I was raised in a dysfunctional home where moving many times in my early childhood left me with a fear that if I made any friends, we would move again, so there was no point in doing so. I lived a very lonely life.faith was lacking entirely in the home, as I recall going to a church service for Easter when I was in first grade. I asked of my mom who God is. She replied “The one who made everything, I don’t know anything else, so don’t ask”. I was obviously left in the dark for a long time.
By high school, I had very long hair, I was a total introvert, and I could not care about the world. I had a total aversion to drugs and alcohol, but every person I knew was using them. After an seeing LSD, which is the drug I have come closest to taking, I finally decided that enough was enough and I was not going put up anything, so I went inside my little shell. I committed myself to learning and education, seeing it as a possible way out. I did an independent study in 12th grade with a teacher on growing Bonsai trees, but on a field trip at lunch, I was sitting alone. This teacher came over and asked to sit. He asked about a whole series of things and finally about my faith. I would have been best described as either an atheist or a mystic, depending on where one might draw the line. He asked me if I would be open to learning a few things of spiritual nature, and I said yes, primarily out of total loneliness and need of attention. We put down the Bonsai books and started to study James Montgomery Boice, and I had no objection. He even met me a few times after school hours and he gave me the first Bible I had ever owned. I did not miraculously come to Christ, and after high school was over, I saw him a few times, but I became very busy with multiple jobs and heavy school loads.
In college, I started to work volunteer hours at a planetarium where the director was a very devout Christian. A whole series of home problems began to brew and I was left totally alone, angry, irritated, and suicidal. I suppressed the pain for a long time by working more hours and studying more materials. If I just learned enough, I reasoned, I would learn how to get out. Another bad situation arose and I was totally on the edge, concerned even for my life, and I had no where to turn. The planetarium director was in his office at the university when I went in and he sensed that something was wrong. I started to tell him a little of the problem and he listened, but stopped me at the family things and said that his wife would be much more able to talk, so we went immediately over to his house to talk with her. They witnessed faith of how Christ could take all the pain away, but I still did not accept.
My actual conversion is a little strange. As I was looking for fulfillment, I entered a group that I discovered later was a commercial cult. The promise of money, friends, and family; all the things people are searching for. They talked a lot about God which made me start to examine the facts about God for the first real time. I had a read through the Bible that was given to me by my teacher, and I acknowledge January 7, 2001 as the day I first believed there is a man named Jesus Christ who paid for my sins, though I am not sure I was a Christian at that time. Eventually, I found many inconsistencies between the cult teachings and true biblical doctrines, which caused me to leave the cult.
I began a rigorous process of working through my dysfunctional life. I worked daily for over two years with the hope and promise of being delivered from the snares of a rough childhood, abuses, fatherlessness, and other struggles. I have never felt so restored at the completion of that time. Christ took away all my loneliness. My formal ministry for Christ began shortly after. I signed up to help in Vacation Bible School. I went to a prayer dinner shortly before VBS on a Friday night to pray for VBS, but God would use that night for something else altogether. I cried a lot that night; I cried about my lost childhood, the pain I had growing up, the absence of a father, and more issues as well. God brought all that up to the surface and forced me to place it on the alter before Him that day. After that night, God supernaturally removed the pains of my past life and empowered me to help others.
I found that academics is one of my gifts, so I used it to the best of my ability for learning about Christian doctrine, heresies, cultural issues, etc. I teach the material I have learned where I can, as I was given this gift for the Kingdom of Christ.
Now that I have grounded myself in doctrine, I have battled cults by making available my testimony and exposing the false biblical teachings on the internet. I have also taught children in several Sunday school classes, mentored in Big Brothers / Big Sisters, and counseling at a local camp over the summer. I have also taught for other local churches and worked on projects with parachurch ministries.
Our God is an awesome God.
Tom, October 2007