Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mike's Testimony

I was cleaning some documents on my laptop when I came across Mike's testimony that he prepared to share at church in April 2006. It's a great reminder to me that he is in heaven worshiping our Creator...God!

Mike's Testimony

I grew up in a Catholic environment in Rochester, New York. Both sides of my family practiced Catholicism. Although, my Dad’s brothers were the Easter-Christmas visitors. My parents had me participate in all the sacraments (Baptism, First Communion, First Penance and Confirmation). I was even an altar boy during middle school.

I enlisted in the Marine Corps right after high school (in 1984). Throughout my military career and high school I fell into peer pressure. Peer pressure led me into drinking, chewing tobacco and vulgar language.

As most of you know, I have 2 teenage children from a previous marriage. Sharon and I were married after I was stationed in Camp Pendleton, California. We were fresh out of high school and very young (19 years old). Christopher was born in 1986 and Brittany in 1990. Due to my military deployments overseas and constant traveling; Sharon and I started growing apart. I was never home to see my kids grow and be a supportive husband.

After my honorable discharge from the Marine Corps in 1991, I came back home to see the 3 of them in their own world. They started clinging to their Mom more than me, and we fought like cats and dogs. We fought over finances, how we raised our kids, debts, etc. This led to me going out with the guys after work, or Sharon slipping out with the girls at night. There was no reconciliation in sight. We went through a nasty divorce on April 20, 2000. She received custody of the kids, and stuck me with all the debts (house, truck, credit cards).

Elizabeth and I met in a training class for BellSouth Mobility on July 20, 1998. And, I met her family shortly after that. I started hanging out with them (weekends, BBQs, etc.) during my separation from Sharon and the kids. I suddenly stopped drinking and cleaned up my act around them. She even convinced me to stop biting my fingernails. She transferred to a position in Orlando (January 2000), and like a lost puppy I requested a transfer effective March 2000. I sold my house in South Florida along with any un-necessary items. You don’t want me in charge of a yard sale. I was giving things away for as cheap as 10¢. I moved in with her brother Philip and his wife Rosalyn. We lived one street away from Elizabeth and her parents.

I started attending the Maitland Grace Brethren church with the Hoyts, and hearing the Word from Pastor Ron Guiles. Things were starting to 'click' and I began to see the light.
Since my transfer to Orlando, Elizabeth and I started car-pooling together. On July 26, 2000 – I participated in a class called the “Introduction to Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. The course taught us how to break our common ineffective behaviors and tendencies, and develop strong interdependent relationships. Again, something ‘clicked’ and on the way home; we pulled into the Wekiwa Springs State Park. ** There I asked Elizabeth to pray with me, and I asked for the forgiveness of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ into my life ** It felt like all my worries and troubles were gone, like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I am reminded of scripture from Romans 10:9-10. Paul writes “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

After sharing my great news with Elizabeth’s family and the Maitland church, I was baptized by triune immersion on September 17, 2000. My Dad witnessed the event since he lived nearby in Winter Springs.

Again, Elizabeth transferred away from me to Ocala. Actually, our company just merged with another telecommunications company and we were forced to leave the Orlando area. I moved to Ocala in October 2001. We attended the Ocala Grace Brethren Church, and were married on May 18, 2002.

As far as I know, I am the only one on my side of the family that has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior. My Mom still attends Catholic services on a routine basis. My Dad is now looking for a Lutheran church in Virginia. Thank you for your prayers towards Christopher and Brittany. My kids are so lost, but they know that I have changed for the better.

I can’t thank Elizabeth enough for her own testimony and kindness towards me. She puts up with a lot! I’m earning my Bachelor’s degree by taking online courses with Liberty University. I have learned plenty with my Old and New Testament studies. Look at me now, my physical body is turning 40 this year, but my heart will be 6 in July. I am a big kid, and loving life every day! Thank you again for your time.


Rosalyn said...

What a wonderful thing to find! I remember seeing some of these changes in Mike! God wanted you to find this at this time. What a great testimony!

Lhoyt said...

It is exciting to note how much Mike grew in the four years between this testimony and his home going He understood so much about his new life in Christ, and it was a blessing to watch the process. God knew what His plan included, and that is the fact that kept coming back to me as I thought of your first anniversary of widowhood. I love you and am praying for Our Lord's will to be done in every aspect.

rita said...

That was very moving, especially as I think of the reality of heaven, those he is meeting and what he is learning and experiencing!
Bless you, dear Lizzie.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting that Lizzie!!! The song Blessed Assurance came to mind while I read this! Love you!