As a kid, Ole Hurst loved to go to church with his Dad. His neighbors also went to church. Ole enjoyed the fellowship. Life was good. God’s love stood strong in Ole through the support of Mama Sue, Ole’s aunt who lived with his family. She was like a mother to him. She would scratch his back and soothe his feelings.
His step-mom on the other hand struggled with alcohol and would often take her anger out on Ole and his sister. Mama Sue often protected him from spankings given out of anger. God used the love of Mama Sue to get him through a very sad season.
All that changed when Mama Sue moved to Texas to be closer to her daughter. Ole felt all alone. His church attendance stopped. The loss of Mama Sue’s loving presence hit Ole hard. For different reasons he also began to get into trouble. At 17, he tried to turn his life around by enlisting in the army. Blindness in one eye prevented Ole from being eligible to enlist. He felt rejected. He was counting on getting in and went into a tailspin after hearing the news. He cried, became depressed and turned to drugs and alcohol to cope.
Even as Ole turned to drugs and alcohol, he knew that they weren’t the answer. He knew there was more. At 47, Ole took an opportunity to attend a recovery house to get help. He started attending AA, and after 3-4 years he got clean and sober, and yet still felt unfulfilled.
Ole’s journey from death into life took a turn in 2004, when, at 47 he accepted a friend’s invitation to visit Mariners. Shortly after he came to know Jesus, a friend took him under his wing. They had weekly discussions at Popeye’s for their ‘chicken talk’. Jesus became real and true for Ole through the study and fellowship.
As a fully forgiven person Jesus taught Ole how forgive as well. Jesus melted the heart of stone that kept him distant from his step-mom. Ole forgave her. It was a miracle. As his step-mom aged, she contracted Emphysema and Ole would visit her frequently to help her with her breathing machine. Love had changed him.
With God, nothing is impossible.
By Jon Yoshimine, Volunteer Storyteller