About David Porter

When he was in college, David Porter wanted to be a journalist. Today he is a preacher. In Coffee Stains, the preacher and journalist meet to bless everyone who likes a funny East Texas story with a spiritual kicker at the end!

Cruising On Down To Ninevah

Old sour Jonah seems to have made the fish sick, so he gets barfed out on the bank, and as soon as his legs were unwobbly enough, he heads for Ninevah. He smells bad but is determined to obey. He might not be happy about his mission but he sure is happy to be out of the fish. God’s praises bubbled out of his inner being.

“But I, with shouts of grateful praise,

will sacrifice to you.

What I have vowed I will make good.

I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”

Jonah 2


I like old Jonah. In my mind I see him with a perpetual scowl on his face, trying to manipulate God to his point of view. He reminds me of me.

If you start the story in chapter three, Jonah looks obedient. It’s like God says, “Okay, now. Go to Ninevah and announce my judgement against them.”

And maybe Jonah straightened, saluted “Aye, aye sir!” and ran off smelling like fish barf to obey God. It took him a while to get there, but he got there didn’t he?

You ever been through that process?

Greatest Revival in Ancient History?

Jonah didn’t stop running until he screeched to a halt at Ninevah. As a good prophetic evangelist he may have been working on his doom and destruction voice the whole way. “Briiimmmstone-uh! Destruction!” and with a bit less enthusiasm, “Repent.”

But, at the gate of the city he must have paused and gulped. This place was BIG. Took three days to walk across it.

These people were arrogant, cruel enemies of his people. “Mean” barely begins to describe the Assyrians. There are stories of them skinning enemies alive or impaling village leaders on sharpened poles.

He must have taken a deep breath and plunged into the city. A day’s walk put him in a strategic place. From here there was no running. It was either revival or a skinning.

““Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” (Jonah 3:3) ““Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown. “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”

I believe the fiery prophet enjoyed this part. Notice he didn’t even mention the possibility of repentance. He hoped they wouldn’t.

Unwanted Results

Imagine his dismay when all around him, people began to repent and call on God for mercy. Even the king proclaimed a fast and everyone was asking forgiveness for their horrible acts.

Jonah must have been saying, “No, no, no! Don’t repent. He’ll hear you and forgive you and give you another chance. No! Here! Skin me alive or something, but don’t believe what I’m saying.”

Only evangelist I ever saw who was mad about an effective altar call. Over 100,000 conversions and Jonah wasn’t even taking pictures!

He said, “God! I knew it—when I was back home, I knew this was going to happen! That’s why I ran off to Tarshish! I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness!

“So, God, if you won’t kill them, kill me! I’m better off dead!” God said, “What do you have to be angry about?” (The Message, Jonah 4)

He stalked out of the city, mad as a mother who finds her teenage son still in bed five minutes before the school bus comes.

He finds a place so he can see the city well and waits. I can almost hear him mumbling, “Come on Lord. Zap them. Wipe them out.”

But no. God Almighty who unleashes a tsunami of compassion. And a dark, dark mood descends on Jonah.

Object Lesson

God turns from the multitudes to his pouting preacher. Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t treat us like we deserve to be treated?

He caused a big, leafy plant to grow up and provide some shade from the blistering desert heat. Jonah must have thought, “God has provided relief for his suffering servant. He did a miracle for me but I deserve it after all I did for Him.”

Then a strong-jawed insect gnawed into the plant and it withered. Then God—notice it was God who did it. I’m telling on you Lord—then God sent a scorching east wind and a blazing hot sun to make the angry hardhead even madder.

“Just kill me God,” was his prayer.

Jonah, God’s patience is unlimited but you’re pushing it. I’d be careful if I were you.

God speaks to him gently, (I paraphrase), “Jonah, do you have the right to be mad about the plant?

“Yes, I do.” (I hear you criticizing. But, do you remember the last time God took away some of your comforts, part of your “heritage in Christ,” and you got mad and said, ‘Why?’ You ought to hush and learn).

The Lord reasoned, “You’re mad because of a plant. I could be mad, too. But, there are 120,000 people down there who have very little spiritual discernment. If you can feel sorry about the loss of a plant, can’t I feel the pain of 120,000 people screaming out into eternity unprepared?”

God doesn’t tell us the end of Jonah’s story. Why?

I think because Jonah’s story is yours and his story is mine. We’re all a mix of grumpiness, prejudice, wanting to give God advice, not wanting to obey, and we’re mad because God didn’t do it the way we thought he should. That’s mixed with a love for God, a deep faith in Him, strengthened by a heart of praise and adoration.

Jonah is you and me. It’s up to us to finish the story.

Hmmm …

Once people stop believing in God, the problem is not that they will believe in nothing; rather, the problem is that they will believe anything. C.S. Lewis


Just burned 2,000 calories. That’s the last time I leave brownies in the oven while I nap.

What’s the difference between a northern fairytale and a southern fairytale? A northern fairytale begins “Once upon a time …” A southern fairytale begins “Y’all ain’t gonna believe this…

“Doctor, there’s a patient on line 1 that says he’s invisible”
“Well, tell him I can’t see him right now.” (One Line Fun)

photo: ulleo/pixabay.com

Are You In a Safe Place Or a Victorious Place?

You’ve never lived until you’ve wrestled a new-born baby who doesn’t want to sleep. At night anyway. Most of them snooze away during the day to keep their strength up in order to torture you at night.

Our first-born, Steve, was one of those. I can remember rocking that boy, if memory serves correctly (and it doesn’t always these days), at 1 o’clock in the morning.

His mom was rocked out and I had to take my turn, though an early alarm awaited me to head out for work. Miracle of miracles, before too long the little one finally snoozed and I walked on tiptoe to put him in his baby bed, next to our bed.

I crawled between the covers and … “waaaah!” No, say it ain’t so!

He liked to be held and rocked and he was going to have his fill of it or we were going to suffer the consequences.

Who can blame him? Most of us talk about how safe we feel, wrapped up in the arms of the Lord Jesus. We have a problem and we run into his arms. He holds us and everything is all right.

‘All right’ that is until He tries to put us down. We hang on for dear life and He pulls and twists and tries to pry our arms from around His neck so He can set us down and put us into life again.

We hang on with everything we’ve got. Who wants to fight battles when you can peer out from behind the Father’s arms and stick your tongue out at the devil?

A Safe Ship In the Harbor?

You know the problem with that scenario? Gael Attal said it well in a poem, “A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.”

All of us need to run to the Father’s arms from time to time, often even. But most of the time we need to launch ourselves into the fray and win victories in His strength.

You know how that happens? Get close. See His face and return into the combat knowing He’s on your side.

“It was not by their sword that they won the land,
nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm,
and the light of your face, for you loved them.”
(Psalms 44:3, NIV)

When you’re in His arms, you see Him up close (and this happens often when we pray and read His Word). When we see how much He loves us, we know He fights for us. So we can go out and win because we know He is fighting for us. It may seem like our “sword”–our intelligence, capacity and strength–is carrying the day, but in reality it’s the Lord who is making us effective.

Grace, Lord

We walk in His favor. This morning as I finished my study of the letter to the Colossians, I noticed something. Paul started the letter desiring God’s grace for them. He finished it the same way. Grace is God’s favor that we didn’t earn.

If God were an earthly parent He would be in the stands cheering us on. If He were an earthly parent, He’d send that bully who is chasing us, squealing home to his mother. If He were an earthly parent, He would provided you with Blue Bell ice cream as often as was feasible.

If He were an earthly parent, He’d spank you when you needed it in order to help you grow into the person you need to be. He’d hug you often but as you got older He’d expect more and more that you learn to work and be productive in life.

He expects His mature children to be working, accomplishing the mission that He put them on the earth to accomplish.

Maybe you need to crawl down from Papa’s arms and get in the battle. There are victories to be won. Or if you’re in the battle, maybe you need to look back into the face of your heavenly Father and see His visage shining with pride and love because of you.

Take courage. You will win the victory that God provides through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Did You Ever Go To School With No Pants On?

I used to have this nightmare. I dreamed that I went to school and forgot to put my pants on. That would be rather awkward, huh?

Though, it was a dream, I was embarrassed and I tried, usually without success, to find some pants. (Any of you psychology majors what to tell me what it all means?) Now, I don’t want to get too personal, but did you remember to put your pants on before you left the house this morning? L

Lots of Christians didn’t and they’ve irritated a lot of people by now. And sometimes we wear stuff that should cause our face to burn with embarrassment. I’m not talking about clothing you buy at Marks and Spenser’s (or WalMart), but spiritual clothing.

Snazzy Dresser

Here’s how to look sharp for God.

“Since you have been raised with Christ …” (Colossians 3:1). When you repented of your sins and put your faith in Jesus, something happened in your life. He changed you at the core of your being. You now have the power to live like the Lord.

Being raised with Christ means the potential to defeat sin and to serve the Lord is there.  But, if you don’t keep in mind the fact that you’ve been raised with Christ and you don’t appropriate all the ramifications of that in your life, you crash and burn.

I have—a ton of times.

Growth Keys

The key to a God-pleasing life lies there. It’s not “try harder,” but it is “look at Christ and what he has done in you. Realize what that means, and by His strength, become what you are—a new creation in Christ.”

How does this play out down there where my feet touch the ground, my daily life? (Colossians 3 tells us).

1.    Set your heart and mind on things above (v. 1, 2). We adjust things to the right setting. Wrong setting, no results. Right setting, right results. A thought excites me here: the “resurrected David” is capable of adjusting the settings on his heart and mind. I’m not a prisoner of my feelings or my passions. I can control my reaction to what happens, but I must be intentional about it. I must decide to be the master of my heart and mind and not their slave. (You died to what you were and the life you are living is hidden in Jesus. Col. 3:3)

“Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.

“Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life.” (Col. 3:1-3, The Message)

2.    “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature…” (Col. 3:5, NIV). If you let junk run wild in your heart and mind it will eventually control your actions. “Putting to death” hurts. It isn’t agreeable but it changes the quality of our life. You put it to death. YOU!

3.    Put on the new self, which is being renewed (3:10).  We are resurrected with Christ, we are hidden in Christ, we are constantly being renewed. It is a fact and a process. Just like we put on our pants every day, we need to cloth ourselves with spiritual ‘pants.’ Try these clothes on–Colossians 3:10-17.

John Bevere says in his book, The Life You’re Meant To Live, “… true holiness takes effort on our part, which many are not willing to give. Because we must cooperate with God’s grace to produce the fruit of holiness in our lives, many ministers will either unconsciously or purposefully avoid preaching it to avoid losing the appeal of the gospel. Many Westerners would rather have an easy gospel that requires no labor than the true gospel.”

Two questions for you: 

–Very practically, how does this play out in your life? What two things do you work constantly to put to death? What is your work plan today in order to let Christ renew you in that area?

–What two “articles of clothing” do you work constantly to put on? (Example: thanksgiving, letting peace rule, acting more in compassion, etc).


Hmmm …

“”Over the course of the last five years, one of the things I believe God has consistently made clear to me is that He’d require more in my later years than less. Coasting was out of the question. If I wanted to teach and minister under an increasing anointing, for instance, or bear fruit more profusely or see bona fide breakthroughs in the Body of Christ and true wonders of God in the midst of ministry, I’d have to press in further, go deeper with Him in His Word, get bolder …in love, service, prayer and get mightier in battle. Humbler in spirit.” Beth Moore


The Article You Should Have Read Before You Became a Leader (It’s not too late)

Some years ago, I sat across from a pastor of a rather large church. This fellow is gifted and he and his wife have impacted thousands of people. He’s the kind of fellow you could be jealous of, if you’re not careful.

I was surprised as he related some of the difficulties he had when he came to his present church. One of his best friends in the church eventually turned against him and led a group that wanted to bring him down. There was no way he saw that coming.

He was telling this story years later, after God had worked it out and the church was booming. But tears still filled his eyes as he related his pain from that period of his ministry.

I’ll soon be celebrating 48 years of ministry. I’ve noticed a growing ache to help younger ministers navigate some of the stormy waters we’ve already gone through (and seem to go through again and again).

Leading, building people, and staying before God isn’t always easy. Matter of fact, it’s often downright hard, especially emotionally and spiritually. I decided I was going to write a book to help young pastors battling some of these things for the first time.

Unfortunately the book is still on the backburner.

What I did, though, was ask several people I respect because of years of effective, faithful ministry, what advice they would give a young minister starting out. These responses were so good that I didn’t want to let them sleep in a file somewhere when they could be helping young men and women.

Their counsel could be a game-changer in several areas, not only for pastors, but for anyone who leads or ministers to others. Tell me what you think …I’ve reacted to some of them.

  1. Am I called?
  2. What are my calling and my gifts?
  3. Am I willing to stand alone, and be faithful to this calling even if no one else supports me!

Willie Lee Williamson, pastor

“Somehow I would address the volatile nature of the relationships you will develop in the church–how someone can seem 100% with you one day, and how they can change, seemingly overnight, to be against you. Not just from my experience (but) since becoming a presbyter some time ago (I’ve seen that) this is a big deal that many pastors really get blindsided by. “

“Another is about how important it is to build relationships personally with people…despite what I said in the first (counsel).

“The third thing would be about how important it is to facilitate healthy relationships in the church body…..to understand that a healthy church is a church that truly operates in the “one anothers” of the New Testament.
This one has been said…but needs to be said again…church health is the right focus rather than church growth. “

Scott Williams, pastor

(DP—People are sometimes funny, in the unpleasant sense of that term. It’s hard to prepare for something that seems out of character, especially when you thought that person was your friend).

What a great book idea! Some thoughts:

-How to handle the pressure or stress of leading people (who don’t always like what you do or (they) don’t want to be led).

-How to make time to relax/rest when the work seems to never end.

-Dealing with discouragement and the spiritual battle of leading a ministry, especially as the lead pastor.

-Conflict resolution and diffusing tense situations.

-For those of us who want to make everybody happy: counsel on how to change that nagging need for approval.

Joy Krajicek , missionary

Here are some topics that come to mind immediately …

  1. Effective ministry comes from the overflow of your relationship with the Lord.

a. Daily scheduled time with Him increases your effectiveness; prayer, personal Bible study, listening.

b. Discover living by the leading and power of the Holy Spirit.

  1. Ministry revolves around relationships.

a. Learn how to understand where people are, what they value, how they communicate, and what makes them happy.

b. Learn how to communicate your vision, values, and goals to your target audience.

c. Learn how to deal with interpersonal conflict.

d. Learn how to relate to people in small groups.

  1. Be one who is learning constantly and is flexible to adapt as situations and circumstances change.
  2. Keep your “calling” at the core of your ministry. Greatness in ministry is defined by obedience, not results.

Mark Flattery, missionary, President Network 211

People pleasing versus God pleasing–
Urgent vs. important–
Balancing Authority and Responsibility.

Tim Southerland, missionary, area director

How to Maintain Spiritual Passion.

The Greatest Gift of All: Love Your Sheep.

What Not to Delegate?

Donald Exley, missionary/pastor

(DP—We all go through ups and downs as far as passion goes. But, if a leader is going through the motions that seems to multiply itself through the whole Body.)

The Poor You Will Have With You Always: Dealing with those who won’t be helped!

Bill Hennessy,
Vice President of Academics, Trinity Bible College

(DP–It’s so hard to know which frogs to kiss that will become princes and which are just frogs looking for suckers.)

These are three things that I would tell a minister/pastor.

Love ALL of the people.

Pay special attention to the children and youth!

Don’t forget the older members who founded the church!

In my opinion: The church vision should give emphasis to these areas.

Also don’t rely on new programs as much as you do on the Lord’s plan for your church with EVERYONE involved.

Joe Wilmoth (deceased), past district superintendent and pastor

  1. Not everyone will like you or be behind your decisions.
  2. The importance of spending personal time with God for yourself, not sermons.
  3. Clearly identify and write down the important principles that guide your life. For example:
    a. I do not live to serve the AOG, I live to serve the kingdom of God.
    b. No person supersedes the word of God.
    C. You need a strong conviction that Jesus really is the head of the church….

Marty Roman, missionary

“Numbers mean nothing,
they’re not rejecting you.
Prayer, prayer, prayer,”
John C. Scroggin, pastor

The variety of ministries. I would have loved to know that the variety of ministries truly exists and that it is possible to express it nowadays.

Second theme : the Dufours. (DP–The Dufours are a couple who have a super counseling ministry and help pastors and pastors wives). I would have loved to known them before.

The third theme is “priorities”: (God/spouse/family/work/friends)

Maybe one more (2 Timothy 2:2)– Transmission/ empowering and trusting people

Nicolas Panza, French pastor

The principle of pain. In order to grow your ministry you have to grow your pain threshold.

The principle of the ladder. The larger the ladder (ministry) the more important it is, who is holding your ladder.

Of course, the principle of the oxygen mask. Put yours on first. Before you can minister to their (need) you have to be concerned about yourself.

L. Kevin Ward, pastor and former district youth director

David Porter–That first one is excellent. I think that’s always been a weakness with me. I can remain cool on the outside but inside it’s a volcano and the explosion goes inward instead of outward.

The necessity of personal time in Bible study and prayer (not for the ministry). Keeping your love for the lost above gaining the loyalty and admiration of others. #1 – Learning to lean upon and trust in the anointing of the Holy Ghost.

Tracy Wright, pastor

Something that comes to mind, David, is to be careful to guard your emotions from being consumed with other people’s worries and struggles. Care, and love, but don’t obsess over them, and don’t be consumed with how they feel or may feel about you… The main reason I tried several times to quit the ministry, was because of my closeness to people who ended up causing me great emotional pain.

Approval addiction is real.

Timothy K. Wiebe, pastor

(DP—You’re right, Tim. I’ve found myself nearly depressed over other people’s problems. I struggle to take these problems to the Lord and sometimes feel I have to solve them all. I didn’t want to do counseling for a while because I was more depressed afterwards than they were. I think we have to be like a doctor, compassionate, but still keeping a bit of distance. And I think we have to get to the point of having faith that God will do something in them. It usually takes me some time to get there).

I wish I’d known something about budgets and money.
I wish I’d known my unique voice and place in the kingdom (not trying to compete but being yourself, running in your lane, etc).
I wish I’d known how to pastor my wife while pastoring the church.
I wish I would have had the humility to find the right mentors.

I’m glad I went to church planting boot camp
I’m glad I constantly worked on developing a team

Charles Porter missionary

(DP–It’s especially tough when your “unique voice” is not the one sought out and glorified by others. Its tough to stay in an unappreciated place. There’s always the question (and we should ask ourselves), “Is this what God wants for me or should I have faith to do more?”)

For me it would be time management. I hate that term, but it is all I can think of right now.


1) How many hours a week do you work? Most ministers, I think, have no idea. Some, as a result work 70 or 80 hours a week, and others work 30. They don’t keep track and as a result their ministry or their family suffers – usually both. Some who work way too much feel that they are not working enough, and others who don’t work enough feel they are doing just fine.

2) How many days off? Most ministers work six and some even seven days a week. This can cause great harm to the family.

3) When does the workday start? When does it end?

4) Can you ever feel that you are “off the clock”?

5) How about vacations? How much?

6) What is work? Some ministers and missionaries spend a lot of time on family matters — picking up the kids from school, fixing the car, etc. If the car is used for ministry, is that therefore work time when you have to fix it? What about lunch with church members? Is that work or not? When you are at a church service, is that all work? Wouldn’t you be there anyway as a Christian? Tough questions.

Kerby Rials, missionary

Know hermeneutics and exegesis. Learn basic accounting. Learn basic leadership skills.

The one thing: That missions is the basis for the church.

Bob Lafon, missionary

David I am assuming from your question, you are addressing a person who is considering accepting the position of Pastor to a congregation.

Topic 1. Do diligent research in the community, to find out who are the real decision-makers in the congregation. They are often not even board members, but they wield the power of influence, and they are the ones who determine the direction the new Pastor will be allowed to take once he is installed in office.

Topic 2. How will the Board and the congregation view the new young Pastor? Is he the executive leader, or is he an employee, or is he a self-employed minister? The relationship must be crystal clear (preferably in writing) in the minutes of the meeting before accepting appointment. Later is too late!

Topic 3. To what extent do the Board Members participate in “Ministry” in the congregation? Who is locking up the facility? Who opens the facility? Who is responsible for the organization of Janitorial duties? How many of the Board are active in biblical teaching, hospitality, and events organization? These things need to be spelled out, or the new pastor will find unrealistic expectations expected of him, beyond prayer, sermon preparation, and new believer/members training.

Jim Cole-Rous (Jim is in his eighties and a sort of retired … everything! He’s had a varied and fruitful ministry for many years)

(DP—Wisdom Jim. Sometimes we only find out these things after we’ve been there a while. Then we have to learn to work in a situation we didn’t expect).

1). Missions giving is tangible evidence of kingdom building.
2). Why isn’t anyone else pastoring that church? Why did the last pastor leave?
3). People respond to presented need, but they follow vision casting/results.

Aaron Koepp, missionary

Here are some proposals for chapter titles. Can you think of others?

The Book You Should Have Read Before You Became a Pastor
(How To Flourish As A Pastor or Leader in God’s Church)

Dealing with difficult people and those who oppose you.

–Don’t wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.
(Michael Hyatt’s friend)
–Young pastor who likes confrontation. Gunslinger mentality. You’re going to meet someone faster than you. Servant of God must not quarrel. Jesus’ way of dealing with them.
–Sometimes these folks aren’t, “Of the devil.” They may be a gift of God.

Vision—Building people, seeing the way forward, worshipping the King.

Monday morning quitters

Finding out who you are and become that person
Few of us, especially pastors, get to do exactly what we’re fitted for. In baseball, relief pitchers come in for one inning, fire a few pitches and win or lose the game They get paid big bucks for that. A small church pastor often finds himself pitching 12 innings, running the bases, hitting, coaching and cleaning up the locker room until he can recruit and train some help.

Getting and training good help—the secret of multiplication. Finding gifts that complement yours. Finding John Marks and Timothies. An effective program of preparation—knowledge mixed with hands-on experience.

        Working with other people, especially those who have leadership personalities.

Relationships with the opposite sex

Growing intentionally
Books, people, seminars

Image: kianabosman/unsplash

The Little Sister Who Wouldn’t Quit

Mathieu Thomann

Turning the page, starting from scratch, building on a new, stronger and healthier foundation, that’s what I experienced in 2003. At that time, I was breaking with my family, school and the institutions of my country.

One of my sisters, Rachel, encouraged me to get out of it, to leave the delinquency and drug addiction, which had been my daily life for several years.

Her solution? Call on Jesus. I clearly did not want this. I proudly defined myself as without God, faith or law. I saw neither the utility nor the need of them. While respecting people who “have faith”—the culture and education of my home, Reunion Island demanded as much–for me Christians, and believers in general were people who needed a crutch to make it in life. “They were weak.”

During the month of October 2003, Rachel announced with a big smile that she and my mother had signed me up for a week-end gathering of young Christians, called “Hope & Life” at Saint-Pierre (Reunion Island).

Not Happy!

I was upset … But I had to accept because my mother, divorced and with the care of 6 children, worked two jobs to support us and I had to respect this financial effort on her part. I still made it a point to make them understand that I was not motivated to participate in this event.

Far from being dismayed, my little sister even managed to convince me to participate in a public meeting held outdoors on the eve of the youth rally.

That night, under the influence of drugs, I did not quite understand what had been said but I was irresistibly attracted by this appeal to the crowd: “To all those who wish to start from scratch , to be free of drugs and alcohol, Jesus can do something for you. Come forward so that we can pray for you and with you.”

That’s what I did after much hesitation, not wanting to be recognized by my fellow street people. Someone prayed for me. A miracle took place! For the first time in years, I went home without going to the night club and using drugs and alcohol.

The next day, the miracle continued: I was fasting!

Powerful Challenge

That morning, with more than 300 young people present, Greg Beggs, an American missionary invited for the occasion, told us about what motivated the Apostle Paul to follow Jesus. Following his intervention, a time of prayer was proposed to us. Convicted, I realized that Jesus was present, I realized that he really existed.

There, in my place, I realized that there was a gap between the life and eternity that God proposed to me and my present life. For the first time in years, I spoke to Jesus. I asked him to forgive my indifference to him, my life as a drug addict, my selfishness … I asked him to come and break my hardened heart, to save, to change the course of my life.

He did it. I was relieved, relieved of an inner burden. Several weeks after this spiritual encounter with Jesus Christ, my mother pointed out to me that I hadn’t been under the influence of drugs for a long time. In the same period, being in full rediscovery of the Bible, I read a passage that says that he who is in Christ is a new creation, old things are past, everything is new.
This is exactly what was happening in my daily life.

Being instantly released from drugs, alcohol and delinquency can seem incredible, miraculous, even powerful. I was “immersed” by the presence of God until I spoke a language I did not know, and this only 5 minutes after my conversion. We can say to ourselves: “Wow, powerful!” But in reality, my testimony, my deliverance, “being filled with the Spirit” are only the tip of the iceberg.

Many People Helped

My conversion is actually the result of the consecration and obedience of many disciples who were the links of a chain to lead me to become a follower of Jesus. My conversion is the fruit of the courage of a 17-year-old girl who was not afraid to tell me about Jesus while I was making fun of her.

My return to Jesus is also due to the consecration of disciples who each Wednesday took the time to tell me about Jesus when I was still a child. Their love, those moments spent with them, the Holy Spirit, the day of my conversion reminded me of them.

My conversion is also the result of years of prayer of my grandmother, my mother and many other disciples who gathered faithfully every Saturday morning from 6:00 to 7:00 to pray for lost, drug-addicted young people.

This encounter with Christ was also made possible by a Christian who, with others, testified to a man, Henri Picavet, by offering him a Bible. Henri became a pastor and was among those who encouraged a certain Aimé Cizeron to go announce the full Gospel on the Island of Reunion.

A church was born, it developed, and 40 years later, I was able to participate in one of the meetings there. This meeting gave me the opportunity for a divine meeting during which Jesus saved me and delivered me.

After three years of training at Continental Theological Seminary in Brussels and six years of pastoral training working in Strasbourg, France, today I serve God with my family in the CEP Auxerre church. It was in this local church that I met Eli Martichon, one of the disciples who testified to Mr Picavet. I am still benefiting from his faith and his courage to speak of Jesus!

That’s why I love the Church that Jesus is building. Although still imperfect, it is through the disciples who compose it that God has offered me a new beginning in Jesus Christ.