I was raised in a family that was Christian in name only. My father was an alcoholic, non-practicing Roman Catholic and mom a non-practicing Mormon. Both sides of the family rejected the other and my sister and I were left spiritually adrift.
As I matured I followed in the footsteps of at least 3 previous generations of Ritchey males leading me into alcoholism, abuse of other substances and a licentious lifestyle. This lifestyle led me into a skid row period that involved me sleeping in an old garage on a dirt alley. After several negative experiences with church I developed a hatred for organized religion but I still “kind of” believed in GOD. In September of 1983 I was out looking for something to hang myself with in that garage – I just wanted to end my abusive lifestyle. But GOD . . .
I know now that the great I AM met me in my despair, empowered me to overcome my resistance to a religious, spiritual life and when I heard the Gospel for the first time it was outside of a church setting. I was then led into a local church where I became baptized and discipled into a Biblical worldview. Shortly I was introduced to both rescue mission and preaching ministries – I have become a new creation in Christ with a calling (2 Cor. 5:17-19).