As my family and I prepare to launch out to this new phase in our lives I have been thinking of where God has brought me from and how he has orchestrated my life to get me to this place. I wanted to share these reflections with you:
I grew in South Louisiana (Cajun country), the son of a young single mom. We never owned a home, but lived in single wide trailers (they weren’t called manufactured homes back then!) and apartments. My mom worked hard for us, but we never seemed to be able to get ahead and stay there. I recently bought my first home five years ago; the first in my immediate family to own their own home. It has been a great home for our family, white with black shudders, big yard, and even a pool for the kids. God has blessed us. I have now joyfully sold that home to move to Thailand and serve the Lord Jesus who has give everything to me. As a favorite song says, “This is no sacrifice. Here’s my life.”
Right after High School I joined the Navy. I almost didn’t make it in because I needed to get a psychiatric waiver! (Another story for another time) I almost didn’t go through with my commitment to join because I wanted to party my life away instead. Thank God for my mom who insisted that I make good on my commitment. I was selected to be Hospital Corpsman in the US Navy and the discipline I gained changed me somewhat externally, but my heart was still unchanged.
While in Corps school in San Diego I graduated 6th in my class and had the chance to choose my new duty station. I chose Naples Italy because I wanted to party my way through Europe! I got my orders or so I thought. The next day I was told that my orders were mysteriously “lost” and I would have to pick a new place. I picked Pensacola, FL because I could party my way through the Gulf Coast!
It was in Pensacola that I ran smack dab into God and my life was radically changed. I went from having keg parties to Bible studies. (This is a story in itself) I did a complete 180 degree turn and decided to clean house…literally. I dumped the trash in my home, broke up with my girl friend, and started going after God full on.
I was supposed to pick my next duty station, but when my Chief heard that I was thinking about trying to get out of the Navy to go to Bible School, so he decided to vindictively pick my orders for me. He gave me a “hot fill” duty station that suited the “needs of the Navy” rather than my choice. I was sent to Sasebo Japan to live on a ship for the next 2 and a half years. I cried like a baby when I got the news. I couldn’t see the hand of God in it. I rebuked the devil! Until one day I heard God say, “What if I want you to go”? NOOOOO! But then I finally surrendered.
While in Japan, I gathered myself together and said, “Well God, if you are calling me. Then I will start right here, right now.” Over a dozen countries through SE Asia, Australia, and the Middle East later, I turned out to be glad about how things worked out for me. I put my hand in every form of ministry I could find and fully embraced God’s calling on my life. I still have close friends to this day from this time. It was all preparing me for more of God’s steering that was to come….
Stay tuned…for the next part!