I have a lot of good memories of my childhood which, combined with a lot of other not-so-good memories, have brought me to where I am today. It was God’s plan from the beginning: to take an abused child and the associated pain, and use it with His love and healing for service to others in need. All honor and glory belong to our Savior, Christ Jesus, because of His love for me.
I am the youngest of three boys. My parents both worked to provide a good life for us. My father was a wonderful provider; however he showed very little emotion. He had a drinking problem which often caused him to be absent. To help with the family’s finances, my mother worked as a secretary. She was a wonderful mother, and gave us the care and attention that we needed and craved.
Starting as a very young child, I found myself in one inappropriate sexual relationship after another. It started with same-sex peers’ sexual play, and then went on to many different variations, as older children and adults sexually violated me in one way after another. I was desperate for love and attention from men. I had no real center of gravity in my life with no real knowledge of who God was or even who I was. I fell prey to every temptation and hungered for more.
All through school I was called all the usual names. Through a great many sexual and relational experiences, I had found and developed a new self-image and was proud of it. I was introduced to all the dirty little hot spots, parks, public restrooms, and so on. The next thing I knew, I was looking for love in all the wrong ways and places. I was proud of the “fact” that these men loved me, or so I thought.
At the age of 17, I graduated from high school, moved out of my parents house to live with some friends that I met at the lake. I started working the local truck stop and anywhere else I thought I would find a man to love me.
By my twentieth birthday, I was involved in drugs and alcohol. One night I met a girl in a bar to buy drugs. Through this encounter we became friends, and I later found myself in a sexual relationship with her. From the beginning, I found that I still needed the touch of a man, so I was never faithful to her. One night in the bar, while she was at work, I ran into an old friend who had moved to San Francisco. The next thing I knew I was flying to California. Being from a small town in Ohio, I was overwhelmed by the rampant homosexual culture, in which I quickly became fully involved – including every aspect of this new dark underworld of sexual activity.
After about 6 months, I decided to move back home to my parents’ home in Ohio. They called me their prodigal son; however I had no idea what they meant by that.
Clueless and frantic, I went back to the local bars and to the streets. I always sought what I thought was love. I met another girl through my brother and moved to Texas with her. She knew my history and was something of a player herself. We were together for about 4 years before it all went sour. She moved back to Ohio, and I stayed in Houston. I was there a total of 8 years, roaming the city, looking for my manhood through other men. I returned to the Ohio homestead, and again heard the prodigal son thing.
Again, I hit the local bars and did my thing. I was arrested one night for a DUI. I spent some time in a state work-house, with a year’s probation.
Back to Houston I went. This time I was there for another 5 years. I was quickly back to going from bed to bed and bar to bar. Once again I got burned out on the big city and headed home. I had established a pattern, so after moving home I found another lover that did not last. Then I met a guy who was a bartender at one of the local bars. Shortly after meeting, we moved in together. After about 2 years he was diagnosed with lung cancer. I took care of him until he passed away. His last request was to have his ashes spread in Myrtle Beach, SC.
I was going down the road with the car packed and his ashes next to me on the seat. I called an old friend that I knew from being on the streets in Myrtle Beach as a teen. He offered me a place to stay until I got on my feet. He had a partner living with him at the time, and I quickly became sexual with him. Again, I was in a new city with new men, bars, and alcohol.
One day, in Myrtle Beach, I met a girl that called herself a witch. She was a high priestess in the Wicca occult. Searching, I fell for the occult myself, now studying and participating in Wicca.
All along, I was never truly happy. One day I was in a bar drinking when a girl came in. She and I became very close friends. She had this shine about her as she told me about God and about the church she attended. For about two years, she invited me to visit her church to hear the worship music. Finally, I said yes, just to stop the nagging.
One Sunday in June, I found myself in a church listening to worship music. I liked it. Then the big screen TVs at each end of the church came on. They showed a girl giving her testimony. She spoke of living a life as a lesbian. She spoke of going from bed to bed, bars, drugs, and even the occult. I found myself thinking very judgmental thoughts about her.
Then, I felt the hand of God touch my chest and this voice said to my heart, “Is that not the same as your life? Who are you to judge my child?”
Through my tears, I looked back to the TV screen and I saw myself. I knew that I had just judged my life as I judged hers; we were the same.
Then again the voice said to me, “Take that off in my house”.
I knew that it was referring to the Wicca pentagram on the chain around my neck. When I took it off I fell to the floor weeping, knowing that I was in the presence of God.
When I arrived home, I took the Bible they had given me before leaving the church and, while in my kitchen, I spoke to God, “God, I was raised to believe in you, and this Bible is supposed to be your words. If this is true and you can hear me, I am going to throw this Bible on the counter and let it fall open where it may. If you can hear me, then tell me what you think of my lifestyle.”
I did, and the Bible fell open to Jeremiah 13. As I read verses 7 through 27, I began to cry and knew in my heart that God was speaking directly to me. The last sentence in that scripture asks, “How long will you be unclean?” At that point I knew that my life belonged to Christ.
I was baptized on June 24, 2000, and my life has never been so good. A year later I got the call to ministry. It wasn’t until then that I truly knew what the prodigal son was.
In 2002 I met my wife, Ruth, and we married two years later. We call Myrtle Beach home. I am truly blessed to be in the service of my Lord.