I grew up poor. I did not realize it then, but it was a big part of my life.
Many people in my extended family did not go to church. Alcohol, cigarettes, swearing and jokes about sex were just normal. I knew so many swear words by the time I was 6.
Everyone was just doing their jobs and surviving, and maybe having a party on the weekend.
At church, I heard about ways you could help people -- the hungry, the homeless, orphans, and widows. It felt like a completely different world.
In order to not babysit me, my older sister would drop me off at this Good News Club. The teacher, Mrs. Guidish, had flannel boards and nametags shaped like lions.
I remember her saying “you need to ask Jesus into your heart” and I did. My initial thoughts were about the idea that Jesus loved me and wanted to help me everyday, that he made me to be something totally special and had a plan for me.
In 1995, I went on a 2-week ministry trip to Russia. At the time I was a reporter in Pennsylvania. After 2 weeks helping orphans and taking them food, medicine, and toys, I thought, “I would really like to do this forever.”
I found out how to raise financial support, quit my job, and joined as a staff member with Josh McDowell’s ministry. Later, I joined the staff of GAiN, the Global Aid Network.
When we travel on an aid mission, we always get the question, “Why are you doing this?” One of my favorite questions was from Siberia. “Why would you come half way across the world to visit me?”
I answered, “ I wouldn’t have even known you were here if it weren’t for God.” God really does see these people in their point of need. God sees them personally and calls us to go meet that need. We can say, “God sent me to you. You asked Him for help, here I am.”
I could be destroying my body with alcohol and cigarettes. The only thing that could save me from that is to be completely transformed by Christ.
When I live for God, He gives me purpose. He gives me the opportunity to help people in need.