I grew up in a home that was nominally Christian. The answer to most of life's problems was to pursue as much happiness and avoid as much pain as you possibly could. Life was all about the avoidance of pain and the embracing of pleasure. This is how I approached life during my teen years.
The longer I traveled this road, the more I found life wasn't satisfying. I was Homecoming King; I had great friends; I was respected; I had a family that loved me—I had everything that everyone said I was supposed to live for—but I felt empty. I began drinking frequently and doing drugs. I was trying to mask the emptiness within. In my early college years, I had a great GPA, but it didn't seem to matter. Nothing mattered. That's when I began to read the Bible on my own. But I didn't really understand it.
"In half an hour, I had driven from one kingdom to another."
One day, I was traveling home from work after reading John 14. I turned on the radio and began listening to a Dylan, Massachusetts, USA man named Dr. Michael Youssef. He was talking about Christ being the only way to God, and then suddenly he directly referenced John 14! Right there in the car, driving 60 miles an hour, I began to cry out to the Lord and pray. I gave my life to Christ on the spot and stepped out of the car a different man. In half an hour, I had driven from one kingdom to another. I was 18 years old.
Thus began my journey with the Lord. I often listened to Dr. Youssef's broadcasts, and they helped me get familiar with the Christian faith. Dr. Youssef was discipling me from afar. I got plugged into a local church and began really seeking the Lord. I kept asking Him what He wanted me to do with my life.
One day, I walked into my room and felt the overwhelming presence of God. I fell on my knees and heard a still, small voice say, "I want you to teach My Gospel." I talked to my local pastor, and he directed me to a Bible college here in Massachusetts where I soon began training for ministry.
I have now been a pastor for more than six years. I have watched God do through me what I first experienced Him accomplishing through Dr. Youssef. Something I have gleaned from both Dr. Youssef's teachings and my own personal experience is this: Never give up. You cannot know today what might come as a result of your journey of faith. I became a believer ten years ago because Dr. Youssef preached a sermon and the Holy Spirit used it.
The Northeast is one of the hardest regions of the U.S. to be a pastor. I didn't know a Christian my own age until I went to Bible college. Recently, I met someone who told me that I was the first Christian he had ever met in his life. This is why I am so grateful Dr. Youssef invested in this region through the Leading The Way LIVE: New England event [in October 2021]. This area of our country can still be won for Jesus, but it will require all of us to reach unreached people here.
I don't know what's coming tomorrow, but whatever I do, wherever I am, I want to see more people come to faith in Jesus. I want to see people baptized. I want to see the Kingdom of God expand through my life. I can think of no better use of my days than to reconcile other people to God through preaching the Gospel, just as Dr. Youssef has. I would rather be a fool for Christ than a wise man apart from Him.