Amazing! This one word describes Taza and Cathy’s story. It all began in Taza’s youth. Raised in a dysfunctional home by an alcoholic mother, Taza knew only that lifestyle. His older half-brother, Wayne, was rescued from the home, raised by his grandmother and influenced by his godly Aunt Ruth. Because of the trauma of his youth, Wayne did not wish to associate in any way with “those people”, including Taza and Cathy. God has a way of using traumatic experiences to draw people to Himself and such is the case with Taza, Cathy and Wayne.
Taza writes, “I stopped drinking after 22 years of that lifestyle. My wife had threatened to leave me.” But Cathy was still spiraling down, and a year after Taza quit drinking he helped Cathy find help with her addictions. “Not long after committing her I was out fishing for lobster (pronounced in our hearing “lobstah”). It was very rough out that day. I was by myself and began to think about how our lives were going. Pretty soon I felt the urge to pray and tell Him all my problems. I asked for help. I told him I was ready to turn my life over to Him. I told Him that if He could help my wife get better, I would start attending church.”
Cathy writes, “I was 40 years old before I began to put my life together. After years of struggling with alcoholism, drug addiction, bulimia and anorexia I finally sobered up and regained my health. I started reading self-help books, and while they satisfied me temporarily, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was still something missing. One day, out of the blue, I told my daughter, “I want to read the Bible.” Cathy’s daughter, returning from a basketball trip, handed Cathy a Gideon Bible she had “stolen” from the motel. Cathy attempted to read it but got discouraged. Taza writes, “She started reading in Genesis. It made no sense. I knew bits and pieces because my aunt had always written Scripture on my birthday cards.”
A few months later, after 20+ years of separation, Taza and Cathy reconnected with Wayne – a Christian. Wayne told Cathy to begin reading the book of John, and he invited them to visit his family in New Hampshire and attend church, Heritage Baptist with Pastor Matt Fagan in Windham. “I (Cathy) had never been to church in my life but with an extreme desire to understand the Bible better and to get to know Wayne and his family, we accepted. The pastor (Matt) was preaching from the Gospel of John. That book just came to life for me. We left New Hampshire that day knowing we wanted church to be part of our lives from then on. That was December 11, 2011. We continued our relationship with Wayne and expressed to him that we wanted to be baptized. That weekend he came to Maine to visit us. Before church Wayne held a short devotional in our home, explaining to use how and when he accepted Jesus as his Savior. I couldn’t hold in my emotions – “Why can’t we say that prayer right now in our living room? The look on Wayne’s face said it all! On Feb. 12, 2012 I accepted the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior. Since that day I have never looked back. My relationship with God is the most valuable, rewarding trusting relationship I’ve ever had.” Both Taza and Cathy were saved that beautiful February day, sitting in the home of Wayne – a godly gospel witness despite the pain of his early years.
Shortly after Cathy’s conversion, her pastor’s wife in VinylHaven Maine invited her to do The Exchange. Cathy invited her daughter. Cathy writes of the Bible study, “You opened up doors for me that I never even knew existed. You created a path that my daughter was willing to explore and because of your obedience to scripture coupled with your hearts desire to see lost souls saved, my daughter gave her life to the Lord.” God used Living the Exchange to help Cathy grow, and since that time four short years ago, Cathy has led many friends to Christ using The Exchange Bible study.
In keeping with the “Amazing” theme of this story, we were blessed to train Taza and Cathy in our recent Exchange seminar at Heritage in Windham, NH. Perhaps God will open the door for us to train in Vinylhaven, a tiny Island in Maine in great need of Gospel laborers!