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My Testimony !
I was raised in a wonderful home in Indianapolis Indiana with my 6 brothers and sisters and mom and dad. Today, I am a 47 year old Christian working at an accounting Firm named Dauby, O'Connor & Zaleski, LLC and before that I worked for Arthur Andersen, the international accounting firm. I had a great childhood and to give you a picture of how it was, I always felt our family was the "Brady Bunch" of Indianapolis!
I participated in a number of sports growing up, but my favorite was always baseball. When I was 15 years old, my sophomore year of high school, I noticed a problem with my speed and power in wrestling. The harder I worked the more tired I got ! I concluded I just wasn't very good at the sport despite my very successful freshman season. I decided to give up wrestling after the year was over and concentrate solely on baseball.
My goal since I was a little boy was to play college baseball like my father did at Butler University in the 50's. I didnt care where I played, I just wanted to be a college baseball player. In my mind, I knew exactly where I had to be after my sophomore year of high school to be considered for a college program. During spring ball, I noticed my speed,power and endurance were again suspect. I finished out the season, unusccessfully in my mind, and set difficult goals for the summer baseball season. As the summer season progressed, the same problems resulted, even felt like they increased, and I knew like I was letting myself, my coach and my team down.
One Saturday morning, I went behind my house to what we called the "cowfield" to sit and think about what was happening. Many years before, the field had cows but they were long gone by now. The cowfield had wild-grass that was about 4 feet tall. It was a great place to play hide and seek as a kid and one summer all the kids in the neighborhood joined my father to build a baseball field in the cowfield. When completed, it was incredible - but that's a story for another day. Well, that Saturday morning at 8am, I sat in the cowfield, with the grass way over my head, and I cried............
I knew I'd never play college ball and that I had some kind of problem.
As I was crying with my hands covering my eyes, I heard a voice that said, "Go to the hospital." It wasn't a whisper nor a shout, just a male voice, from behind and a bit above me - - a voice very calm and sure......
I jumped up quickly and ran around in a big circle looking for who told me to "go the hospital" !! For 10 minutes I ran around calling out 'who's there' with no response........I yelled out, "this isnt funny, who's there????" I even may of used more colorful language, but I can't really remember........ I found no-one there and I sat back down in the middle of the cowfield in stunned silence........For a half-hour I tried to explain to myself what happened, but a realistic conclusion was unreachable......I knew no one was out in the cowfield at 8 am on a Saturday.........
Whoever the voice was, I knew one thing - - - for some odd reason, I knew I had to follow the directions of the voice . I knew the voice was right !
I didn't talk to anyone that whole day as I prepared, in my mind, how to tell my father when he came home that night.
That evening, my dad was sitting in his usual spot after dinner; in the black chair, with his legs crossed, reading the paper. I approached him quietly and he lowered the paper - -
All I said was, "Dad, I think I need to go to the hospital."
He jumped up and said let's go!!! ...... It was like some kind of role reversal - like a scene from Twilight zone - he was all hyper and I was calm and reserved......
I assured him we could go anytime and there was no real hurry. Two days later I was at the hospital for 2 weeks of testing.
On my 16th birthday, he doctor completed his testing and informed me I had Limbgirdle Muscular Dystrophy (MD). There are over 60 types of MD; my type affected the girdle (chest / stomach / back) and the limbs (2 arms / 2 legs)...thus the name - limbgirdle. I knew I had MD because my older sister Debby had been diagnosed many years before with the same disease.
With that news, I made everyone in the family get tested for MD. As a result, two more were added to the MD club; Mack and Jodie. At that point, four out of seven kids were diagnosed with MD and destined for future wheelchairs.
I finished out high school and even played 4 years of high school baseball thanks to the kindness of my coach Clovis Stinson.
I chose Indiana University to attend college because of their excellent Optometry school. I graduated 4 years later with a business degree in accounting.........
I lived in a fraternity on campus where academics was the lowest of priorities - - but I performed alright. I never missed a good party or a good time and had a typical fraternity guys college career - except I never went to jail.....
I joined the international accounting firm of Arthur Andersen upon graduation and worked there for 18 years ! Early in my career, I met 3 people who changed my life at Andersen - Laura Byers, Diana Brown and Frank Malek.
Laura and Diana were about my age and both from Greenwood Indiana. We rarely worked on similar accounts but became good friends because I was intrigued by how differently they carried themselves from all my other friends. Frank was an older Egyptian gentleman, who fixed computers for our company. In the 20 years I've known Frank, I've never heard him say a mean or unkind word about anyone......... except about former President Clinton........
Laura shocked me with her quiet calmness, wonderful attitude and work ethic.
Diana with her enthusiasm, love for life, and common sense.
For years I watched each of them respond in all kinds of difficult situations ..... I couldn't believe they kept their cool when pushed way beyond what anyone should have to put up with. But they did, consistently - - - and more importantly, joyfully !
I spoke with each of them separately and learned each of them had Jesus Christ firmly at the center of their lives. Whatever that meant I knew I had to have the same.
On my 30th birthday I received my first wheelchair - - and vowed to never drink again . I didn't have any problem with drinking, it just didn't seem as important as walking to me anymore ....... and I heard you're not supposed to drink and drive and given the new wheelchair and all ......
Honestly, I was at a point of unexplainable brokenness; my legs and arms were weakening and, understandably, it affected me emotionally. I needed something I could rely on, something that wouldn't change,....I needed the truth......
From my new wheelchair, on my 30th birthday, by myself, in my office, I gave my life to Christ.
For the past years I've studied the Bible diligently, taught 3-4 year old children at Sunday school, met wonderful Christian people who have mentored me and that I have mentored and, most importantly, I have grown in Christ.
I continued to be approached by people at church asking me how I handled the trials in my life. I had no idea what they were talking about, but, a few years ago, I decided to see what the Bible had to say about the topic of suffering. Late one night while studying, an idea came to me to share some of my notes with others who might be interested. I bought a web page development book and started to create this website entitled "Hope for Those Who Suffer" in order to share my ideas with anyone interested in the entire world !
Having Jesus Christ in my life these years has changed my entire focus - - from my own problems and prideful self to a complete focus on the life of Jesus Christ. As my body continues to lose strength, I take comfort that Christ is sovereignly in charge and I took a vow to do His will for my life in all that I say, think, do and feel.
In February 2002, I married a beautiful Christian lady named Becky Senter. Next to my salvation and faith in Christ, Becky is my greatest blessing!
"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes 5:16-18
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Sam 16:7
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