While serving in Germany, the Persian Gulf War broke out I was sent to Silopi Turkey which is located 2 miles from Iraq and 3 miles from Syria. I spent about 5 months there. While there our makeshift tent base was attacked three times. It was an eye opening experience. It was at that time that I began to realize that I could be killed in an instant due to a bullet or a Scud missile attack. We had to work 12-hour shifts with basically nothing to do but guard the small makeshift base located in the middle of a huge field. This gave me plenty of time to think about my life and purpose.
After the war I was sent back to Bitburg Germany where life resumed as normal. I was involved in a bad relationship, hung out with people who liked to party just like me, and continued to drink way too much. Then I had an amazing opportunity. I had the chance to apply for a position with the Air Force Office of Special Investigation (OSI) working as an undercover narcotics agent. I moved off base, grow my hair long, and wore civilian clothes all the time. I was responsible for exposing drug dealers and setting up the bust. It was a very scary, very rewarding job.
My boss’s name was Tim Lang, and he was a Christian. We spent many hours together watching businesses and people while working. On stakeouts, we would talk about faith for hours and hours and he let me ask him anything. One day, he invited me to come to his church and I promised him that I would come. That day came and went and I forgot because I had gone out drinking as usual the night before. Tim was patient and invited me again. The following Sunday I was so hung over I could hardly walk let alone see straight. I threw up numerous times but had made a promise that I was going to church and I was going to be good on my promise so I went. I showed up to the church late wearing blue jeans and an old AC/DC T-shirt. The usher sat me in the back and someone handed me a bible. (I reeked of beer from the night before.) Within moments I knew that everybody else knew I was totally out of place. All the women were dressed in long dresses and the men suits and ties. That didn’t matter because the whole sermon seemed to be directed at me. The pastor talked about God’s love, forgiveness, and unconfessed sin in our lives. I honestly thought someone told him that I was coming and that he should talk about those things in particular! After church, I went home and thought about what was said. This pastor shared the Word of God with boldness! That week I asked Tim questions and he asked me to come back to church again the following week. I promised him that I would go. Late Saturday night after another night of drinking, I suddenly remembered that I promised Tim I would show up to church. Again, the preacher seemed to know me inside and out. He talked about everything as if he knew me. I learned later that it was God who was working on my heart and that nobody had told the preacher that I was coming. That week, I wore my best pair of jeans and a better-looking T-shirt. I still didn’t fit in, but at least I looked less inconspicuous. Again, after church I spent some time thinking about what was said and that Sunday night, I got down on my knees by my bed and asked Jesus Christ into my heart and life. It was the greatest decision that I have ever made; that was the beginning of my relationship with Christ. I spent the next year being mentored by Tim and attending Eifel Baptist Church. Nine months later I left the Air Force and went to Crown College. It was there that I decided to become a pastor and the rest is history.
Today I am still committed to sharing the life-changing love of Christ with the marginalized and messy, upright and uptight, churched and unchurched to build God’s kingdom where I am called. I believe that everyone is equal and welcome at the foot of the Cross.