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3D-Outreach is a non-profit organization seeking to reach out, across borders, to the needs of the whole person through being a resource and support to existing long term outreach.













 

Shawn and Eddie

Posted by 3D-Outreach on 27 August 2015

A while back, we heard the testimony of one of the missionaries, Shawn, that we have had the privilege to work with. He used to be described as living a life that was boisterously sinful while being in the US Marines. During this time, there was one fellow Marine, Eddie, that would witness to him, until he gave his life to Christ…

Recently, we met Eddie – THE Eddie, and we could not resist the re-telling of this amazing story; of turn around; and friendship.

Shawn Testimony: My childhood was extremely challenging. I grew up with a single mom who found herself in different abusive relationships. I spent my teen years trying to self medicate with alcohol and women. After witnessing much drug abuse; physical abuse; and alcoholism; I wanted to escape so I decided to join the Marine Corps. Once I joined, I soon realized that the majority of Marines’ lives revolved around alcohol. This only deepened my depression. It was at this time that I met Eddie. Because of his faith, he did not drink and live an immoral lifestyle like everyone else did. So I set my heart to stopping Eddie from being a Christian, because I thought he was missing out on life. Through much mocking and other techniques I tried to make Eddie do inappropriate things, but he held strong. And although I had opposing views, I was still curious about what Eddie believed.

Eddie and ShawnDuring a medical check up for a coming deployment to Iraq, I saw a T.V. show that argued that all religions are the same. Excited to challenge Eddie, I rushed back to the base to tell him what I had heard. Eddie replied, “No…if you do not believe in Jesus, you will go to hell. Jesus is the only way to the Father.” This struck my heart. I went to my room, got on my knees, and started to cry. I told God, “Jesus, if you are real, please, do something. I do not want my brains to be blown out and then stand before you and hear you say, ‘I never knew you’.” After this prayer, I was a lot more open to Eddie’s beliefs and I began asking him more questions about God. He showed me the answers and even gave me a Bible that I started reading.
Shortly after this time we were both deployed to Iraq, but we were sent to serve in two different places. I was facing depression and so many other difficulties that I began to hit rock bottom. But still I desired to learn about God.

When I had finished reading the New Testament, I knew that I was missing something. Then, out of nowhere, a Chaplin at the base asked me if I wanted to get baptized. I knew I had to do it. When I came out of the water, God had completely healed my heart. When I had been 7 years old my father had abandoned me and left me with my mom and her extremely abusive boyfriend. It had ripped a piece out of my heart and I had shut down emotionally. But at this point, I was totally convinced that God was real and I had made the decision to live for Him with all my heart.
Now, reflecting back, I realize how Eddie’s love and consistency had always pointed me to Jesus. Through Eddie’s actions, I was able to see Jesus. It was not that he had a ton of Bible knowledge or that he followed any religious traditions, but it was about Eddie fulfilling Jesus’ commandment to love, that helped bring me to the Lord (John 15:12-13- “This is my commandment: that you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love has no man this this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.”).

Eddie’s Testimony: I grew up in a Christian home and gave my life to the Lord when I was nine years old. For the first few years of my walk with Christ, I was passionate about seeking the Lord and sharing my faith. However, as my teenage years progressed, I slowly entered into a lukewarm state. It was in this lukewarm state that I entered the Marine Corps. Although I did not commit any “bad” sins, I was not living wholeheartedly for the Lord and was very ashamed of my faith. Despite my condition, the Lord was with me and strengthened me to resist the many temptations that I faced in the military. After I completed all the necessary training, I was assigned to my particular unit. In this unit I encountered much opposition, because I did not live an immoral lifestyle and give myself to drunkenness and the other things that my fellow Marines considered to be normal. As I stated above, I was in a lukewarm state, and should have fallen into the temptations that surrounded me. However, through the prayers of my family, and by God orchestrating my circumstances (at times even through a drunk friend), the Lord protected me from many temptations. Looking back, I realize how true 2 Peter 2:9 (“the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials”) and 1 Cor. 10:13 (“no temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, and He will not permit you to be tempted above what you can endure, but you will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it”) are for the Christian life.

One of the Marines who challenged me the most was my now good friend, Shawn. Out of all the Marines, Shawn was the most broken and hurt. This hurt and pain clearly demonstrated itself in the crazy lifestyle that he lived. At first, Shawn did not like me and would often mock and ridicule me in many different ways. At the same time, he was bent on getting me to join him in his lascivious lifestyle. Despite our differences, the Lord orchestrated events through which Shawn and I began to become close. During this time, the Lord also started to do a work in my own heart and I began to seek Him wholeheartedly.
After our first deployment, Shawn became extremely curious about my beliefs. Over a period of about 9 months, he interrogated me about many aspects of the Christian faith. As these months progressed, it seemed like Shawn was getting worse and even further away from the Lord. However, the Lord was working in his life the entire time behind the scenes.

In April of 2007, Shawn and I were deployed to Iraq. During this time I barely saw Shawn, and when I did, he always seemed to be in a worse state than the previous time that I had seen him. One day in July 2007, I got a call over the radio. I was told to get ready to be picked up and taken to the main base in Iraq. To my utter amazement, when I saw Shawn he told me that he wanted to be baptized. I was very glad to be allowed to attend the baptismal service. All along I had thought that things were getting worse with Shawn, but in reality, God was working on him. At the baptismal ceremony, I witnessed the Lord do a wonderful work in Shawn’s heart. After this he was completely changed. To the amazement of the other Marines, they noticed that Shawn had changed and was now different. They even stated that I had brainwashed him.
To this day when I think about this story, I am in awe of how God transformed Shawn. He was the one that most people would have brushed off and said was beyond the grace of God, because of his upbringing and his boisterous, sinful lifestyle. Thankfully, no matter how sinful and broken we are, no person is beyond the grace of God. I am humbled to realize how God used my life to bring Shawn to Himself, and I tremble to think that my witness to Shawn could have been adversely affected, if I had not chosen to live for the Lord, and if I had succumbed to the temptations around me.

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