gardens. “I constantly needed to go back and search for more. They didn’t fill the emptiness. I was looking for peace and happiness.”
As a 12-year-old in the synagogue, she stayed before the ark and prayed longingly to God after everyone had left and gone to eat.
“God, I know there is something,” she uttered. “I don’t understand. I feel like there is something between us.”
Eden had a proclivity for music but joined the Canadian Army as a career. In addition to seeking peace from religion, she sought peace from psychedelics. She had suffered some abuse as a child, she says, and sought in vain to resolve the trauma.
When she got stationed in Toronto, she met some Christian women who were extremely friendly and they invited her to study the Bible. Why not? she thought, since she had studied so many other religions.
What she found out about Jesus startled her.
“All I knew growing up was he was a man who did miracles. In the beginning, I didn’t really take it seriously,” she says. “But after getting to know who Jesus was and what He did and what he claimed to be and what he wanted for his people, it was incredible.
George Rose’s grandma clashed with his mom while the 5-year-old was listening.
“Cookie, what are you bringing these men home for?” she said.
“Shut up, Mom, I’m a grown woman,” Mom snapped.
“You’re a MARRIED woman,” Grandma answered. “You have no business bringing these men home.
When Dad got home, he packed their belongings and drove George and his little sister to the shelter where he dumped them off.
Mom was too busy with other men to visit. Months later, George and his sister returned to Mom, but her current lover said: “Get these kids out of her. Either they go or I go.”
A co-worker of Mom took the kids in and raised them. “You want my kids, Rose?” Mom asked her. “I’ve got no use for them.”
Rose and her husband became the adopted parents. That was George’s upbringing in Rochester, New York, during the 50s. Rose was a Sunday School superintendent in the Presbyterian church who read her Bible regularly.
One day, she stumbled across the verse, “Except you repent, you shall also perish.” Tears streamed down her face. She became born-again and immediately started incorporating a vibrant understanding of the Word into her teaching. This rankled the religious elders of the liturgical church.
“We don’t need your slaughterhouse religion here,” they told her. She got fired from the superintendent position. They found a new church.
A sufferer of migraines, Rose consumed half a bottle of Aspirins until God healed her at a Pentecostal church. The preacher prophesied from the pulpit: “There’s a woman visiting for the first time. You suffer from migraines. In fact, you told God that if he didn’t heal you within the week, you’d take your life.”
Linda Seiler’s struggle with transgender desires and same-sex attraction had always made her feel like God was condemning her– but it wasn’t until she spoke to fellow Christians about her issue that her journey towards healing truly began.
“From my earliest memory I wanted to be a boy instead of a girl,” Linda says on her personal webpage. “As a child, I prayed repeatedly for God to make me into a boy and became obsessed with my pursuit.”
No one knew about Linda’s frustrations. To everyone around her, she was simply a tomboy, and nothing more.
“Around fourth grade, I heard about sex reassignment surgeries and vowed I would have the operation as soon as I was old enough and had the money,” Linda recounts.
Linda’s sexuality was further confused when her friends introduced her to pornography. Watching it, she envisioned herself as a male, reinforcing her dysphoria.
“In junior high, when all the other girls were interested in makeup and boys, to my horror, I found myself attracted to women, especially older teachers who were strong yet nurturing.”
Distressed by her fantasies and set back by the difficulties of getting a sex reassignment surgery, Linda decided to conform to societal expectations for women. This didn’t rid her of her mental troubles, however.
“I envied the boys around me whose voices were beginning to change, and I mourned the fact that mine would never change like that,” Linda says. “Instead, I had to submit to wearing training bras and being inconvenienced by monthly periods.”
During her junior year of high school, Linda gave her life to Christ. But things didn’t immediately get better.
“I began doubting my salvation experience because my struggles didn’t go away like I thought they would,” Linda recounts. “Yet, I knew Jesus had done something in my heart, and I wanted to follow Him.”
Linda began to experience a spiritual battle for her heart and mind. She attempted to do everything to fit in with other girls– including dating men in hopes of “curing” herself– but her inner thoughts told her that she was meant to be male. Suicide became a real consideration.
“In college, I got involved with a campus ministry and developed a deeper relationship with God, praying and reading my Bible regularly, even sharing Christ with the lost,” Linda says. “I eventually became a student leader despite the fact that I was deeply attracted to women who mentored me and was enslaved to sexual addictions behind closed doors.”
Linda begged for God to take away her transgender desires, praying earnestly for healing.
“My senior year in college, I attended a campus ministry talk on overcoming habitual sin,” Linda recounts. “The speaker quoted James 5:16, ‘Confess your sins one to another and pray for each other so that you may be healed.’”
Linda was convicted by this message and confessed her secret struggle to her campus pastor.
“He responded to me in love, assuring me that he was committed to finding me the help I needed,” Linda states. “I couldn’t believe it. I walked away from that conversation with a fresh revelation of God’s grace.”
Up until that point, Linda had felt that God hated her for her sin. However, this experience shifted her view of God from a severe judge to a loving father.
“For the first time, I discovered that being completely transparent with another person was very healing,” Linda says. “I didn’t have to hide anymore.”
Linda’s campus pastor ended up connecting her with a professional counselor. The next ten years were full of turbulence as Linda sought healing.
“It was a slow process, as there were not a multitude of resources at that time to help women struggling with transgender issues,” Linda states. “In fact, well-meaning Christian counselors told me they had seen homosexuals and lesbians set free but never… Read the rest: Transformation for Transgenders
After years of learning the language, developing an alphabet, teaching literacy, missionary Brooks Buser and team gave the YembiYembi tribe in Papua New Guinea copies of the Bible five years ago.
“It has been a long time, almost 2,000 years, that we the YembiYembi church have waited for this translation of the Bible into our own language,” says a tribe leader on a Radius International video.
Waving palm-like branches (or feathers) and dancing, about 100 tribe members received the printed and bound Bibles – the labor of nine years delivered by small prop plane – with fanfare, preaching and jubilation.
The YembiYembi live in the Lower-Sepik Swamp of remote Papua New Guinea. With an estimated 5,000 members, the tribe with only three villages is so small that it’s not even in Wikipedia. You can reach it by plane or paddling 270 miles upriver. Their language is Bises.
Once the translation was finished, Radius International missionaries sleft trained local pastors to take charge of the church. From the video, it appears the majority of the tribe accepted Jesus, but a “vocal minority” remains in opposition to abandoning the customs of its elders.
“The Bible is important,” preached Brooks, 37, in Bises, which the video translates into English through subtitles. “But what’s more important is what you do with it as the church, the body of Christ. The Bible is here to help believers grow. I will visit you, but this Bible will guide you now.”
Brooks was a missionary child who grew up in Papua New Guinea evangelizing another remote tribe in the lush jungle. “The seeds of missions were planted in my mind,” says the man who counted San Diego as his American hometown.
As a child, Brooks spent half his time in the mud of the jungle with native friends and half his time at the missionary school, playing basketball and learning a traditional Western education.
“I remember getting on the plane here at 9 o’clock in the morning and flying to school and playing a basketball tournament that night in the gymnasium, looking down at my leg and I still have a little bit of mud on my leg from the tribe,” he remembers. “It wasn’t a normal upbringing. The blending of these two worlds was a unique way to grow up.”
Armed with an accounting degree from San Diego Christian College, he married Nina and pursued a career counting numbers. He became finance manager and even traveled to Paris, “on track for the American Dream,” he says.
But on a visit to his parents in Papua New Guinea, the newly married couple’s hearts were stirred. “She got to see where I grew up,” he explains. “God began to lay on our hearts the nation. We felt an incredible level of comfort leaving the American Dream behind and coming back here as missionaries.”
In 2001 with their newborn Bo, they began training with New Tribes Mission where they learned how to set up solar panels and build airfields. “There’s no power, there’s no stores” in these isolated areas where they reach tribes, Brooks says.
“During the class there was a lot of things that brought us out of our comfort zone,” Lynn says. “There was a class on animal butchering which was not my favorite.”
They learned phonetics and grammar to learn and codify the language. They launched into Third World life in Papua New Guinea in 2003. The Busers began surveying and exploring land to find an ideal unreached tribe to work with. Tribes actually write letters requesting missionaries be sent, probably because they have heard of the benefits of civilization and medicine that missionaries bring.
Because the airstrip was flooded at their first choice on the day of their launching into the mission field, the Busers went to their second choice, the YembiYembi. They flew to the nearest airfield, traveled by canoe and then hiked – a five-hour journey – to arrive.
The tribe was so excited and received the missionaries with a welcoming ceremony. “In 2004, we started building our houses,” he says. They had a team of fellow linguist missionaries. They had batteries for their laptops and a two-way radio to communicate with their base.
They began building an airstrip with the help of 1,000 Yembis, removing stumps with power tools. After days of intense labor, the mission group sent a barge with a tractor to finish clearing the field.
“That gave us our lifeline back to base,” Brooks says.
Simultaneously, they learned about their language and culture, hunting in the jungle late at night.
“The callouses on our feet got a lot thicker,” he says. “We learned how to throw a spear and hunt pigs, basically live like a Yembi in their environment.”
Missionaries are routinely criticized by secular intellectuals for altering native people’s customs and “Westernizing” them. The Yembi were animists.
Dell made the painful decision to abort because she believed she couldn’t provide the upbringing her child deserved. But she was unprepared for the years of anguish and guilt following that decision.
“I felt like my baby would be better off not coming into this world,” Dell says on a 700 Club video. “I wasn’t any good for anybody.”
Immediately after aborting her daughter in the second trimester, Dell wanted to kill herself. She even took a razor blade and began to slit her wrist.
“I went home, and I just wanted to die,” Dell says. “I couldn’t live with what I had done.”
She kept saying over and over, “I’m sorry, Baby. I’m so sorry.”
That’s when a man from church called with a prophetic message: “The Lord told me you were in trouble. The Lord told me that if you will walk in the straight and narrow and trust in him, he will restore what the locusts have eaten and give you back tenfold what Satan has taken from you.”
Eventually, Dell got her life together and married a loving man named Cary (spelling is uncertain). They’ve been married 42 years and have two sons and two daughters.
But she never escaped the regret, depression and nightmares that stem from Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS).
“I longed to see my daughter,” she says. “I thought, how could there be no tears in heaven? When I got there, and when she saw me, what would she say: ‘Why did you do that, Mommy?’ I couldn’t forgive myself.”
In an effort to find a soothing balm to her inner wound, Dell and her husband went to some revival services preached by Pastor Rodney Howard Brown. She was disappointed, not finding the help she sought to heal her emotional wounds.
As she was leaving, she collapsed in the church foyer. While her body lay prone, apparently lifeless, she had a near death experience. Dell was transported to Heaven in a vision.
She saw Jesus – and a child.
“I saw this little girl with pigtails and a little white dress, and she was skipping and dancing and twirling around the feet of Jesus,” Dell says. “She turned and looked at me. Our eyes met, and I immediately… Read the rest: How do I heal from Post Abortion Syndrome?
Despite being involved with the Brooklyn mafia, drug dealing, and losing his connection with his daughter, Robert Borelli made a 180 degree turn that changed the future course of his life.
“As a young kid growing up in Brooklyn, New York, being a small guy, I had to be a little rough kid. You had to learn how to fight,” Robert told DadTalk.
Robert’s neighborhood was tough and, unbeknownst to him initially, it was run by the Gambino crime family.
“They protected the neighborhood and got all the respect from just about everybody in it, including police officers.” Robert continues. “There was mutual respect between the officers and the mafia guys.”
Robert was well-liked by the mafia affiliates, and he often attended their social clubs to run errands.
“At the age of 17 years old, I started hanging out with one of the mob guys’ sons,” Robert says. “His dad often had a big spread every Friday night where all the wise guys from the neighborhood would come meet him and give him respect.”
Robert was impressed by the influence of the men there and was drawn towards the criminal lifestyle.
“My family had a hard time making ends meet. There were financial arguments in the house over rent, and at that age, that was not something I was looking forward to having for the rest of my life.”
Robert’s gravitated towards the mafia life, drawn by the respect, money, and nice clothes offered by it.
“See the people?” a mafia man told him one day as they observed some people at a bus stop. “They are the suckers; they have to go to work, and they give half their money to the government. We’re gonna keep that money for ourselves.’”
But by age 20, he was deep into trouble with the law. He had a murder case and possession of a weapon case. Prison offered the proof that he was good for the mafia because he didn’t “rat anybody out.”
So when he was released, he was ready to operate and scale up in the lifestyle portrayed fairly accurately, he says, by the movie “Goodfellas.”
“I was getting recognition,” Robert says. “I got involved in selling drugs.”
Robert was living a fast-paced life of partying, drugs, recognition and excitement. Robert demanded respect, and he would even resort to violence to get it. He wasn’t only running drugs; drugs were running him. He became a “crackhead.”
But then something happened that would change everything.
“In 1993, a little girl was born, my daughter, Brianna, and seven weeks into having her home, I walked out of her life to get high just for that night,” Robert states. “It ended up not being just for that night, and I ended up staying out getting high.”
Mom didn’t like his newly adopted lifestyle and forced him to stay away from their daughter so she wouldn’t get corrupted.
Finally the law caught up with Robert and he was Incarcerated for a long stint. He missed his daughter, but his wife wouldn’t let him talk to her on the prison phone.
“No matter if you’re a mobster or a crackhead, to walk out of your daughter’s life… Read the rest: Robert Borelli mafioso
Darren Munzone reacted to his wife’s newfound faith in Jesus and belief in the rapture by sneering: “Oh, you’re still here? The UFOs haven’t gotten you yet?”
He could tolerate the fact that she had gambled away their savings of $10,000. But he couldn’t stand the fact that afterwards she became a born-again Christian. “To me it was like she had become a nun or something. I was just not happy.”
He lashed out at her: “If I would have wanted to marry a Christian, I would have gone to church, But I met you in a pub. This is a rip off.”
Born to an Italian immigrant father, Darren always identified as an Aussie because of discrimination against immigrants, he says on a Virginia Beach Potter’s House podcast. He had basically no background in Christianity.
Admittedly, he was the bully of the classroom and got into scrapes frequently. When his mother divorced and remarried, he took out his frustrations by fighting with the neighborhood boys. His penchant for violence went right along with his dream to be a rugby player.
“I got into lots of trouble because of fights as a teenager,” he says. “I rebelled against my mom and my stepdad.” He didn’t talk much to his stepdad except two to three times a year.
For rugby league, he practiced very hard but wasn’t big enough and wasn’t gifted in the sport. Ultimately, a series of injuries sidelined him when was semi-professional, so instead, he turned to coaching, where he excelled.
“I’ve broken all my fingers,” he recounts. “I literally had my ear ripped off the side of my head and had to have it sewn back on. My AC joint in my shoulder – serious shoulder problems. I’ve had two knee reconstructions.
“I was far more successful as a semi-professional coach.”
The woman who became his wife was a nurse, and together they made enough money to qualify for a home loan. But when the broker informed them the term would be 30 years, Darren and Joanne looked at each other and walked out.
Instead of tying themselves down for 30 years, they decided to travel to England and Europe for two years for a work-cation. “I was running away from the broken dreams of becoming a professional sportsman,” Darren says. He played cricket in England.
After one year of living in England, Joanne had a miscarriage, and the subsequent sadness deprived her of all desire to keep vacationing. “She was devastated by that,” Darren says.
They returned to Australia, where Joanne’s depression deepened and widened even though they finally married.
“She blamed herself that we’d come back from our overseas trip a year earlier than expected,” Darren says. “She thought I was angry that we’d cut our holiday. To escape the depression, she started gambling.”
She played poker machines at the local bars. “This went on for some time until she had gambled all our money away,” Darren says.
The depleted savings was not just bad – she sought Jesus because of it after a co-worker invited her to church.
She broke the news about her secret gambling addiction and subsequent losses to Darren, who despite being hooked on money didn’t get too upset. “I was annoyed but I thought we’ll recover from that.” Read the rest: Darren Munzone rugby coach Australia now pastor
Never mind that driving him towards suicide were demonic voices, schizophrenic episodes, and the opposition of his family. What bothered Adrien Lamont in the Bible conference – where he had gone seeking deliverance – was that there was only one other black person.
Fortunately, she came straight over to Adrien with a prophetic word: “God sees what you’ve been doing and how you’ve been chasing after him, and he’s so proud of you and he loves you and all the people that have done you wrong and called you crazy are gonna see what God is doing in your life in the direction that he’s taking you and they’re all gonna apologize.”
Adrien stayed and received intensive prayer. The deliverance was decisive. Today Adrien is a rising star in Christian Hip Hop, though his music is oriented more to the street than the pew, a rough-edged message of salvation, not cleared for Sunday School.
Adrien Lamont’s father abused heroin and died when he was young, so Mom did her best to raise him. Grandma was the driving force behind church attendance, but Adrien never developed a personal relationship with Jesus.
He was drawn to music and wanted to make it big. As he searched for his identity, he began drinking, smoking weed and using other drugs. He also liked to wear a brand of clothing with occult symbols. Today he says those symbols opened him up to demonic interference.
“I was really involved in satanic imagery and satanic clothing,” he says on Testimony Stories, a YouTube channel that focuses on Christian rappers. “It got to a point where all these things I was surrounding myself, started to affect my spirit. I realize now in hindsight that a lot of those garments and things I was wearing actually had demonic forces on them.”
He had a ring that every time he took it off and put it back on, he felt like a different person.
Connected with the producer, he began his path to stardom in secular rap.
“I remember just getting very high and drunk one day and I remember him telling me about all these satanic rituals and blood sacrifice and sacrificing his daughter,” Adrien says. “Under the laptop we were recording on, there was a Ouija board. I felt like I was demon possessed and that demons were speaking out of me into the microphone.”
On that day, he says he felt Satan’s presence. Words were impressed into his mind.
“He asked me if I wanted to sell my soul to Satan,” Adrien relates.
“Yes, okay,” he spoke out.
The rest of the night, he felt a darkness he had never experienced.
Hours later, he was listening to his recording when his computer “glitched.” Up popped another musician who shared his testimony about how demons came out of him and how he ran to his mother, who had a shotgun in her hand. He was saved from evil.
Adriend couldn’t explain the sudden, mysterious site change on his screen. He knew he needed to leave Hollywood immediately and return to his mom, who was living in Long Beach. Early next morning, he wandered around Hollywood asking for a phone to call Mom. Eventually, he got an Uber home.
Her Christmas Eve hope was to die in the hospital and put an end to the endless pain from Crohn’s disease.
Then a Jamaican dietitian showed up and prayed for Cassidy Kellagher, and on Christmas she woke up without pain for the first time in many months.
“I realized that was an angel,” Cassidy says on her YouTube channel. A Christmas angel.
Before coming to the Lord, Cassidy was virulently anti-Christian to the point she wouldn’t even say “Bless you” when somebody sneezed.
By her own account, she was “an extreme atheist, an extreme vegan, pansexual and an egotistical, terrible person,” She marched in gay pride parades and, dressed in a lettuce bikini, handed out veggie dogs to Senators with PETA.
“I wouldn’t eat with anybody who ate meat,” she says. “I just went out of my way to shame people who didn’t believe what I believed in.”
In June 2019 Cassidy began to have severe stomach aches. She soon went to the ER and got a CAT scan and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. In three months time, she lost 60 pounds. Doctors pumped her with pain meds to alleviate the excruciating pain.
“Nothing was working,” she says.
She dwindled down to 80 pounds and after six months wished to die.
“I wanted to kill myself,” she says. “I woke up and hated my existence. I hated every second of it. I had no hope. I lost my personal life.”
Then Christmas Eve came, and the pain was so intense that Cassidy asked her mom to take her back to the hospital.
“I felt like it was going to be my last day on Earth,” she says. “I was excited, like no more pain, no more tears. Let’s do it.”
But she didn’t die. On Christmas she woke up and met the Jamaican dietitian. She had never seen her before, which was strange because she had been in and out of the hospital so often, she thought she knew everybody. She didn’t pay too much attention initially.
For the first time in a long time, Cassidy broke down in tears, which was strange because “I didn’t really have any emotions at that time. I was pretty much a vegetable just waiting to die,” she remembers.
The dietitian broke hospital protocol and told Cassidy she was going to pray for her – a decision Cassidy resisted with all the strength she could muster in her weakened condition. But since the Jamaican lady insisted, Cassidy relented. She didn’t expect anything to happen as a result of the words spoken over her.
“She had so much passion for me,” Cassidy recalls.
“You will be healed and you will be a healer,” the woman prophesied.
The day after Christmas, Cassidy woke up and no longer felt any pain. As a matter of fact, she felt so good she wanted to be released from the hospital, which staff wouldn’t allow because of the seriousness of her condition previously.
James Tughan doesn’t blame the cops for shooting his son after he pointed a (toy) gun at them. James himself had called the police after his adult adopted son, his brain altered by drugs and concussions, had called to threaten James’ life. He recognizes the police were there to protect the innocent.
“I can’t really hold anybody responsible for that except Alex,” James says on a 100 Huntley St. video. “He provoked it”
He could not defuse the family tumult that resulted from the incident, so he now pours his pain into his drawings on paper. An accomplished artist in the realism genre, James explores the fragility of relationships in a world fraught with sin, but at the same time offered hope through the redemption of a loving Savior.
“This is how I deal with this phenomenon,” he says.
James Tughan grew up in a Christian home in Toronto and found faith in Christ, but not all was as it seemed. There were fissures. Unlike many who reject the faith of their parents because of some level of inconsistency between action and diction, James incorporated the jarring dissonance into his art.
With eye for detail, James excelled in realism and became a sought-after artist for commercial pieces for 25 years.
But recently, he’s turned more to fine art, wanting to give voice to a vibrant faith struggling with a shattered reality.
He married and had a beautiful family. He and his wife adopted Alex, who excelled in sports.
It was accidents on the snowboard (he preferred not to use a helmet) and a drug habit that started in the 7th grade that doomed Alex. His parents didn’t catch on to his drug use until it had devolved into ecstasy and heroin. Alex warped into an aggressive and hateful young man.
“In the end we ended up with a perfect storm,” James recounts. “Alex stopped being Alex, he became someone else. Our house was a war zone. He had become a con artist and… Read the rest: James Tughan Christian artist, troubled son.
Mom’s rare form of cancer offered a bleak 0% survival rate, but she declared to her husband – mystically – “I’ll be better by our anniversary.”
Daughter Mikhaila Peterson dismissed the proclamation as “spooky weird.” But when Mom recovered a month later on the day of her anniversary, Mikhaila “couldn’t logic my way out of that.”
“How did you get better?” she asked Mom.
“God,” was her cryptic reply.
Mikhaila is a Canadian podcaster who is almost more famous for being the daughter of heralded culture critic Jordan Peterson, who himself recently passed from admirer of Christian teaching to follower of Christ.
Mikhaila’s journey to Christianity shadows her dad’s, but the critical factor was her mom’s brush with death.
Mikhaila grew up learning the Biblical stories, but they were taught for their psychological significance by her psychologist father who viewed them through the lens of Carl Jung. They weren’t taught as literal events and truth.
“In the 4th grade, somebody asked me if I believed in God,” Mikhaila remembers on a Big Conversation video. “I said, ‘I don’t know.’”
Inwardly, she envied Christians. “I hoped that one day I could find some sort of support, like God,” she says. “I heard Christians talking about it and it was like that sounds fantastic, but I don’t have that.”
Ironically, consuming psychedelic drugs in her youth made her open to the possibility of there being a deity.
“I took a lot of psychedelics, and I do think the psychedelics opened my mind to the possibility that there was something there I couldn’t see,” she says. “I think that had a fairly large role to play.”
Dad, who was a cultural phenomenon, came to Christ and stopped viewing the Biblical narrative only as an expression of humanity’s deep-seated needs and realized they are also true stories. Mikhaela, who always admired her dad, took note.
But it was her mother’s rare cancer that led her towards faith.
“She was unbelievably sick. She was movie sick. She got this rare cancer that nobody gets and there were no studies on it and the death rate was 100%,” Mikhaila relates. “It was a cancer that nothing helps and it kills you right away.
“It tore my family apart because it was so sudden.”
Three consecutive surgeries failed.
Only a Catholic woman who visited her in the hospital to pray with her offered hope.
“A lady started visiting her in the hospital and they were praying together,” Mikhaila says. “My mom’s demeanor changed. She just… Read the rest: Mikhaila Peterson Christian.
He dressed in all black, wore long dark hair, and had one blue contact lens – 90s Goth style. So when a church-goer saw him at the store, he freaked and thought: This guy will never get saved.
So when Genaro Nava showed up at church the following Sunday, the Christian guy felt rebuked internally for judging people: “It was like God just slapped me across the face. It blew my mind.”
Today Genaro is not just rescued from the darkness of underage clubbing across the border in Mexico, he’s a pastor in Brownsville, Texas, his third pastoral assignment.
Genaro came with his family to America to start the 1st grade. When his mom got divorced, she fell into a deep depression. Genaro and his sisters fell into drugs and partying in high school. Genaro’s room was painted black, covered with worldly posters.
One night he left a club, and there were Christian street preachers from the Door Church declaring the love of Jesus. Genaro joked to his girlfriend: “One day, I’m going to do that.”
The next night after a movie, there were the street evangelists again, passing out flyers. Genaro said he wasn’t interested but accepted the flier and pinned it to his wall (where there was a clutter of things on display).
The street evangelist said: “You can’t go to Heaven if you don’t have Jesus in your heart.” Those words haunted Genaro.
Years later, his sister got saved and invited him to church. It was, startlingly, the same Door Church whose flier was still on his wall. It seemed more than coincidental, so Genaro, then 19, agreed to go.
Bit by bit, he began attending church more and leaving his sin behind. At one point, he had to break up with his girlfriend of the time because she vowed to continue using drugs while he wanted to get clean. He left his old friends for the same reason.
“We would do drugs there in my house,” he says. “They would be there drinking and say, ‘Hey come on, join us.’ I had to make a stand.”
Eventually, he needed to read them the riot act: either come to church or stop coming over.
“I invited my friends to church,” he says. “They all went once and never came back. It’s not like you’re cutting them off; you’re just choosing different paths.”
People at church were really nice, and they threw him a small birthday party just a month after showing up at church. That made quite an impression.
“I was asking myself, how could you have a good time without drugs?… Read the rest: Goth gets saved
For 15 years, Victor Martel was running from God. His mother got saved, his father, his two brothers and five sisters. He was too busy consuming drugs and hanging with the homies. Everywhere he went, Christians witnessed to him, and he tried to avoid them.
Then he received a life sentence in prison.
During the first week in his cell, God spoke to his heart: Can you hear me now?
Victor’s journey into darkness, coming to Christ at age 19, his subsequent falling away and jail sentence is a lesson of what happens to those who run from God.
Victor grew up in rough neighborhood in Banning, California, where he joined a gang, drank alcohol, and consumed drugs. In his hood, he couldn’t conceive of any other kind of life because it was all he saw.
“I had no choice. I was born in that neighborhood,” Victor explains to God Reports. “There was a principality that covered the area. There was no way out. It was the only lifestyle I knew.”
At 15, he got shot in the back and cried out to God for the first time to spare his life.
Despite God answering his prayer, Victor stubbornly persisted in sin. His house got shot up as result of his involvement in the gang. At 17, he started heroin.
Two years later, Victor lost his best homie, and he cried out to God again.
Then God did something remarkable. He placed a burden on the heart of a pastor from the Potter’s House Church, so the pastor began looking for the most desperate person to evangelize and was drawn to Victor’s house.
“He came to my house,” Victor says. “I wasn’t trying to be famous that way.”
In response to the gospel message, Victor accepted Jesus and began attending church in Beaumont, a few miles away. Victor attended for three months and then “didn’t follow through. I got caught back in doing what I wanted to do.”
After being handed a bloody bag of personal items of their dead son, Myron Leavitt was informed that his other son had a 5% chance of surviving surgery and that – if he lived – he would probably be charged with vehicular manslaughter.
“The other kids were 18 years old and were drunk out of their minds, but the state trooper said, We have a witness that thinks that your sons ran the red light,” Myron says on a Virginia Beach Potter’s House podcast.
Talk about Job being informed of calamity after calamity.
“Over 75% of marriages that have a tragedy like this in their lives, their marriage does not survive because people grieve differently, people process things differently,” Myron says. “But the grace of God, when he is the only answer you have, he is able to navigate you through these things.”
Not only did Myron’s marriage survive, they’re pastoring a church showing mercy, love, compassion and strength to others in Sanford, Florida – as incredible as Job’s recovery.
“I made a decision very early on that I’m going to choose forgiveness. I wasn’t out to hurt these kids,” Myron says. “I wanted, after everything is said and done, to be able to witness to these kids and to share the love of Christ with them.”
Myron’s journey with God began in the U.S. Navy. His girlfriend of the time took him to the recruiter’s office. They were both supposed to sign up so they could be together. But Myron found himself shipped out to Scotland, and his girlfriend never signed up.
His father had been a “Jack Mormon,” an insincere adherent. His violence and alcoholism turned Myron off to Mormonism. In Scotland, he met some on-fire Navy men who served Jesus on and off the ship and showed him an authentic relationship with the living Lord.
Back Stateside, Myron started attending a startup church in Jacksonville, Florida, where the pastor, after one month, asked him to be in a rap group for outreach. “Here I was a corn-fed country boy, what did I know about rap?” he quips. He grew up in Notus, Idaho.
But Myron already sensed a passion for Christ, so he was given a tambourine and went off to the local park to perform in the crowd-getting concert that members preached to. At that outreach, a woman got saved who ultimately became his wife (moral of the story: say yes to pastor).
Thirteen times, the Navy gave him orders to ship out. Thirteen times, Myron ignored them. He loved his pastor and wanted to continue growing in the Lord at the Victory Chapel.
“I don’t recommend to anyone they risk a court martial,” Myron cautions. “All I know is that I believed that God wanted me to stay in my church.”
Myron did indeed grow in the Lord, to the point that he was ordained and sent to launch a church, since his church believed launching new works is the most likely way to quickly fulfill the Great Commission. He has pastored a few churches.
Once when he was back in Jacksonville church, his wife, Jenny, got diagnosed with cancer. It was stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma with less than 25% chance of survival, and the doctor didn’t give her much hope. “You may want to call your family in,” he told Myron at one point. “I don’t think we’ll be able to bring her back.”
With a 3-year-old and a 3-month-old, Myron felt that God would have to save her, so he told the doctor to do his duty while he prayed. Jenny survived, though she has suffered secondary diseases that resulted from the cancer treatment.
Years later, his sons crashed. They were closing the church after a drama and concert outreach close to midnight in the Jacksonville church. Caleb was 20, and Jacob was 17. Myron and Jenny left first.
Myron got the call as soon as he arrived at home. The pastor’s wife spotted a wrecked car, just like Caleb’s, on fire on the side of the road. Myron called and texted them, neither answered. So Myron drove to the… Read the rest: modern day Job Pastor Myron Leavitt.
Decidedly “100% atheist,” Mariah Jones pitied Christians, believing they reject reason and the advancements of scientific knowledge.
“I did not believe in God,” Mariah says on a 2019 video on her YouTube channel. “I didn’t believe in spirituality at all. I thought believing in such things was silly. Basically I was just a strong believer in science.”
Right after high school, Mariah joined the Navy in 2013. It was in the Navy that she developed anorexia and bulimia.
“It grew more and more aggressive as the years went by,” she says.
Once out of the Navy, she enrolled in college, and she positively relished the science classes which at first affirmed her belief in nothing.
“I used to enjoy when people would bring up God so that I could try and destroy their argument with science.” she admits. “I would ask them impossible questions that would put them in this awkward position and make it pretty much impossible for them to answer.
“I hated when people would talk about Jesus.”
Her distaste for Christianity was extreme, fueled by the grip of the evil one in her life.
“My mentality towards Christians and anyone who was religious was like, You’re wasting your entire life trying to live by these impossible standards and these rules that supposedly God created just to go to a place after you die,” she says. “I thought religion was a man-made construct that was harmful to people.”
Then a boomerang struck in 2017 in her second year in college. The same science that in the first year of college affirmed her atheist became the science of the second year of college that undermined her atheism.
Specifically, how could biological molecules with astronomical number of atoms all sequenced with confunding minute precision have just come together by chance? she wondered.
So at first science contributed to her atheistic arrogance. Then, as the classes advanced, they deconstructed it.
“Having to accept that everything just formed on its own by itself on accident, it didn’t make sense to me,” Mariah admits. “It really started to bother me because deep down I didn’t want to believe something. I didn’t want to take that responsibility.”
The thirst for alcohol, the perverted thoughts all left him the instant Mitchell Collins prayed: I don’t want to be the man I am anymore. I’m sorry for the things I’ve done. Jesus if you’ll come into my life and change me, I’ll live out the rest of my days for you.
“When I gave my life to Jesus, there was a dramatic change,” Mitchell told God Reports. “The thoughts that I had towards women changed overnight. Before Jesus I had thoughts all the time about women when they walked by. Afterwards, there was self-control. I no longer wanted to think of women in that manner. I had respect for them.”
As a lead petty officer in the Navy over a group of men, Mitchell had mocked the Christian in his group mercilessly. Now that he had accepted Jesus into his heart, what was he to do? “I didn’t tell anyone that I got saved for two weeks.”
The leadup to salvation was a long history of sin and soullessness. Born in Merkel, Texas, population 2,500, into a family of alcohol and crime, Mitchell didn’t see much future for himself as a cattleman. So he shipped out with the Navy straight out of high school.
He got his porn addiction and promiscuity from his stepdads and his drinking from his grandmother, a back-slidden bartender. He was consumed by dirty thoughts, knew how to get into relationships with women but not how to sustain them.
“I got started into that when I was little,” Mitchells says of being exposed to porn at 10. “I didn’t have an understanding or respect for the value of what it costs to have a woman.”
In the Navy, Mitchell completed one tour in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf and spent the rest of his time in Norfolk Naval Shipyard, assisting with maintenance on the nuclear-powered U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier.
That’s where he met Freddie Valero, who had stopped drinking after accepting Jesus and talked to everybody about salvation. Mitchell, who was in charge of the group, mocked him and incited the others to tell dirty jokes and drink. He also would deny Freddie’s request for Sundays off to attend church.
“I was giving Freddie a very hard time as his supervisor,” Mitchell admits. “I was always telling him he was using his religion as a excuse to get out of his work.”
But then Grandma died. Mitchell had spent the last weeks with her in the hospital and watched how cancer consumed her.
A short time later, the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers happened.
When Danish street-preacher Torben Sondergaard was arrested by the FBI 19 days ago on suspicion of smuggling arms into America, it was a real head-scratcher.
The zealous founder of The Last Reformation decided to leave Denmark after insistent pressure by authorities and the media. His abuses? Treating mental illness as if it were demon possession, encouraging people to stop taking their meds when healed by God, and home-schooling his daughters.
It was a case study of atheistic entities confronting a faith-filled firebrand, and the non-believers marshaling their forces so unrelentingly that Torben determined his name had been tarnished so badly in Denmark that he needed a clean start and applied for asylum in America.
Has he been smuggling arms from Mexico into America? Christians who have known him and his ministry are shaking their heads in disbelief.
“He doesn’t even know how to shoot a gun,” said Rene Celinder, a staunch ally.
Torben has been in jail since his arrest when authorities shackled him hand and foot like a terrorist. Initially, he was shocked. He had a bout with fear as the guards told him he would spend a long time in prison and then be deported, the fate of virtually all the inmates at ICE’s Baker County Facility in Florida.
Then Torben got a Bible and renewed his spirit with constant reading. Eventually, he got out of solitary confinement.
And he did what Paul did when in jail.
He began evangelizing.
In the latest update from The Last Reformation on YouTube which Jón Bjarnastein read, Torben… Read the rest: Torben Sondergaard in jail.
When his family left Texas, little 9-year-old Mack Calvin saw poverty and physical and verbal abuse under the drunken terrors of his father. His family was evicted many times, so Mack moved from school to school and his learning suffered. In college, he read at a 7th grade level.
So when the 100 colleges offering him basketball scholarships saw his 1.9 GPA on his transcript, they shut the doors to him. “This boy’s dumb,” Mack imagined they said of him.
“My father was always drunk. It was kind of embarrassing when he came to my baseball or basketball games drunk,” Mack told God Reports. “God said to me, ‘You’re not going to ever drink. I didn’t want to be like my dad. I detested the anger he displayed towards my mother when he was intoxicated.
Ultimately, Jesus had big things for Mack, who eventually became a Hall of Famer in basketball. In August, he’s running free youth basketball camps in Long Beach, aiming to help impart values to underprivileged kids and teach them about Jesus.
Born on a farm in Ft Worth, Texas, Mack’s family was middle class and never lacked food. But his dad was an irascible, foul-mouthed drunk who decided to move the family to Los Angeles. His continuous gambling impoverished the family, and they went from eviction to eviction until they arrived at the Imperial Courts Housing Project in Watts.
Right next door, there was a gym where Mack played and practiced continuously until age 15, before the family moved to Long Beach.
“I knew in my heart that I didn’t want to be like my father,” he says. “I wanted to be great. I wanted to be special. I worked hard.”
Parks & Recreation coaches took the raw material in Mack and formed a high-caliber player. At Long Beach Polytechnic High, Mack led his team to back-to-back CIF championships both years he was on the varsity team. He was all-CIF, the state sports organization for high schools.
Colleges wanted him. But his schools had put him into wood shop class, metal shop and special education; he fell victim to the instability of his home. So off to Long Beach City College he went. Mack led his team to championships.
Coaches Chuck Kane and Bill Barnes turned his academics around. Starting him in easier academic classes and connecting him with tutoring, the coaches transformed the academic underachiever into a Dean’s List student.
After two years in the community college, Mack accepted a scholarship offer at USC, where he broke UCLA’s 41-game winning streak with his tenacious play. What the 6’0” point guard lacked in stature, he made up with sheer grit and determination.
Out of college, Mack played seven stellar seasons for the American Basketball Associating until it merged with the NBA in 1976. He was an ABA all-star five times and was named to the ABA all-time team
“You’re talking to a miracle,” Mack admits. “It was by the grace of God. God has always been at the center of everything in my life, no matter what I accomplished, no matter what accolades, no matter what money I made.”
Joining the NBA, he played for the Lakers, Spurs, Nuggets, Jazz and Cavaliers before retiring after the 1981 season. He did some stints as a coach, including for the Lakers and for the Virginia Squires.
For 44 years, he’s sponsored a basketball camp to give back to the communities where he’s lived. “I want to always aspire to make a difference,” he says. He’s mindful of the hardships of his own upbringing.
He’s always attended church. In college he participated in college sports faith groups. On the road, he’s attended whenever it was Sunday, as long as there wasn’t a game. Today, he attends Bishop Charles Blake’s West Angeles Church of God in Christ.
“I loved the spirit that came from the church,” Mack says. “I’ve always had the… Read the rest: Mack Calvin Christian
Everyone else he knew didn’t have a dad. So, the fact that he had a father should have been a blessing for Nathaniel Martinez, but he got picked on by envious boys and felt like an outsider. Still, he projected the proper pastor’s kid image until he could no longer stand it.
“When I was about 17 I just kind of blew up,” Nathaniel says on Testimony Stories YouTube channel. “I just was so angry. “I 100% rebelled against the church when I came of age.”
Today, Nathaniel is better known as Selah the Corner, a rising rapper on the God Over Money label.
Born in the rough South Side of Yonkers, New York City in 1985, Nathaniel had to wend his way through the warzone of rival gangs and drug deals. First his mom got saved, then his dad. His parents became pastors.
Again, the blessing turned into a curse.
“I thought my parents were taken away from me by the church,” he confesses. “At 3:00 in the morning when I had a nightmare and I wanted to talk to my mom and my dad, sometimes mom and dad were on the phone with somebody who was dying in the hospital. You understand as a young child the ministry comes first, and that stops you from even asking your parents to choose between you and the ministry because you love them. But doing that 20-30 times, and you’re a grown man and you’re like, yo, I let these people take my family away from me.
“That’s the negative way to look at it.”
When he got a car and didn’t have curfew anymore, he started indulging his flesh and only attended church on holidays.
At Stony Brook University where he always stayed on high honor roll, he took drugs and partied – in a highly “organized” way so that his parents wouldn’t find out.
“Being a pastor’s kid, you learn how to organize your sins because you realize how important it is that no one ever finds out anything,” he says. “I had everything on strict times. I was gonna be in the streets for this long. I was gonna do these amount of drugs and what time I would need to be sober. I had the Visine and the cologne.
“I just perfected my negative craft in that aspect.”
When the angel encounters started, Andrew Aggrey cut the partying and insincere Christianity. The supernatural visions came regularly, but nothing prepared him for his visionary descent into hell.
“I feel this magnet power pull me down,” Andrew says on a Delafe video. “The only way I can really describe it is a dark vortex. Imagine skydiving at nighttime without the fun. And boom I land in hell. And I know exactly where I am.”
Because he had heard of others who visited Hell, he inexplicably asked God if he could experience it himself. He believes God gave him the experience to warn others about the danger beyond the grave.
Andrew grew up in a Christian household. But as with many other young people who grow up in a Christian family, he suffered from the “my parents’ faith” syndrome. He lacked a wholehearted relationship with God.
At college, he threw himself into drinking, drugs and clubs. He had no doubt God was real but felt no compulsion to serve Him.
“I had the awareness of God, but I still kind of wanted to live my own life.” Andrew says.
But when the pandemic hit, he found himself locked up at home with tons of time to read. He read the Bible. Then the dreams began.
The first was an angel that guided him through a house with opening doors. He realized it was an angel because when he tried to worship it (thinking it might be Jesus), the angel stopped him from doing so.
It was an emotional encounter, but when he tried to share about it with his family, he felt like they doubted its legitimacy.
Another encounter was with Jesus. In his dream, the Lord walked past him. He had previously struggled with childhood rejections. In this case, he felt rejected by Jesus. “Lord, do you not love me?” he pleaded.
Then Jesus looked at him, and there was no doubt.
“He didn’t say anything to me, but the look was enough,” Andrew says. “Just looking in his eyes, face to face, was enough. I knew… Read the rest: Vision of Hell.
Right there in the back of the patrol car, Robert Michiels slipped out of the handcuffs, unthreaded his shoelace, tied the two laces together, hung them from the coat hook, inserted his head and attempted to hang himself.
“I felt my life slip away.” Robert says on a Virginia Beach Potter’s House podcast. “I watched my life flash before me rapid fire in little clips. Everything, from the time I went fishing with my dad and my brother, opening presents on Christmas, climbing up on the roof, riding our bikes, skating in the neighborhood.”
Then a loud voice from Heaven pronounced an imperious command.
So he did.
Instead of committing suicide and ending his drug-addicted misery, Robert Michiels, then 20, went to jail and got saved. Today he is a pastor.
The North Phoenix native was the kid your parents warned you to stay away from. He liked to get into trouble and quickly fell into drugs by age 15.
But after drugs reduced him to homelessness. Not even his mother would receive him that night when he called her in desperation, wanting to get off the streets. Robert doesn’t blame her; he had stolen from her the previous time to support his habit.
At the end of his rope, he formed the plan to commit suicide. But first he would get high one last time.
To scrape money together, he stole a pickup truck so he could resell the tires. They were worth a fortune, but Robert offloaded them for $50 each to a guy who paid cash and didn’t care about their provenance.
But when he was stealing the first one, people shouted and he had to drive off, cursing his luck that he’d only gotten one. As he roared off, a trucker pursued him, talking to the cops as he followed.
Eventually, Robert got cornered. He got out of the pickup and shouted at the trucker: “Don’t be a hero, expletive, expletive, expletive.”
Robert slammed his truck in gear and drove straight at the trailer cab. He slammed into it, leaving it damaged. He drove off.
Then the first police car showed up. Robert drove wildly through the industrial area which had scattered open fields. The first cop car became several and eventually “the whole Phoenix police department,” Robert says.
Robert careened through a muddy field that splattered mud on his windshield. He couldn’t wipe the windshield clean, so he rolled down his side window and leaned out to see where he was going.
He never doubted that he would get away. For the whole 22-minute pursuit, he was smoking his crack pipe.
Then he slammed into a pole. He woke up with the engine pushed into him; he smelled of radiator fluid. He credits his limp, drugged up body for his survival. He gathered himself, pulled himself out of the truck and ran down an embankment, into… Read the rest: The Door Christian Center in San Diego
Shinichi Tanaka believed vaguely that an all-powerful god who created the universe was out there somewhere. But it was not until a near death experience that he found his way to God.
From a young age, Shinichi had a great respect for nature and the “gods” of the Shinto religion. However, when visiting the shrines to pray, he felt that something was missing.
“I went there to feel a sense of purification, also to pray and give thanks,” Shinichi says on a Japan Kingdom Church video. “But it was like praying to a vague God, like the air.”
It was at 40 years old that Shinchi began to take on a different perspective on God. In a moment of introspection, he began to see God not as a group, but as an omnipotent Creator.
“I realized the existence of God, which had immeasurable power,” he continues. “Since then, I would close my eyes and meditate that the universe would send energy like bright and dazzling lights. That was my God.”
Shinichi did not know God yet. This would change when, at 49 years old, he experienced a heart attack that left him hospitalized.
“My life hung in a fifty-fifty balance,” Shinichi says. “But I kept a strong will to survive.”
At one point during his hospitalization, Shinichi underwent a near-death experience that led him closer to finding God.
“One night, while sleeping on the bed in the hospital, a beautiful world spread out before me, and I was drawn outside my body,” Shinichi recounts. “It was actually the entrance to death.”
“Then, suddenly, a voice shouted ‘No! Don’t go!’” Shinichi continues. “When I regained consciousness, I suffered from strong pain, and tried to get out of it.”
Shinichi believed that an invisible being saved him from entering death’s… Read the rest: Shintoist finds God.
Only 8 years old, Casey Diaz tried to kill his father by pushing his face into a portable gas heater and turning the gas on. He didn’t stop even when his mom rushed in, horrified.
“Just leave him,” Casey told her. “I’ll take the blame.”
It was Casey’s way of ending the brutal, bloody beatings his drunken father inflicted upon his mother. Though the fratricide was unsuccessful, the anger smoldered and turned Casey into a fearsome gangbanger in South Los Angeles. He stabbed his first victim at age 11. There were many more after.
“It was so easy for me,” he says on a 700 Club video on YouTube. “I put the face of my father on every single one of my victims.”
By age 16, he was locked up for 12 years for one count of second degree murder and 52 counts of armed robbery.
With his proclivity towards violence and aggression — and because of his reputation on the street — Casey ruled the gang in the jail.
He nearly strangled to death a rival and landed in solitary confinement with an “upgrade” to Folsom State Penitentiary from juvenile hall.
That’s where Francis met him. When the chaplain invited him to a monthly Bible study, he responded harshly.
“You’re crazy,” he snarled. “I’m not going to your Bible study. I’m not interested. Do you know who you’re talking to?”
Undaunted and undeterred, Francis responded that she was placing him on her prayer list. She called it her prayer “hit” list, using the underworld’s slang for people… Read the rest: 8-year-old would-be killer
As a result of her parent’s divorce, Savannah Hernandez felt shame, had insecurities, depression, and had given up on believing in God.
“I hated God at this point of my life,” says Savannah on YouTube, “I just felt like, man, there is no way that God is real. I’m going through so much stuff. How is God real? How did he make this earth?”
Many fall away from God and don’t come back, but Savannah is proof that restoration of faith is possible.
Savannah’s parents got divorced when she was 11 years old. From there, she swirled downward emotionally.
“It was really hard on me just to face as a child and trying to figure out what was going on and just how to really just grow up to be a woman,” she says.
Savannah had a strong dad who never left her or made her feel alone, but she still felt an emptiness inside. She looked for masculine approval, which caused her to feel worse about herself and develop more insecurities.
“I did feel like I was alone at some point in my house, and I did run to guys and just love to try to find some type of love and temporary fix in those areas that I was hurting,” Savannah says. “It just caused me to hurt, and it caused me just shame and feeling like I wasn’t worthy and that was really hard for any girl to face.”
After she graduated, Savannah tried smoking and became stubborn and prideful.
“I was just doing all these things behind my dad’s back,” she recounts. “I’m not doing anything to pursue any of my goals, I’m not doing anything, I don’t believe in a God.
His vaunted career in aerospace engineering led him to being featured in National Geographic for his research with NASA.
But the PhD from a German university couldn’t save Dr. Dragos Bratasanu from personal heartbreak when his startup flopped, and he went back to his parents apartment depressed, in wretched pain and envying the dead in the local cemetery.
“The pain was so intense, I took my pillow and cried out to God from the bottom of my heart,” he recalls on a CBN video. “God, if you’re real, I need you.”
Growing up in Romania, Dragos was turned off by religion because it involved “bowing down to bones,” burning candles and the belief that you can only get to Heaven through your local priest.
Instead of seeking religious truth, he sought scientific truth. Excelling in his studies, he got the chance to study in Germany, where earned his PhD in space science. He worked with the Romanian Space Agency, got a chance to work with NASA and was commended in a National Geographic article.
At the top of his scientific career, he fell to the depths of inner despair. His business failing, he was humbled to the point of not being able to pay his bills and moved back with his parents. He cursed his fate.
When he considered embarking on a spiritual quest, Christianity was his last option. He studied Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and other major religions. He even traveled to the Himalayas to study under the most renowned Buddhist monks. All seemed to offer good tenets, but didn’t resonate with his soul.
The first time Bud Greenberg showed up at a Bible study, he introduced himself as a Jew, and the leader asked him to teach the next week’s study.
“You’re Jewish,” the leader told him. “Wow, you’re an expert on the scriptures. We’re just finishing up the study and we’re going to start the book of Esther. Since you know it a lot better than us, you being Jewish, will you teach us?”
There was only one problem: Bud had never read the Bible.
Notwithstanding, he assumed the invitation to teach was standard operating procedure. He went home and, starting from Genesis, thumbed through the Bible until he got to Esther.
“I didn’t want to disappoint,” he says on a Delafe Testimonies video. “It gave me a desire to read more, so I thought to myself, ‘Well, maybe I’ll read the New Testament.’ So I started in the book of Matthew.”
Today, Bud leads Bible studies in the Pentagon with Navy Seals and Special Operators, leading America’s elite fighters to Jesus. God has spoken through him in a way that unnerves the highest military professionals famed for having nerves of steel.
“I’m scared of you,” a Delta Force operator told him one day, arriving at the Bible study.
“You’re scared of me?” Bud responded. “I’m just a pencil-neck geek bureaucrat; you’re the killer.”
“No, no,” the operator said. “They tell me what goes on in these bible studies. I have no idea. I came early just to see for myself.”
Bud Greenberg was born Jewish but married a Christian girl. He loved baseball but wasn’t good enough in umpire school to make it in the Big Leagues. So, he joined the military and carted his wife with him to Germany.
She wasn’t too happy with the sudden move, and their marriage began to suffer. He asked a social worker what he could do to improve his marriage. Do something with your wife that she likes to do, was the answer.
With $2.7 million on the line to win or lose the most legendary golf tournament in the world, the fabled Masters of Augusta, Georgia, 25-year-old Scottie Scheffler, who had won his first PGA Tour title only weeks earlier, broke into tears of nervousness on the morning of the final day.
“I cried like a baby this morning, I was so stressed out,” he admitted later.
His wife, Meredith, a strong Christian, told him: “Who are you to say that you’re not ready? Who are you to say that you know what’s best for your life?”
“If you win this golf tournament today, if you lose this golf tournament by 10 shots, if you never win another golf tournament again, I’m still going to love you,” she said. “You are still going to be the same person, Jesus loves you, and nothing changes.”
Scheffler was grateful for her wisdom, “What we talked about is that God is in control and the Lord is leading me and if today’s my time, then it’s my time…if I shot 82 today then somehow I was going to use it for His glory.”
His wife’s advice and the Lord’s presence helped calm his nerves, and Scottie coolly chipped his way to the championship. As he donned the storied green jacket given to Master’s tournament winners, Scottie spoke about his Christian faith.
“All I’m trying to do is glorify God,” he said. “That’s why I’m here and that’s why I’m in this position and so for me it’s not about a golf score. I need a Savior and that’s probably one of the coolest things about our faith is recognizing your need for a Savior.”
Scheffler was born in Ridgewood, New Jersey, but moved with his family to Dallas, Texas when he was six. Throughout grade school Scheffler, filled with a fascination for professional golf, would wear golf attire to school, even though his peers made fun of him.
He attended Highland Park High School, where he played both golf and basketball, and then the University of Texas, where it was strictly golf. He helped the team win multiple championships.
It was in college that Scheffler “truly felt alone and didn’t know what to do.” He then started attending church and began to give his heart to God, piece by piece. “Gradually with time he just started taking over my heart,” he recalls.
Taneisha Upperman’s idyllic childhood evaporated when she saw her stepdad hit her mom with a hatchet.
“It was in the middle of the night, blood was streaming down her face, and I was terrified, so I ran all the way down the street to my aunt’s house, probably about two in the morning crying,” she says on a Delafe video. “I remember being so scared and not knowing what to do and knocking on my aunt’s door for like 20 minutes because they were asleep.”
From the age of six, Taneisha’s life was a nightmare. Yes, her mother gave birth to Taneisha as a 16-year-old single mom, but they went to church with Grandma, and Taneisha had a happy life singing in church.
But her childhood innocence was tarnished when stepdad let the kids see porn.
Once when arguing with him, Mom locked Taneisha up in a room with her uncle, who sexually abused her.
“I was not understanding it, but being exposed to porn, I’m like, Well maybe this is
supposed to happen,” she says. “I just did not understand.”
She was seven-years-old, and told no one about the incident.
Mom moved the family to New York and then back to the country. Remembering the happy years when she attended church with Grandma, she begged her mom to be allowed to live with Grandma.
Little did she realize, Grandma had changed.
“That’s when I experienced verbal abuse and physical abuse,” Taneisha recalls. “My grandmother was angry. I don’t know why. She would just yell at me and call me names and say, ‘You’re nothing. You’re gonna be nothing. You’re lazy.’”
Grandma provided shabby clothes for Taneisha to wear to school, which was embarrassing and led to being bullied.
But the worst thing was that her uncle would come and go and take advantage of her sexually. At 10, she lost her virginity because of his abuse.
“In the fifth grade, I started having a warped view of guys,” she acknowledges. “I thought in order for them to like me or to be popular I had to let them touch me. I began to get promiscuous in school.”
All the while, Grandma took her to church, where she discovered she had a great singing voice. She was told she had a gift from God. When she sang solos, the church “went crazy.”
Taneisha elevated the family’s status in the church.
Despite experiencing terrors of demonic oppression as a child, Apisit “Ide” Viriya didn’t abandon the syncretic Buddhism of his childhood when he began experiencing clinical levels of obsessive-compulsive disorder with anxiety as a college student.
“Buddhism acknowledges suffering in the world,” says the Thai immigrant to America. “But for me it didn’t provide a solution. I fell into a survival mentality.”
Ide was raised in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism. Raised in America, Ide was told by his parents to always double-down on the teachings of his family, as 95% of Thais are Buddhist.
So he hung on to Buddhism, even when the animism of his village opened him to demonic influences. His parents didn’t believe him or his brother when they were awakened by terrors or heard voices during the night, so they comforted each other.
“I felt like there were fingers touching my body,” he says on a Delafe video. “I could see two eyes looking down at me.”
At the University of Maryland in Baltimore, Ide first encountered an enthusiastic believer. He felt like she genuinely cared for him, but he was put off by her exclusive attitude, saying that Jesus was the only way to God.
He listened to her as she witnessed to him and even attended church, but he also shared Buddhism with her.
In his early 20s, he began to suffer from depression and OCD, believing that something bad would happen to his mom if he didn’t repeat a phrase a number of times.
“I would keep having to repeat things as a thought in my head until I felt peace,” he says.
He sought help from university student psychological services and got referred off campus because the case was higher level than they could handle.
Thus began years of therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. At the height, he was taking 12 pills a day to calm the irrational fears. He also dove deep into Buddhism, visiting the temple and praying with monks every evening.
Still, he sought solutions that Buddhism couldn’t provide.
While Buddhism teaches the way to peace is by not setting your hopes on the things in this world, it was completely at a loss for aiding with OCD.
Trying to manage his OCD, finish college, and hold down a job, was a daunting task.
Desperate at age 25, he saw a Christian psychologist, who asked if he could pray for him each time. “I was hurting, so lost, I said, that’s fine. I just didn’t care,” he says. Read the rest: Demons in Buddhism
The “goon-mobile” or “swagger wagon” – a 1978 Chevy Beauville van that belched out blue smoke from its tailpipe – accompanied Adam Dragoon everywhere he went, from delivering hotdog carts around town in Portland to the party bus in high school.
When he got saved in his later high school years, the Beauville became the church bus, carting people and equipment for outreach and service.
“I learned how to sell hotdogs at 10 years old, slinging the mustard, Hebrew National hotdogs,” Adam says. “I inherited the van, a 1978 Chevy Beauville. It was a tank, one of those half-ton vans. That became my ride, that hunk of junk. It was glorious.”
The hunk of junk is a metaphor for Adam’s life before Jesus: weighted heavily, inefficient, roaring around, wasting resources. The heaviness on his heart started early, when his parents got divorced in Oregon during kindergarten.
“I was upset that Dad was gone and he wasn’t coming back,” Adam remembers on a Testimony Tuesday podcast on Spotify. “That definitely had a profound impact on who I was.”
Then both his grandfathers died when he was 15.
“That hit me real hard,” he acknowledges. “It was the first time I had to deal with death. I got angry at God. My mother’s father knew Jesus, so I was confident he was in Heaven. But my other grandpa was blasphemous and told dirty jokes. One of them was in Heaven, and one of them was not.
“That had a profound effect on me.”
What was a young boy supposed to do but fall in love with a cute blond at a telemarketing firm that he now realizes was a scam?
“I had to take care of the car. I had to pay insurance. I had to put gas in the tank, so I had to have a job,” he remembers of his 16th year. School was less appealing than work: he had a ready mind to learn but an unready hand for homework and barely passed his classes.
Raised in Arizona – “the Promised Land where all the California people who can’t afford California go,” Adam spent summers with his father where Grandfather Dragoon put him to work peddling hotdogs from his deli. He learned a work ethic.
During the summer when he was 14, Adam tried reading the Bible with his other grandfather but didn’t understand because he wasn’t yet born-again; the Holy Spirit was not yet upon him to teach him the meaning of the Scriptures.
“I put some serious effort into it,” he says.
His mom took Adam and his brother to church, one of those megachurches with cushy chairs, AC flooding the room, and a youth group of 800 kids. If you asked him, Adam would have said he was a Christian.
At the same time, there were doubts. Taught in public school, he was filled with a lot of skepticism and atheistic ideas, the fodder of the public school system.
So, when one day he sat next to a glowingly pretty blond at the telemarketing business, Adam was ripe to listen to the Gospel from her. Taya radiated light, the light of Jesus – and she was stunning.
“One day I got brave enough to leave a note on her car: If you ever want to hang out with me, you can call me,’” he remembers. “Amazingly enough, she called me.”
The first conversation ended with him asking her to hang out on the weekend. She responded with: Today’s Wednesday, and I’m going to church. Do you want to go to church with me? Read the rest: Adam Dragoon pastor of Virginia Beach Church
Wanting to “unleash” himself from society’s norms, David Wood decided to flout rules in the biggest and worst way, by murdering someone. Not just anyone. He developed a plan to murder his own father.
“Some people don’t want to live like cattle,” David explains on his Acts 17 Apologetics YouTube channel. “Some people don’t want to follow this pattern that we are all expected to mindlessly follow. Some would rather bash a man’s head in, or shoot up a theater, or walk down their school hallway stabbing people. Why shouldn’t they? Because it’s wrong? Because of your grandma? Or do people have intrinsic value? Human beings were (to me) nothing but machines for propagating DNA.”
From childhood, David had psychopathic tendencies. He was further influenced by an atheistic moral vacuum and the destructive philosophy of nihilism, a poisonous mixture that influenced the monster he became.
As a boy, when his dog died, his mother cried, but he felt nothing.
Crying isn’t going to change the fact that it’s dead so why are you crying? he thought.
Years later, when his friend died, David again felt nothing. When his mother got beaten up by a boyfriend, he felt nothing.
“I don’t remember ever not living with violence in the family,” David says on Premier Christianity. “My mum was habitually with very abusive boyfriends. One of my earliest memories was hearing a lot of screaming and walking into the kitchen and seeing blood everywhere, and my mum saying: ‘It’s ketchup, go back to bed.’”
David became a habitual rules breaker. He broke into homes, ran from police, and trampled people’s gardens. For David, morality was, at best, a “useful fiction.”
“My atheist worldview was throughout the universe or through time, we’re collections of cells,” he says. “You could kill 1,000 people, or you could spend your entire life helping people. It doesn’t make any real difference. You might as well just do whatever you feel like doing with the time you’ve got.
With a nihilist worldview, he adopted the Nietzschean self-concept of an ubermensch. He was mad at society for trying to “brainwash” him with its rules. The right thing to do, he believed, was to throw off all restraint and prove his superiority. He was “Humanity 2.0.”
There’s nothing wrong with me. It’s everyone else who has a problem. I’m the only smart, sane one, he thought.
David started studying how to build bombs but ultimately rejected mass murder because it was so prosaic.
“Anyone can blow up a bunch of random people, you don’t know them,” he says, “If you’re sick of life dangling at the end of society’s puppy strings, the killing has to start much closer to home. My dad was the only relative I had within a few hundred miles and so he obviously needed to die, and I had a ball-peen hammer that would do the trick.”
Later diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, David felt no remorse, no guilt, no sense of right and wrong. His determination to live “unleashed” knew no bounds.
On the night he planned to murder his father, 18-year-old David sat trying to think of one thing wrong his dad had done to him. He couldn’t think of a thing. He attacked him anyway with the hammer. His goal was to kill him, but he failed.
“I underestimated the amount of damage a human head could endure, crushed skulls could apparently be pieced back together by doctors,” he says. “My dad had brain damage, but he survived the attack.”
David was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison for malicious wounding under New York’s law.
In jail, he met a Christian named Randy whom he mocked. Randy wouldn’t back down easily. In fact, Randy engaged in a spirited debate with David. Surprisingly, they became friends. To compose arguments to refute Christianity, David began to read… Read the rest David Wood.
Melanie Washington hugged the young man who killed her son.
“It’s more important to love and forgive than to hold on to the pain and the hurt,” Melanie says on a Long Beach Post video. “I found myself putting my arm around him. I didn’t feel a murderer that killed my son. I felt my son.”
Today Melanie Washington, based in Long Beach, CA, is helping troubled youth make it out of a destructive culture. She herself came out of a childhood that was “pure hell,” she says.
At age 8, she was molested by her stepfather. When “Fred” got on top of her sister Mary, Melanie told her mother, who kicked out the abuser.
He left but showed up the next day with a gun.
“No, Daddy, no,” Mary pleaded.
He shot and killed Mom. He tried to kill Melanie, but the gun jammed.
Shocked and overcome by grief, Melanie, who didn’t know where to turn, blamed herself for her mother’s death.
“I was the one who told my mother that he was doing this,” Melanie explains. “She put him out, and then he came back and killed her the day after Thanksgiving. I went through a life of never forgiving myself for that. I kept telling my mother, I’m sorry.”
Melanie graduated from high school and, falling in love with a handsome young man, married him. After the second month of marriage, he began to beat her.
Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain has suffered from Asperger’s and autism throughout his life but hasn’t let that stop him from being an unashamed Christian who stands for his faith in his work to create the Texas Heartbeat Bill, which prohibits abortion after a baby’s heartbeat has been detected in the womb.
“Yes, I mix religion and politics,” he wrote in a tweet.
Cain was recipient of the 2021 Malachi Award, given by Operation Rescue to recognize the person who advanced the cause of protecting the pre-born, for his role in creating the Texas Heartbeat Act.
The 37-year-old is a loving husband and father of five. His first name is in honor of his ancestor, American pioneer, Andrew Briscoe, who fought in the Texas Revolution as a part of the Texan Army and was one of 60 who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1836.
Born with Asperger’s and autism, Cain grew up in Deer Park, Texas, raised by his father, a plant operator and his stepmother, an occupational nurse. His mother, a homemaker, taught him the value of hard work and commitment to his community.
“I, along with countless others who experience these challenges brought on by Asperger’s and autism, communicate and express myself in a way that’s different from others,” Cain told Capital Tonight.
He founded the Republican Club at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD), the first pro-life law student organization in Texas.
They get persecuted by their government, spurned by their neighbors, thrown out of their houses. Still the Laotian Christians are growing and evangelizing successfully, fomenting one of Asia’s great underground revivals.
Pei, a 52-year-old widow, illustrates what you can expect to suffer in a nation whose communist government promotes atheism and whose animists and Buddhists think you offend local gods by accepting “the God of America.”
When Pei heard the gospel via a salesman, she embraced the message of salvation by faith and forsook the worship of her ancestors. Secretly, she received discipleship for four months.
When she felt strong enough and bold enough, Pei ventured to share her faith with her daughter and son-in-law.
“Both her daughter and son-in-law immediately began to violently criticize her,” a Christian leader told Christian Aid Mission (CAM). “They told her if she did not stop believing Jesus, they would report her to the police, put her in jail or kick her out of the house, because the son-in-law is a policeman.”
Pei remained steadfast in her faith, while her daughter and husband remained steadfast in their anger.
“In June, while they were yelling at her to leave the house, they grabbed all her clothes and threw them out of the house,” the leader said. “They told her to live with her people who shared about Jesus with her. They told her to never return to the house.”
In Laos, the constitution allows for freedom of faith, in theory. But the government, which espouses atheism, has restricted the practice of Christianity. Officials, hearkening back to the sufferings of the Vietnam War they blame on America, see Christianity as a propagandist arm of militaristic capitalism.
The hostility towards Christians is not only practiced by the government. Laotians are mostly Buddhist or animists and see conversion to Christianity as a grave offense against the local gods.
Her husband beat her every time he drank, and Anh become so desperate she was ready to end the hell that was her life, according to a report by Christian Aid Mission (CAM).
When Anh first met her future husband, Ngoc, she saw his charm and swagger and was smitten by love. She didn’t realize that he hung out with buddies who drank, gambled, and smoked opium.
After they married, he often came home inebriated and was physically abusive.
“Every time Ngoc got drunk, he beat his wife.” a local ministry leader told CAM.
One night, she took refuge at a friend’s house. When she returned the next morning, her husband had burned her clothing and her university degree.
In the depths of despair, Ahn fetched a bottle of insecticide was was going to drink it, but her children began tugging at her and crying. For the sake of her children, she didn’t kill herself that day.
Instead, she worked on a plan for someone to care for her kids after she ended her life.
Before she could finish the plan, a Christian missionary knocked on her front door, came in, and presented the Gospel.
Moved by the power of the Word and the Spirit, she surrendered her life to Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.
“Everything was changed and renewed,” the ministry leader reported.
Anh invited her husband to receive Christ, but he rebuffed her. “No, never,” he declared.
However, he began to witness changes in his wife because of the filling of the Holy Spirit.
After pleadings from Anh and the children, Ngoc finally acquiesced and attended church. He was received warmly by the congregation and ended up accepting Jesus.
“The Holy Bible is very good,” Ngoc told his wife later that night. “But I can’t understand it. Can you teach me the Holy Bible?”
For four months he learned the Bible, aided by the patient instruction of the missionary. He even got baptized.
As a college basketball player who evidently wouldn’t make it to the NBA, Daniel Nwosu Jr. took a minimum-wage job as a janitor at his college.
It’s a good thing because that’s where he learned to rap.
Today Daniel is known as Dax, a famous rapper who presents the gospel to sinners with a non-traditional voice. His searching – and sometimes profane — “Dear God” has 42.5 million views on YouTube.
“I believe in God,” says Dax on Genius channel on YouTube. “I’m not a Christian rapper, I’m not a mainstream rapper, I’m not a YouTube rapper, I’m not an underground rapper, I’m not a green or a blue rapper. I’m an artist. One day I’m going to rap about how I’m the best. The next day I might rap about my belief in God. The next day I might rap about how I love this girl.”
Born to Nigerian immigrants in Canada, Daniel Nwosu attended a Christian high school. By a miracle, the coach from Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kansas, saw a video of his play and offered him a scholarship for his senior year.
But he had to attend chapel every day and church on Sunday. Also, he had to observe Sunrise’s strict behavior code, which meant no flirting. Dax literally didn’t even talk to a girl that entire year.
“He poured everything he had into basketball,” says Michael McCrudden on his YouTube channel “Before They Were Famous.” “He had 6:00 a.m. workouts. He would lift weights. And on top of this, he had his own crazy workout routine. From all this, the dude would literally fall asleep in class because he was exhausted.”
Aiming for the NBA, Daniel played at three different colleges to complete his four-year degree. In his senior year, he led his Division 2 conference in scoring.
Academics were not his major focus, but he had an active brain and was drawn by philosophy. He started majoring in psychology, switched to economics and finally got a degree in communications from Newman University in Wichita, Kansas.
It was math class that gave rise to his stage name Dax. He shortened Daniel and added x.
“In math, x is always a variable,” Dax explains. “So I made x a variable for n.”Read the rest: Dax Christian rapper
He was a comedian on stage. At home, Jeff Allen was an irritable, angry husband.
He even fought with his wife over cheese. With a morbid fear of spoilage, he would throw out perfectly fine cheese. His wife would argue over the waste.
“I don’t want it!” he yelled at his wife. He stood on a stool to emphasize his point. “Can’t you hear me? I don’t want it! I don’t want it!”
Cocaine and alcohol were in the mix, sharpening the damage caused by his cutting remarks.
One day as he put his child to bed, the little one shook him.
“Daddy you win,” she told him. “Mommy cries. You yell. You win.”
Tears streamed down his face. Jeff suddenly realized he needed help. He first attacked the drug addiction and alcoholism through 12-step programs.
But he chafed at the step that calls for participants to believe in and pray to a higher power. A confirmed atheist, Jeff ridiculed people of faith. To pray to a “higher power,” he thought, was delusional.
But he went through the motions simply to fulfill all 12 steps.
He was on the road to recovery, so he sampled Buddhism and other faiths that overlapped with self-help.
“I was seeking for my life,” he says.
Then he learned his wife, Tammy, was having an affair. It was devastating.
He called her and told her to come home.
As he waited all night, he fumed.
“I was getting self-righteous,” he confesses.
Finally, the problems of their marriage weren’t to blame on him, and he seized on his wife’s mistakes to feel superior. But as he plotted his revenge, a little voice interrupted him.
“Really?” it said. What about the time you stood on the chair and yelled at her? What about the time you smashed all the dishes? What about the time…?
“I wrestled with God that night,” he admits. “I paced my room like a caged cat.”
By the time his wife called for Jeff to pick her up the next morning, the avalanche of furor had dissolved.
Exhausted from a sleepless night, he met her at the airport. At first sight, Jeff immediately hugged her and kissed her.
The day of reckoning wasn’t when Kurt Warner was unexpectedly thrust on the field as the Rams’ quarterback amid predictions of failure after the first-string QB was seriously injured.
The day of reckoning came years earlier when his wife’s parents were killed by a tornado. That’s when Kurt saw how genuine her faith was – and came to real faith himself.
“Before that my faith was always like: God was out there and whenever I needed him, he was like my spare tire. I get a flat, pop out the spare, God I need this,” Kurt says on an I am Second video. “When her parents were killed by a tornado, she didn’t have all the answers. She was angry. She was willing to call out to God and ask God why and yell and scream.
“But she never lost her faith. She didn’t walk away from God,” Kurt adds. “It was at that moment that I realized that everything she had been talking to me about, this is what it looks like. This is what it is supposed to be. It was at that time that I really committed my life to Jesus.”
By the time Kurt saw himself leading the Rams into the Super Bowl, he was already forged by the furnace. His improbable ascent to NFL Hall of Famer as an undrafted quarterback is the stuff of a consummate underdog. His story – and faith – is portrayed by American Underdog, a movie released in theaters Dec. 25.
Kurt dreamed of football from childhood. The game was a cherished memory he shared with his dad, who left in a divorce.
In college, Kurt was a hotshot with a pinpoint aim, but he had the nasty habit of rolling out of the pocket and making his own plays, not the plays ordered by his coach. For his lack of discipline, the University of Northern Iowa coach kept him on the bench for three seasons.
According to the movie (which sticks closely to his real-life story), he begged for a chance to play, and coach finally leveled with him. He needed to stay in the pocket, a protected bubble formed by collapsing linemen around the QB, to give him time to find a receiver.
As a drill to see if Kurt could handle the pressure, Coach sent wave after wave of defensive linemen crashing into him to hurt him and see if he would stand up under pressure. It worked.
Kurt was named Gateway Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year and first team all-conference.
At the same time, Kurt met the girl who became his wife and the catalyst to his faith.
The odds were against him striking up a relationship with Brenda. She loved country music; he hated it. Even worse, she detested football.
But as God would have it, Kurt went with his friend to a country-western bar where he was smitten by her good looks and decided he’d better learn to barn dance.
For decades, scientists sneered at Near Death Experiences – or NDEs – because they didn’t fit the empirical-evidence, materialistic model of “hard” science.
The trouble with that shrug-off is that there are so many NDEs and they are so varied it is hard to blame an overactive imagination, religious fanaticism and grand-standing for all of them. There are too many cases for science to objectively ignore.
A $5.1 million grant to the University of California Riverside now is validating topics that Christians have harkened to keenly for decades: eyewitness accounts of existence beyond the stopped heartbeat.
“Given that NDEs have been reported throughout history and across cultures, and because they appear to be a portal to a beautiful immortality, they are of tremendous interest throughout history and currently,” says UCR’s Philosophy Professor John Martin Fischer, who administers the grant.
Professor Fischer’s work surveys and consolidates all credible accounts of NDE. He cites Dutch Cardiologist Pim van Lommel, who after listening to patients relate their experiences after being resuscitated from cardiac arrest, compiled accounts for 26 years and organized them in a systematic way.
“Van Lommel has observed that (the people who experience) NDEs have significant transformational effects,” Fischer says on a 2018 Univ. of California, Riverside video. “These individuals have less death anxiety and are more spiritual. They appreciate relationships more, spending more time with family, friends and relatives.
“They are also more compassionate and more attuned to morality and justice,” he adds. “The transformations are often profound.”
Fischer’s work is significant to the Christian community not because every account fits nicely into Biblical orthodoxy (some do, some don’t), but because his academic rigor brings scientific backing to the simple notion of an afterlife.
After all, if it can be established that humans enter eternity, then one can debate about which faith has the correct version.
Not everyone who comes back from death tells the same story. But most share these elements: an out-of-body experience, a guided journey, unconditional love and acceptance, a dark tunnel with a light at the end, a life review and a reformed life for the person revived from death, Fischer says.
Most NDEs describe a paradise environment, if not exactly the Bible’s Heaven. But roughly 10% are not positive experiences – something like Hell, Fischer states. The real number of negative NDEs may be larger because of the shame associated with telling others that you were judged unworthy to go to the Good Place, he adds.
Most NDEs tell of unverifiable events, but extraordinarily others relate conversations between doctors and nurses when medically the patient had flatlined and scientifically was unconscious and dead, Fischer says.
“The fact that these NDEs can be checked against the facts and have very similar content at least suggest that the NDEs that cannot be independently corroborated must be taken seriously,” Fischer says.
Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon, wrote about his experiences being “in a beautiful and incredible dream world that wasn’t a dream” in his book, Proof of Heaven, which sold three million copies.
Dr. Alexander was in a coma at the time as he flew around with his sister on the wing of a butterfly in an intricately designed surface with indescribable colors and millions of butterflies “more real than the chair I sit in, more real than the log in the fireplace,” Alexander says.
Fischer in his presentation also referenced Colton Burpo, the four-year-old who died and met the Trinity in Heaven and even a miscarried sister, of whom he had no knowledge until he told his parents after he recovered from the surgery.
“There’s lots and lots of reports and it’s often difficult to explain them in a naturalistic way,” Fischer says. “The experiences are remarkable in their universality and at least appear to be a portal to an afterlife, another realm, usually a peaceful Heavenly realm.” Read the rest: the science of NDEs
Despite making millions in real estate, Kevin Robinson, 38, scrimps on groceries, eating oatmeal, tuna out of the can, and frozen grapes instead of ice cream. He makes a point of always buying in bulk.
“My family thinks I’m just as cheap as hell,” Kevin says on a MarketWatch video. “They say, you’re just cheap. Go buy some real ice cream. But little things start to add up for me, and (living frugally) has been very, very good for me in building up my net worth.”
Today, Kevin Robinson — who calls himself Kayr — administers a real estate empire, but he grew up in “deep poverty” in Philadelphia. He serves as an example of someone God provided for abundantly as he gave to God’s work.
“No one in my family was financially literate,” he says. “What happened to me is that I was motivated because when I was 13 or 14 years old, I noticed my mother struggled with money and our local church was always raising money.”
So, he went to the local bookstore and read everything on finance, money management and real estate. He didn’t buy the books. He didn’t have the money to do so. He didn’t even have money for the bus to get to the bookstore. He walked there every weekend and spent the day reading them in the store throughout middle school and high school while his friends played sports.
“I would say, ‘I’m going to master this material. No one’s going to know more than me,’” he remembers. “I sat down. I read the book for free. I put it back.”
Throughout his childhood, Mom had to move 10 times. Though instability was not ideal, Kevin found inspiration.
“It looked like the landlord had all this power. He gets to decide who lives and who stays in his property,” he says. “I said to myself, ‘What am I going to do? Am I going to become the homeless person or the teenage dad? Or am I going to become the landlord or the business owner?’
As soon as Justin Berry buckled up, the Uber driver turned to him and said: “Because you have obeyed God, He’s going to bless you.”
“I’m like WHAT?” Justin was flabbergasted. He had just broken up with his girlfriend — reluctantly — because they had fallen into sin. But he was broken-hearted, agitated and conflicted.
“What the heck is going on?” he marveled at the message from an Uber driver. “Whoa that’s crazy.”
The unexpected confrontation was part of a long process of God calling Justin back to salvation, into holy matrimony and unto a beautiful destiny in music ministry.
Justin Berry, now 20, grew up in Ladera Heights, in Los Angeles, going to to church with his mom and brother. Going to the Lighthouse Christian Academy cemented his childhood faith and also it’s where he met a certain girl named Trina.
He excelled in academics and sports during high school and was elated when he got accepted to his dream college: UCLA. It was a euphoria unlike any other. But as he tried to push the “accept” button on the electronic offer letter, Justin was being held back. God had told him to attend college elsewhere.
“Something was holding my hand back from pressing that button,” he remembers.” I started crying and bawling my eyes out. I wanted to go there. This was my ticket to my career. I was trying to press this button and God wouldn’t let me do it.”
Finally, his mom came in asked what was the matter. He explained and, being a loving mom, she persuaded him that it was the devil interfering. He finally pushed the button. What could go wrong? He had a beautiful girlfriend and an ideal institution of higher learning. God’s blessing was evident.
Only not everything was as it seemed. Secretly, he and Trina, allowing themselves to be alone, had fallen into temptation together, and both were feeling intense conviction.
“It was a rough year of heavy, hard conviction,” Justin tells. “I stopped praying and let my relationship with God die away. I replaced Trina as my idol, and she became my god. I would find my peace, my joy, my happiness through her. When I was with her, I didn’t feel any conviction. But when I was away from her, I felt this conviction.”
He still attended church and youth group. He would pray tears of guilt in the strangest of places: in the bathroom.
“The bathroom is where I prayed,” Justin admits. “I still loved God, but something else was stronger.”
One night, the pastor proclaimed prophetically: “There’s somebody here that God has been asking you to give up something for a long time, and you need to give it up right now.”
Justin felt startled, confronted, cornered.
After the service, he confessed to the pastor: the message was for him.
That night, he broke up with Trina. It was the hardest decision of his life up to that moment. His love for this girl was at war with his love for God.
Upset and confused, he got into his Uber. The driver turned on him. It was a wild confirmation.
In fact, the she said, she had been instructed to make a U-turn, a right-hand turn and then wait by the side of the road for her next rider. God told her to prophesy to whoever it was. Justin was next.
Still, Justin wondered, without saying anything, if it were only an improbable coincidence. Read the rest: JBThePreacher
But he grew up with mostly female friends and got bullied by the guys his age, so he grew to hate his masculinity.
“I just took out my insecurities with lust towards men,” Frnak says on a Tucson Door Church video. “I medicated myself and pacified myself and drowned myself in homosexuality because I hated myself as a man. I didn’t feel like a man.”
But in 2015, somebody talked to him about God and gave him a little booklet to read.
“I read it because I wanted to see if God hated me,” Frnak says. “But I found out He didn’t. It said, all sins are bad; they’re all worthy of death, including homosexuality. But that same sin was covered by grace.”
So he gave his life to Christ.
At that a time, a pastor prompted him indirectly with a question: Did God ever say you were gay?