Thursday, May 26, 2011

Story of Change - Mark Groleau

Sometimes, a little time and a few good conversations make a big difference in someone's life.  Here is the story of my friend Mark, who found his way back to Christ while in Korea, and just graduated from seminary.

It was the spring of 2006. I was living in Korea, teaching English as a Second Language. Recently, I had registered for a Teachers’ Diploma Program at a university in Brisbane, Australia; it was slated to begin in the fall of the same year. My wife, Naomi, had applied to the same school for an MBA program. Our five-year plan was set. She would go into business, and I would fulfill my dreams of becoming a high school teacher at a public school in Canada. But our plan was about to change.
I grew up in a suburb of Ottawa, my family’s house backing onto a pasture where horses grazed and strawberries grew wild in summer. Even on the hottest of days, I couldn’t wear shorts; even when my sister rode her bike with me on the dirt track near our house or we went swimming, she wasn’t allowed to wear pants. These were just two of the “standards” on which salvation depended. They were not rules set by my parents, but by our pastor. They were the rules I grew up with, because one Sunday morning just before my third birthday, my father had taken me along to check out a tiny new church that had started up near our house. His decision to become a member would shape the rest of my life.
By the age of twenty, I had graduated from the one-room-schoolhouse-style church school that each child of the church was mandated to attend, and I was an undergrad student in the University of Ottawa’s English Literature program. Weekdays were spent reading Chaucer, Shakespeare, and literary criticism in the library; weekends were spent preaching and leading music in the sanctuary. As my time between school and church became increasingly divided, so did my mind. I began to question the legalism and the doctrine that had become my way of life; when I asked the pastor and other leaders for answers that might justify some of the more dogmatic claims, I found that there were none. One fateful Sunday morning, much like the one that  had  determined the trajectory of my life eighteen years earlier, I met my father at the door in my pajamas. I told my family I would no longer be attending church.
Four years later would find me graduated from university, teaching in Korea, and attacking Christianity on every level I could conjure up. But there was a Canadian girl. And an American pastor. Both Christians who would not let me go ...

To keep reading Mark's story, click here.

You can check out some of his sermons at:  
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