I was adopted at birth into a loving family and grew up as an only child in a small town with a small school. My father was a hunter and a fisherman; so I spent a lot of time outdoors fishing and hiking. I was a Boy Scout and played war with my friends. My parents were not regular church goers, but they taught me honesty, respect, and responsibility, while allowing me a sense of independence.
I attended Sunday school and later, Methodist Youth Fellowship, mostly for the socialization. I went through confirmation classes and earned my Boy Scout God and Country award, but did not really see a role for God in my life.
I maintained my apathy towards God through college and for the first 12 years of my marriage. I went to church with my wife, Carolyn, and enjoyed Rev. Peterson’s sermons, but still did not see a role for Jesus in my life.
In May of 1982 Carolyn and I went on a Lutheran Marriage Encounter Weekend. Here was where God opened my eyes and heart to his role in my marriage and life. The presenters’ shared stories about how their relationships with their spouses were similar to Jesus’s relationship to the church. I realized that my relationship with my wife, Carolyn, was one of unconditional, all accepting love.
That weekend changed my relationship with Christ. The first of many doors was opened for me.
I first saw this when my school principal asked me to work extra days in the summer in return for days off during the school year. God used the principal to give me the time off I needed, so that Carolyn and I could prepare to become Presbyterian Marriage Encounter (PME) presenters. After that experience my world changed.
As a presenter on PME weekends, God gave me the courage to share my personal thoughts and feelings with other people. Then He stepped in and set things up for my wife and me to present the first PME Weekend in Kenya. Over the course of several other visits, we were able to help the PME presenters in Kenya become self-sufficient.
God blessed me with the ability to listen and understand when others shared their experiences about how God’s words through our voices can change lives, both in the United States and in Kenya.
I was apathetic to God until I experienced how He was playing a role in my life – even when I didn’t realize it. Since then I have experienced the joy of living the way God wants me to. He has blessed my marriage, my family, and led me to find my birth family. He showed me the power of prayer when my newly found brother overcame two life threatening illnesses in less than 18 months.
More Faith Stories
I was rebellious because of everything I’d been through. I couldn’t take it out on my dad, so I took it out on my mom. My mom called the police on me. I didn’t care who they were. I wasn’t fazed by their authority.
We now have eight grandchildren, and my prayer is for all of us to one day be reunited in God’s Kingdom.
When my older son was in his late teens, he began to drink alcohol and it soon turned our world upside down. It was a long, harrowing ten years of severe alcohol abuse, car accidents, constant worry and sleepless nights. He nearly died twice.
I remember being in church and going up to the altar and crying. I was so tired of the life I was living. I needed help. I felt a sense of peace at that time and knew that if this Jesus thing can work for some of these other guys, then it can definitely work for me.
I said to myself, “Why should anyone envy me and want to be in my shoes?”
God has led me to amazing places in my life, so let me explain how God led me from South Carolina to Kenya.