"Before I began to walk with God, I remember thinking and saying, “maybe I'll become a Christian when I'm old.” I loved the lifestyle of adventure, excitement and wild parties. I was amazed at how real, exciting and full my life became once the devils were out of me and Jesus took over..."
"For the past 25 years, God has taken me on an incredible journey. I now run a mission base in the inner city called “Godtown” which prepares young people to be urban missionaries, and takes teams all around the world on incredible adventures."
"He has put a new song in my mouth"
- Psalm 40:3
I grew up in a church. My father was a pastor in a tough, inner city church. The oldest of 8 kids, I often felt isolated and alone. At twelve, while on a part time job, I found a pornographic magazine filled with stories of sexual encounters. In it they kept talking about making love. I felt lonely and I wanted love. As I grew up, I was convinced that a girlfriend was the answer to my loneliness. This became an obsession for sexual love. It drowned out God and filled me with rebellion. When I realized my sexual obsession for the first time with a girl, I wasn't satisfied. Next came alcohol, followed by drugs. At 18 years old I was so frustrated and angry at God that I one day I said, “God, if you won't give me what I want, then Satan I will serve you and you give me what I want.” Immediately demons came rushing into my life, and I began to be full of all kinds of crazy stuff - sexual obsession, addiction and the occult.
After a time of this abandonment to demonic activity, I was in torment. I saw evil spirits all the time and knew that they were lying to me, stealing my life, and ready to kill me. Finally, during one week of continuous partying, at 27 years old, I almost got killed twice in insane circumstances. After having my stomach pumped and being released from the hospital, I cried out in despair, “God, if you are there please do something or I will be dead.” Suddenly I began to hear the voice of God the Father. He kept saying, “John, you're my son and I love you.” I felt peace and comfort.
A few days later I went to the church and saw the writing on the wall: a verse that says “He has put a new song in my mouth.” I was sitting in a church feeling the demons inside of me, cursing and angry for bringing them into this holy place. As I stared at the verse painted on the wall, I could hear the Holy Spirit comforting me in my place of torment and speaking to my heart, “…this is a promise for you, a new song, a new life.” I cried out to God, surrendered and invited Him into my life. The Holy Spirit came in power, the demons let go of me and fled from that holy place.
I was free.
This began an incredible adventure and a transformation. First in my life, then the world all around me. God gives us a promise that goes like this; “…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun”- 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Before I began to walk with God, I remember thinking and saying, “maybe I'll become a Christian when I'm old.” I loved the lifestyle of adventure, excitement and wild parties. I was amazed at how real, exciting and full my life became once the devils were out of me and Jesus took over. For my first year as follower of Jesus, I struggled with being sober. I would do well, even have times of great victory, but then temptations, fears and pain would come and I would relapse. I resorted to binging, escaping and destructive habits that led to drinking alcohol to deal with pain. I worked hard but I didn't know what to do next. One day after struggling with this I asked God, “What do I have to do to get my life together?” He told me “Be my disciple, follow me.” “How?” I responded, the Holy Spirit said, “Join Teen Challenge.”
When I was young, I watched a movie called “The Cross and the Switchblade.” It is about gangs in New York City encountering the love of God. The story is about the beginning of Teen Challenge, and it impacted me incredibly. I obeyed. Within two weeks of entering that program, I began receiving direction which led to my purpose in life. I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to become an Urban Missionary and get ready to go to Guadalajara, Mexico. I didn't even know where that was, but I believe that I was being called into my destiny, so I began to prepare.
I completed the Teen Challenge Program and then joined a missionary training school. A few days after I completed my training, I was reading the Bible. I read about Jesus sending his disciples out, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits…” (Mark 6:7). As I read, I heard God tell me “time to go” so I packed up my car and left. I spent the next two years working with homeless teens and families in a barrio in Guadalajara, Mexico. Many incredible miracles happened, lives were changed, and the neighborhood was transformed.
For the past 25 years, God has taken me on an incredible journey. I now run a mission base in the inner city called “Godtown” which prepares young people to be urban missionaries, and takes teams all around the world on incredible adventures.