Testimony of Transformation

A couple months ago 20 men from our Dallas church plant filled vans and headed to Morning Star Ranch in Florence, KS, for a men’s retreat. For some of our men this trip was their first time to leave the state of Texas and for others it was their first time to attend a Men’s Conference. They were excited!

During a testimony time at the retreat, one brother, Mike, shared how he came to be a part of the New Found Life (NFL) Bible Church and the victories in Christ Jesus he had been experiencing. Mike, who was once homeless, said he had often walked by the church. One night he and his friend were stopped and invited to come to church by my wife Becky. He said that attending church was the last thing on his mind—his drug addiction ruled his life. After several weeks, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Mike and convicted him.

He wanted to accept Becky’s invitation, but did not feel worthy to enter the Lord’s house because of his appearance. Mike and his friend both had long gray beards and straggly hair. He felt that before he could enter the house of the Lord and be around “church folk,” he had to change his physical appearance. He said this was one of the things that kept him from attending church. When Mike finally came to church for the first time, he sat behind us and tapped Becky on the shoulder and said, “I haven’t been in church because I needed to wait till I got paid so I could go get my beard and hair cut.” 

Becky did not recognize him at first. He looked so different. We, of course, reminded him that the Lord looks at the heart and not the physical appearance. Also, that God looks at our motives – whether it is to impress man or whether it is to worship the true and living God. Today, Mike attends church every time the doors are open. He is faithful in coming to our men’s Bible study and is willing to help out any time we need him. When there is a church function, whether it is at our church or another, he will be on the front row ready to receive a word from the Lord. He is growing in Christ and now verbally participates in discussions in Bible studies and in church social gatherings. We are privileged to see his daily growth in the Lord.

Mike frequently thanks Becky for inviting him to church that first day because he no longer feels like an outcast. Now he has purpose and direction because of his relationship with Jesus, and what’s more, he has a church body which he calls his family. 

Jim Elam and his wife Becky are World Impact missionaries in Dallas, TX.