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THE BIBLE CHANGES LIVES

“I Am No Longer a Slave of Violence”

  • Year Born: 1956

  • Country of Origin: Canada

  • History: Disillusioned, promiscuous, and violent

MY PAST

I was born in the city of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. When I was an infant, my parents divorced, and my mother and I moved into my grandparents’ home. My grandparents loved my mother and me, and I was a very happy child. I still remember those peaceful childhood years with great fondness.

At the age of seven, my life changed for the worse when my mother remarried my father and we moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States. I soon discovered that my father could be quite cruel. For example, when I came home from my first day at my new school, he found out that I had been bullied and had not fought back. He was furious and hit me harder than the kids at school had! I took the so-called lesson to heart and got into my first fight when I was only seven years old.

My father’s bad temper embittered my mother, and there were frequent loud conflicts. I started abusing drugs and alcohol when I was 11 years old. I became more and more aggressive and frequently got into street fights. By the time I graduated high school, my violent ways had changed me completely.

When I was 18 years old, I enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. There I received training that honed my aggression into deadly skills. After five years, I left the military to study psychology in hopes of pursuing a career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I began my university studies in the United States and continued them in Canada after moving back there.

At university I became completely disillusioned with mankind and society in general. People seemed so selfish, everything in the world seemed so empty, and mankind’s problems appeared to have no solutions. I gave up hope that humans could make the world a better place.

Seeing little purpose in life, my own life spiraled into abuse of alcohol and drugs and the greedy pursuit of money and sex. I lived from one party to the next and from one woman to another. Emboldened by my military training, I often got into fights. I had my own sense of justice and would confront anyone I thought was being unfair to others. In reality, though, I had become an even greater slave to violence.

HOW THE BIBLE CHANGED MY LIFE

One day while a friend and I were high on drugs in the basement of my home and were preparing an illegal shipment of marijuana for sale, my friend asked me if I believed in God. I responded, “If God is responsible for the suffering in the world, I want nothing to do with him!” The next day, the first at my new job, a fellow worker who was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses asked me, “Do you think that God is responsible for the suffering in the world?” The timing of his question surprised me and sparked my interest. For the next six months, we had many discussions, and he showed me the Bible’s answers to some of my most difficult questions about life.

My fiancée, with whom I was living at the time, did not want me to share with her the things I was learning. One Sunday I told her that I had invited the Witnesses to our home to study the Bible with us. The next day, I returned from work to find that she had taken everything in the house and left me. I went outside and wept. I also prayed to God, begging him for help. That was the first time I used God’s personal name, Jehovah, in prayer.—Psalm 83:18.

Two days later I had my first Bible study with the Witnesses, a married couple. After they left I continued reading the study aid You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, and I finished it that night. * What I learned about Jehovah God and his Son, Jesus Christ, reached my heart. I saw that Jehovah is compassionate and that he is pained when we suffer. (Isaiah 63:9) I was especially touched by God’s love for me and by the sacrifice that his Son made in my behalf. (1 John 4:10) I concluded that Jehovah had been patient with me “because he does not desire anyone to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) I felt that Jehovah was drawing me.—John 6:44.

I started attending congregation meetings that very week. I had long hair, earrings, and a scary appearance, but the Witnesses treated me as if I were a long-lost relative. They acted like true Christians. I felt as if I were back at home with my grandparents, but in an even more wonderful environment.

Soon the things I was learning from the Bible began to transform my life. I cut my hair, stopped all sexually immoral practices, and quit abusing drugs and alcohol. (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; 11:14) I wanted to please Jehovah. So when I learned that he disapproved of something I was doing, I never excused my bad behavior. Instead, I often felt stabbed to the heart. ‘I can’t behave like this anymore,’ I would say to myself. And without hesitation I would try to change my thinking and actions. As a result, I soon started to feel the benefits of doing things Jehovah’s way. On July 29, 1989—six months after my first Bible study—I was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

HOW I HAVE BENEFITED

The Bible has helped transform my personality. In the past I often reacted violently when confronted by a hostile person. But now I work hard to be “peaceable with all men.” (Romans 12:18) I take no credit for this but thank Jehovah for the transforming power of his Word and holy spirit.—Galatians 5:22, 23; Hebrews 4:12.

Instead of being a slave to drugs, violence, and immoral desires, I now strive to please Jehovah God and to give him my best. That includes helping others come to know him. A few years after I was baptized, I moved to another part of the world to help preach in areas where there was a greater need for evangelizers. Over the years, I have had the joy of teaching many people and of seeing how the Bible improved their lives too. I am also delighted that my mother became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses—in part because of the positive changes she saw in my attitude and conduct.

In 1999, in El Salvador, I graduated from what is now called the School for Kingdom Evangelizers. That school trained and equipped me to take the lead in the evangelizing work and to teach and shepherd in the congregation. Later that year, I married my lovely wife, Eugenia. Together we serve as full-time preachers in Guatemala.

Now, instead of being disillusioned with life, I am immensely happy. Applying Bible teachings has freed me from sexual immorality and violence and has given me a life filled with true love and peace.

^ par. 9 Jehovah’s Witnesses now often use the study aid What Can the Bible Teach Us?