My Personal Journey

While working as a supervisor on an offshore drilling rig out of Angola, Africa, I finally quit fighting a twenty-year battle with God and surrendered my life to Him. I had been raised in rural Troy SmithMississippi, the son of a Baptist pastor, with five brothers and a sister. At age six my battle with God had begun. He wanted me and I wanted everything but Him.

There was high school football which included a championship. There was a year of college football, with a lot of partying but not much studying. There was a year of commercial fishing where I advanced to the position second pilot. Next came four years in the Marine Corps with a tour in Viet Nam. I was at Chu Lai during the Tet offensive of 1968.

God was really working me over in Viet Nam, but I was not nearly ready to surrender to Him. Two weeks after I returned state side, I married Jamae, the girl who had waited for me while I was in Nam. I left active duty as a sergeant with an honorable discharge--a small miracle. Less than three years later Jamae and I were living in Angola, Africa with our two children, Shane and Danielle.

It was in Africa that I had to face the fact that I was perhaps the most miserable man on earth. I had a great wife, two wonderful children, a job I loved and deadness inside as big as the ocean. I had developed a very serious drinking problem, but nothing could quiet the turmoil in the darkness of my soul.

Some things in life are etched into your mind--none more than the time I was walking alone down a street in Angola and suddenly realized that I had accomplished nothing with my life that had any eternal value. In that moment, I understood that, if I continued as I was going, it would better if I had never been born. It was there that God asked if I was ready to give my life to Him. Being under deep conviction of God's Holy Spirit, it was a great and wonderful relief to make the surrender that the Lord had asked me to make twenty years earlier.

The journey began--and I have enjoyed a rich and wonderful life.