I was born and raised in a Christian home in Oklahoma until the age of twenty, when I moved to the island of the Philippines to be with my parents who were missionaries and ran a Bible college. My parents had been living in the islands for a year already and I chose to stay in America because I had a job, a girlfriend and I wanted to stay here for those things. I was not willing to surrender my life to God and do His will for my life. Within six months of my parents leaving the States I lost everything that I had stayed for. At that point I knew that God wanted my attention and He had it. I decided to move to the islands.
While in the Philippines I went to Bible college and lived with my parents. I could not work because I was not a citizen, so I basically had a three year vacation. The place is beautiful and I was really having a good time. I met a girl and we decided to get married. We lived in the Philippines for two years, then moved back to the States. A year later we divorced, and my life changed in that I turned to the world for comfort. I started going to night clubs and drinking, I started smoking and living a totally different life than what I was raised in.
I lived like this for about two years and then I met my wife (Tara). After about a year and a half we got married and moved to Kansas where my dad was pastoring a church. We ended up getting saved again and working with him in his church. I remember walking into my dad’s office at his church and seeing his prayer list hanging on his wall and my name was at the top. That meant something to me and changed my life and it gave me a greater love for my dad and my God.
Tara and I had two boys while in Kansas and then ended up moving to Heartland to work with the young people. While here in 2005 our little girl was born. When she was two years old she was accidentally burned with boiling water from a pot of potatoes Tara was trying to drain in the sink. Forty percent of Julienne’s body was burned. She was life-flighted to Columbia where we were told that we would be in the hospital for forty days, plus go through rehab to regain use of her arms. Her chest, knees and face were burnt. The doctors took skin grafts off of her back to cover the burned areas.
God was so good to us. We had great doctors and our daughter was taken care of by the best. We had people praying for us from all over the world and God worked a miracle. We ended up only being in the hospital for seventeen days and she has yet to this day to need any rehab. God touched our daughter and healed her; there is no doubt in my mind.
During this time Tara and I learned to trust God more and we also learned how important a church body is. If it was not for the people in the church praying for us, encouraging us, taking time out of their lives for us I do not know what we would have done. We will forever be grateful for our church family and all that God has done for us.
About two years ago we were blessed to have the opportunity to adopt a ten year old boy living here at Heartland. He lived with us while he was here and during that time we really felt that God laid it on our hearts to make him a permanent part of our family. Everything fell into place and the adoption was granted; he has been a great addition to our family. All of our children are great kids and a true blessing from God.
Our family is so blessed to be part of a great organization and Church here at Heartland. It is wonderful to have family and friends around us that care about us and love us. We pray that we can be a blessing to others in this world and show the love of Jesus in our lives.