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« on: May 02, 2004, 12:28:43 PM »

My story begins when I was 10 years of age; my family was attending a small church in rural Harristown, IL. The name of the church was Union Baptist Chapel, and the pastor was a man named Dan O'Keefe. Pastor O’Keefe and I went to one of the fast food restaurants in Decatur, IL to talk about what it meant to accept Jesus Christ as my personal savior. Through this conversation, I decided that I wanted to know for sure that I had this eternal life he was talking about. About two to three weeks later I went forward and accepted Jesus as my savior and was baptized. This was very exciting for me, because this meant that now I had eternal life. Little did I know that within the next two years, I would begin a downward spiral away from God.

When I was about 12 or 13 years old, a friend of mine suggested that I smoke a marijuana joint with him. At first I was afraid, but after a little convincing I agreed. This whole experience was definitely weird, but I liked it enough to make a habit of smoking pot. Around this same time, this friend and another friend had discovered a book that spelled out for the most part how to become a satan worshipper. This sounded kind of cool to us, so we decided that we would meet in one guy’s basement after school, and initiate ourselves. After the first day of these so-called initiations, the kid’s mom found the stuff in the basement. She then proceeded to call the other guys mom, who in turn called my mom. We ended up over at the second guys house with all our parents, as well as two pastors. That night we all got chewed out for about 4 hours straight, this put a fast end to the satan worship idea.

I first felt called into the ministry by God when I was 17 years old. Instead of doing what God wanted, however, I took off the other way.

At 19 I began to share an apartment with a couple buddies of mine. This period was a non-stop party. We were drinking morning, noon, and night. I was working the 11-7 shift at a home for developmentally disabled adults at the time, and was going to work half drunk most nights.

After this, I began to share an apartment with just one of the friends. Even though it was a different apartment, the lifestyle was pretty much the same.

The beginning of July 1991 was another time for me to fall on my face. I was hanging out with the wrong crowd and subsequently got wrapped up into some trouble. One guy and myself were cruising the strip when we pulled into a parking lot to talk to some friends of his; before I knew it about 6 police cars surrounded us. He had a duffle bag in the floorboard of the car, which had a sawed-off shotgun in it. Since I was driving I was charged with a misdemeanor of illegal possession of a weapon. Something that will follow me around for life.

In July of 1991, I began to date my wife. We dated for a year and a-half and were married on December 7, 1992. We had a 6-month-old daughter at the time we were married.

Things never did go very good for us; we were consistently getting evicted from places, as I would not keep a job. Finally, in 1994, I decided to go to Job Corps, which lasted only about 3 months. When I came home, my wife got pregnant with our second child, this one a boy. Things were still not going good because of my job habits.

We had another child in 1999, another girl. Things were going good when the job I had as a security guard working 55-60 hours a week went away. We then got behind in our rent, thus being evicted from yet another place. We were then in a major decision, there was a homeless shelter that we could have went and stayed at, yet the kids would have been on the women’s side of the shelter with my wife only and not with both of us. We decided that it would be best for my wife and 3 children to stay at her mother’s house.

In the beginning of the year 2001, things were finally starting to look better. I had a job where I was happy, our kids were growing like weeds and we were getting somewhere. We then decided to move back to Decatur and I would drive back and forth to work. Little did we know that the van we had would break down and stop running all together. Thus, once again, things began to look very bad for us. We got behind in rent for what felt like the millionth time in our marriage.

Finally I began to pursue what God had wanted me to do when I was 17. I enrolled in Bible College. I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders when I decided to recommit my life to god, and allow Him to help me through my problems.


In Christ,
Michael Huddlestun
Senior Pastor/Director of Evangelism, Youth Ministry, and S.I.T.
Saved By Grace Ministries

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