"I wanted more out of life."
The personal testimony of Bro. Jim Mead
I was born in 1950 and raised in a Catholic family. We went to church every Sunday morning and on Christmas. My parents raised my two sisters and I in a reasonably strict atmosphere, to be obedient to them as well as my elders, and people in authority. We were taught not to lie, cheat or steal and many other values consistent with American Society of the 1950’s.
My parents however, had a problem that would eventually lead to much grief, crisis and heartache, and that was drinking. My father, in particular, became an alcoholic. Because of his drinking, he lost jobs, acted violently and brought chaos into our lives. When he wasn’t drinking, he was a responsible person who provided for his family and was faithful to my mother. His drinking problem went on throughout my growing up years and I became angry and perplexed. I didn’t understand why he drank and how it could change him into a different person. I knew I didn’t want to become an alcoholic like him.
As I turned 18 and entered into college life, I began to drink. (At the time, the legal drinking age was 18.) I felt I could handle drinking, unlike my dad. I continued to drink and party into my adult life.
The Bible speaks in Hebrews 11:25 of enjoying “the pleasures of sin for a season” and I certainly was having fun and good times (or so I thought). By my mid-twenties, I began to realize that I needed the alcohol in order to laugh and socialize with people. This realization brought an uneasiness to my soul and I began to wonder if life didn’t have more meaning and more to offer. I wanted more out of life.
In 1977, a close friend and drinking buddy of mine, Rocco Gonnella, got saved and began to witness to me about Jesus Christ. More than the witnessing though, I saw a change in his life. He quit drinking and partying and began to live a holy life.
These things led to a desire on my part to know if God was real. I got down on my knees and said, "Lord, if you are real, I want to know." I knew that the Word of God, the Bible, says, "Seek, and ye shall find" (Matthew 7:7), so I told the Lord I would seek him as best as I knew how. As a result, the Lord began to reveal himself to me. I began reading the Bible and the words would leap off of the pages. When I tried to read the Bible before this, it seemed boring to me and had no meaning.
One night, I was reading Proverbs 23:29-35 concerning what will happen to those who ‘tarry long at the wine’, and I said, “Wow! That describes me.” I had read a book about the coming of the Lord to rule and reign upon this earth, and I could clearly see that everything written was coming to pass.
The Lord began to convict me of my sin and in February 1978, God became real to me. I repented of my sins and Jesus Christ became both Lord and Savior of my life. A great and wonderful change was taking place in my being. The Lord delivered me from alcohol and I have not had a drink since 1978.
In October of that year, the Lord placed me at the Living Word Church, where I have been a member ever since. I knew the Lord had a plan and purpose for my life. Even though I had gone to college, I had no real career path I was pursuing. In 1983, the Lord called me to teach at the Living Word Academy, a ministry of Living Word Church. I have been teaching Bible and Social Studies at the Academy for three decades. I have also had the blessing of teaching with my good friend, Rocco (Rocky) Gonnella, who was also called to the Academy. (It is amazing how the Lord works things out for those who love and fear Him.)
When I got saved, I was not married but had the desire for a wife and family. I would pray to the Lord to fulfill that desire. I would say, "Lord, I’m going to serve you no matter what, but my heart yearns for a wife." It would be many years before the Lord would answer that prayer, but the Scripture that encouraged me was Proverbs 13:12, "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life."
In 1993, the Lord finally answered that prayer, and I met my wife, Valerie. We were married a few years later and after that the Lord blessed us with a son, Daniel. Daniel has had the blessing of attending Living Word Academy ever since Pre-K. I have had the blessing of not only being his father, but also his High School Social Studies teacher. The Lord works in wondrous ways.
In January 2010, I suffered a major heart attack. In the months that followed, the Lord filled me with His presence and filled me with joy. He gave me the opportunity to have my testimony published in the September 11th, 2010 issue of the Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper. I have since fully recovered and feel blessed that he has allowed me more time with my family and more time to serve Him.
I am looking forward to the hope of one day gaining eternal life that the Lord has promised to all those that would obey His commandments.