Growing up in a Christian home environment, making an early profession of faith in Christ and participating in the work of a vital church has had a sustained and positive influence in my life. Although there were times of doubting and uncertainty as I matured, God used these formative years and experience to convince me of his love for me and others. Throughout my teenage years I participated (trumpet) in a Christian musical group, provided special music in worship and outreach services (nursing homes, street meetings, missions and hospitals). I chose to attend a Christian college which also afforded some encouragement to my spiritual development. It was not until after I graduated from college, entered the military and started a family that my personal faith developed and deepened. As I pondered the responsibility of raising children, I also began to seriously consider my relationship to God and his claim upon my life. Regular Bible reading, prayer and corporate worship, together with involvement in a small group were tremendous encouragements and inducements to my development. At this time I began to discern a movement of God in my life, calling me to serve him in lifelong ministry. Answering this call, I entered seminary where I could be more thoroughly prepared for this service. My seminary experience itself was both a confirmation and continuation of this call. (I was a business major, married with a family and working full-time hours and by God’s grace was able to graduate with honors. I regarded this as a blessing and encouragement from the Lord.) Throughout my life I have attempted to establish a regular discipline of spiritual formation and priorities. Bible reading, prayer, worship, service/ ministry and family experiences have been used of God to further my development and encourage me spiritually.
Although God has used a great variety of experiences to influence me, permit me to tell you of my bicycle injury. I was completing a training ride on a country road when I heard a car behind me and moved across the road. I hit a rock and was distracted by the approaching of the car. Hitting the soft stones on the shoulder of the road, I lost control of the bicycle and was thrown over the handlebars into a 5 foot deep ditch. I knew immediately that I was paralyzed; many concerns flooded my mind. Almost as soon as this occurred, I had a sense that God was present with me. I knew that as he promised he would never leave me or for sake me. It was just as if he were saying to me, “I’ll be with you through this. Don’t worry I’ll be here with you; I have things for you to do.” Since then there have been many ups and downs in trials, but I have the assurance that God is with me and will use me in my present circumstances and situation. By God’s grace I have been able to maintain a healthy attitude and positive outlook. God has continued to use me in my family, life contacts and ministry. His abiding presence and encouragement has provided me with the resources to bring hope to others.