I became a Christian in June of 1985. I was not raised in a Christian family, nor did I imagine I would become a pastor. But God changed my life. In the early 70's, when I was three years old, my father left my mother and me. Shortly afterwards, we moved to Denver. To cope with the stress of becoming a single parent, my mother turned to drugs. Soon she became physically abusive toward me. In addition to that, a babysitter's son had sexually molested me when I was four. My mother, who by now had fully embraced the "hippie" culture, decided to take me with her as she hitchhiked across America. We hitchhiked from Colorado to California, to Arizona, Oregon, Washington State, and many, many other places. When we were not living in an old Volkswagen bus, we were living on the streets or staying in "Hippie Communes." My mother and I lived this way until I was about seven years old. When we weren't hitchhiking, I was taken by social services and placed in foster homes for child abuse and neglect.
I've stayed in a total of twenty foster homes in my life time. At the age of ten, my father committed suicide. I had always wondered if there really was a God, and if so, why hadn't He helped me? Then at fifteen years of age my life changed. In 1985, when I was fifteen, I ran away from home. I had been on the streets for a couple of weeks when my uncle miraculously found me. My aunt and uncle offered to let me live with them on the condition that I attend church. Desperate, I took them up on the offer. Then, a few months later, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior and discovered there was a purpose for my life. I have no idea what sort of tragedy has gripped your life. But I can honestly say that I know God loves you, and has a purpose for you.