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Rich's Letter

"And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." - Jeremiah 29:13

In 8th grade, I got high blood pressure from having my kidney's bleed due to a kidney infection. I had to stay in the hospital for 1 month. The doctor told me that I had high blood pressure and it would stay with me for the rest of my life. I had to take medication to keep my blood pressure down. I was the one to always get beat up or picked on. Every time I went to school I was either hit or pushed. You know what bullies are like. They had to prove that they are the bosses. This continued all the way to the 11th grade.

I have had some very good friends, however, Craig was my best friend. We used to hang out almost all the time. We listen to rock and roll and eventually started a band but that didn't go very far. Van Halen is one band that I will always remember and laugh when I hear their name. Eventually, Craig and I started lifting weights and I started to put on a lot of muscle. When I got out of school, I quit taking my medication because I thought I was indestructible. I met blaine and we became best of friends. We did all kinds of things and we began to drink a lot because that was what people did on weekends. Eventually, I not only drank on the weekends but every day of the week. I got in lots of fights because of my drinking. When I was 21 years old, I was going to bars with all my friends. I couldn't pay my bills because alcohol became a part of me. I would go to the bars shortly after leaving work, and drink until the bar closed. This left me with 3 to 4 hours of sleep.

On my days off, I was in the bar from opening until closing. I was spending over $200.00 a week just trying to keep my habit. This continued until I was 30 years old.

After I reached the age of 30, big changes began to take place in my life. On Christmas Eve, the night before the day that people celebrate Jesus' birthday, I had a stroke. I was doing some last minute shopping when I felt the beginning of the stroke. I ran out of the store, and as I was coming out of the store, I began to lose my memory. I got into my car and tried to start it up, but my mind wouldn't let me. It's a good thing that the car didn't start because I don't know what would have happened if it had. I might have hurt someone. I started to cry, because I thought I was going to die. I sat down by my rear tire because my mind wouldn't remember how to do anything. I started to pass out. I remember a woman tapping me on my shoulder and asking me "Are you all right". I shook my head "No". The last thing that I remember was all kinds of sirens. They put me in the ambulance and rushed me to the hospital. I passed out about half way there.

The next thing that I remember after waking up was Mom and my sister Mel asking me how I felt. I started to say "all right" but it didn't come out the same. I thought "oh no" what has happen to me. Mom told me that the doctor had told her that if they had found me 10 minutes later and I wouldn't have lived. I couldn't walk, talk, or do anything except lay there. I couldn't move my hand or leg on the right side. The doctor told my Mom that I wouldn't be able to walk and that I would be in a wheel chair for the rest of my life. I was in the hospital for about 3 weeks, and then I moved to the rehabilitation hospital. I told my Mom I will walk in 3 months and I did. I was able to walk, not well, but I walked. I was in rehabilitation for about 5 months. My Mom, Mel, Uncle Fred, Aunt Evelyn, cousin Shannon, Blaine and Rhonda, and my dear friend Craig all came to visit me while I was in rehab. When I returned to my hometown, I felt like I was starting completely over again with a brand new attitude. Craig introduced me to Al and Sue who became my bible study teachers and good friends. It's been 4 years since I began to learn about God's truth. I have finally taken that step to baptism and married my wonderful wife Cindy.

There was a change in my life. Now, I believe in Christ and praise Him because He went to the cross and died for me. Let God use me any way He wants to in accomplishing anything that needs to be done. My love goes to everyone for being there for me, especially Christ. Now it's up to me to bring people to the cross and tell them that they can do it. Jesus can do it for you. He already has and He wants you to do it with him. I know the Lord has something for me to do. I often remember this:

"I can do all things though Christ, who strengthens me" -Philippians 4:13

There are many people I wish to thank for helping me on my spiritual journey in Christ. These people include:

  • The Lord Jesus Christ, first and foremost
  • Cindy, my wife
  • My Mom
  • Mel, my sister, and her family
  • Blaine and Rhonda
  • Craig and his family
  • Al and Sue
  • Three pastors - Pastor Steve Dayen, Doug Batchelor and Dwight Nelson

People have ask at times if I wished that I hadn't had a stroke. I tell them no because if it were not for the stroke, I would never have met the Lord.

Always remember the scripture that says:

"And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." -Romans 8:28

Amen!

Rich

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