I grew up an orphan, and God took away my loneliness.

When his son was ill, Mark went searching for God. The Bible began to make sense, and he found real answers - that Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life." As Mark discovered Jesus, God's love began to heal him from the pain of losing his parents. "God took away my loneliness and the constant despair that I would never have a father."

Video Transcription

Hello, I'm Mark. My full name is Mark Anthony Molina. I came to Oregon for the first time in 1985. I was active duty U.S. Army. I came here to visit and I had never seen a place as beautiful as Oregon. It was at that time I decided I wanted to live the rest of my life here. My spiritual journey began in Germany itself. Several soldiers in our unit had been going to a local church and began to experience the conversion to Christ and began to share that. I began to experience this drawing towards the knowledge of God and so I ended up in 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, New York, upstate New York. I had a child that was born very ill and so I woke up on a Saturday morning.

He was in the hospital. I walked to the corner church and I'm sitting in the church and I'm praying and all of a sudden I'm aware that I'm talking to God. I'm in this exchange with him. Scripture started coming to life that I had never read or heard of before. All of a sudden I heard the scripture for the first time. Jesus said, I'm the way, the truth, and the life and no man comes into the Father but by me. And I was like, where is this coming from? But I knew it was coming from God. I went home and I started looking in the phone book. It was since it was a Saturday. No one was answering the phone except this one pastor and he took the call and I shared with him my struggle.

He said, no Mark, you call me today because the Holy Spirit had you call me today. He says, it's the Spirit of God that is drawing you to himself. And he asked me if I was ready to accept Jesus and I said, no. I didn't understand what that meant growing up in a highly liturgical church. I had this intellectual knowledge of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. So surely I had to be saved because I accepted who they were. And so I didn't think I really needed to do that at that point. So after I spoke with the Christian pastor and then I spoke with the Catholic priest, I knew there was a difference in what was real and what wasn't.

I knew there was a difference in what was really life. The Christian pastor was able to give me solid references to who God was. Real truth, real life changing, Spirit moving truth about the Holy Spirit himself. And so I spent the whole night up praying. I was just aware there was this magnificent spiritual struggle that meant something that I could not put into words. But I did accept Christ on the phone when I called him back. Why? Because I was dealing with something that was very real, that was very spiritual, and the only one that was going to be able to protect me was Jesus himself. Being orphaned young, my father died when I was seven, my mother drowned when I was ten, I always felt lost and alone.

I went through a discipleship program with the pastor that led me to Christ. And one of the scriptures was where Jesus said, Behold, I stand at the door and knock. And if any man lets me in, I will come in and sit with him, and he will sit with me, and I will dine with him. And I remember the first time I read that, this overwhelming, emotion that welled up within me because I had wanted my father so bad. And I said, God, you want to sit with me? You want to be at my table? It meant something to me because in our home when my parents were alive, as a big Catholic family, Hispanic family, everything happened at the table. So that ignited this awareness that God wanted to be at the table with me.

And but he, more importantly, he wanted me at the table with him. It took away that loneliness, it took away that sense of constant despair and depression that I would never have a father. I found comfort in the scripture, and I found comfort in prayer, and I found comfort knowing that God was going to be there to guide me no matter what I was coming out of, and he wasn't going to reject me. There is a loving God. There is a God that wants to have a relationship with us. There is a God that says, Come to me just as you are.