7-10-07  The "Prodigal" Cousin!

Testimony from: Jason J.- Kalamazoo, MI.
Back in 1990, my brother Matthew, my mother Connie, and my sister Toysa, along with my cousin John Lanphear, and I who were just kids then, were having Bible study at  our house weekly.  We enjoyed our studies with Johnny and loved spending time with him.  He was a very fun cousin to grow up with.  During that time, we as a family were just beginning to develop an interest in Christ.  We had attended Catholic schools for most of our childhood, but had never really developed a strong dependence upon Christ for direction.  However, during this time, we were beginning to.  One day after school, we were swimming in our back yard swimming pool, and my brother, Matthew (who was 16 at the time) broke his neck while diving in the pool and became a quadriplegic (sp?).  I was 18.  From that day on our family suffered several hardships since.  I myself, began a fast passed career in law enforcement around the same time and became a heavy drinker.  Instead of turning to God, I looked for comfort in a bottle, and Satan was always there with it.  I wreaked havoc through the lives of my wife and children powerless over alcohol.  My mother too suffered great anguish and bouts of depression, my sister, who was 14 at the time of the accident has no memory from the ages of 14 to 19.  I eventually left law enforcement, not because I was asked to, but because alcohol meant more to me than my career.  I was soon divorced from my wife of seven years, and separated from my two sons, Austin and Christian.  I drank from the time I was 18 until God gave me his grace on August 8, 2004.  Christ lifted me up out of the grasp of alcoholism, and delivered me from the grasp of Satan.  I have been delivered into a life of devotion to Christ and my fellow man.  I enjoy a new, Christian based life with my sons, and have been given the gift of a new marriage to a wonderful Christian woman, Karon.  God has readjusted me where He wants me in life and I serve Him faithfully for it.  My beloved cousin Johnny has prayed for my salvation since I was a little boy.


It's hard to explain the negative effects that alcohol has on the body, especially after many years of abuse, as well as tobacco use (which God also delivered me from at the same time).  Right before I sobered up, I was reading a martial arts magazine and was very depressed because I just new that my time was limited in this wolrd and my health was fading, and I knew I'd never get a chance to participate in martial arts again.  Man...I was so weak..I would go from the couch to the bathroom to throw up, and be out of breath before I got back to the couch again.  After sobering up..I was still real weak, so I'd go outside and shoot a basketball two or three times and retrieve it before I was too tired to continue.  So God set a goal of competing as an amateur Thai boxer in my mind.  So I started going on walks, did that for about six months, then started to lift weights, and then I was finally healthy enough to start training.  I trained for some of 04, and all of 05, and fought 8 times in 06.  I won 6 of the 8 fights.  I won a heavyweight championship in a small tournament in Iowa, the Muay Thai Midwest Regional Silver Medal, and second place in the Indiana State Tae Kwon Do Championships.  It was an awesome experience.  It's pretty hard on the body though, so now I just practice and teach.  I'm a member of the Gospel Martial Arts Union and want to teach martial arts as part of a ministry.  God is awesome. 

Prayer Jason e-mailed to his cousin John Lanphear!:  Lord, I would like to take this moment to send out an e-mail prayer (I've never done an e-mail prayer before! Sweet!) for my cousin, but most important brother in Christ, Johnny.  Please fill him with the strength of your Holy Spirit to keep him moving to do your will.  Let him rest when he needs to, and give him the power of discernment to know when to do so.  I praise You Lord that You have graced Johnny with his endeavoring love for You and willingness to do Your will and worship with emotion as our ancestor King David.  I know that You are his power and motivation for all in his life and I pray for endless blessings upon my brother, his family, church, and business.  In Jesus' Holy Name, Amen.