Vince grew up in a large family, one of eight siblings. His Father was an alcoholic. When he was 12 years old, one of his older brothers thought it would be funny to introduce him to marijuana. The brother and his friends would get him high and then laugh at him when he acted stupid. Little did this brother know that would put him on a destructive path using drugs and alcohol.
He met a friend who had older brothers also, and they started smoking weed everyday before school. To fund his smoking, he became a thief. He stole skateboards, bikes from distant neighborhoods and merchandise from stores and sold them to kids. He was a punk with an attitude. Because of the drugs, he failed 7th grade and had to take summer school in order to move on to 8th. In 8th grade he decided not to use drugs and turned to alcohol instead. He kept a bottle of vodka in his locker and drank everyday at school.
He remembers a counselor explained the stages leading up to becoming an alcoholic. One stage was when drinking alcohol was no longer fun and it made the person emotional. That freaked him out, because he could see that happening to himself. He was drinking to escape the emptiness and loneliness he felt. He was brash on the outside but hurting and insecure on the inside. Drinking was no longer fun, it was starting to control him.
The summer before his Freshman year in high school, he decided to stop hanging out with the friends he drank with. He knew he needed a change. He wanted to pursue athletics in high school and not drugs and alcohol. A different older brother invited him to a Christian organization called Young Life. There he learned God loved him, accepted him and forgave him. That was very different from the God he learned about as a kid. He learned that God loved him individually and he was special to God. He was blown away that he could become a child of God and have a close personal relationship with Jesus.
In the summer between his Freshman and Sophomore years, he was in his room listening to his brother's Christian album. One of the songs was “I Need You.” He dropped to his knees and prayed and cried out to God. “God I need you. I am lost and going nowhere. Please save me. I need you so much.” From that day forward he could not stop talking to his friends about God’s love. He invited everyone he knew to Young Life, so they could meet this great God he knew.
It wasn’t until he was married that he started to really grow in his faith. He developed the discipline of reading and studying his Bible, and became part of a church. The first year he and his wife were married they volunteered to teach kids at their church. Because he had dyslexia, he had a hard time reading and teaching the pre-written lessons. He asked the Kid’s Director if he could write his own lessons. This began a lifelong love of studying and teaching God’s Word. The Bible came alive to him, and he learned about God, His story and His love for people.
|Vince teaching in Israel.|
Since coming to Christ, he has felt more loved, forgiven and free than ever before. God has given him a purpose and a passion for leading others to Christ and teaching God’s Word. He is grateful God saved him and took him off the path of destruction and placed him on the path that leads to the Lord.
People no longer call him punk, but Pastor. I call him my husband and best friend.
|Robyn and Vince on a boat on the Sea of Galilee.|
Do you know someone on the path to destruction? Have you told them God loves them and has a wonderful plan and purpose for their life?
"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17
This story is part of a series called 31 Days of Change. If you would like to read others in the series, click the links below.
If you would like to read my previous year's series, click here to read about Our Adoption Adventure.
If you would like to read other blogs and different topics you can go to Write31days.com.
Day 1: He Did What?!
Day 2: Called Out in Class
Day 3: Stuck in the Desert
Day 4: Nicest Guy in Hell
Day 6: Mommy, You Need God - Part 1
Day 7: Mommy, You Need God - Part 2
Day 8: Meeting My Messiah
Day 9: Depression to Joy
Day 10: Seasons of Change
Day 11: In the Enemy's Ring
Day 12: Holding His Hand
Day 13: Changed
Day 14: 12 Thoughts on Change
Day 15: A Prodigal Daughter’s Journey
Day 16: What if God Never Calls?
Day 17: Never the Same
Day 18: The C Word
Day 19: Punk to Pastor
Day 20: Lessons After Class
Day 24: All Fired Up
Day 25: All Fired Up - Part 2
Day 26: All Fired Up - Part 3
Day 27: When the Father Ran