Linda: We were serving overseas and had spent 10 years in Russia and Serbia church planting.
John: After coming home from Eastern Europe I spent a few years on the board of our church, but I was looking for a hands on ministry. One day the pastor took me out for lunch and said, “John, I know your history. We desperately need a ministry for people in recovery. Would you and your wife be interested in heading that up?”
L: The history he is referring to was before our church-planting days, a history filled with addiction and despair. After ten years of marriage, I was about to walk out on John.
J: Back in those days, my life had become unmanageable. I had become a high-functioning alcoholic. I was a Class ‘A’ fastball pitcher and successful businessman but abusing alcohol every day. I had married my high school sweetheart…
L: But I was the unhappy co-dependent with three children at home, running my own business, doing all the work, while he was having all the fun. I was tired, angry and irritable all the time.
J: It’s true. We used to call her Witchy Woman. But I was no better. At one point, I had gotten into a drunken fight and was charged with criminal assault.
L: One night John was out late drinking and I was at home crying and feeling sorry for myself. I picked up a booklet about Jesus Christ that told me God loved me and sent his son to die for me. I had known that – I’d gone to church all my life – but I thought that meant I should be good. I didn’t realize I can’t live up to my own standard. So I asked Jesus into my heart. That’s when things got worse. I was looking in the mirror and what I saw was a horrible person.
J: I started to attend a 12-step program for my alcohol addiction and stayed clean, but I was like a balloon ready to pop.
L: We moved to a new neighbourhood, and I started going. I learned that Jesus would give me the power not to do these things anymore.
J: Then one day Linda came home and apologized to me saying, “I haven’t been the wife I should have been.” She said she’d invited Jesus into her heart and I told her I didn’t want any of that garbage in our house. But I had never seen anything like this before, and I wanted that peace and serenity. After a year of attending meetings to stay sober, finally one night in sheer desperation, I got down on my knees beside my bed and cried out to God. A ton of bricks fell off my shoulders; I hadn’t cried since I was six and tears of relief and joy flowed.
L: That’s the history our pastor was referring to. Three years later, John and I joined staff with Power to Change. While many things are different today, one thing that stays the same is our passion to see people come to know Christ, experience the power of the Holy Spirit, and inspire and equip them for ministry.
J: God brought us full circle. I came to know him as a struggling alcoholic in 1976, and now God is calling us to a ministry for recovering addicts.
L: Our pastor says, “This has been the most effective ministry of evangelism and discipleship in our church. This ministry is on the move.”
J: Thank you for reading our story. We would love to hear from you. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org