*As given on the UNSHACKLED! Radio Program on August 1997
From Prison to the Pulpit:
I grew up in Adrian, Michigan. When I was just a small child, my parents divorced, and I lived with my dad. I don’t recall ever going to church, and as a teen I chose to live without direction or proper standards. Through a series of poor choices, I became very rebellious and, at the age of nineteen, found myself in jail. I attended a jail church service, where folks from Berean Baptist Church came to preach to us. Upon hearing the Gospel for the first time in my life, I readily accepted Christ as Saviour on February 28, 1990. I spent the next two years incarcerated and spent that time getting to know the Lord. Daily I spent hours upon hours in prayer and Bible reading. I became a student of the Bible and had an unquenchable desire to grow. I witnessed to the other inmates the best I knew how.
In the spring of 1991, a Muslim inmate was getting released. He had a stack of preaching tapes that he hadn’t taped over with his rap music. They were all by a Baptist preacher, and he asked me if I wanted them. They were all by the pastor who came to hold the services I attended, except one. That particular tape was by Dr. Jack Hyles. It was through this tape that God called me to preach. I was rebellious and told God that He couldn’t use me, because I had messed up my life too much. But God was at work in my life.
I was released from prison in January of 1992, and that first Sunday I began attending an independent, fundamental Baptist church pastored by Dr. Mike Cox. I was baptized soon after that. God was still at work. I knew He wanted to use me, but I didn’t think I was a qualified candidate. I sought counsel from Dr. Cox and an assistant pastor. They assured me that God could use anyone He chose, and that “if God wants you to do something, the best thing to do is to just go ahead and do it.” I surrendered to God’s will for my life and made preparation to move to Northwest Indiana to attend Hyles-Anderson College.
I met my wife Robyn in 1989; we were high school sweethearts. We stayed together throughout the time I was incarcerated. Dr. Cox’s wife led her to the Lord on February 28, 1990. We were married September 4, 1992. Soon after, we were expecting our first child, due the following September.
In December of 1993, my wife, my three-month-old son, and I packed up a truck and moved to Indiana. I still didn’t know in what capacity God wanted me to serve. God began to plant the seed of missions in my heart, and I watered it with prayer. That seed began to grow. God was directing us towards missions. During a missions conference held at the college, God confirmed that call to missions in my life. I went forward that Sunday and surrendered to give my life to reach the world with the Gospel.
I started full-time deputation January 8, 2003, and graduated from Hyles-Anderson College on January 29, 2003, with a bachelor of science in pastoral theology. I was ordained into the Gospel ministry on October 18, 2003. On November 29, 2005, we left for Ireland to start the Anchor Baptist Church. After turning this work over to another man, God directed me to start a new Bible study in another part of the country. God also opened several doors to help other churches and ministries get started. We have had the privilege to minister throughout the country, as well as in several places throughout Europe. We are honored to have had these opportunities in the past and are excited for further opportunities to serve Him in the future.