Steve shares a 10-minute video of his faith story at https://youtu.be/nw24G5E_L1U
My name is Steven Daddona. I’m 59 years old. I grew up in a Roman Catholic household where I was told to go to church and Sunday school until the age of 18. Then my dad gave me free choice to do whatever I wanted to do. I chose to abandon church.
My parents were very active in the Catholic Church and they were continually upset about the lack of support and love they received from the church in return for what they were sacrificing to do for the church.
So I didn’t have anything that really pointed to love. I went about living my life and pursuing desires of the flesh, and for a long time I was able to manage that and be successful. I never allowed my extracurricular activities to affect my professional life and was able to accomplish a lot, but was also not satisfied.
I continually believed I was missing something, and something was haunting me about an empty life. I tried to fill that in all the wrong ways and eventually what didn’t affect work started to affect work.
I did physical tree work, climbing trees. I’m grateful today to be alive because I truly believe that somebody wasn’t done with me yet, even though I may have been done with myself.
In 2010 my wife was involved in a tragic automobile accident. She crossed the center lane of a road and unfortunately her life was taken. Then I spiraled further down into a sea of despair and addiction. You would think that I spiraled downward because of the loss of my wife, but it was because I was free to indulge my selfishness and my darkness. It had nothing to do with remorse.
It’s 2011. I’d crossed every line that I swore as a man I would never cross. I was living the most immoral, reprehensible kind of life. If anybody really knew the things I was doing in the dark they wouldn’t look at me the same.
I had previously been stopped for DUI and had a pending case. So here I am in the seat of this car recognizing what I have done, the position that I’m in, that I may go to jail.
We began a two day job at work where at the end of the day we would leave all the work equipment at the job, and I would drive the crew back to the shop so that they could take their cars home. I’d been drinking all day long and pulled out into the path of an oncoming vehicle with a with a woman and all of her children packed into this car. They T-boned me and at that moment everything went blank.
Then, all I could hear were screams. All I could think of was the Viet Nam war footage I’d seen as a young kid where women and children were running and screaming from Napalm. At that moment I recognized the gravity of my actions.
Several months before this event I had started going to church. I recognized that something in my life needed to change. Immediately I was asked to be a part of the praise team. I was playing the guitar and a part of the praise team but I hadn’t accepted Jesus as my Savior.
I had made no changes in my life and continued to fall down that road. That led me to that moment on November 11, 2011. I had previously been stopped for DUI and had a pending case. So here I am in the seat of this car recognizing what I have done, the position that I’m in, that I may go to jail.
So I did what everybody does at a time like this, and I said this prayer, “Lord, I promise, if you get me out of this, I will give my life to you, and I will serve you and I will do things the right way.” I passed the field sobriety test and the breathalyzer test, probably because I was doing other drugs besides alcohol that gave me the ability to do physical things. By the grace of God, nobody was injured in that accident.
The guys get back in the truck and they’re taking me home. As soon as we get near a liquor store, I command them to pull over. I go into the liquor store and I’m picking back up where I left off. Even though I told the Lord that I would give Him my life.
So we’re getting close to my house and I didn’t want to go home. My pastor was aware of my situation and was at my house with my girlfriend and my two boys. Instead, I went into this empty house behind my house.
Suddenly, here come red, white and blues down the lane. Somebody knew I shouldn’t be in this empty house and called the police. The police took me around the corner to my house and just dropped me off.
My pastor came out to greet me, and this is where my life completely changed.
My girlfriend and my two boys were grateful to see me. And the pastor says, let’s pray. We huddle up in my living room and the pastor begins to pray. I didn’t recognize it then, but now I know that in that moment, for the first time in my life, I completely surrendered. I let go of everything that had been haunting and hurting me for so long.
I started to see my life flash in front of my eyes. There was something present in that vision that I couldn’t see. With each memory it flashed in front of my eyes. I got closer to everything that was playing out in front of me. Finally I’m directly behind an ominous presence. I can’t even describe it, but it shook me to my core.
What was in front of me turned around and, the only way that I can describe it is to imagine seeing yourself covered in sin and selfishness. When I saw that my heart was forever changed. I did not desire to be that man. That vision still haunts me today. I believe Jesus showed me that vision.
Jesus was there with me. Jesus was not done with me yet, and Jesus saved my life.
From that moment on I have given my heart and my soul and everything to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I’m so grateful for the broken road I’ve walked in my life because I am able to minister to people who are lost, like I was lost.
I truly believe that each of us has a purpose to minister to those that find themselves in the places where we have found ourselves. As soon as I was able to see who I truly was and what I had truly perpetrated in my life, I couldn’t believe that I could ever be forgiven. I was grateful for that moment of clarity in my life, so that I could begin to make the necessary changes to become the man that I am today.
Soon after that I was driving down the road listening to Christian radio, when I heard David Crowder’s song, “How He Loves Me.” For the first time I realized just how much my Lord loves me, and how much He’s loved me my whole life. I had made all those bad decisions for all the wrong reasons, and all I had ever had to do was turn to Him.
My parents tried their whole life to get me to see that. They would say, “Let go and let God.” I remember as a young man laughing at them because I said, “That’s impossible. If we don’t do for ourselves, nobody’s going to do it for us.” How wrong and how foolish I was.
Once I recognized that the Lord had forgiven me and forgotten my sins, the second hardest part of my faith walk began: forgiving myself. It was hard to believe that other people, even other Christians, would forgive me, accept me, and not look at me differently.
I was blessed to attend a weekend retreat called the Walk to Emmaus. I recommend it to anybody coming to Jesus. It will forever spiritually change your life. You don’t even have to have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior to attend. So, if you don’t want to find yourself in a car accident while drunk, there’s an easier way to encounter Jesus.
So man, I’m grateful for those moments that I’ve had, because in a sense, it seared into me in the beginning of my faith journey, something tangible that I can touch. If I want to, I can be taken right back to that moment when I truly believed He picked me up from the mess I had put myself in.
I’m grateful today to been clean and sober for almost 10 years. I celebrate 10 years as we come up on November 11th, 2021 and wow, all I can tell you is it gets better every year. Doesn’t get easier, but it gets better.
Since that time I’ve been the worship leader at a United Methodist Church. Music is a gift. I truly believe the Lord has given me that gift and used it to take his music and his praise into places that don’t get to hear it. So I’m very active today in what’s called the Kairos Prison Ministry and Chrysalis weekends – the Emmaus experience designed for youth.
All I can say to you is that our Lord and Savior is real and He is with us even when we are incapable of seeing Him. This love surrounds us. So, if I can leave you with anything today – if I’ve learned anything in the last 10 years – it’s that I am truly loved by Him and forever grateful for that, and I will continue to shout it from the mountains every chance I get.
More Faith Stories
There are people who sometimes have a stomachache and think it's cancer, they think it is a terminal illness. Sometimes people think there is no solution, but it is only a stomach discomfort. It's something bad that you ate that upset your stomach. It is that people that are losing their faith. They get concerned about so many things. They wake up and see the car with a flat tire, and it is a bad day.
There are more important things we need to learn. We need to seek the Lord, because time is short, time goes by quickly. I've got three children: my first daughter is 25 years old. My son is 21 and my other daughter is 16. I mean, time goes by fast.
This means this is an opportunity for you to devote your heart to Jesus Christ, so that He can save you, so that He can be your guide, so that He can be your path, so that He can be everything in your life. Listen to this message, share it with your family. If you do not have a family do not think you are alone. God is with you wherever you are. God will be with you come what may.
Now, what happened with COVID two years ago was unbelievable. God put us to the test. Many people died, and that's something that's coming ahead. There will be more illnesses, there will be more regulations. But if we keep our faith in God, if we continue to trust in God, He will give us the peace we need, the peace the world needs.
Sometimes in the community, there are a lot of people who are watching their backs. For their own protection they hire bodyguards that watch over them night and day because they feel insecure. But we have God to protect us. Day after day, God protects us. God takes care of us. God gives us strength.
I strongly encourage you, I dare you to seek the Lord. This Why I Love Jesus ministry goes across the globe spreading the word of God, telling the world Jesus Christ is real, He is not dead.
There have been many stories in this world which were looking forward to changing history, but we have this story of faith that we believe, come what may, the Lord will be with us.
So if you have relatives, share this experience with them: brothers, sisters, parents. If your family has never been in contact with Jesus, now is the time for you to tell them to embrace Him, to embrace God. Tell them about the story in the Bible that says there is a man in hell, being burned there, and he would like to have a chance of getting out of there. But unfortunately, he has already lost the opportunity. In other words, there is no way he could leave hell.
And you who are there watching this testimony, this word of the Lord, this is the opportunity that you get. Maybe we don't wake up tomorrow; we don't know what will happen tomorrow.
This is the moment for you to say, "Lord, forgive me. I have failed a lot; I've failed in several things, but I want You to be my Savior, I want You to be my shield, I want You to be my strength, I want You to be everything in my life."
Make your decision. Sometimes in day-to-day life, we make decisions, many of them, but this is the most important decision you should make in your life. That is to devote your life to Jesus Christ, commend your life to Jesus Christ, so that He can be everything in your life. May He be your peace, your strength.
At times, people have enough money in the bank and think with that they will change the world, think that will be their protection. But money is only an ordinary piece of paper. In the end, the paper will run out, the money will run out, but treasures we did will remain when we're in heaven.
So let's make this an invitation. Let's hope this message will reach someone in need of it. So you who are out there, this message is meant for you.
My stepfather was an alcoholic, and we had a difficult life. But God changed us. When I began going to this church in 2000, God changed me. God changes you, and God wants to do great things with your life.
So, I mean, maybe you are also having a hard time with an alcoholic father, an alcoholic mother. Let me tell you, I had bad thoughts in my head about finishing him, killing him, destroying him, so that it all would end. But when I got to the feet of Jesus, when I started going to church, God made changes in me. God makes changes in you. God changes your mind.
When God entered into my life, and I looked at my stepfather again, I saw him in a different way. I held a grudge inside my heart, but nevertheless, God was working on me. God worked on me and gave me peace. I was smart enough not to commit a crime. God showed me the way I should live.
In addition to being at peace with God, He gives you intelligence. God gives you wisdom to be on the side of right every day in our lives.
So, this is an invitation, whether you're a woman, or man, or youth. Young people sometimes make decisions which scar their lives forever. To put it another way, if you are young, make your decision to accept Jesus: don't wait until tomorrow and say, "No, I'd better wait before accepting Jesus Christ, before accepting God in my heart. I've still got a long way to go. I want to live my life, and I want to do things. When I'm older, I'll see whether I change." But we don't know what happens tomorrow, so you should make up your mind today.
I've had some friends who made their decisions too late. I had a friend who said he was going to drink his life away. He was going to drink, that's what he was going to do. He was going to do drugs, to live a totally careless life. He thought he was being cleverer than God. But he wasn't, nobody is smarter than God. At the end of his life he was going to seek God's forgiveness.
Had God been given the opportunity, He would have forgiven him, He would have indeed. But my friend didn't take the trouble to get to that point. He was doing his drugs, drinking and whatnot. Then he grabbed a gun and shot himself in the head.
I mean, we don't know what was the last moment in his life, whether he asked forgiveness or not. We only had the word he killed himself by putting a bullet in his head. Odds are he didn't have the opportunity of begging God's forgiveness, and he lost his life. Or better expressed, do not let the enemy fool you. The enemy hampers your life.
That means to move on and accept Jesus Christ. He is going to give the answers. He is going to give you the peace you need. That's my testimony, and I know this is on behalf of God, so people would turn to Him.
People get lost, people haven't wanted to recognize their faults. God has a plan for your life. That means if He gave you this plan, accept it, accept it. We have free will, people make their own decisions. God has already chosen some individuals. God has predestined people. Whether you are predestined or exercising your free will, make your decision and follow Jesus Christ.
Your life will change, He is going to transform it, and He is going to help you in every way, be it economic, social, psychological, whatever you need, God is going to help you.
Thank you for your time, thank you for this opportunity that God gave me to share my faith. I come from Houston, Texas, but I've been working here in Delaware, and this is an opportunity God has granted me to share good news and continue to spread good news. We're the ambassadors of the word of God. So thank you for this opportunity, and let's move forward with this testimony which is for the benefit of society.
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. That weekend changed my relationship with Christ.
God has given me my dream of serving as a choir director. I see lives change as we are singing. Singing correctly is sometimes less important than letting the Spirit come to us as we practice.
I remember an incident when the Lord rescued me from a person who intended to do me harm. God’s protection was a miracle in my life!
I wasn’t raised in a church; so I knew nothing about Jesus or God. I did go to Vacation Bible School in the summers and heard and loved the song, “This Little Light of Mine.”
I went into the ocean and was immediately swept off my feet by a riptide. There was nothing in the water for me to float on, and I was running out of energy. I asked God if this was how I was going to die.
My faith grew to have a focus on trusting in God’s word as assurance. To believe his promises are true. We experienced the faithfulness of the God who called us in many, many ways. In addition to joyous times, we faced grief and pain.