My Journey to Know the Way, the Truth, and the Life
I’m Donald Contreras of the United States, born in a town now considered the second Nashville. Called by God, I am studying Bible courses at the Christian Leaders Institute (Learn more about being called and studying Bible courses and ministry classes online, Click Here).
My Early Years
The oldest of four boys, our single working mother raised us. Early on in our upbringing, it was understood that we counted every penny, did without, and sacrificed to keep the family going. The burden weighed heavily on my youth. I pursued any odd job or means of making money to put food on the table until I became old enough to take on real employment.
One day very early in life is in my mind as if it were yesterday, I went outside and looked around at the sky. Then and there, I knew there was a God, someone greater than myself. I got a Bible soon after somehow and read it. My journey to knowing the Way, the Truth, and the Life began as the illumination of His light of truth and love shined in my darkness.
Years later, one of our neighbors brought us with them to a small rural church. It had an upright piano in the corner and half the church on the platform singing. I still remember fun times learning and singing some of those old hymns. My desire to really know God for myself and worship Him encouraged me to study His Word and talk to the maker of the universe.
That in and of itself was something unusual. Today, I would have probably been classified as having mild Tourette’s. Unfortunately, back then I was simply classified as the “R” word or a “slow learner.” I had a tic of constantly jerking my head. My stuttering was to the point that my younger brother spoke for me for years. Remarkably, for some reason when I got down on my knees by my bed and prayed, I could pour out my heart and speak to the One who made me and knew me. I could go on about the treatment of others toward me in their ignorance and fear of difference. As a result, I learned to have a little thicker skin and see past people’s initial responses to the situation.
Growing in the Lord
I went forward at a young age in response to an altar call. However, I did not really understand the Master’s plan. I helped the bus ministry with the elderly. The youth minister, bless his heart, saw me coming every Sunday to ask him yet again more questions about the Bible, God, life, right, and wrong. He was one of the first men of God, like many throughout my life, that basically took me in and made me feel like a “PK” or preacher’s kid.
By my preteen years, I played piano and sang in the choir. I also stood and testified many times that I could not wait to get to heaven to praise Him – the wonderful God who loved me even when I was unlovable.
One night, the pastor was speaking on missionaries. It was a quiet night and certainly nothing out of the ordinary. Then as I knelt, I prayed, “Lord, I just want to share and tell others you are real.” The presence of the Lord came upon me, and I heard the voice of God almost audibly it seemed. The Lord not only called me to be one of His own but to be a minister of the gospel! I answered the call with an emphatic “yes.” Tears streamed down my face as I turned everything over to the potter. My heart flooded with joy and purpose.
After that, I preached and played music for youth services initially. I also spoke with the pastor about my calling and wondered what to do. During that time, one saint, an elderly woman, came up to me. She said, “You need to be starting churches. You have the burden and the heart.” She prophesied over me that day. That has certainly been a considerable part of my experience. The Lord opened doors and led me even when I was not totally understanding what I was to do or where I was going. People came into my life, and then a ministry or need would reveal itself.
I’ve been working with ministers, teams, and churches in many facets of service. The Lord has allowed me the privilege to teach Sunday school, direct choirs, preach, teach bible studies, and lead congregations. Briefly, I also experienced some street evangelism and outreach programs in a few cities.
Further, I’ve been blessed to help with revivals and altar work with saints. I also developed classes and study courses to foster a better understanding of the scriptures when asked to teach. I’ve temporarily filled the role of assistant pastor and intermediate pastor for churches when called upon. I’ve had the pleasure to be involved in home churches, building churches, and helping other churches to grow spiritually and incrementally.
Called and Studying Bible Courses at CLI
The burden that tugs at my soul never ceases. I want to go into the highways and byways to bring the gospel and invite them to come to the house of the Lord. God’s love and mercy are for everyone who will come to know the lover of their souls. The answer to all of life’s problems is Jesus – the Way, the Truth, and the Life. My walk with God over many years helps me to love people and look beyond the norm. I understand that people are people. We are all children that the Father loves and cares for. He’s waiting for us to come home to His arms open wide.
I’ve turned to CLI to pursue my ministry and calling. I also will utilize the study and educational practices developed in the courses to deepen and expand my knowledge of the only wise God and His Word. I attempted college early on to study psychology and business but was unable to complete it due to finances and life.
My work schedule and responsibilities now keep me at a pace that I would not be able to complete or attend any other type of learning. Called by God, CLI provides me with the opportunity of a lifetime to be studying Bible courses and ministry training. Something that I thought I would never be able to achieve. Finally, I will be able to complete my education this time with an actual life-changing focus and Bible concentration. I truly thank CLI and everyone who has shared in labor and financially to make this possible. I never thought I would be able to have the opportunity to be a licensed minister and to continue pursuing knowledge and development for the call of the living God.
Steps to Sign Up At Christian Leaders Institute
Step 1 – Register for a free study account that automatically enrolls you in the Christian Leaders Getting Started Course Part 1 &2.
After you register, you will automatically be enrolled in the “getting started” course. You will locate the course at your “home” button when logged in. Scroll down to find the Christian Leaders Getting Started Course Part 1 &2 Link. Click the link and open the course.
Step 2 – Complete Part 1 of this course. Then you can enroll in mini-courses or regular courses.
The Christian Leaders Getting Started Class Part 1 shows you how to enroll in courses and mini-courses. Part 2 of the course connects your calling into ministry with programs offered through Christian Leaders Institute. Part 2 will offer some ministry training and introduce you to the other programs offered through Christian Leaders Institute.