I grew up going to church. My family went every Sunday. I got involved with the Sunday school youth group and my parents taught Sunday school. I could answer all the church questions. I could tell you about every Bible story and all the typical answers to that, but I didn't have actually any understanding of it. It was all head knowledge to me. I felt every Sunday was just checking the box.
I was also very successful in high school. I graduated valedictorian and I played football. I had a great loving family everything was going well for me. I got accepted to the Naval Academy and was going to go there.
On the outside, I looked perfect. On the inside, I lived in darkness I could not escape from.
My freshman and sophomore years at the Academy, I still had that outward appearance. I still struggled a lot trying to find out what I could fill that darkness with. So I was around different sources. I tried the drinking crowd. I tried sex. Anything that could please me.
The darkness was growing. I was sinking deeper and deeper. In 2008, between my sophomore and junior year I was doing summer training out in San Diego. I was by myself on the beach and two guys from Cru came up to me and they presented the gospel. I knew what they were doing when I saw them walking around on the beach. I said, whatever; if they come talk to me I figured with my background, I knew all the answers.
But for the first time, God softened my heart and the gospel made sense. All those answers clicked and that head knowledge translated to heart knowledge. In my heart of darkness, I was looking for Christ to step in and be my Savior. By looking at him, He was the connection I needed to replace that darkness.
I was still out in California for four weeks doing more training. I prayed to receive salvation on the beach. I asked Jesus to come into my life and be my Savior. But at the same time, I was still caught in the old trap of sex, drinking and still trying to fill that darkness. I was still not quite willing to let go.
So I got back for my junior year and I knew I had to find somebody and get plugged in with Cru at the Academy. Two of my best friends were involved with Cru. They came alongside me and helped me grow.
I went from that summer receiving Christ on the beach and the next summer I went with Cru down to Venezuela and did a missionary trip down there. Then, I graduated from the Academy and I joined the Marine Corps.
Christ is always revealing new parts. There is always a corner of darkness that He is able to find and I am able to grow. But definitely, He turned my life around – a 180. My only satisfaction and hope comes from Him. And everything I do is to glorify and worship Him.