I was born two and half months premature to a 14-year-old Mother in the summer of 1977. I weighed two pounds and two ounces. I died three times at birth due to being deprived of oxygen from a twenty-four hour labor. I also had open-heart surgery to fix a hole on my heart. I was born with Cerebral Palsy. The original prognosis from the doctors wasn’t good. They said I would never walk or lead an independent life. I was given up for adoption at birth and lived in the hospital ward for the first year of my life.
Even with such an overwhelming start, God had a plan for my life. I was adopted into a family of English decent. They adopted me knowing that I would never walk. My mom was 55 when she adopted me. I used to get around by using my arms to army crawl so you can imagine my parents’ joy and delight when at age four I took my first steps.
I have had over five major surgeries on my legs to help with my mobility during my growing up years. I remember as a young child spending lots of recovery time at the Vancouver Children's Hospital. After those surgeries I was able to walk without any leg braces or walking aids. I am so thankful and for such wonderful surgeons and nurses who worked to help me at that time.
In the summer of 1980, I was in a horrific car accident that killed my cousin on impact. A family living nearby heard the crash and came to our aid. It was soon after that I got to know one of the son’s of that family, who has been a great influence and role model for me. He took me to Church almost every Sunday and was like a big brother to me. I remember it like it was yesterday; I was 8 years old and wanted to know Jesus as my friend and Savior so I prayed and asked Him into my life.
Growing up I never knew that I wasn’t the biological son of my parents. At the age of seventeen my Mom decided that it was time to let me in on a little secret, and tell me that I was adopted. It is really neat to look back on that specific moment in time, as I wasn’t shaken with the news I received. I had such an overwhelming love for my Mom, as it gave me a glimpse into how God adopts us even though we are not perfect and even though we struggle.
As time passed, I began to struggle. I didn’t think I would ever get married. I thought that God only used people who are able-bodied and not people like me. Even today I walk differently than most people. Being made fun of when I was younger was hard. It made me think that everyone was against me and that I wasn’t worthy of friends. I also started having questions about my biological family and why they didn’t want me. After graduating high school I made some wrong life choices. I walked away from God. I was influenced by the world around me and got involved in addictive behaviors to fill the void in my heart from life’s hurts.
After a few years of living far away from God I made a decision to find my way back to Him. I decided to withdraw from the lifestyle I was living. It took a lot of emotional support from the people around me, who really knew me to encourage me get back on the right track. I checked myself into Cordova Detox on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, after two weeks in detox my journey took me to a recovery program Psalm 23 Transition Society to which I am eternally grateful. I stayed there the full length of the program. Life is definitely not perfect and I have made some mistakes along the way but God can do amazing things for those who are honest with God, themselves and others. To be frank, by the time I decided to get help in 1998 after 2 years in addiction. I weighed 116 lbs and had pin cushions for arms. They say that only 2% of people recover from hard intravenous drug use. I am so blessed to have the life I live now.
One of the most valuable things that God has taught me is to value what really matters. I used to think the only thing that mattered was what people could see on the outside. He also helped me learn to pay attention and value what was going on inside of me with regards to my motives and feelings. Reading the Bible has helped me learn to live authentically and helped me learn who I am and where my value comes from. Jesus has helped me confront my issues and grow as person. My relationship with Jesus has challenged me to confront lies I had believed about life and myself and taught me how to make choices based on truth and sound principals. Life isn’t perfect but I know that God has forgiven me and loves me in-spite of even recent seasons of doubt.
It is amazing to see were God has taken me in my life so far, working for Vineyard Music Group in Anaheim, California for two years. I also lived in London, England for seven years and part of that time was serving on staff at the South West London Vineyard Church. I also worked as a professional sound engineer for RG Jones Sound Engineering in Wimbledon. I also had the opportunity to work for Vineyard Records UK for a season, it was so awesome to be apart of what God was doing there in that time. I met some amazing humble people, who are now serving God all over the world.
Presently I am leading worship at The River Community Church in Abbotsford, Bristish Columbia Canada. It is so life giving being a part of that community of people. It is so cool seeing people’s lives being transformed by the love of God. I love having an influence in the community where God has placed me; in the here and now and not waiting for doors to open but being emotionally present serving in the little things. I wouldn’t consider myself a prolific songwriter but having lived this life as imperfect as it is, I find writing music moves my soul closer to God and helps me focus my mind on Christ when sorrows and trials in life seem so overwhelming.
Sure I walk differently than most, but I know that God only made one of me! So remembering that keeps me motivated to continue in His calling. I love living my life with my cards face up, being honest and vulnerable. The only way people can really get to know us is to be real and not fake. I believe this opens doors in people’s hearts who may be afraid to speak about their own thoughts or feelings - to be able to talk about what is really going on in their hearts and not just talk about surface stuff. I am a firm believer in this as I used to only be a Sunday Christian.
Another amazing blessing in my life is my wife Michelle. She is the greatest gift from God I could have ever received next to my relationship with Jesus. I have found in life that for me, I have a hard time believing in myself. It takes other people to believe in you as a person before you start to believe in yourself. My wife is my biggest supporter and she is such an amazing woman of God. We are also are expecting our first child in March 2013. I have the most amazing life that no amount of money could ever buy, I am a truly blessed man!
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