My name is Chris Stringfellow, and I am a part of The Adventure, a Foursquare church in Draper, Utah. In fact, I was the first person who came to the Lord when Pastors Eric and Jodi Van Rhee and three other families from California planted the church.
Even though I had grown up in a very “religious” state, I had never learned much about God or the Bible, and I certainly had never seen the love of Christ in anybody like I did when I met Eric and Jodi. Their commitment to God was evident in the way they lived.
In September 1999, my life was falling apart. I was a crystal meth addict, drinking and taking painkillers on almost a daily basis, losing my job, and my wife of seven years was leaving me. As I sat on the couch in my living room, in absolute despair, all I knew was that this pain was too much for me to bear.
I looked up on the shelf and saw the Bible the Van Rhees had given to us months earlier. I was reminded of the things they had told us about Jesus Christ. I cried out to God, “If you’re real, I need You now!”
At that moment a total peace came over me. The intense pain that had gripped me moments before was gone. As I sat there trying to understand what had just happened, the Lord said to me, “Everything is going to be OK.” I got up and grabbed the Bible off of the shelf, opened it, and was amazed at how the words spoke directly to me.
A couple of days later, Eric called me on the phone. I told him what had happened, and he invited me to church the following Sunday. At the time, the service was held in their living room.
During the next few months, I learned so much. The Van Rhees and several others took me under their wings. I learned I could walk in freedom. And though it was not always easy, I can say that today, by the grace of God, I am drug-free.
As I found freedom in Christ, many aspects of my life were resurrected. Six months after I gave my life to the Lord, my wife, Amy, accepted Christ. She was, in turn, set free from drug addiction, and our marriage was restored. In January 2006, we had our first baby, Katie Belle.
As a child, I had a passion to be an artist and a musician, but during my pre-Christian years, these talents had withered and died. For years, I had done nothing. Then I discovered why God had put those gifts in me: It was to glorify Him!
My pastors gave me an opportunity to play guitar in The Adventure’s worship band, in which I found myself surrounded by incredibly talented musicians. I couldn’t believe I could serve God by playing guitar. Eric also encouraged me to use my artistic abilities for God’s kingdom. I am now leading the graphic arts department for The Adventure, which now has more than 500 members and new church plants in American Fork, Utah, and Salt Lake City.
God has truly blessed my life. He has saved me, delivered me from drug addiction, restored my marriage, given me a beautiful daughter, expanded my abilities and given me a hope and a future—and for that I am eternally grateful.