Introduction: Matthew Mingus

(Matthew Mingus) #1

Hi everyone,
My name is Matthew. I am 31 years old and am currently a college student in Bowling Green, OH. While I have grown up with a Christian family and spent many years knowing of Christ and having knowledge of the Bible, it is only within the more recent years of my life that I have truly learned what it means to live a life for Him. I have been in the military since 2005, and spent quite a lot of time not at all concerned for what God had in mind for me. Following my first tour of duty as an infantryman in Iraq, I simply withdrew further and further from Him. As my life spiraled into alcoholism, and the many other destructive attitudes and practices that come from such addictions, I became less and less aware that God still was not abandoning me, even though I had abandoned Him. When I came home I was not the same person who had left. I continued to drink, smoke, and live in a way that showed little hope of changing. Through all this, I met the woman who I would eventually marry.
We got married on August 21st of 2011. Then on January 17th of 2012, our daughter was born. Now anyone with an early grade education in math will probably be able to tell you that we were not living in an approved way before we were married. We still had a lot to learn, but in this time we had begun to acknowledge together that we needed a change in our lives.
Well, eight hours after our daughter was born that day in January, she passed away in our arms. No words can truly describe that day, I will not attempt to conjure any together. Suffice it to say that a part of us died with our daughter that day, and we were changed forever.
For the next few years, our lives were turbulent. At some of the worst points, I was on the brink of destroying our marriage. Through it all, I felt something pulling at me. I just felt as if there was some part of me that I had forgotten years ago trying to get my attention. One day the decision came to me…I needed to change. Something had always resonated with me that my pastor had said: “Good and evil are always at war with each other inside of us, and the side you feed will grow, but the side you starve will die.” So, I decided that I needed to feed the side I truly wanted to live with.
I began listening to the Christian radio station on my drive to school. I heard many different pastors give many different types of messages. Then one day, I turned on the radio and heard a voice that instantly struck me, not just because it was familiar, but because I immediately knew who it was. My father had listened to him and I had always listened along with him as I grew up. It was Ravi Zacharias.
Needless to say, I began exploring Ravi’s ministry and listening to his talks. I looked for everything I could find from his ministry and have spent the last two years learning from the speakers at RZIM. Through them, the Holy Spirit has changed my life in ways I thought impossible. I look back on who I was 5 years ago, 10 years ago, and so on…I do not know who I am looking at when I do. To say that God can change us is an understatement…God takes us and makes us a whole new person when we let Him. I have a long way to go, but I have the confidence that I am now walking that long path in the right direction. Even though I fall, even though the past sometimes haunts me, despite all that I have seen in my life…I now feel as if I truly have begun to live.
C.S. Lewis said that “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” It took me a long time to realize just how deaf I had become. But through everything, God was not giving up on me, and at just the right time, He sent the ministry of RZIM into my life. I thank God for all that He has done for me and I am very glad to now be discovering this community. I look forward to all that He may bring about from this and I look forward to meeting new people and to growing and continuing to further serve Him together. God bless you all and thank you for bearing through my lengthier than intended introduction.

Matthew Mingus

Introduction: Jen
(Warner Joseph Miller) #2

Brother…firstly, I bless God for you and your family AND I thank you for stepping into this Connect community with such grace, empathy, maturity and candidness. I would wager that each one of us has a story – mistakes, glories, successes and loss – here and throughout the greater Body. Lesser though are those who are ready and open enough to share and let pain teach, encourage and even bless others. I don’t take it lightly what you’ve shared and, again, I appreciate you, bro. Additionally, Ravi Zacharias and the ministry God has given him has blessed many here, as well…yours truly, to be sure!

I just happened to come upon an answer you gave to the thread on wearing the cross, and I was so struck and impressed with not just the content of your response but also the maturity, understanding, grace and scriptural faithfulness of your response Well done, bro! Truly. Much love and much respect.

Again, I’m already grateful for you being here and hope sincerely that Connect be a blessing to you. So, without any further rambling from me…WELCOME TO CONNECT, MY BROTHER!!!

PS - I’m warner :slight_smile:

(Matthew Mingus) #3

Warner…Thank you so much for your response. It means a lot to be welcomed to this community and I am so grateful to God for all the blessings and resources He has brought into my life to get me back in line with His will. I am amazed every day at the faithfulness God has had for me. I am reminded of Psalms 8:3-4, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?” I see all that He can do and then see how much patience and care He has given me in my life and it is incomprehensible at times.
He has been truly mindful of me in the best times and the worst, even though I was not as mindful of Him. I am eternally grateful to Him and I am excited to explore this community and to get to know you all and continue to grow in Him with you. Thanks again Warner and I look forward to speaking with you again soon.

Matthew Mingus

(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #4

Hello, Matthew (@mmingus36). To see how God has been faithful in your life is encouraging. I could testify about God’s change the same way. Though I still am struggling in fighting against sin, I have changed a lot and is victorious over some of the sins that has always defeated me before. I could see progress in sanctification. I hope this encourages you as well in living to what we have already attained in Christ. Welcome to Connect! I’m happy to have you here. :slight_smile:

(Matthew Mingus) #5

Hello, Omar. Thank you for the time and thoughtfulness that you put into what you said. The fight against sin is a truly difficult one. The enemy knows just how to tempt us, he is dangerous and ruthless. I have by no means become perfect through these years. I still make mistakes. The fight against sin will not truly be over until the return of Jesus Christ and we must keep each other strong in the fight against it until that time. One day all sin will be defeated and we will be victorious in Christ forevermore. Stay strong my friend and God bless you. Thank you again for your time and thoughtfulness and I am grateful to have heard from you and look forward to hearing from you again soon.

Matthew Mingus

(Jules) #6

Praise God, Matthew! What an amazing testemony of Jesus’ promise to always find His lost sheep. Your are loved!
And from one of the greatest pains in your life of losing your daughter, May the Lord guide you and your wife into the Ministry God calls you to endeavor in; from our deepest pains God can bring about healing onto others. :pray: , peace and blessings.

(Ken Rose) #7

Aloha Matthew,

Welcome my brother to RZIM connect! I read your introduction with great interest. I praise God that He knows us better than we know ourselves. He is the Father that sits at the gate, always watching for us (Luke 15:11-31). He is the Good Shepard, always seeking us (John 10:11). He is in us, giving us hope and the power to always persevere (Romans 15:13).

I share a kinship with you being an Army vet. I entered the Army in 1988, traveled many places ‘at government expense’, had one tour in Afghanistan, and retired in 2012. Spent last several years in Hawaii (hence the ‘aloha’) and recently moved back to the mainland to Montana

I’m so very sorry for your loss. Any words I may have are feeble, other than I’m so very sorry. Reading your introduction and quoting from C.S. Lewis related to me that you discovered that God is Greater than this world. Greater than pain this life can inflict. RZIM Connect is a wonderful community to celebrate His greatness, share our stories, and learn together.

Welcome to the ohana (Hawaiian for family), I look forward to hearing from you again. God Bless!


(Matthew Mingus) #8

Aloha Ken,
I thank you for your kind and encouraging words and I am very glad to meet you. We may just have more in common than you know. It just so happens that my service time was spent in the 2-35th Infantry Division(Cacti) out at Schofield Barracks, HI. It was quite an experience living there that I am always glad to have gone through (for more than just the obvious reasons). I never got to Afghanistan, but the Army graciously paid for both of my extended vacations in sunny Iraq.
I thank you for your sympathy and completely agree with you. It has been a true comfort to me to see just how big and how faithful God is, even when we are not as faithful to Him. I know where my little girl is and have been very comforted in that knowledge. A part of that story I did not mention is that my father passed away only a few months before she did. I remember sitting in the hospital with him the last time we spoke and I was telling him how his granddaughter was growing well and would be born the next year. In the time after he passed away I remember thinking how I was sorry to feel that he would not be here to see her. But now I look back on that time and I realize that my dad is seeing his granddaughter more than I yet have, and it puts a smile on my face to think of that.
I have learned a lot about suffering through those times, but I realize that through all the pain God has given me a perspective to help others. He works in ways that we cannot even comprehend, and can give purpose to any tragedy.
I thank you again for your kind words and I look forward to talking with you and growing with you. God Bless you Ken and thank you

(Ken Rose) #9

Greetings Matthew,

I loved how you put it, “…the Army graciously paid for both of my extended vacations in sunny Iraq.” That had me rolling! Again, respect to you and others that did multiple tours. Praise God you are home safe. May His grace keep all those that did not make it home.

Appreciate you sharing more of your background. I’m again sorry for the double-blow life dealt to you and your family. Praise be to God how He saw you through that difficult time. I believe God has an important purpose, a role to play in sharing His Gospel. You have seen and been through a lot. Often, it is testimonies like yours needed to reach certain people. God did not leave you, and you can witness to others He will not leave them in their times of sorrow. I believe you have important work ahead of you my brother! God Bless!


(Pat Finley) #10

Wow, I’m sorry for your loss. Give everything to God.

(Lorna Abwonji) #11

Thank you so much @mmingus36 for sharing your amazing story of how God has worked in your life and that of your family.
He is truly Amazing

(Kathleen) #12

@mmingus36! Reading your extended story just now, and I am so deeply moved by it all. It sheds light on so many different angles of our earlier conversation about pain and offence. It makes me marvel even more at your response that you’ve never felt “bashed about” by God! Again, thank you so much for letting us in on your journey. Looking forward to more conversations!