Mike J. Froio's Testimony
Growing up as a child, I was always looking for a hero. Batman, Robin Hood, Cowboys, and sports stars didn't fill my void. When I was older I tried the bar scene. My friends and I would cruise from bar to bar while listening to rock music and partying. I soon came to realize that there has to be more to life than this. Saturday, May 10, 1980, is a day I will never forget. I was on East Dominick Street in Rome, NY, where drug dealings would take place, and made my first public confession for Jesus Christ! I left my "buddies" and went into the "Lighthouse." There I read a tract entitled "This Was Your Life," that really spoke to me.
Although Salvation is not a feeling, I felt a peace that surpasses all understanding. My first trial came on June 2, 1980, when I totaled a car I had just bought. I questioned those who led me to the Lord as to why this would happen after I "joined" God's side. I was told to read the book of Job which brought me enlightment.
For a few years after my conversion, I did not want to give up my secular rock music. Then God replaced it with something so much better: Christian rock music!
A song by Petra entitled "Chameleon" taught me about total commitment. It was after I was water baptized on October 10, 1982, that the scriptures took on a much deeper meaning for me.
Since I have accepted Christ, my lifestyle has changed from collecting sports cards to collecting gospel tracts (see below), from collecting sports magazines to collecting Christian magazines. From collecting sports books to collecting Christian books. And now whenever a trial comes my way instead of saying "Why me?" I think, "It shall come to pass." Or I'll quote my favorite Bible verse which is Romans 8:28 - all things work together for your good, to those who love Christ and are called for his purpose!
Newspaper article from "The Sunday Observer-Dispatch" October 20, 1991:Avocation: Salvation Mike Froio has two jobs, one hobby — and thousands of spiritual tracts to give away... by Jonas Kover, Observer-Dispatch
The license plate on the 1984 Chevy Impala says "ITLLBEOK." That's the message — it'll be OK — Mike Froio wants to give the world. "Whenever I meet someone with a problem, I've got things under my car seat to give them." Froio says, producing a packet crammed with small pamphets and tracts.
The pouch, however, is just the tip of the iceburg. For Froio, 29, operates his own "Get to Give" ministry out of his basement at 7599 Gifford Road in Rome.
In cramped quarters decorated with uplifting posters, he keeps a file of more than 400 subjects; a bookcase full of videos, mounds of audiotapes; a recorder for reproducing the tapes; paperback books, and a display case full of tracts and brochures, which he said are usually distributed at area prisons.
In a sense, Froio is a jobber of religious and spiritual materials; however, there is one difference between what he does and what a business does: Everything Froio distributes is free of charge.
"'Get to Give' means that I get things and I give them away." he explains, "...People are skeptical about religious causes that charge money... There shouldn't be a price for God's word, because its free."
A helper at the New York State School for the Deaf and a custodian for the Camden Central School District, Froio has "two jobs to support my hobby. It's like a third job of mine — it takes a lot of time."
He finances his ministry totally by himself, and adamantly refuses monetary donations.
"A woman once sent me a $5. check. I tore it up." he says.
"Get to Give" started about 10 years ago, shortly after Froio became a born-again Christian.
Looking for an alternative to spending time in bars, he began attending The Lighthouse, a Christian coffee house.
"I felt a peace that what I was doing was right," he says, "After that I had a spiritual hunger."
To feed his curiosity, Froio began corresponding with every publisher of Christian material he could find, asking for catalogs, brochures, samples.
I got so much material, I started to organize it. I kept on filing and filing. I had to buy a file cabinet, then two or three bookshelves." he says.
His subject list currently ranges from "The Best of Dear Abby" to "Yuppies."
At first, he began giving out pamphlets to help friends, co-workers and people at the New Testament Church on West Dominick St., where he attends services. But soon, news of his ministry began to spread: "People from other churches called me wanting tracts."
Expanding, he put a notice in "Teruah." a local Christian newsletter. He also placed other local advertising and reached out in national Christian magazines — but the response to the latter was too overwhelming to handle.
After his first ad, Froio says "people came by the carload. I gave them little bags and said 'fill 'em up.'"
While he has office hours by appointment, he does most of his distribution by hand and mail, with everything free and postage paid.
"I usually mail things out in big packages. I write on it 'Hope this helps.'"
Letters of praise he often receives for his efforts make it all worthwhile, he says.
His most precious response comes from a woman he contacted after he saw her name in a lonely hearts ad.
He sent a few tracts and wrote "Jesus Christ can help you in your loneliness."
The woman initially sent him a negative reply, saying "don't preach to me." Later though, he says, he received an apology: "It says she became a born-again Christian and her loneliness is gone."
Another letter is from an "old lady who lives all alone, who wrote me that she was contemplating suicide," he says.
I sent her tapes and she wrote me back how the tapes, prayer and God have helped. It could have saved her life."
Froio distributes books, tapes and videos as well as pamphlets and tracts. He also has a collection of Christian music that people may borrow as well as a copy of the Gospel in Braille. He likes the videos and books returned, although he considers it equally acceptable if the books are passed on to others.
While he does not charge for material, Froio has to pay for much of what he gets. "I buy at discount. I look for bargains," he says.
He also has found a way to get things for free. Some audio tape companies, for instance, don't mind if the tapes are reproduced, he says. So, he purchased a dubbing machine and a lot of blank tapes.
The most popular requests are on the subjects of divorce, single parenting, depression and child raising, he says.
He even has a tract he hands out to Jehovah's Witnesses who occasionally come to the door — since, he says, they always have tracts of their own.