PASTOR ANDY’S TESTIMONY
I want to use this page to tell a little about myself, my wonderful family, and the wonderful ministry God has privileged me to be a part of.
Right up front, I profess that I’m a born-again independent, fundamental Christian believer, Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I believe that the Bible is the Word of God, is inspired, complete and profitable for all generations and people groups.
Where was I before Christ?
My father died when I was 11, it devastated me.
I rebelled, putting my poor mother through a lot of misery.
I did whatever I wanted to do, with whomever I wanted to, whenever I wanted to.
I used alcohol to escape, used some marijuana but alcohol was my drug of choice.
My main goal in my earlier life was to, “run or escape” from my problems, but I found out, you can’t.
I remember that I would often look up at the midnight sky at all the stars and wonder if there was any purpose to life. Were we really just a cosmic burp, with absolutely no purpose, or were we created for a purpose? Did we come from an alien race? Where we just an accident that happened by chance and there is really no purpose to our existance?
In March 1983 I went into the Air Force, where I spent the next 6 years.
In July 1983, I was walking down the street of my first military post, Ellsworth, AFB. It was hot, I was wearing my Class A uniform and had about a mile to walk. I remember praying and asking God “What is truth?” This car pulled over like the instant I asked that question. I got in, the man driving told me that he usually didn’t pick up people, but it was like the car just pulled over on its own. It was an immediate answer to my prayer. The man driving was a born-again believer. God started dropping people in my life to tell me about His Son Jesus and how I could be saved. One place that has had a major impact on my life and the lives of my wife and sons is Rainbow Bible Ranch.
I struggled with the Gospel message for a little over two years. I grew up Catholic, believing that good people go to heaven bad people go to hell. I knew based on that scale where I was heading, and it didn’t look good. I found out that it’s not good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell, but forgiven people go to heaven and unforgiven don’t, that we must be born-again. In order to be forgiven, I needed to ask for forgiveness, call on and believe in Jesus Christ. In March 1986 at New Testament Baptist Church, Kenny Hill, England, I gave my life to Jesus Christ. The greatest decision I ever made.
On March 30th, 1986 I was Baptized. I recall God impressing on my heart, “Someday you will be a preacher.” At this point in my life, I was a mess. The greatest obstacle that I had to be freed from was alcohol. I was scared to death when it came to speaking to and in front of people. My answer to God at that time was, (Oh, no I won’t, I can’t.) I was shy and deathly afraid of public speaking.
God knew His plans for me, and He worked on me for the next 7 years. He removed the alcohol, and other sins and has continued to work in my life daily and created in me a heart that now loves to tell others about Jesus, His Grace and Mercy, how He has changed my life and how He can change others’ lives if only they will trust Him.
I began studying the Word of God through Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia.
I left the Air Force in 1989. After leaving the Air Force, I met my future wife in Rapid City, SD, we were married in Oct 89.
In Nov 89, we moved to Billings, MT.
Jan 1990 was a major turning point in my life, especially my spiritual life. Our first child was on his way. It was a time when we determined that we needed to get serious about our Christian walk.
I remember thinking that if I wanted my children to know Jesus as Savior, the chances would be greatly increased if we got serious, so we began to pray and look for a church.
We found one and got involved in many different areas, choir, children’s ministries, outreach, etc… We were and still are, open to doing whatever the Lord wanted us to do.
It was during this time that I again began to hear the call of God on my life about entering the Gospel Ministry.
We moved from Billings in 1992 and moved to Sturgis, SD, where we immediately joined and became highly active in a local Baptist church.
We were able to get involved in many different areas of ministry, as the church searched for a new pastor.
It was in early 1994 that I accepted God’s call on my life to go into the ministry.
First Baptist Church of Sturgis, SD licensed me to preach on the 23rd of Jan 1994.
I began to fill in as a supply preacher at various churches.
In Nov 1994, Emmanuel Baptist Church of Belle Fourche, SD., asked me if I would like to become their pastor. I told them that I needed to pray and seek God’s will on the matter.
In Jan 1995, we accepted the call to Emmanuel Baptist Church in Belle Fourche, SD. When we joined the church in Jan 1995, we doubled its membership.
I have worked as a bi-vocational minister since then. (Bi-vocational means that I have a secular job, to help pay the bills.)
On May 6th, 1995 in a joint ceremony, Emmanuel Baptist Church of Belle Fourche, SD and First Baptist Church of Sturgis, SD Ordained me to the Gospel Ministry.
In the summer of 1996, a good minister friend of ours, who was serving in Alzada, MT went on vacation. While on vacation he had a heart attack. The doctors told him that he would not be able to stay in MT, because of the harsh winters.
Bro. John asked me if I would keep an eye on the church (Rangeland Ministries) until they found another pastor. I told him I would. Not long afterward the congregation of Rangeland Ministries asked if I would pastor them and shortly afterward, I accepted. I served there from May 1996, until Oct 3, 2010.
The Ministry has had its ups and downs, like most of life. It has been hard working a secular job and building a ministry in Belle Fourche, but God has always met our needs and beyond.
I am willing to reach out to anyone and share the love and forgiveness that I have experienced through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I use my past problems with alcohol to reach out to those who are where I once was.
One beggar sharing with another where I found the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ.
As my friend and brother in Christ Al’s testimony, Jesus turned whisky into bread.
One sinner saved by God’s amazing grace reaching out to others.
At times it seems that I take one step forward and two steps back in the ministry, but God is always faithful.
I can see and believe that the Lord can and will do great things in my life, the life of my family, in the lives of the people at Emmanuel Baptist, in the community of Belle Fourche, SD, and in whosoever will believe in Him.
God has blessed me with a wonderful family. My wife is a blessing. She has done a great job building our home, teaching, and raising our children. She recently became an EMT (2020).
She has also sacrificed a lot in taking care of my mother who came to live with us in Oct 2006 until her passing.
All my children made professions of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ early in their lives and are willing to serve Him. Our oldest son left for college in Sept 2008. He will pursue a degree in Theology & Pastoral Ministries and a minor in music, he now pastors Newell Christian Fellowship and works at Rainbow Bible Ranch. I miss having him work alongside me as music leader in Belle Fourche. He is the assistant Chief on Newell’s volunteer fire department.
My middle son is married. His wife has completed medical school for Chiropractic and is opening her own practice in Belle Fourche, SD. Dustin is also a firefighter.
My youngest son went to a Christian college in Oregon, fell in love with the beach, and has become a beach bum, firefighter/EMT, and a Sunday School teacher.
All three are growing into fine young Christian men, I am very proud of them all and my daughter-in-law Rylee.
All three are Eagle Scouts.
Our oldest became an Eagle Scout in Sept 2007.
Our middle son made Eagle in Sept 2010.
Our youngest made Eagle in Dec 2012.
I spent 17 years making rifle stocks and working as a machinist.
I spent 5 years working as an Addiction Counselor (my heart is to reach out to all who are struggling with addiction, especially my fellow Native American brothers and sisters).
I am an Assistant Chief on the Belle Fourche Volunteer Fire Department, I love serving our community.
We are raising our great-niece, she has been with us since 2014.
Today, I find great pleasure in preaching and teaching the Word of God, introducing people to Christ, and ministering to people in Jesus’ Name. My life is dedicated to serving the Lord and others.
Like I mentioned before the greatest decision I ever made was in March of 1986, the decision to trust Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. My prayer is that you would consider doing the same.
My heart’s desire is to continue to do the Lord’s work in the Belle Fourche, the Black Hill’s, and wherever the Lord leads.
If you would like to know how you can help in our ministry, here’s how:
Pray that we will reach the citizens of Belle Fourche, SD and beyond for Christ.
Pray that myself, my family, and the congregation of Belle Fourche that we would have hearts and lives totally submissive to the Lord and that our hearts would be broken and burdened for the lost, hearts desiring to see every man, woman, and child saved and growing in Christ.
If you are reading this and do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, or are unsure please click on the here, “How to know Jesus.”
If you are in the Belle Fourche area please join us for worship on Sunday. Plan on having lunch with us after the service.
May God’s Blessings be upon you and your family.