Written By Alex W.
Throughout my life I have experienced many miraculous moments. The first time I gave my life to Christ, was at Church of the Ascension. I was seventeen years old and did not fully understand His will, or the path he had designed for me. After dedicating my life to Christ, I somehow thought or had the misconception that life would be easier. I had no idea that the path before me would refine me as a man or that God would call me closer to him through good and bad times. After befriending the church and Joe Passantino, my life would never be the same.
The stories of my past are all too grim and lonely, but Church of the Ascension was always there to hear me out and lend a helping hand. I truly believe that God placed the Youth Ministers in my life. After the 2011 Joplin tornado tore the roof off over my head, I recall being asked if I believed God had a bigger plan for me; if there may be a greater purpose for my life. At that point I truly thought that coincidence was the only reason for my survival.
Years later after much time spent ignoring God’s whisper, I found myself engulfed in a life of substance abuse and homelessness. No matter how far I strayed I could always call on the Youth Ministers at Ascension to pick me back up with help in regards to work and food, always with a listening ear.
After 13 years of relying on myself and ignoring the still small voice of God, I found myself alone, empty and without hope. At 28 years of age I started frequenting jail. I did not expect to spend 23 of the next 36 months behind bars. It was at this time I was inclined to pick up a Bible and began to read. As I found comfort and light in the word of God, I was also very fortunate to have Joe, Gaby and multiple young adults sending me encouraging letters while I was incarcerated. William O’Leary sent me several books that changed my life.
Church of the Ascension has truly been a home for me in so many ways. I am now 31 years old and am blessed to say I have read the Bible many times through. I know life will not always be easy, but I know what it means to truly give my life to Christ and to trust in God’s path for me. He has refined me in to a better man, father, and child of God.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
Upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone.” —Isaiah 9:1
For over a decade, Alex W. has participated in various groups and ministries at Church of the Ascension, where he sometimes attends Mass. Though not Catholic nor technically a member of Ascension, he describes our Parish as his spiritual home. Our Parish community is blessed to continue journeying with Alex.