Tim's Story: A Life Transformed
Jay Walsh, the Director of our Men’s Residence, recently received a letter from one of his former clients, and we wanted to share it with you.
I came to know Jesus as Savior when I was nine years old at a Baptist church summer Bible
program for children. I was one of those more difficult-to-convert “types” and following several evangelistic presentations, and nearing the end of the summer program the church brought out the “big guns.” I was called, along with the other 10 or so children who failed to make a decision for Jesus, to attend a special class. In that unique meeting, the church asked an obviously highly evangelistic man to speak to us about Jesus and our need for salvation. While I do remember understanding, I was not about to surrender my life to anyone. I do recall thinking, “I like my life just fine and I don’t want anyone telling me what to do.” Yes, I was one of “those” kids.
The next major event leading to my conversion to Christianity came the morning on way
walking to church. I recall stopping in front of a newly constructed Mobile gas station. I can still recall the round sign with the red flying horse, their logo, on the building where I stopped. In that moment, I remember thinking, “maybe today.” Now this is important why? It’s important because I was the rebellious nine-year-old that didn’t want anyone telling me what to do. And, I was thinking today I’d say yes to accepting Jesus’ offer to save my soul!
As God would have it, and knowing that I was a rather stubborn kid, the church had a special speaker that morning. And guess what? He was that type of preacher we call hell fire and brimstone. By the time he got done preaching hell and our need for Jesus in order to be saved I could hardly wait for the invitation! That morning in 1972 I finally said, “I believe!”
I had no idea how that pivotal moment was timed so perfectly. After all, you can lead a
rebellious child to Jesus, but you still have to deal with the rebel part. I love to share how Jesus protected me and called me back to Himself even when I repeatedly let Him down. Oh how great is that grace!!!
One of my best teenage friends brought the “wrong kind” of friend into my life. One month after my 18th birthday this “friend” asked me and my teenage friend to take him to his uncle’s boat to pick up his fishing tackle. We took my car to the dock where he began putting things into my trunk when I realized he was stealing from people’s boats. Frightened, I demanded we leave. Shortly thereafter I was arrested and charged with my first felony.
Post high school years were out of control. I responded to arrest by dropping out of college
and drinking heavily. My drinking earned my next arrest; a DUI. Before court, I was arrested
and charged with a second DUI. By the time of my hearing I had a rap sheet deserving a
punishment. I was charged with time served, five years of house arrest, and driving revocation of my license.
I responded to my new life as a criminal by expanding my understanding of mind-influencing
drugs. In 1991 I got an additional DUI. My driving license was revoked for five years. I joined
AA and stopped doing drugs and drinking for nine years. During that time, I considered how I was saved from worse events. However, again I took in the company of the wrong kind of
friends. At that time, I was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine twice. I
experimented with many drugs and started manufacturing methamphetamine. Again, I was
arrested and charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.
In jail, I prayed and asked God to help me break the cycle. He sent Chaplin Pete Bandstra into my life. Chaplin Pete introduced me to the Men’s Care Center. My first experience with the Men’s Care Center was meeting Norma who was working in what at the time was the Christian Care Center Office. Norma treated me gently and with love. 29 October 2003 I met Bill Moore with the Men’s Care Center. Bill took me into the Center 30 October 2003.
During my time in the Men’s Center I grew closer to God. I began to ask God to teach me how to pray. By end of my fourth month I knew I wanted to work nearby. Red Sorell headed up FBC Leesburg grounds keeping. I asked Red if he needed any help. Red later told me he took a look an me and didn’t think I’d last a day; I was extremely skinny. Today Red tells the story how the following morning, with no intention of hiring me, he drove his cart to the Men’s Center and the words “Tim, are you still looking for a job?” came out of his mouth. I responded with a “yes,” and that began my time serving the Lord at His church.
While still living in the Men’s Center and while working for the church, I considered what it was that God was asking from me. I knew the call on my life to be a pastor, but didn’t know what to do. God intervened by putting a difficult circumstance in my life. At a time when greatly confused by the conduct of another man in the Men’s Center, I went to speak with Pastor “Bird” Sanders. Bird gave me some really good advice. At the time I had no idea how God was using that to direct my thinking. Shortly thereafter, Bird asked me to join him in ministering to children. My time serving with Bird led to being asked to work for the church as an assistant to Pastor Bird.
FBC Leesburg provided many opportunities. They provided my home in the Men’s Care Center. They provided employment. They provided ministry opportunities. I worked the grounds, served alongside Pastor Bird, and had the privilege of visiting people with Pastor Cliff Lea on Wednesday evenings. Pastor Cliff once asked about my call to ministry. Both Pastor Bird and Pastor Cliff agreed that God had more for me. Both men agreed that God was using me to reach the lost and that God was asking more from me.
During my time at FBC Leesburg I was blessed to serve with Pastor Gary Blanchard in the
Nursing Homes Ministries, with Pastor Ken Scrubs in the Genesis Center, and as a pulpit fill
pastor for locations who requested a fill pastor from FBC Leesburg. Along with these
opportunities, and many not listed here, the pastoral staff took notice. I was licensed into
ministry and later ordained by FBC Leesburg in 2009. I was called to pastor FBC Minneola in
Today I hold both a Bachelor’s Degree from The Baptist College of Florida, a Master’s in Divinity from Liberty University, and a Doctorate in Ministry from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
My areas of expertise include Biblical studies, pastoral ministries, and evangelistic church growth.
Loving you in Christ,