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Read Derek's Story »

1. What was life like before coming to Christ? What about before going to Bible College? (The more specific, the better!)

Growing up I had a tough childhood. I had a mother that loved me but I was very rebellious. I thought I knew everything and had no respect towards authority. My mother as a single parent at the time tried to show me a good example but I strayed away and did my own thing as she worked two jobs to provide for us. I was left alone most of the time and I began to hang out with the guys around the neighborhood getting involved with the wrong people. I started doing what they were doing getting in trouble and taking drugs at a young age. I was addicted to methamphetamine. That was my drug of choice if I was up for too long I would use other downers to bring me down it was a roller coaster. Being an addicted affected my train of thought and judgment I ended up a product of the system being in and out of juvenile hall. I couldn’t stay out because when I got out I went back to the life I enjoyed careless and reckless hallucinates from the lack of sleep. I was put on anti-depressants. I remember at one point in time I would crush up Benadryl and sniff that to cut the craving it was a downward spiral. I would cry out to god help me, lord, I can’t stop. Why am I in so much pain? My teenage years were the hardest times of my life but I have learned so much. Years went by and I kind of got tired of the lifestyle, my friends were going to prison and I was blessed with a beautiful daughter at the age of 20 by this time I was a big time alcoholic, occasionally I would use cocaine and smoke marijuana but alcohol was my main issue at this time, for 7 years my alcoholism destroyed good friendships just an all-around mess before I got saved I was ready to leave my girlfriend at the time and try to start a new relationship with someone else it was at this point in my life when I was like I had enough. I can’t do this on my own I need Jesus in my life. I reached my final breaking point enough was enough. I surrendered my life to Christ February 2016 on the I-10 E freeway heading home it was a slow process before I got to this point I started listening to past sermons which lead me to church. It took about a month or so before I finally acknowledged that god was calling me, it was then in my car when I said god take this lust from me and I will follow you for the rest of my life. In that same moment, the Holy Spirit entered my heart I felt different, I felt alive, restored, renewed, excited, overwhelmed, filled with joy, ready for a change I was excited for the next church service to acknowledge Jesus as my lord and saviors. It was that day that my life began to change. At the time, I didn’t know what obedience was but things were easy, I started attending church faithfully for months my pastor’s sermons spoke to me. The first change was my music god put it in my heart that I can’t listen to music that speaks death so right away I said yes sir its gone. I only listen to worship music. The second thing pastor spoke about was being planted in the house of god and serving god. I was hesitant but out of obedience I started ushering and helping. It was at this time that god was working on me next thing was tithing. I had a problem with giving being greedy and selfish, god put it in my heart to tithe and it was a challenge but I believed and trusted god tithing has taught me how to be generous and giving it has really build me up and he has blessed me not just financially but in other ways for example giving me revelation on how I should be as father and husband, he has built up my patients for people, he has made me humble, and he is continually working in my life. Am extremely grateful for the changes he has made in my life. I give him all the praise and glory as the changes I have made in 1 year is incredible. You can’t do these types of changes on your own only god can work miracles such as this one. So, I will forever be god’s loyal and faithful servant he says to go I go, he tells me to jump I say yes sir how high. I have one goal and that’s to live my life according to his will.

2. When did you realize God was calling you to be in Bible College? (Was there a moment in church, at home, while you were reading the Word?) Please describe this moment in detail.

When I started attending church I was not working and I had nothing to tithe but I would give my only dollar, if I had one at times I only had 10 bucks and I gave that just being faithful believing god was going to bless me with a new opportunity and sure enough God blessed me with a good job. At the VA hospital as a Lab technician, god has used this as a platform to be able to share my testimony and allow me to speak life, give encouragement and hope to those who are in pain and hurt. As I was drawing a patient’s blood it hit me like a ton of bricks you should go to bible college I battled with it for a while as, I was like huh really, I have only been walking with you for less than a year and I have been going to school, working on my prerequisites for the nursing program. I wanted to complete that and I prayed about it and heard nothing. It was time to sign up for classes and god was like make a choice are you going to follow me as you said or are you going to follow what you want and desire. Hearing that was a no brainer am following you and I enrolled into bible college.

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3. What moment in Bible College was the most impactful and life-changing? (How has TRBC propelled you into the future you’re living right now?)

For me each class is an eye opener as am new to the journey but learning about authority and delegated authority. If you can’t submit to delegated authority you can’t submit to god. That was big for me because I had trouble with authority growing up it made me look at things through a new lens being part of the bible college has really inspired me to do more to find what my calling is and live it to my full potential. I have so much to learn but being part of ministry is something that has been on my mind I don’t know what yet but if god wants me to clean toilets am okay with that if god wants me to just be a usher and greet people am okay with that. I have told people before am not out for a title and not out here for a position am here to serve my lord and savior in any way possible to build his kingdom.

4. What part of your story would be most encouraging for the person reading your story who feels stuck, lost and hopeless?

I am a living testimony on how god turns your trials into testimonies. How even through the tough times he is working in your favor, how if during the storm, you just wait it out and be faithful he will bless you. Am far from perfect I have lots to learn but if god can turn my life around imagine what he can do with yours. I have seen consistent maturity in my walk with Christ this is an endurance race so take your time walk in faith, and be teachable, allow God to use you any way possible for me living for god is a privilege and I honor it with all my heart. 1 Corinthians 15:58 says therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

5. What would you say to someone who wants to go, but isn't sure if its for them because of their circumstances, challenges, past history? (And they have the same circumstances, challenges, past that you did prior to going to Bible College.)

Don’t miss this opportunity to equip yourself for the future god has a purpose and plan for every one of us don’t feel like you’re not worth enough as were all still in process. Sometimes life happens and money is tight make the sacrifice believe and pray in faith that god will bless you with the money you need. There have been a few months where am like how am I going to pay for this and I get blessed with overtime be faithful god recognizes your effort. TRBC is amazing everyone is friendly and welcoming teachers are more than willing to answer all of your questions great place to learn the word of god.

If you’re wondering I just got married on January 31, 2017. My wife has forgiven me for all I have done in the past. I no longer crave or want alcohol been sober for a year and clean from drugs going on 7 years. Obedience is what has brought me to this season in my life. I can honestly say that coming to TRBC has been one of the best decisions in my life. Pressing on and applying what am learning to my life has made an impact stepping out of my comfort zone is nerve wrecking but am happy to say I share with everyone who is willing to listen. God has blessed me with opportunities to share and is forever grateful.

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