Pastor Mike’s Testimony
I (Mike) was born and raised in Battle Creek, Michigan – often referred to as “The Cereal City” since both the Kellogg & Post cereal companies began there, and we also had a Ralston-Purina plant as well. Growing up I had two main interests: sports and church. Unfortunately, the church I attended didn’t use the Bible except for a brief weekly reading from the “thin” pulpit. So although I went to church for 14 years, I had no knowledge of the way to get to heaven. I figured if I was nice to people, went to church & didn’t “rob a bank” that I’d make it. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Thankfully, God in His mercy was not finished with me yet. I went off to Eastern Michigan University to major in Physical Education and run on their cross-country & track teams. Meanwhile little did I know that God was pursuing me-and in a most unexpected way. Three of my teammates invited me up to their dorm room one night and asked me, “Mike, if you died tonight do you know you’d go to heaven?” I definitely wasn’t used to a question like that! They then proceeded to explain God’s way of salvation. End result: That night in room #428 of Phelps Hall at EMU I confessed to God that I was a sinner, repented of my sins, and asked Jesus Christ to come into my life, wash me from my sins under His blood and be my Lord and Savior – and He did!
The next couple of years were a time of intense spiritual growth under the tutelage of Bible study leader Bill Tipton, a world class high hurdler (above) whom God used to reach many of us on the track, cross-country and swim teams with the gospel of Christ while at EMU. Sitting under the ministry of Dr. Bob Shelton for two summers while I worked at GMC Truck & Coach Division, in Pontiac, Michigan was also of great spiritual benefit.
After two years at Eastern Michigan University I transferred to Bob Jones University, in order to obtain Bible training and my undergraduate degree (I would later add an M. Min. degree in 1999). Following graduation, Bible Baptist Church in Madison, Ohio-yes this same Bible Baptist-called me as their first full-time youth pastor in 1975. For the next eight years I had the privilege of growing and serving under the tutelage of a gracious Christian gentleman, Pastor Roland Globig.
Meanwhile a year after coming to Madison, the best thing that has ever happened to me apart from salvation occurred: I married Debbie Boles, the godly young lady I had met at college. She has walked beside me as my loving wife every step of the way for the past 43 years. How I thank God for her and for the Lord bringing her into my life! Born in Panama City, Florida, at the age of thirteen Debbie trusted Christ as her Lord & Savior through the ministry of another man of God, Dr .Hugh Pyle.
In January of 1985, ten years after coming to Madison, our little family of five (at the time) boarded a plane at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to began our foreign mission journey as we left for Papua New Guinea. The next nineteen years were filled with God’s goodness and a multitude of precious memories which we made in that wonderful place called “Paradise” & “The Land of the Unexpected“. How we thank God for the many dear Papua New Guinean friends that He gave to all seven (by then) members of our family, and who still hold a very special place in all of our hearts!
After leaving PNG in January of 2004, God led us to an island country in the West Indies named St. Vincent & the Grenadines where we served Christ from 2005-2013. It was a privilege to preach and teach His Word in a variety of locations and ministries there throughout those eight years. We thank the Lord for the friends he gave us there as well, who are scattered throughout the Caribbean region today.
Over the years God blessed us with five dear children, all of whom, along with three spouses, are precious to us beyond measure. We also thoroughly enjoy seven sweet grandkids who have wrapped themselves around our hearts. As a friend once commented, “Grandparenting is all it’s cracked up to be!”
Now, in the amazing providence of God we rejoice that He has allowed us to return to the place where we began so many years ago-Madison, Ohio. It’s truly a privilege to be the pastor to a dear group of people here at Bible Baptist Church! I would consider it a privilege to be your pastor too, should the Lord so lead. Regardless, you’re always welcome and I do hope you’ll favor us with a visit sometime soon.