“I am a street pastor. The natives were taught from long age to hate white people because we took their land. I have to keep breaking down barriers and showing them I am not the one who did that. There are churches on every corner in Anchorage because there are so many broken people who have lost their way. The natives and Eskimos come to Anchorage from the villages to get away, but Anchorage is a big city to them and they aren’t used to it. They don’t have the skills they need to succeed and gravitate to the people here they know. Often those people are already stuck in drugs and alcohol addiction. They have trauma from the villages and tragic stories. Sexual abuse is an epidemic. My goal is to go after the source of the problem and not the person. You have to go after the desire. Where does the desire come from? It is always rooted in something deeper and we have to start there. What caused him to be a heroin addict? Sex addiction is no different. It is a disease, but not everyone agrees with that. Put a coke addict’s brain next to a sex addict’s brain and the MRI looks identical. They are damaged in the same place. They need more and more stimulation for release.
I was a different person when I came to Alaska. I came here in the military and anyone from the outside would look and me and think I was the best father, husband and staff sergeant. I was at the top of my career. It was all a facade and it was easy to lead a double life. Inside I was broken and stuck in my own sexual addiction. It was exhausting and then it came crashing down. I did four years in prison for sexually abusing a minor. A 15-year-old girl. When it finally came out, there was no evidence, but I had to let it out and tell the truth. I had been holding so much in for so long. I became addicted to pornography when I was 11 years old. It led to a downward spiral. What used to satisfy me didn’t satisfy me anymore. That led to child porn. In society’s mind, that is a disgusting and horrible person, but to help you have to rewind the tape to find how he got there. I went away and promised my then-wife and children that I would do all I could to change and become the man of God they deserve. I fell to my knees praying and trying to understand what made my brain function the way it did, the generational curses, and what triggered me. How did I go from watching porn as a child to watching kiddie porn as an adult? What changed inside me? I was disgusted by it. I was raised in ministry and that I would go to hell for sins like this. I hid my shame and guilt. I had top secret security clearance in the military and could never talk about my problems. I lied on polygraph tests because I didn’t want them to take my job and livelihood. It was also my identity and I compartmentalized my actions. I didn’t want my wife to know I was looking at porn instead of looking at her. I didn’t want my kids to know that I wasn’t being the best dad. I learned that I was no different than any other drug or alcohol addict.
My dad was a preacher, but he was an adulterer and tore our family up for sexual sin. I stepped away from the church and God. I doubted God could save me or that I could change and be better. Lies were whispered in my ear. I wouldn’t be able to help someone else because I couldn’t help myself. My mom prayed the same prayer over me for 31 years that God would do what it took to drop me to my knees and put him first. She has never stopped. She and my stepfather support my ministry. My dad and I have reconciled. So many things happened because I submitted to God. I now try to help people make decisions that don’t always go to death and destruction but go to life. I show them the way to God and show them anyone can change because He saved and changed me.
My identity is now in Jesus. God looks at me through Jesus and I am perfected standing in front of the Father. That is what I preach now. Shame tries to take so much from us and keep us down. It keeps us from victory. I started in street ministry several years ago. One of my brothers in Christ is a 16-time felon and used to be one of the biggest drug dealers around here. He pulled me out and told me to bring my guitar and we started witnessing. I am the preacher at a recovery church. We are made up of felons, ex-addicts, and people in recovery. We tell each person who walks into our church that we are all sinners and in recovery for something. We try to do what Jesus did. I found my calling and purpose. In my darkest days, I never dreamed God would use my life like this.”
This is Our Alaskan Souls week with stories from Alaska.