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Testimony Of Richard D. Eutsler, Jr.

I’m really not sure where to begin. I was born September 6, 1970 and grew up in Central Florida. My father was a preacher so I always remember hearing about Jesus. I think I preached my first sermon when I was 3 years old. But over the next few years things changed. My parents split up and I stayed with my Mother. My Mother was part of Calvary Assembly, a large church in Orlando. (Maybe you have heard of it.) In any case, I was still part of a "church" atmosphere.

As I got older, I started taking part in more and more activities. I guess you could say that I was part of the "Junior" leadership. Anytime they needed an extra person to pray for someone they would ask me to help. I ended up becoming a counselor in the children’s ministry at the church. I worked puppets, played in the band, and all kinds of other things.

One of the biggest changes in my life came when I was in 8th grade. We moved from my small home town to Orlando. I was also taken out of the public school system and put in a private, "Southern Baptist" school. I had grown up with the belief that Jesus still works miracles and heals people today. Now I was in with a group that thought I was nuts. You know, if the bible says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, why would he stop doing what he has always done? I guess because they could not do the works of God, it must "not be for today."

Time passed and I became more of a fixture of Calvary. I had learned how to play the guitar and had even become the leader of the Junior High worship band. Then the leader of the High school worship band. But with all the "recognition" I knew something was wrong. I was in my Junior year of high school, and I felt like I was getting pulled in all kinds of directions. When people looked from the outside of my life, that is people in the church, they thought I really had things together. The truth was, I was really messed up. I was extremely insecure. On the other hand I had more "self esteem" than you could move with a bulldozer. I was constantly in another relationship with some girl or another, and I knew I could not keep up the act for much longer.

My senior year was the year I really went down hill. I was getting older and wanted to do my own thing. I can remember some of the discussions (yelling matches) I had with my mother. My relationships were getting more serious and I started playing in a "Christian" Heavy metal band. Let me say now that had it not been for my mother and others, I know that I would have been a lot worse off. I became the "rebel" at the new school, a split of the first Baptist school. But I still managed to hold on by my fingertips to the "facade" of my life at Calvary.

I’ll never forget graduation. My Dad, whom I had not seen for some time, drove all the way from Vermont to see me. He offered me the opportunity to go back to Vermont and enter training in the ministry to become a minister. To this day I wish I had gone with him. But, under tremendous pressure from the rest of the family I decided to go to Rollins College.

I worked that summer and started school in the Fall. It was then that my life started to unravel all around me. No matter what I did it did not work out. I can look back and see the Lord’s hand in it all. I had become the "hypocrite" in the statement "churches are full of hypocrites." I can say that I was about as lukewarm as lukewarm could be. But, God loved me enough to let my life become so miserable that I would do anything to see things change.

In March of 1989, I decided to take my spring break and visit my Dad in Vermont. It was that visit that was to begin my understanding of what it really means to be a Christian. After that week, when I got back to Florida, I told my Mom that I would be moving to Vermont. I could tell it was like putting an ice pick in her heart. See she had worked at Rollins College for many years to give me the benefit of a college education free of charge! Nearly the whole family turned against my decision, but one week later I got on a plane and moved to Northfield Falls, Vermont. But not before asking my current girlfriend to marry me. I guess I needed that safety handle in case things did not work out in the cold north. Later that year I called and broke off the engagement.

Well let me tell you. I wasn’t in Vermont two months before I realized that all the games that I played at Calvary weren’t going to even impress the pets much less any of the people. I may have been the minister’s son, but as my dad would say "that and a nickel forty years ago might buy you a cup of coffee." I thought I’d made the biggest mistake of my life. In Florida I had a girl, car, money, and "respect." In Vermont I had constant correction, and none of those other things.

Then one week in August of 1989, during a revival meeting, I came to the realization that I did not love God. I loved myself way more than I loved God. Nearly everything I did was to please myself and had nothing to do with God. Could this have been my problem all along? OF COURSE IT WAS! It was that understanding that let me start my real Christian walk.

You know in all this so far, not a mention of God saving me from some big drug problem or gangs or sex. None of those things had ever been a problem for me. In fact I thought I would never fall with any of those problems. (Remember that statement.) What God had saved me from was a life of "religion." Of going through the motions but never actually having a relationship with Jesus Christ. The bible is clear that many people will say "Lord Lord" but that does not mean that He knows them.....

Anyway the years rolled by and I had my ups and downs. And in 1993 my Dad took a group from the ministry and hit the revival trail. During his absence the ministry in Vermont grew closer and Rick Baldwin, my brother-in-law, was the head of the ministry. It wasn’t till 1994 when the team came back that I faced my greatest challenge.

Out on the road they discovered that CB radios were a good way to spread the Gospel. When they got back, we started doing the same in Northfield. We even opened a CB shop in the office building we worked in. I was out every night with the local kids and found myself not behaving as a minister should. To make a long story short. My selfishness got a hold of me again and I started dating one of the locals who was not a Christian.

One week after my 24th birthday, I committed what I thought was the worst sin that a man could commit. It had to do with one of those "never’s" from my previous paragraph. I would say for the next eight months I was very worthless. I was about to make a bad situation worse when Rick Baldwin, asked me a very simple question. "Are you in so deep you just don’t know how to get out?" It was that question, and the following discussion, that helped me make the decision to completely break off that relationship.

Now having fully learned my lesson, I continued to walk uprightly in all things right? Not exactly. It was about six weeks later in another relationship, having the pleasure of waiting all day for her pregnancy test results (which turned out negative by the way), that I finally got my act together. I thank God that he protected me from myself. The mercy of Jesus Christ cannot be measured!

I might as well throw in how He helped me from becoming a drunkard too. During all that time, I had grown accustomed to drinking. Even after those instances there was a time that I was getting drunk nearly every other night. But not anymore.

Over the last few years I have had my struggles, but Jesus has been there to help me. I have continued to make mistakes and He is faithful to forgive me when I repent of them. It is 1998 now and it is hard to believe that I have been here nine years in March. When my Mother came to visit last year, her first trip to Vermont, she was very excited with all that the Lord was doing for all of us. Just a quick note, I had been to visit my Mom in Florida and also in Arizona many times during the last nine years. She openly states that my moving to Vermont was the best thing that I ever did, and it was the best thing for her as well.

Well that is about it. I’m 27, still single, and learning to trust Jesus more everyday. I have the great pleasure to work in a Christian business doing things I love. Right now I’m learning what it means to be set free from the law of sin and death and to walk in the Spirit of God, not in this flesh. I trust the Lord, who was faithful to not give up on me even when I had given up on myself, to complete what He has started in me.



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