I lived nearly four decades as an atheist adrenaline junkie, looking for adventure wherever I could find it and pushing the envelope in every way. I was an extreme motorcycle rider, Yosemite rock climber and wanderer of the world.
The early chapters describe how my life was miraculously saved time and again despite my complete arrogance toward to a God I didn’t believe in.
Then, faced with life-changing despair at the age of 47, and on the verge suicide, God showed himself to me, changing my life forever. Using the nature God had gifted me with all along, I found a new calling: smuggling Bibles to the underground Christians living in restricted countries.
There are 51 countries around the world in which Bibles are illegal. In many of those countries, just owning a Bible will mean prison or execution, but the people are starving for God’s Word, and are willing to take that risk.
I found my new calling at the age of 53, in supplying their need, eventually working in 15 exotic countries to get the job done.
I was born and raised in the small Minnesota prairie town of Maynard. My family attended a local church and I grew up in a Christian home. I devoted my life to Christ when I was a child.
Unfortunately, I did not fully grasp what it meant to be a follower of Christ and quickly I had a very legalistic relationship with Christ, that hinged on my performance and avoiding a whole list of things that were not acceptable by the church.
As a teenager, I really struggled with my faith. It wasn’t until my early 20s and after experiencing a few of life’s lessons that I started to realize that my “religion” was my salvation, and that I needed a savior. An untimely death of one of the church elders’ daughter at my new church really woke me up! Witnessing the need for Christ in my own life really opened my eyes to seeing the need for Christ and for His love in other people’s lives.
In 2010, I met and started to date my future wife, Sandra. Our life together has not been easy, but God has been at the center of our marriage and His grace and mercy have always been there for us. Sandra’s best friend died in a car accident in the summer of 2011, and it devastated both of us and pressured us to get our lives back on track. We struggled with sexual sin and with lies that came with it as we tried to hide our sins from our Christian families and our Church family. In the summer of 2011, we vowed to abstain from any sexual desire until we were married.
Unfortunately, we failed keeping this vow and broke it the night before we were wed, which lead to sexual tension within our marriage. I also struggled with an addiction to porn up to being engaged. Sandra refused to marry me if I could not break the addiction. It was not easy, but I praise God that I have been released from the hold of that addiction. By asking for forgiveness, and finally forgiving myself for my past sexual sins really closed the door on that issue in our marriage and it offered healing for both of us.
Paul knew what he was preaching about when it came to sexual sin the toll that it takes on a person. Thankfully, Sandra and I have been able to keep our marriage pure and it is a praise of His grace and mercy for that!
In the fall of 2013, my daughter Charlie was born and in the winter of 2014 my father in law David died. His death was extremely difficult to grasp, especially with the addition of my daughter that fall. David is dwelling in the Kingdom of Heaven and one day I will see him again!
In the winter of 2016 Sandra and I purchased our first house and we moved to Wood Lake, MN. Later that year, I moved my business to Wood Lake as well.
In fall of 2017, my son Zeke was born. After four months of bed rest, due to Zeke almost being miscarried and Sandra had to have a cervix stitch surgery to save the pregnancy. Sandra has infertility and had complications and had to receive a hormone regiment and we struggled to conceive for two years. We were very happy to see him, but something happened that we never expected. A couple of days after Zeke were born, Sandra was diagnosed with postpartum depression and she struggled to have a relationship with Zeke and even with Charlie at times. This lead to me taking extended time off of work at my full time job and stepping into a new role. All I can say, even in the worst of times, God is so good! That year was miserable, and watching my wife struggle with something that I couldn’t fix or quite understand just killed me inside.
God blessed us through friends and family and through my coworkers to help out where they could. I don’t know how many times I asked God to take it all away, to heal my wife, and the anger that I had from the effects of it. Sandra pushed through it and fought the depression the best she could, and one day it was gone… Thankfully we have our two kids, since we are not able to have anymore due the complications of the pregnancy Sandra had with Zeke.
This brings us to 2019. I am still making knives almost 12 years after the birth of Speh Custom Knives. Having this business has opened many doors for me to prompt Christ and to have contact with customers that have turned into very close friends. In Colossians 4:5-6, Paul tells us how to go about talking to others and I think its appropriate to share these verses as a new mission statement for myself.
Colossians 4:5-6 NIV – Be wisein the way you act toward outsiders;make the most of every opportunity.Let your conversation be always full of grace,seasoned with salt,so that you may know how to answer everyone.
We never know who God is going to put in our lives and simply showing the love of Christ to them is essential. Being accurate and loving with the Gospel is the goal that I am currently striving for in my own relationship with Christ. We can’t show someone Christ if we do not know Him ourselves, or if we don’t know the scriptures about His character, promises, and the hope Christ offers in salvation for all!
The bang! The traumatic moment of losing someone under his command that brought a lot of other experiences together into a turning point that left Virginia Bull Rider Austin Beaty clinging to his faith. He wants his honest story to bring encouragement to you about the importance of a saving faith in Jesus, especially when you reach a breaking point.
I grew up in a Christian home with Godly parents; my mother and father were the youth leaders at our church at time. Around five or six years old, my mind was wandering and I decided I wanted to get saved, I remember even standing at the top of my stairs and saying in my head “go ahead, you will get to be in water.” I walked downstairs and talked to my daddy for about 30 minutes about being saved. After we talked and he explained several things that I did not understand, I said a prayer and went back to bed.
A few weeks later a few of my cousins and I were baptized at Hinkle Baptist Church. I held on to that thought and prayer that I was saved and did not have to worry about a thing anymore. When I was in the 7th grade at the FCA Kick-off youth service, I “rededicated” my life, the very next year at the same event in 8th grade I did the same thing, “rededicate.” While playing football and taking classes together, I became friends with a boy named Drew and he invited me to church at Oakland Baptist Church one Sunday. I fell in love with it! Oakland had so many chances and openings for me to grow and learn. I was able to be involved with people my age that loved Christ, I did not have that at Hinkle because my brother, a couple of cousins, and I were the only youth and we did not do anything. When it came to events or activities, I was signed in and ready for everything, even church camp.
Being my first church camp, I was nervous, excited, and ready for the week! On the Monday that we left, something happened to me that, in my mind I thought, would ruin my first church camp. I was depressed and upset, but tried to stay positive the best I could and open to what God had for me; little did I know that He was using it to soften my heart. God had already started working and on Tuesday night during church group time, our youth minister, Bro. Jerry, passed around pieces of paper and told us to write down what God had been talking to us about that week.
As soon as he had those words out of his mouth, I knew what I had to write down, “salvation.” The next day after recreation and lunch, a friend and I sat and talked about his home life. After about thirty minutes of talking, we went to find Bro. Jerry so my friend could talk to him and get some counseling. I sat, listened, and started to cry because I had taken so much for granted with my family. After they were done talking, Bro. Jerry excused my friend so now it would just be Bro. Jerry, me, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. He told me that he saw what I had wrote and asked what I had meant, I told him I do not know but I that I do not feel like I am saved. He led me down Romans road and after a little bit of thinking, crying, and talking, on June 13, 2007, at 12:40 pm, I gave my heart to Christ.
Fast forward to two years later, to 16 years-old and being a leader at church camp instead of a student, God began working again.
There were several small things He started showing me, but one of the biggest things was the door He shut for me to being a Veterinarian. I love animals and being around them all the time, thus, I wanted to be a Veterinarian. I began working at a vet clinic in January of 2009, and I hated it with a passion so that opened up to the question of, “what am I going to do now?” While at the church camp as a leader God started talking to me but I did not know what it was. One night I even questioned my salvation because I could not figure it out, but I could go back to the time, place, and event of my salvation so I knew that was not it. One night during worship service, the camp showed a video of a student that went to Kenya for a summer before his senior year. He loved it and felt strongly about going back. He prayed, talked it over with family and his pastor, and read scripture. God showed him the verse of Matthew 10:39, and after He read that verse I felt God calling me.
The guy went on to give up his freshman year of college to be a missionary in Kenya for a year, he answered God’s call. I found the verse in my Bible and read it time and time again. After service, I talked to the camp minister that week and we prayed it over. Later that night after church group time, I finally was able to talk to Bro. Jerry about what God had been talking to me about. I began having second thoughts because I felt so unworthy to do this, but Bro. Jerry said that he had a teacher from Blue Mountain College to tell him, “If we feel worthy enough to do anything, we should just load up and go home.” Once he said this, I knew there was nothing holding me back to surrender. On June 5, 2009, I got down on my knees and prayed to God that I surrender my life to ministry. Bro. Jerry had been there from my salvation to my surrender to me graduating, he has helped me so much in my growth and counseling me with decisions that I needed to make. By having a family that loved me, let me go to all the church events, and to move to a church where God was calling me to be at, they helped me to grow and answer His call. By having a minister that loved students and helped me when I needed him, helped me in leading me to Christ and counseling me about ministry. By having a church that is in God’s will, showed me how to be involved and be in His will also. All three of these have had a spiritual influence in my life and I am thankful for each one.
At the present time, I am trying to answer what Christ has for me and do what His word says. Around June of 2013 He laid something on my heart about beginning a ministry to reach my fellow rodeo friends that I am around every weekend. The first Thursday of August, Redeemed Riders made its debut at my house in front of my barn with 8 people. Redeemed Riders is a Bible study/Worship service and a practice for rough stock riders in rodeo. We meet at 7 pm at my house; have the service, then get on bucking machines at my home. We have had as many as 24 rough stock riders and now having service in a corn crib at on our property. I have gotten to watch cowboy after cowboy come to Redeemed Riders, grow in Christ, and be so excited about the Lord and riding. It encourages me to see the cowboys coming back every week and having feedback from several of them. I have also just recently took on a job at a Baptist church my area being the youth minister. I get to teach student about the Bible on Wednesday and Saturday nights. God is using me to reach the cowboys and the youth at that church. I am so thankful He has chosen me to do this.
I first heard the Gospel in the summer of 1978 between my junior and senior year of high school. My brother and I spent the summer with my brother -in-law and sister [Don and Ruth Ann) to frame houses with Don. They are believers in Jesus and we heard the Gospel from them and others that summer. Before we went home to finish school I had made a profession of faith in Christ as Savior for salvation.
Over the years since that summer there has been an ebb and flow in my walk with Jesus. Some of the most meaningful times in my walk have been on the mission field in Brazil and Israel years years ago which still bring fond memories. Some of the toughest and trying times have been some of the sweetest for growing and depending on Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
I want my testimony to the faithfulness of Jesus to be the focus of any and all parts of my life.
Jesus is who He said He is. I want even more to this day to know Him in the power of His resurrection.
John 3:14-16 explains it all. Take time and read it today.
In Christ Name, Chaplain Skeeter Spaulding with Cowboys For Christ
Christian Bull Righter and pastor Stephen Bruner and his wife Tori Bruner from Indiantown, Florida
Well it all started back in 2007 when I stumbled across Gethsemane Ranch by “happenstance” or what I call a divine appointment.
They were looking for a bullfighter to help protect the kids at the bull riding, and I was on my way to pursue a professional rodeo career in just that event. The only problem was that I was leaving God behind and headed out to glorify my own name. So, being that this church just “happened” to be only a mile down the road from the camper I was living in, I headed on over (without God) to get some practice.
Long story short, that’s when I really met Him again…
I met Jesus first when I was very young, from the years of private Christian school to always being at the Baptist church, but I had walked away from Him during my adolescent years and without really understanding, I was really mad at God about the things He allowed during my childhood. I had heard all the truths about how much He loved me, but it all wasn’t adding up in the environment I was in.
There was a lot of drug and alcohol abuse by both my parents, which led to many forms of child abuse and neglect. From there I set out to disguise the hurting little boy inside me who wanted to feel “real” love and approval. All the way through high school and college I looked to the world for approval; never to find it until my rodeo career and God sent me to that place called Gethsemane Ranch. That’s when I met Him again. That’s when God, through His faithfulness, and the loving and caring people at that church, reminded me how much He loved me and that He had a purpose for me!
I was challenged by God to be a real man and not just a boy. I could not live in the past anymore or identify myself by my circumstances and the lies the devil had told me for so many years. It was time to grow up spiritually!! So I pushed hard into God’s word to get the truth! I needed to hear God tell me how special I was and how much He loved me!
I heard him louder than ever.
I made a commitment to never walk away from Him again or put anything before Him. He has brought me through so much; from broken relationships, broken necks, stage 3 cancer, unforgiveness toward my earthly father (the biggest challenge) and so much more! He has never left me or forsaken me. He has completely restored my physical body and is constantly restoring my spirit! He has given me so much back and a lot of my family. Most importantly, He has blessed me with a wife who has been the greatest “help mate” ever! He is constantly teaching me how to love her like Christ loved the church!
We are so blessed to get to serve as ministers of the Gospel and travel around the country sharing that there is hope in Jesus Christ no matter what! We are sure grateful to be a part of God’s business and all the kids’ lives God has allowed us to be a part of! No matter who you are or where you come from, God is dying to love on you and use you!! HE LOVES YOU A LOT!