GOD CHOSE ME
I’m Damian Mitchell. I’m a faithful follower of the Lord. I’ve been born again, through miracles of God and I live on 45 acres. We have horses and ponies and there’s deer that come through the yard every day; there’s wild turkeys all over. I wish I could show you, but I have created a huge garden here. It’s my little slice of Paradise of the 45 acres that are part of an 800 acre plot that’s called Eden Valley. So I live in Eden.
I grew up in Rhode Island, a family of four kids and great parents, great family. We weren’t extremely wealthy, but we did very well. My parents were Catholic, I had a grandfather who was very into the Lord and we were exposed to it as kids, but I soon rejected it. As a child, I found my grandfather was kind of an abusive man, and under the guise of God and religion, and so it really cemented that beginning rebellion against religion. If this is what you say that God’s all about, then I don’t want to have anything to do with that. This, all I say is in context to where I am now. It’s important to know that I went to doctors, starting as a young kid, for dyslexia, for hyperactivity, for ADHD and all of those things kind of put me outside of what I felt was a normal child or a normal childhood.
I suffered through anxiety, depression, all my life. I had a couple of bouts with attempted suicides as a young child. So when I got into the drugs and alcohol that made all of those voices, that I’m less than, that I’m no good, that I’m not worthy…It quelled those. But, you know, as we know, it’s, it’s not making them go away, it’s not solving a problem it’s just creating more problems. So suicide attempts, as a young child is very uncommon, but as I got older, into my teen years, into my early 20s, I had more attempts at that. I’m what they call a cutter. I have scars all over my chest and my arms from cutting. Which, I know now is a way to relieve the pain that I was feeling as being myself, you know. I spent six months in maximum security prison for drug offenses and it was awful, and it just fueled my depression, my anxiety even more. So, you know, I went through life like that. What’s important to know is that what I know now, God was there with me, many, many times. He allowed me to stumble, He allowed me to fall. But He always grabbed my collar and pulled me back before I went completely off the cliff and would have died. I see that now. I didn’t see that then.
To speed through all of this, I came to a point where I had had my car repossessed, my girlfriend of eight years, was raped and brutally beaten for five hours, went into a psychosis and to this day has never come out of it. She had two children, very young, that we were raising. So not only did I lose her, I lost the children. I was very suicidal and I was at the point of one of my suicidal ideations where I had a plan, I was getting ready to do this. Some of my friends from AA one night said, “You got to come to the movies with us tonight. Get out of the house, get yourself around people.” So we went to see the movie Heaven is for Real. Being an “atheist” that I thought I was, or a pagan, I figured, you know, “Heaven is for Real,” I’m not gonna like this movie, but I’ll go.
Somewhere during the movie, I found that I was very interested in it. It’s a true story about a young kid who walks with Jesus. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend that you see it. God spoke to me, and I didn’t hear a vocal word, but He spoke to me and He placed in my heart an insatiable desire to find Him. At the end of the movie, my friends said, “What do you think?” All I could say was it changed my life. And really, a couple of them said, “Well, what do you mean? How did it change your life?” And I said, “I don’t know. I just know it did.” The only way I can prove that now is by looking back because from that point on I started following God.
So that was a Saturday night. The next Friday, we were out at a restaurant and I guess for many years of going to loud concerts, I don’t hear very well. Some of you that are older, like me, remember Charlie Brown’s teacher, who just, her voice was, “Wah wah, wah wah wah.” That’s mostly what I hear when I’m in a crowded place and people are speaking. I don’t hear the actual words. But there was a couple of guys sitting at a booth across from us and I could hear them and they, one of them, he was reading the Bible with this other guy. The Holy Spirit just said to me, “You got to talk to these people, you got to talk to these guys.” And I did. I followed them out. I told them briefly where I was; I was suicidal, that, you know, I’d seen this movie and I had just an unexplained desire to find God. So the one gentleman, Keith, he sent me to his church, where, at the time, they were having Saturday night services.
So the following Saturday night, I went to the church. I went in and a couple of the guys – who are still part of my journey with God – they could tell, I guess I looked like the proverbial deer in the headlights, where I was scared to death and that. They came over and were talking to me. All I remember is crying a lot and feeling the emotion and feeling…but not wanting to leave. Where in the past, I would have just gone, ‘No, I can’t do this,’ or I wouldn’t have gone. They prayed over me and kind of set me on my course with finding God. So I went, every Saturday, I started going to the church. I remember a couple of times hearing them talk about miraculous healing and people’s stories of, you know, going from poverty into a good life and thinking, Well, that’s good for them, but I know it won’t happen for me. God, you know, what I know now is He placed the Holy Spirit in me and the Holy Spirit was talking to me, and telling me, “You need to pay attention to this.”
I’m going to jump back and forth a little bit here. But when I was really new at the church, one of my clients, she was one of my first clients who had been a client for 10 or 12 years of mine for pet sitting. She said to me, ‘you know, without a car it was gonna be hard for me to get to her house to go pet sit.’ She said, “Well, I could probably lend you, open up an open ended lending you three or $4,000 to buy a car.” So I kind of looked around, and I don’t know about where you live, but in California three or $4,000 doesn’t get you much of a car that, you know, wouldn’t have been more of a problem. So I was sitting in my bed, I just thought – Her name is Bobby, her husband is Warren, Bobby and Warren. – I just had this thought clear as day, they’re going to lease a Volkswagen Jetta for me and I’ll be responsible for making the payments and paying the insurance and it’s going to be bright red. The next day she called me and she said, “I was speaking with Warren last night. We’ve gone and rented you a Volkswagen Jetta. All you need to do is go down to the dealership and get it. You make the payments and all that.” She hadn’t said anything about that prior, didn’t even hint of it. But it came to me clear as day when I walked out into the parking lot with the salesman, he pointed out a bright red Volkswagen Jetta, which I drove for three years, made the payments on and all that. So I didn’t know at the time, but that was the Holy Spirit telling me this is what’s going to happen.
Going back to the girlfriend that I told you about. She was a Christian. She used to read the Bible to me. I remember distinctly saying to her one night, “You know, God would have to come down and tap me on the shoulder and say, “Here I am.” in order for me to believe and He actually did that. I’m maybe like the people from Missouri, the “Show me” state. I’m the type that you need to show me. One of the gentlemen that I originally met was named Sonny. He told me I needed to go to our men’s conference. For context, our men’s conference is a weekend where a bunch of men get together, we do manly things, we sweat a lot, we carry heavy things, but we also have services and meals and we get to know the people on our teams. So I went to the conference and it was uncomfortable. I admit I wasn’t comfortable around men, many reasons maybe from my past that I’m not really clear with, but a couple of younger guys were talking to me. I could tell that these guys, when they were talking to me and when they were listening to me, they genuinely cared about what I was saying and how I was feeling. One of them said to me, “You know on Saturday, the last day of the men’s conference, they do water baptisms.” And then he said, “You should get baptized.” I was like, “Oh, no, no, no, that’s okay. You know, maybe another time, but I’m not going to do it now.” And, you know, they didn’t push it. They just said, “Okay. It’s a good thing, but you know, when you’re ready.”
So at the Saturday morning service, the Holy Spirit came over me immensely. I started praying, started speaking in tongues, which I had never done before. I was raising my hands, which I had never felt comfortable doing before. And I had a desire to get water baptized. So I went to this guy, Daniel, great friend of mine to this day, and said, “I’m going to get baptized.” and his face lit up. He said, “Okay, great!” So we had a pool there and I got in with Daniel and this other gentleman, Tobias, and had a water baptism. I didn’t come up with a big light, and you know, the angels singing or anything, I didn’t hear any of that. But from that moment, all of my anxiety, my depression, my fears, were instantaneously removed. I was instantaneously, as we say, born again! I was completely a different person. To this day, I have not had one moment of depression, anxiety, and I’ve stopped all the medicines that I was taking. The doctors that I had been seeing for a while kept calling, saying, you know, “You’re out of meds. What’s going on?” And one of them, I told them that I found the Lord and she happened to be Christian. She said, “Praise God. It’s a miracle.” The miraculous healing was amazing, but also, I truly had seen, again, God came and He didn’t say, read it in the Bible and figure it out for yourself, He showed me. This is absolutely possible through Me. I have miraculously healed you and I’m never letting you go back to the way you were. So my belief just flourished from that point.
When I heard people get on the stage at church and talk about having a miraculous healing from cancers or whatever the illness was, I no longer doubted that. I know in my heart, because it happened to me, that God is a healer and that He’s a God of love and miracles. And that miracle happened for me. So my journey through from that point on was, it was about me, but it was more about, how can I become more of a disciple for God. How can I, how can I serve God more? God chose me. He grabbed me that day at the theater, and He said, I’ve protected you over these years. I’ve waited for you to come to Me. I’m coming to you today. And I feel honored and blessed that He chose me.