Prodigal Turns Pastor

Marty Brauer was raised in a Christian home. In the fifth grade, he had an unusual vision of white gates opening and Jesus coming toward him with His arms open. At that point, Marty knew God was calling him to serve the Lord. He said to himself, “I am going to be a pastor.”

Marty soon regretted those words. In fact, he did everything he could from that moment on to undermine becoming a pastor. Marty’s disobedience left a hole in his life, and he tried to fill it up with whatever he could—drugs, alcohol, lying, and stealing.

For the next 20 years, Marty continued to make bad choices. The only thing that seemed to satisfy him was making money. He landed a job with great income, lots of travel, and many opportunities to store up earthly treasures.

However, God had not given up on Marty. In a hotel in Jupiter, Florida while traveling for work, Marty was feeling extremely proud of himself after closing a big deal. He had a drink in one hand and a smoke in the other, when suddenly he fell to his knees and began crying uncontrollably for no reason.

As he crawled to the side of the bed and wondered what was happening, Marty reached to the end table and hoped the Gideons had done their jobs. They had. He pulled a Bible from the drawer, trusting God would turn the pages to where He wanted him to read. Marty landed on Ecclesiastes 2:17: “So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind…”

Marty cried out to God and asked His forgiveness for what he had become. Ever since the fifth grade, Marty had run from God. Now, he was desperately running toward Him. Marty knew no matter what he had done in life, he was forgiven by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. He trusted he could move forward from the past and believed God could still use him as a pastor.

Marty has now been a pastor for the past 18 years. He and his wife had the opportunity to return to that hotel in Jupiter where the Lord first convicted him. When Marty told the front desk about this story, they looked at him in shock. The older gentleman gave a kind smile and said, “I know who put the Bible in that room for you, because he is a friend of mine. His name is Roy, and even though he is now in his nineties, he still brings Bibles and places them in every room.”

Pastor Brauer recently learned another way to partner with The Gideons as a Friend of Gideons. In fact, he and his wife ordered 1,000 gray New Testaments from The Gideons International to hand out to men, women, and children who live in their community.

We praise God for pastors like Marty Brauer and for the many others who have taken on the mission of The Gideons International by becoming Friends of Gideons. To learn more about how you can also partner with Gideons in your community to accelerate world evangelism, visit our website.

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