Joel J - Albany, OR

Hello my name is Joel. I was born in 1979 in Troy, Idaho.  From there we moved to Columbia, Missouri and lived there for eleven years.  I grew up in a good Christian home and I even attended a Christian school for a time.  I have an older brother and three younger sisters.  Growing up I often felt like I had to do things to even be noticed.  Struggling with these feelings for more attention I began to assume that no one really ever noticed me or at times cared that I even existed.  I had a very low self-esteem even as a child.

In my early years I was introduced to soft-core pornography through advertisements coming in the mail and newspapers.  Soon, my flesh picked up on how exciting those images made me feel.  It was heady and it became addictive.  Those images mixed with my thought life started to bring comfort to me.  I could quickly escape the thoughts of nobody caring and slip into the dark part of my mind, becoming that boy I thought I should be.  I could pretend I was being loved, accepted and cared for in ways that I thought my family wasn’t.  This was the real beginning of a life of absolute double mindedness.  Here I was in solid Christian surroundings and yet lusty carnality was ruling my thought life.  The more I fed this appetite the more it seemed to control my choices and soon it was like a beast within.  The “beast” became the way I referred to as my sexual bondage.  I was slowly acting out the images I was fixated upon, turning my fantasies and desires into reality.  My thought life got darker and darker as I walked the path of sexual addiction.  Sin is progressive and this addiction was progressive, always calling me to go a little bit further to achieve the same high.  I was disillusioned about real relationships and a bit twisted in all my thinking as to how I felt toward others.  The choices I made called me to cross major boundaries held by most and I started to hurt people deeply through inappropriate sexual behavior.  I never thought of the damage that I was causing or how I was affecting these people for the rest of their lives.  It was very self-centered and selfish.  Boundaries were broken and limits were crossed and I could feel myself heading deeper into the abyss of destructive and life threatening behavior.  There were times that I would see more clearly and in those moments I was becoming very scared of what I was thinking about.  I realized that I had to stop before I did something that could never be undone.

God was calling for a major intervention and it came through my pastor who I told what I had been doing for the past few years. That led to my incarceration in the juvenile system for the next six years.  Throughout my time spent incarcerated I participated in numerous treatment programs.  I had thought that after six years of treatment I would be cured.  Soon after being released I allowed myself to fall back into old behaviors.  It started by watching sensual “R” rated movies and then slowly progressing into pornography.  I was hooked again.  I was getting a taste of all the world’s sexual wickedness and acting upon impulse left and right.  Satan had a control on my life and all he could do was laugh at every step I was taking to my death.

During this time I was still seeking out truth but in all the wrong ways.  I was living two separate lives and the wickedness was over taking the good.  I never cared about anyone but myself at the time.  Things in my life continued to go down hill.  I started to smoke weed and go to bars to get drunk.  I thought that these new vices would fulfill my wants and desires but I was deceived there too.  When I sobered up I only found more bondage, more oppression, and more cravings of all kinds.  I wasn’t finding any freedom.  I was becoming a walking skeleton.  I constantly thought of taking my own life or running further away, but I knew that would do no good.

I needed a divine intervention that would take hold of my life forever.  It happened when I visited a friend and her newborn baby in the hospital.  In the corner of her room was a man that would give me direction and hope.  We began to talk and I instantly felt a connection that was real and genuine.  I felt I could say whatever I wanted and there would be no judgment.  I felt love for the first time in a long time and this love was pure as snow.  He told me some of his testimony and I ate it up.  Then he asked me how serious I was about changing.  I told him I would do whatever it would take.  He told me about a place called Freedom House.  All I heard was the word “Freedom” and I was instantly hooked.  However, it took me another seven months to check into Freedom House.

Now that I am here I am being challenged every day.  I don’t always like the challenges but I know they are building character in areas that I had forgotten were even there.  I’m learning how to lean on God and how to prepare for what He has called me to be.  As I move forward in my new journey with the Lord I want to do his will in all things.  I no longer want to run from what He has called me to become but to embrace it with fervency.

I want to thank my parents for all their patience and love.  I want to thank Mr. Kelly for directing me to Freedom House and for everyone who shows us His love and grace.  I also want to thank all of you who support Freedom House and make it possible for me to find “Freedom” in Christ!


                                                                                                                                 Blessed to Be Free!   Joel J
Joel successfully completed his one-year commitment to
Freedom House Ministries Program
on July 25, 2008 becoming Graduate #8
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