I have suffered from addiction for most of my life and have ended up in the U.S. Federal Penitentiary Europe and many jails in various cities in the United States.
I felt a sense of hopelessness that I believed would never go away and continued on a path of destruction for over 20 years. I walked into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous in December 1998 and began a life of recovery. I had done everything I was directed to do and always felt as though something was still missing. I was told to get a higher power, and I did. I have believed that God has always been there to protect me when I needed him, so I accepted Him as my higher power.
My spiritual path of recovery seemed to be okay, but I still struggled with what I was doing. I continued to feel better and believed I had God working in my life. Many friends kept telling me I should try CVC.
In January this year, I made a decision to come to CVC and see if that was what was missing. Well, I began by coming to service and listening to Pastor John’s teachings, and always felt as though he was targeting me. Everything he would say, week after week, hit home so hard that I could not ignore that God was talking to me through Pastor John. STEP Ministry began, and I attended because the twelve-step programs I had attended are what had given me the gifts I had received in my life up to that point. I began STEP, thinking that I had been doing this for a long time now and I could be of service to others (Step 12). I came into this with an open mind and was amazed at what I began to learn. I found that to have a relationship with God is to fellowship with Him and that the things I had done in my past could be forgiven. This was such an awakening of my spirit that I have become overwhelmingly involved with trying to learn about Jesus Christ and God. I have opened my Bible and have studied Scripture and have become willing to learn God’s Word and share Him with others.
In July this year, my wife Erika, my Daughter Krystal, and I all received the gift of Salvation with my 2younger children, Tyler and Kaitlyn, present. Pastor Roy Conover led us in prayer with his brother Pastor Henry Conover, Russ Purdi, and Bob and Laura Saintey present to witnesses. This was an amazing gift that words could not even touch. For the first time in my life, I finally felt blessed. That is the part of my recovery and life that had been missing. In August this year, my wife and children and I were baptized at Lake Tahoe as well as my 85-year-old father. The gifts that I have received are a direct result of the Lord’s promises and the leadership at CVC.
I would like to thank Pastor John Jackson, Pastor Roy Conover, and Pastor Henry Conover for their leadership and the direction they have given me. I would also like to thank Bob and Laura Saintey, and Russ Purdifor for their direction and introduction to CVC.
Thank you and God Bless,
Mark A. Lera