In 1997, at age 37, I made a plea; “God if you are real, I need to find you.”
In 1968, while living in Vermont, I lost my father in a plane crash. My mother eventually remarried my step father who was abusive. When I was 18 my mom suffered a debilitating stroke, she is still with us, thank God, but has dealt with disability since the stroke. In 1980, at 19, I married and my wife and I were expecting our first child. In July, three months premature, our son was born 1 lb 3 oz. He lived only five hours. We were devastated. Eventually we had a daughter, Janette, and soon after her birth my first wife indicated to me that marriage was not for her and that she had been unfaithful. I was broken, I returned to inebriating myself. I spent the next five years high.
Then, there was Bonnie. I met Bonnie at work and we began a life together in 1991. In 1992, we had two children, Vanessa and Matthew. Janette was 9 and Bonnie’s adopted brother Miguel came to live with us. We had an instant family! It started out good, but we were broken and empty. In 1994, I took a job in the suburbs of Atlanta. We excelled on one hand and really struggled on the other. One night, broken and high, in our driveway, while my family slept, I cried out to God, “If you are real, I need to find you.” Though my plea was sincere, nothing immediately changed.
In 1997, my family and I moved to the Poconos. My wife and I were empty and our communication was on an all time low. We were not foreign to the Pocono area as we had visited the area several times while living in New Jersey, the state where our family began. We knew the Poconos as a place to relax and get away, but mostly as a place for lovers. We would often see the resort commercials with the heart shaped tubs and all the activities for lovers and families. When we were younger we thought of the area as a place to get away, rekindle our love for one another and give the kids a break from the city life.
Little did we know the Pocono Mountains would become far more to us than we could ever have imagined. When we came to the Poconos our love tank was on empty, we literally limped into town. In the first year my wife found a place of worship in Cresco called the Paradise Valley Assembly of God and started a relationship with Christ. I thought the start of her relationship with Christ would be the end of ours but as time went on I saw her countenance change, and though I was undeserving, she suddenly had patience for me!
Eventually, I too accepted Christ and wow, what was once a marriage in ruin became a love song! I was immediately delivered from addiction. We were both baptized soon after. The love of Christ taught us how to see each other as His creation. We fully gave Him the honor and the glory for being the ingredient that began the transformation of our marriage. He rekindled our marriage and brought us to a wondrous new level of love for one another. We realize now, God never intended we wander aimlessly, but even the pain is not wasted in His kingdom (Romans 8:28).
After 37 years of loss, the Lord began to turn heartache into healing. Now at 57, God is still restoring us. Rebuilding and reforming as we seek Him. Our four children all love the Lord, as do our three grand children. In 2005, the Lord showed us we had an unknown musical gift (singing and writing) and we supernaturally received a band and created an album (Ferd Feola- One God, One Cross). We worshiped in jails, in churches, at teen challenge, and at youth events where we saw so many come to the Lord. This taught me to never stop dreaming and showed me the Lord always wants to restore our lives fully!
In 2009, we heard from the Lord that I should attend bible college. I graduated in 2013. I was credentialed as a licensed Assemblies of God Pastor in 2014, and we have been blessed with serving connections as well as youth pastors.
This last year we felt led to attend BSSM first year and it was transforming. It is never too late to desire and seek more of the presence and power of God.
We now live in Hope Mills, NC and we live with expectancy!
Thank you, Lord!
Our Life Verse:
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4