I am retired military; Air Force. I was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, moved as a teenager to Charlotte, North Carolina and ultimately came to settle down in Wake Forest, NC. God has given me my beautiful wife, Kathy; a woman of God whom I admire and love more than I could say. We are members of Open Door church in Raleigh, NC. I have a son, Nick and a daughter, Rena.
Raised as a Catholic in a small-town community, I conformed to the traditions and beliefs of that works-based religion. I had no personal relationship with God and never had a thought that such a relationship was even possible. I knew of God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit but I didn’t know God. God had a plan for this little Catholic boy though and, by the Spirit, I received the first of two callings sent to me. I was in church with my mother and brothers on what was just an average Sunday service when I had a distinct impression which I felt upon me. I was compelled to look at my mom and my brothers standing beside me in the pew and I sensed the words spoken to me, “Take care of them.” I said not a word to my mom and certainly not to my three brothers, but I filed that away in my memory and just wondered about it from time to time. This event has caused me, over the years, to create in me a sense of family that goes beyond my immediate blood kin.
Years later after graduating from school and joining the military, I was married and we had our first child, Nick. I felt a need to go back to church and started attending chapel on base. One day I was packing my duffle in preparation for one of my many deployments and again there came to me that distinct impression; only this time I was told to pack my Bible and take it with me. I was rather shocked in that I didn’t even know I had a bible. But there was a little black Bible on my bookshelf, a King James version. To this day I don’t know where that Bible came from. I took it with me on that deployment and began to read.
I would like to say that as I began reading God’s word, I immediately gave my heart to the Lord but that’s not how it worked for me. I struggled with what I was reading and frustrated that I couldn’t understand hardly anything of it. As a Catholic I never had need to read the Bible and so essentially my mind was a blank slate when I began to read the Word.
God was gracious in His mercy and sent me a brother who explained much of the Bible to me and I began to see “the Way.” I had left the Catholic church and was attending a First Assembly of God church. After several years of study, and no doubt testing God’s patience, I came to the realization that I needed to be born again. I knew I was a sinner but the draw of the lust of the eyes, the flesh, and the pride of life was so strong that I couldn’t fight it by myself. I knew that I needed God’s help if I ever was going to make it and I prayed asking for God to forgive me and make me born again.
God answered my prayers and through the years of spiritual growth, sinning, repenting, more growth and so on, I have become a follower of Christ. This has included many changes in my life; some negative, some positive. I have not since heard that distinct impression but I have been given a love for God that continues to grow and a sincere desire to share Christ with everyone. God has given me a desire to preach the word of God in open air settings and in personal one-on-one conversations. At 62 years of age, I’m entering into a time of life where retirement from my secular work is an intriguing prospect. It is my prayer that I would use the rest of the time God has given me in the service of full-time ministry of evangelism and open-air preaching.