Home of Wheaton Bible Church's Quarterly Magazine
My parents got divorced when I was seven years old, and I was shuffled back and forth between my mom and dad. When I was thirteen, I met Louie, and we had our first child when I was sixteen. We went on to have two more kids, and as the kids got older, I wouldn’t communicate or help Louie discipline them. Our marriage struggled because I couldn’t express my feelings or help Louie. I was afraid that when the kids grew up and moved out, our marriage would be over. The idea of being left alone scared me.
When Louie first talked about wanting to go to church, I didn’t want to go with him. But then I decided to go to support him. The very first time we came to Wheaton Bible Church, Louis gave his life to Jesus.
Then he wanted to go to the BEGIN class. Again I didn’t want to go, but eventually I decided to go, and at BEGIN we met Ted and Rhonda [Community Life Pastor Ted Coniaris and Community Life Administrative Assistant Rhonda Ford].
Very quickly I started to see a change in Louie. He seemed so happy and at peace. He didn’t get angry like he used to.
On April 13, 2013, the women of the church were having an event called “A Morning with Him.” I decided to go. As I was there, I felt the presence of the Lord—but was sad that I had not given my life to Jesus. I saw Marie Allison and asked her if she would pray with me because I wanted to give my life to Jesus. That is the day I got saved!
Since giving my life to Jesus, my life has changed! Jesus has healed me and restored my marriage. I am also able to communicate and express my feelings with Louie. My marriage has become stronger. I thank Jesus every day for coming into my life.
My favorite verse is 1 Corinthians 13:4: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud.”
I wouldn’t say I was an addict, but I did my share of cocaine and marijuana. At the age of fifteen, I met Tina, who is now my wife. She was thirteen. By the time I was twenty-one and she was eighteen, we were already married and had two of our three kids.
I was fortunate enough to be able to quit my drug habit right before our second child was born, and I thought I was getting my act together. But my marriage was a different story.
I didn’t put much into my relationship with Tina, and didn’t help her out with the kids like I should have. I also got angry over every little thing and would take it out on her, putting her down and trying to make her feel like it was all her fault. That went on for years.
About six years ago I took up running and would find myself, at times, talking to God as I ran. I would say, God, change me. Make me a better person—a good guy. But that’s about as far as that conversation would go.
A couple of years ago I heard about Wheaton Bible Church from my son, who had gone there a few times with a friend. I told Tina that I wanted to visit the church. But it was all talk. A month would go by, then a couple more months, and a year. It was in 2013 when I finally decided to do it.
Tina looked at me like, What are we doing? But when I said I was going to church, she came with me.
We sat right in the middle. The worship band played a song called “Our God Is Greater,” and I started to cry. I could feel God’s presence, and then I felt peace. There’s a line in that song about “Open the eyes of the blind,” and that’s what God did for me.
Soon after, I had another conversation with God, but that time it went like this: Jesus, I accept you as my Lord and Savior. I confess and repent from my sins. Change me.
Tina and I are happier than ever. We laugh more. We talk more. We hold each other more. I’m still a sinner, and I feel weak at times. I doubt, and I am tempted, but I hold on to a verse in the Bible—1 Corinthians 10:13—that says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” Praise God!
Never Underestimate the Power of a Story!
Most people don’t know what it means to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. They believe being a Christian is about being a “good” person and going to church. So telling our stories is a great way to give others a real-life picture of what it looks like to personally experience God’s grace—telling them how being a Christian is not about what we do but about what God did for us.
Our stories can also plant a seed of thought in our listener’s minds that they, too, can experience new life in Christ. Sharing the stories of how we came to Christ—or how God met us in a time of need—can expand their perspective in a very personal, non-offensive, way. And at the appropriate time, it provides a bridge to sharing the Good News of the Gospel.
What story could you tell?
Visit our Stories page at wheatonbible.org/stories and share your story of how God has changed/is changing your life!