My colleague Erik Ogren writes about BGEA's ministry in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation . . .
who responded was an elderly lady, sitting quietly off to the side. As she
visited with a counselor, who shared more about how to grow in her newfound
relationship with Jesus, her adult son Jonathan offered his story.
1960, Jonathan was just eight years old when his mother—the woman who was now
accepting Christ as her Savior—gave him his first can of beer. He quickly
devolved into alcoholism, and by 12 attempted to commit suicide for the first
time. Jonathan realized at the last second that he didn’t want to die and did
his best to hold himself up by his toes as the noose tightened around his neck,
but it was too late. He passed out, and came to at some point later in the back
of a cop car.
journey was only beginning: another adolescent suicide attempt, two accidents
(one with a tractor and one with a truck) that nearly claimed his life, a broken
marriage, and decades of alcoholism that resulted in three stints in jail for
DUIs. Anger from his childhood bubbled up into raging fistfights that left him
with a scarred face.
when somebody came up and preached Jesus Christ to me, but I didn’t know Him. I
really didn’t know Him. I just played the game. I didn’t read the Bible or
nothing,” said Jonathan, who then shared that during his second visit to prison
(in 2000), he read the entire Bible. He knew he had to change, and God was
working on his heart, but alcohol still owned him.
third stint in prison, from 2008 to 2010, it was time. “I gave myself to the
Lord. May 16, 2008. I talked to a preacher in the jail. He prayed for me, and
ever since then I’ve committed myself to Him.'
the chains of addiction in Jonathan’s life, as Jonathan went on to read the
Bible two more times during his final incarceration. He has been a faithful
student of God’s Word ever since.
'I know for
a fact that I’m walking with God and I’m walking in His Word. Sometimes, I
might drift off a little bit, but I know I have to pray and get back on track,' Jonathan said. 'Spending time in the Word gives me the faith and strength and
courage to stand strong.'
mother—a Lakota traditionalist—quickly noticed the change in her son.
talking with my mom, ever since I’ve become a Christian. I’ve been telling her
what I’m doing,' said Jonathan. 'Ever since I got out of prison, she’s noticed
a change in me. She noticed the people I was hanging around with were
Christians. She knows that there was something positive there.'
Jonathan’s salvation story, his mom came at his invitation to hear Will Graham
this week, and Jonathan couldn’t contain his joy."
Picture used from BGEA.