I was raised by a nominally Christian family. We went to church every Sunday, but that’s about the extent of our Christian devotion. Outside of those church walls on Sunday mornings, it wasn’t an important thing. I was a kid at the time. I didn’t read the Bible or pray, nor was I encouraged to. I wasn’t even taught that sex outside of marriage was wrong. Honestly, I didn’t even see the point in going to church. When I got a job and started working on Sundays at 16, I stopped going to church. I was pretty relieved, because I hated going. It was always incredibly boring! Just get the service over with so I can have some lunch, I always thought.
In that time Christianity wasn’t part of my life. Though I never became an atheist, religion wasn’t important to me. I lived as if God wasn’t there.
Back in 2008 when I was about 20, I began suffering from major loneliness and depression. I wanted to love and to be loved, but all of my friends were off to college, I wasn’t getting along with my roommate, and there were no potential girlfriends in town. I wanted my life to have a purpose, but I was stuck in a dead end town with a dead end job. After months of self-inflicted, emotional agony, I finally decided to move out of that town. At first I was trying to move to Springfield but my cousin convinced me to move to Columbia. My aunt offered to let me stay with her until I found my own place. I accepted. I just wanted to get out of that town.
When I was there my loneliness increased because I didn’t know anyone. My depression got so bad that I couldn’t sleep for more than four hours a night. I started taking antidepressants because it seemed to be my only resort. Though my mom and aunt weren’t churchgoers at the time, they kept telling me to find a church college ministry so I could meet some people. I kept saying no. I didn’t want to have any part in church. Eventually, my aunt convinced me to go to a local church for a couple of Sundays. While I was there I saw that they had a college ministry called Veritas. I talked to the leaders there and eventually decided to attend the church and the college ministry of my own volition. At first, I was just going to meet people. I had no interest in being a Christian and believing the central doctrines of the faith. God, however, had different plans. As I listened to the sermons and got to know the people around me, I began to get the Gospel message. It seemed to know my problem better than I knew it, and it provided an Answer. One of the leaders (whom I consider my spiritual father) gave me a Bible and I began really reading it for the first time. I didn’t get it at first, but over time God’s Spirit moved in me through the Word and the sermons I heard. I cannot pinpoint a moment when I became a Christian. It was a gradual process of coming to know the truth about Jesus Christ and accepting Him as my Lord. At this time my depression relented, my loneliness decreased, and I stopped taking the antidepressants after three months. I felt like God was bringing me back to life.
This is also when my love for philosophy, theology, and church history developed. I read the Bible thoroughly every day and quickly developed a pretty sophisticated understanding of it’s message. A love for reading was sparked in me and I began to read as much theology as I could. I eventually became known for my reading habits, my growing knowledge of the Bible, and my willingness to learn. At this time, I also began hearing some challenges to my faith. Why the Bible instead of the Book of Mormon? Why does God allow so much evil? Does He even exist? This got me into apologetics and philosophy. My interest in skill in understanding philosophy motivated me to major in philosophy at MU (I’ll finish in December 2012). The college ministry there has even had me blog on apologetic issues for them. The Lord has put my life back on track and is giving me the skills to serve His Kingdom.
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