My relationship with God goes back to my childhood. I was born and raised a cradle Catholic. I attended Catholic school through the 8th grade. My family attended mass every Sunday, served in the church and followed faithfully the teachings of the Catholic Church. I was baptized as an infant and was fully initiated into the church after stating my intentions through the sacrament of Confirmation at the age of 13. During my high school and college years, my faith life struggled. I attended church, but only because I knew it was the right thing to do, not because I wanted to be there to worship my Creator. I met my wife, Megan, my senior year of college and continued on with my sinful habits. It wasn’t until our relationship began to get serious that we brought up the question about our future family and how we would raise our children. Coming from different backgrounds, Megan, Protestant, “One of those evangelicals” and me Catholic, our beliefs were somewhat different and neither of us were ready to budge.
In August 2010, I moved to Oklahoma City and God began transforming my life. My work mentor Patrick McBride had frequent discussion with me about faith, and Megan and my situation. We began reading the Word together and he invited me to a Bible study. After studying through the book of Galatians, I realized for the first time, what Jesus‘ atoning death really meant. I always professed Jesus as God, who died for my sins and repented through the sacrament of confession, but my life was far from being Christlike. God had convicted me of my sin, and my need for Him in my life. Megan and I needed to figure out what God was calling us to and I couldn’t understand without knowing Christ. In 2012, I was baptized at Henderson Hills Baptist Church and rededicated my life to Christ.
A friend introduced me to OJPM and invited me for a tour and to find out a little more about the ministry. At first, I was reluctant. I didn’t want to enter into a jail on my own will, but God kept pushing and I agreed to check it out. The day of the tour, I was nervous. My heart was racing; I am pretty sure it wasn’t the rush of knowing I would have the opportunity to share the gospel. It was most definitely out of fear. Deut 31:8 was my stronghold. “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” After entering and touring the Juvenile Detention Center, I felt the Lord calling me to give OJPM a chance. It couldn’t be more convenient for me, walk over from Chesapeake Energy Corporation on my lunch break, share the gospel, and let the Lord use me as he wills. I just wanted to be obedient.
It has now been five years since I said yes to the Lord’s call of ministry at OJPM (Juvenile Detention Center). Those years have been full of humbling, eye opening, sweet and enjoyable times. I’ve learned a lot through this process and have grown in my love for evangelism. I’m super encouraged by God’s amazing work through OJPM. It’s all about God’s glory. It is His will that is accomplished. I am just called to rest in the grace of the Lord Jesus and be obedient to His calling. It’s been amazing watching first hand His saving power.