Capt. Mike survived Basic Training, and after a few months of training school was assigned to be stationed in Germany. Now for this 18 year old young man who had NEVER even been on an airplane before, this was a scary thought. But, since he had no choice, he hopped on the plane and headed off for his new life...3 years in Germany as a brand new Military Police Officer.
Although Mike missed the familiar things of home and family, he quickly realized the great opportunity he had been afforded by being placed in Europe at this stage of his life. He bought a car and a video camera, and began to take every opportunity for travel and adventure that he could. During those three years he saw the Eiffell Tower, toured Greece, climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa, skiied in the Alps, visited cathedrals, and toured numerous castles and gardens.
One of my favorite stories is when he drove his car to the base of the mountain where the "Disney Castle" ~ Neuschwanstein ~ sits. He slept in his car all night and woke up in the early morning fog. He fed crackers to the swans in the lake at the base of the hill until the fog cleared and the castle tours began. What a fun memory!
His life in Germany included German beer, travel, weightlifting, German beer, sight seeing, work, German beer, biking, driving as fast as possible on the Audobon, and German beer (but he never mixed those two!). Without Christ to fill our empty spots, it's easy for us to become consumed with our own selves. He spent many hours in the gym working on perfecting the outside of his body, while his soul kept asking him..."What about me?".
After he returned to the U.S., he was thrilled to be stationed at a sought after base, right on the beach and only 30 minutes from his hometown! He was now a "twenty something" young man with a great career plan laid out; 2 terms in the military, during which he was a reserve Deputy, which allowed him to drop right into that job as soon as he got out of the service. He was good lookin', fit, fun, had a pretty girlfriend, lived near the beach, and he had his Camero...what more could he want from life?
It wasn't long before his relationship became difficult. His girlfriend like to party, drinking and smoking pot were a regular part of her lifestyle, and her faithfulness was questionable. He liked to have fun, but her lifestyle took that to the extreme and thus began the on-again/off-again frustrating relationship. His answer to the troubles was to be become consumed with his job and his car. He would spend almost every waking hour working on his car, it was his life. Apartment living doesn't leave much room for mechanics, so he rented a storage unit to use as his "garage". It was a place where he could go each day and do what he enjoyed. His life just went along at this pace, until something happened that changed his life forever.
He was working on his car when the storage unit manager came over to talk to him. He had noticed how much time Mike spent working on his car, and noticed how it had seemed to consume his life. The manager turned their conversation to spiritual things, and shared about his own salvation. Realizing that Mike was pretty busy, he asked him to stop by the office on his way out if he wanted to talk more. The wheels in his head were turning, he had been brought up in the Catholic church, but he had never heard about salvation through Christ before, he definitely wanted to hear more. He stopped by the office and after talking for a while and asking more than a few questions, Mike's eyes were opened and his heart became soft like clay. He heard something he had never heard before. No one had ever told him that he was a sinner in need of a Savior, no one had ever laid it out so clearly. So, he bowed his head in that office and asked Jesus to take over his life. No formalities, no big show, no isle to walk down, just plain and simple salvation. I am so thankful that this man, whose name we don't even know, was obedient to our Lord, he shook off all those fears we sometimes have and opened up his mouth to share the gospel. Because of that, I am blessed.
Whoever told you that coming to Christ would make your life easier? That's not what the Bible says...part 6 coming soon! :)