Psa 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
I was raised in Boston, Massachusetts by good, hard-working parents. I received a better than average education in the Catholic School System into my high school years (which was not free). I really came to understand just how valuable my education was when I spent my Senior year and graduated from a public school. I was also born and raised a Catholic.
At 17 I became a United States Marine and for all intents and purposes I was out on my own for the first time in my life. During my enlistment I visited over 30 destinations (several more than once) outside the United States mostly in the Far East. Places like Australia (Sydney), Thailand (Pattaya Beach, Bangkok), Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan (Sasebo, Tokyo, Okinawa), Aleutian Islands of Alaska (Shemya), Hawaii, Saipan, Guam, Korea (Pusan, Pohang, Seoul), Iwo Jima, Philippines (Subic Bay, Olongapo City, Manila), and more; most before reaching the age of 21… While serving as a United States Marine I obtained 4 Military Occupation Specialties (M.O.S); 0311, 0331, 0341, 2571 and had also obtained SECRET clearance for encryption. I received an Honorable Discharge with an offer to re-enlist.
Since my discharge from active duty I have been a leader in the Restaurant industry for over 20 years. I have worked for various corporate and family owned chains and held management positions at various levels including Director of Operations of as many as 29 units; and my wife and I have even been blessed and had the opportunity to own and operate our own restaurants in recent years. I spent most of these 20+ years in California as I was discharged from Camp Pendleton, CA at the end of my service.
I met my wife in 1995 in San Diego County, CA. She and I worked for the same company, a family owned Taco Bell franchise. In fact, she had been working for them over 15 years (since she was 16 years old) when we first met. That’s a testimony in itself. I remember our first date to see the movie “Mr Holland’s Opus.” I was sure from that very first date that I wanted her in my life. She was so special, so warm, and so gentle. The most gentle person I had ever met to that point in my life; and still is. She was also a mother of two and working her tail off to provide for them since their dead-beat dad was not in the picture (he still is not, and is in the arrears to the tune of over $125,000 in child support and could not care less).
We married and began to have children of our own in 1999. Stephen was our first. We both decided to make a huge leap and leave California for Florida (closer to my family). I can think of two main reasons at that time; 1) members her family (mostly her mother) were relentless in their efforts to control her (now our) every move. They were not about to change and we knew any effort to modify their behavior was futile. Therefore we decide that “distance” would help tremendously. We were right for the most part, although they were still very persistent in many of their controlling ways. 2) also, California was far too costly a place to settle down and raise our growing family, now with 3 children. The move to Florida was slow going at first as anyone could imagine, but eventually we settled in nicely.
I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior in October of 2000 at the ripe old age of 33 while living in Jacksonville, FL. My boss who owned 4 BBQ restaurants led me to the Lord. He spoke to me every chance he could and always followed up with an invitation to church (quite tempting as he would also be sure I had Sunday off – if I was to accept his invitation). My wife had already decided to attend the church and was in regular attendance with our children on Sundays. This went on for about 9 months or so.
I remember to this day the Saturday afternoon in October of 2000 when I was on my knees in my Pastors office praying the sinners prayer asking Jesus to come into my heart, or better yet “answering HIS call.” I had called Larry (my Pastor) because I simply could not shake this indescribable feeling of emptiness. I could not understand why I had this immense feeling that my life was a failure (with all I had accomplished and with all my success???). I was very confused and even somewhat tired as I recall, emotionally exhausted to be very honest. In the end –and the beginning, I realized there was an emptiness (a hole in my heart – if you will) that ONLY Jesus could fill. Jesus did just that…in that very moment! My wife and I joined that church and were members for several years before moving to North Carolina. More importantly, I began my walk with MY LORD and Savior. That church was a Baptist Church, however I absolutely would sooner refer to myself as a “Christian” or a “Born-again Christian” than a Baptist. I do however feel convicted and strongly believe that the Baptist Doctrine is the closest to the “Bible Belief” that I feel led to pursue. Having said that, I also know and have always acknowledged (since my salvation) that there are Christians in other denominations and that one’s “personal relationship” with Christ is what really matters.
I have done my best to serve the Lord, walk with the Lord, and to respond to his calling for my life in the midst of life’s typical distractions, and often have failed miserably along the way. But, I have seen victories as well. I have been on two mission trips (Honduras and Guatemala) and plan to expand my missions involvement both locally and abroad. I feel a strong calling toward missions and I have a heart for children’s ministries as well. Often times these two intersect. I’m counting on that as the Lord leads me to my next destination. I am a member of a truly blessed church in Morrisville, NC. A congregation of believers of like mind and one accord. I am active in as much as I can be; AWANAS, VBS, Choir, Praise Band, Sunday School, and Sound Tech duties during Worship. It is truly a blessing in itself. GOD IS AMAZING! And LAST, but NOT LEAST, and clearly my greatest VICTORY in LIFE and in CHRIST…I have been tremendously BLESSED with a family that I can hardly begin to describe completely enough. Please go to OUR PRECIOUS GIFTS and you will be able to read more about how my children and my wife have impacted my “very existence.”
Currently 2011, I am fighting our government for the return of my children with all I have been blessed with by my creator and the Lord of my life. There seems to be no greater EVIL that the type of evil I am up against. But I am also confident that GOD IS IN CONTROL and that HIS WILL shall prevail no matter what any of us does. I continue to PRAY and ASK for HIS guidance through this very troubling time. I would ask that you (the reader) stop, and even now, say a short prayer for each of my children Melissa, Timothy, Stephen, Matthew, Hannah, Sarah, Joseph, and Benjamin and of course my loving wife DEBRA; and for the return of my children to their mother and father where they belong. PERIOD! I have said it before; My immediate FAMILY comes FIRST, above all else, except GOD the Father, GOD the Holy Spirit, and GOD the Son – Jesus Christ. Thank you! MAY GOD BLESS YOU, YOUR FAMILY, AND YOUR CHILDREN!