“I had suddenly been transformed from a homeless dying man to a living minister of the gospel”
Joseph Taylor has terrifying memories of his stepfather; he recalls him not as a loving parent but rather as a monster.
At age seven, Joseph’s stepfather gave him his first drink- Seagram’s Seven and Seven Up. Introducing his family to alcohol wasn’t the only evil perpetrated by Joseph’s stepfather. Joseph said he also ended up making seven visits to the emergency room as a result of his stepfather’s sexual and physical abuse..
The abuse didn’t stop with Joseph. Joseph said he woke up one night to the sound of his half-sister’s blood chilling screams.
Joseph said, “When I got to her room my stepfather seemed to be leaning over her, but his pajama bottoms were not where they where supposed to be. I jumped on his back hitting, scratching, biting and screaming for him to get off of her. He threw me against the wall and told me to leave. I told him to leave her alone and come to me. He did.”
Tragically, Joseph received no comfort from his mother. When he told her what was going on she denied everything. She said her husband was comforting the little girl because she’d had a nightmare.
Joseph told his mother to no avail, “I tried to explain that he was doing the same to me and he was my nightmare. She sent me away, denying that he would do such things.”
By the time he was nine, Joseph said he, his mother and siblings had all “bled at the hand of this man.” Even thought he, his brothers and sisters ran away several times to their neighbors in a desperate attempt to get help, it was all to no avail. His parents found the unhappy and terrified children, retrieving them, Joseph said, “just like nothing had happened.”
Joseph was so desperate for help that he devised what he thought was an ingenious plan to kill his stepfather. He that his stepfather smoked a nightly cigarette after the show “Rat Patrol,” and then lay down in bed.
“I took my mother’s curling iron,” Joseph said, “and put it between the waterbed liner and mattress while he smoked, thinking it would melt the plastic and electrocute him like the toaster in the bathtub I had seen on (a) TV (show). Unfortunately, all that happened was when the water hit the curling iron it shorted out and threw the breaker off. I was left with a livid and soaking wet stepfather who took his vengeance out on me.”
While Joseph ended up in the emergency room as a result of his stepfather’s anger and rage, he said the visit was to be his last. The nurse recognized Joseph, and managed to pry the truth out of him about his injuries. As a result, his stepfather was committed to the veteran’s psychiatric ward.
Joseph said he was evaluated for about four years by a “barrage of counselors and psychiatrists,” who ultimately decided that he was not a danger to others.
Along the way, Joseph said, someone told him that they were trying to help him out of concern that if he could devise such a plan at the tender age of nine years old, what might he end up being capable of as an adult?
Meanwhile, Joseph said, “I was combating depression and given drugs for my Attention Deficit Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that just turned me into a drooling zombie.”
Joseph said his uncle’s attempt to help introduced him to a whole new world – opium.
He said, “My first hit off of an opium pipe was better than any drug the docs had prescribed. I left this world, and found a euphoric place I had never been. Then the addiction set in; I always wanted to be there. I had already grown to hate my life and who I was … and I did not want to come back to reality.”
By the time he was 16, Joseph was living in an apartment going to school full time, working part time for a filling station as well as being a self – described drug dealer.
That last occupation, he said, meant he could “make ends meet and have all the stuff I desired now that I was in charge of my own world. I was hiding my opium habit from everyone, or so I thought.”
Joseph said by the time he was 18 he had to flee California. There was a good reason for that, he said. “Before I was held accountable for all the wrongs that came from being a dealer. I moved to a very small town in Montana to manage a gas station and work at a sawmill. I thought I would leave that life behind and just live simply.”
However, that was not to be, Joseph said, adding, “No matter where you go; there you are.”
As a result, Joseph said, he began dealing again and added shooting pool. He found pool provided an even more lucrative income than dealing drugs.
He said, “I extorted several thousand dollars a month playing … (However), one night two men caught me in the alley on my way home and wanted their money back that I had won in the pool hall. They pulled out their buck knifes … ”
Fortunately, Joseph said, the Marshall arts training his uncle had taught him in an attempt to build his self esteem kicked in. However, there was an emotional price to pay, Joseph said, and that included fleeing Montana.
He said, “I did not want to face the fact that I had hospitalized two grown men and devastated their families.”
On the move again, Joseph said he hitched back to California with a state senator’s son. Joseph said the two of them ended up getting arrested, as the last ride they hitched was in Nevada with a young couple driving a car that had apparently been stolen from their neighbors.
When Joseph finally made it out of jail a few days later, he found that his uncle had passed on and his mother did not want him around because she was still with his abusive stepfather.
Now 19, Joseph said he was penniless and homeless. He said, “I remember thinking I was in a terrible dream and would wake up happily ever after any moment. I think they call that delusional.”
Joseph said he began dealing again, as well as moving in and out of jobs in the electronics industry. His lack of stability was caused by his drug dealing, Joseph said. “If you stay put you get caught.”
He added that while he was doing well in the electronics field, he was making five times more money selling drugs to the employees. He said, “Word traveled fast, and once again I had to leave before I got caught.”
Joseph said, “Between the age of 21 and 40, I had lost three beautiful wives and children and four legitimate business because the pull of the opium addiction was stronger than reality.”
After Joseph’s third divorce he became depressed, lost and homeless in the streets of Olympia Washington. He spent four years spiraling so far down he called some local dumpsters home. He had also been thrown out of every homeless facility in the county.
Worse was still to come. One day Joseph said he woke up in the hospital. After a four day rest and some tests, doctors told him that he had cancer and would survive a year at most. Every day he woke up, Joseph said, he wondered if that day would be his last.
Unable to face any more of “life,” Joseph said he decided it was time to put an end to the daily misery he was experiencing. With that in mind, he tried to commit suicide. However, he failed.
Joseph said, “I couldn’t do anything right. I believed my stepfather now, as he had told me I was nothing and would never be anything but a failure.”
However, the Lord had something wonderful in store for Joseph. He would, quite literally, restore the years that the locusts had eaten.
One day while speaking to a friend’s mother on the phone he had never met in person, she invited him to what Joseph said she described as a “fellowship.”
Joseph said he half heartedly agreed to attend and hung up the phone. About ten minutes later, his friend’s mother was outside with the passenger door of her car open ready for him to go.
Joseph said with great hesitation he got into the car and went to the meeting. He said he had been so isolated from people he was afraid that this meeting might well “do me in.”
However, a wonderful surprise was in store. He said, “As I started to listen to all the different stories and found a piece of my life in each of them, I was suddenly no longer alone and never wanted to be alone again. Within a few days of that meeting, I was serving others helping them to do what they thought was impossible in there lives.”
But something was still missing in Joseph’s life. A few weeks went by and the second Sunday of November 2003, Joseph said he found himself wandering around the streets of Olympia in tears. He ended up on the steps of a mission he had been banned from for life, and was invited in by volunteers.
Joseph said the volunteers, now his new found friends, expressed genuine concern for him. They read John 3: 16 to him, and said the Bible was his to keep.
“A Bible?” Joseph said. He added, “I had rebelled against Christ all my life. As a child I knew if there was a God He would not have let my family suffer so. I was actually kicked out of that mission for life because I would constantly disrupt the message denying Christ, saying He was no more than a fairytale like the old woman in the shoe.”
Joseph said the volunteers continued to comfort him and invited him to visit church. At first, Joseph said, he declined, telling them that his astrological paraphernalia was enough, and that the world was his church. One volunteer then asked Joseph how those things had helped him
Joseph said, though, “He told me I could take (all this stuff) with me, because Jesus said to ‘come as you are.’ These guys just wouldn’t let up, so I reluctantly agreed to go. On the way to church they continued to ask about my life, and we even stopped to feed their horses before we got there.”
A New Birth
Arriving at the church, Joseph was about to experience something wonderful. He said, “As I walked through the doors of that church, all heaven broke loose My hands went into the air, and I started singing songs I had never heard before. God grabbed me with both hands, and was not letting go. I was in a kind of daze. I then found myself at the altar tearfully asking Jesus to save me from this life I had made for myself. And in many ways He did just that. I gave my life to Him, and He gave me something I had been missing all along.”
Joseph added, “I was on fire. I knew I was no longer the man that walked through those doors. I truly had a new life.”
While attending a prayer meeting the next night, the Lord continued to minister to Joseph. He said, “God showed me how He was always there, starting as a small child protecting me even though I denied Him. I now saw the pain and shame in my life was the enemy doing everything he could to keep this day from coming.”
Joseph had found what he, and every person who doesn’t know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, is looking for. He started reading the Bible daily, and completed it in two months. Right away, Joseph said, he began volunteering at the mission and sharing the gospel on the streets.
He said, “I would walk up and down the streets of Olympia praying for revival for at least an hour each day, as I stopped and prayed for those I had lived in the darkness with in my past life. I had suddenly been transformed from a homeless dying man to a living minister of the gospel.”
The mission volunteers invited Joseph to their home to help with the homeschooling and cooking. It took a little while for Joseph to accept, but he finally did. He said, “God had extended to me the family I so desperately desired all these years.”
In addition, Joseph said, he started heading some food and clothing ministries that grew to include four cities and three churches, as well as a street outreach in Olympia.
Over the next few years, Joseph said, he progressed in the administrative aspects of ministry and continued to serve the Lord wholeheartedly. However, he said, something was missing.
Joseph said, “I had to let my pastor know I felt called out of the administrative end of the church … It was time to recommit full time as a minister. I continued as a pastor there until in Nov. 2008 I received an e mail from the former chaplain of the Olympia mission. He had recently been called to Joy Junction in New Mexico to serve as the resident services manager.”
The man asked Joseph to pray and see if the Lord was calling him to be a part of our ministry at Joy Junction.
Joseph said, “In December I knew without a doubt God was calling me from the rain forest to the dessert. I had to tie up my loose ends, and raise the money to move to New Mexico.”
In Jan. 2009, Joseph said he said goodbye to family and friends as he followed the Lord’s call to New Mexico.
Joseph has been serving as a resident services supervisor at Joy Junction for over seven months, and he is such a blessing. We are delighted to have him, and thrilled about the work the Lord has done and continues to do in his life.
He said, “I do not believe God has planned anything but further growth for me. That as I become a stronger part of the foundation for the Christ Jesus that saved me from certain death to bring me here to this beautiful desert in my journey sharing the gospel today.”
– See more at: http://www.joyjunction.org/radical-transformation/#sthash.zuxcj2lh.dpuf