Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Story: Part 1

My Story: Index

Truth matters to me.  I'd like to think it always has.  I credit this to my parents.  I think they brought me up well.

I remember going to Catholic Church when I was very young.  My family would go almost every week.  As I got older and reached my teens, we started to go less often.  My younger sister's epilepsy became a bigger problem as time went on, and I think my parents, with 3 other busy children, had less and less energy to continue attending mass on a weekly basis.  Nevertheless, we continued to pray before meals, attend mass on holidays, and go through the sacraments of first-communion and confirmation.  

When I was 18, I had a political science class in which we studied debate.  During that unit, the class observed a mock-debate between an evolutionist and a creationist.  We were supposed to be learning about debate format, but I became interested in learning about creationism.  Being a lukewarm Catholic, I believed in God, and being a good student, I believed in evolution, but I had never really been exposed to biblical creationism, i.e. a literal, young-earth interpretation of the book of Genesis.  Nevertheless, I became very interested, and started researching it on my own time.  In fact, I became so interested that sometimes I would write myself out of class by forging a note from my parents, and then go next door to the public library to read.  

It wasn't long before I encountered the creation-science evangelistic videos of Kent Hovind.  And it wasn't long after that that I began to believe his entire message, from beginning to end.  I renounced my Catholicism, asked Jesus into my heart, started reading the Bible (as a catholic I hardly ever did), and prayed that my family and friends would get saved.  Thus began my life as a young, fundamentalist, and Protestant Christian.

Shortly after my conversion, I went to college at the U of M-Twin Cities, and immediately joined Campus Crusade for Christ.  I joined their Bible study, and eventually became an electric guitar player for their worship band.  My life was changing a lot, and it became very important that I had other Christian friends.  They were easy to befriend, however I always felt a bit different than them.  They didn't read the Bible as much as I did, and they seemed more interested in their future careers than in Jesus.  This pushed me to study the Bible even more, to pray, read biblical commentaries, and, one of my favorites, devour biographies of inspiring Christian missionaries.  I'd also go on short term mission trips with Campus Crusade.  I was, as they say, "on fire."

I began to lose interest in my academic studies.  It was frustrating for me to go to class and learn about evolution and the old age of the earth when I knew these things were false.  At the same time, I knew God was using the classes to test my faith.  However, it was tiring.  I didn't want to study secular subjects.  I wanted to study religious ones.  I needed more biblical knowledge and practice, not secular knowledge and a career.

One fall evening I attended a campus-wide Christian meeting on campus, and learned about a Christian humanitarian-aid organization called Friend Ships.  The speaker at this meeting told us this organization collected surplus supplies and donations from people all over the nation, and shipped them to poor countries.  Not only that, but the volunteers who worked for the organization lived off of donations, as well, such as donated groceries from their neighborhood grocery stores.  The speaker called this "living by faith."  I was hooked.  I wanted to do that.  I didn't need a career!  I could live by faith and trust in God-- He would provide, and these people I heard about were proving it.

Not long after that meeting, I dropped out of college and hopped on a bus to Louisiana to join the organization as a full-time volunteer.  Life was good.

Go to Part 2...