"My father was a schoolteacher," Brian recalls. "We had a home, dogs and a cat, a pool. Everything but a white picket fence ... and a relationship with Jesus."
Brian's parents occasionally took him and his sisters to church. They didn't attend often, but it was enough to awaken a hunger in Brian's heart.
A BROKEN HOME
One night, when Brian was just 12 years old, the unthinkable happened.
Brian's mother came home at 2 a.m. His father, who had been drinking, pulled out a gun and shot her in a jealous rage. He turned the gun on Brian and his sister next. Then he tried to shoot himself. The only reason he failed was that the gun misfired. By the grace of God, no one died that night. But Brian's whole life unraveled.
His dad went to prison for the next 16 and a half years. His mom tried to forget her troubles by drinking and partying, leaving Brian and his sister home alone. The children bounced from friend to friend and relative to relative, living wherever they could find refuge for a while.
And then one Christmas, Brian received gifts from Angel Tree®. Including one that turned his life completely around.
A LIFE CHANGED FOREVER
Wherever he went from that day forward, the Bible stayed with him.
When Brian married and started a family, the Bible was there. When he didn't have a job and couldn't put food on the table for his children, the Bible was his comfort.And when Brian's dad was finally released from prison and Brian didn't know how he would face him, he had the Bible and prayer to see him through.
That year, as Father's Day approached, Brian thought to himself, What better way to show my dad I have forgiven him than to attend church with him on Father's Day?
So he did, and he took his family with him. It was another life-changing event.
HEALING THE BROKEN
"I preach the Gospel of Jesus from the pulpit with the Bible I received as a gift from Angel Tree," Brian says.
Brian's story is just one of thousands of Angel Tree stories that prove the Gospel can and does change hearts. It shows that God is healing broken families. That, by God's grace, the years stolen can be restored.