Ben Drake's Testimony
I was born in 1950, in a rural part of Michigan. I was one of four siblings, and growing up in this area was great for a bunch of kids. We had no crime. I never heard of Marijuana until I was 17, when I joined the US Marine Corps. My childhood setting would seem ideal for one to hear about the Lord and become a Christian. But that never happened, proving Satan can be more subtle than any beast of the field. (Genesis 3:1)
My father committed suicide shortly after my baby sister was born. He had been wounded in the war to end all wars and became an alcoholic, etc. I assume he was haunted by unforgettable memories. My mother hardened in her survival and motherly instincts. Love seemed lost in the necessities of life. I felt I was a bother to her time and still feel that way at 45 years old.
Mom remarried soon after to a good man who I soon learned to call "Dad." As one grows up they see things different than after they are older. When I was growing up, I thought we had a good family. Food was always available, we took trips around the country each summer, and dad taught us how to build houses. It seemed real good. Now, however, I'd trade it for welfare and a loving family.
Again, as you live through something, you see it different. As a Christian, I have reevaluated my upbringing. I see that we were taught it was OK to steal as long as we didn't steal from people, just businesses. Swearing and cussing at and to anyone was OK. Being divorced and remarried was OK, etc. The Gospel was not included in my upbringing.
Mom divorced dad when I was 15. I missed him awfully. I became rebellious, was arrested several times, and spent one year in a lockup in New York state. I joined the Marine Corps at 17. I was so messed up that I actually preferred going to war to staying home.
I was married at 18, and left a pregnant wife of one day to go to Vietnam. The normal horror stories apply to this three year tour of duty in Vietnam. This is not the focus of my story. I wish all parents out there to understand, "WHAT YOU TEACH YOUR KIDS, THEY TEACH THEIR KIDS".
As of 1971 I had three children. I was a miserable father. I treated my kids as objects, they were a bother to my time. I taught them by example to steal from companies, NOT REAL PEOPLE. I had a foul mouth, and cheated on their mother. Shortly after I divorced her, remarried; then divorced her, and remarried. Everything failed. I was miserable.
Now I see that what I was taught as I was growing up, I in turn taught to my kids; and unfortunately, some of my kids are passing my lifestyle on to their kids. I do not blame this on my parents, it is my fault. I pray my kids will stop the cycle.
On February 23, 1993, I called on the name of the Lord. Being equal to His promise, He saved me from my sins. It was the most interesting thing to be in my body and to actually know what happened to me. Before that day, I had smoked for 28 years. I believed we evolved, and that people from other planets were responsible for "the missing link." I drank and had 193 bottles of wine in the house at the moment of my salvation. I was an all around bad guy. Interestingly, I was successful at my job and had lots of friends.
After my salvation, I have become involved in writing a newspaper column, I do a monthly periodical about conversions, and now have a half-hour television program each week. Some of the things I see is that when I was living in sin, Satan left me alone. People liked me, I continually received promotions, money was good, etc. Now that I work for the Lord and present the Gospel in various forms to everyone I can find, Satan is mad at me.
I receive resistance from some family members, Christians who don't believe in evangelizing (too many of them) oppose me, pastors tell me I have no right to speak of Jesus to strangers, unemployment is a reality. I am not sad, I rejoice when I have been effective enough to make the evil one this angry.
After my salvation, I asked God to free me of the sin of smoking and to help rid me of my drinking. He did both in less than a week. I have been smoke free for two years, and I took all 193 bottles of wine and poured them into the ground.
I am sorry my kids didn't know me as I am now. I'm still very imperfect, but I have values in my life based on the teaching of Jesus Christ. My children will always be marked by my sinful life, but now I have the power of prayer to add to the hope I have that they will all turn their lives to the service of the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
My life is now Christ centered daily. After I was saved, I was amazed at all the people that I had known for years who told me they were Christians, but who had never told me about Jesus. If you are a Christian, I ask you to not listen to the messages you will get from other Christians who are embarrassed, or from pastors who teach it is not OK to spread the Gospel to strangers (they call instead for friendship witnessing). They are wrong.
Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15. Also, if you think you can't do this, Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. Souls will be saved if you do this. God will bless you.