“I was so excited to find Christian Leaders Institute training. Actually I was lead to it by the Holy Spirit. It’s the only possible way that I can receive the training I need to do His work. I am so grateful to Christian Leaders Institute training for the opportunity to gain the tools that God wants me to have. As I begin His work I have submitted a picture of my family and I. They loved me so much that they could no longer stand to see me destroy myself in addiction. Please help me pray that God will reconcile me back to them, if it be His will. Of all my regrets, it is the one that breaks my heart the most.
God Bless you all!” – Michael Callison, student of CLI
Christian Leaders Institute Training- Testimony of CLI Student Michael Callison
My name is Michael Callison and I live in Lake Isabella, California. Life for me in the beginning was the absence of childhood. My first memories were of violence, pain, and despair. My mother married 9 times and each stepfather was more violent and abusive then the last. By the time I was 12, all I knew was that I no longer wanted to feel the pain and suffering I had known all my life. I was somehow born knowing that this was not how life was intended to be. I also knew without a doubt, that everything around me was somehow connected by divine creation. I had been allowed to spend a month or two going to Sunday school and was given the basics of God and His Son Jesus Christ, but was removed and not allowed to return.
So at 12, I turned to the streets for comfort and escape from the abuse. I immediately turned to drugs like so many do in an effort to suppress those feelings. For the next 39 years I remained an addict living in and through the most horrible forms of darkness imaginable. Through my years of addiction I would often cry out to God and ask for deliverance but it never came.
What I know today is that He had a perfect plan for my life. In 2003 I began to want to get well, but it was like being a rope in a spiritual tug-of-war. I hadn’t been abandoned, but I was unwilling to yield my addiction to Him by having faith in His Son Jesus Christ. I had no conception of what it meant to have a personal relationship with Him. For forty years I lived in a thought system of fear which was ruled by my ego. My ego believed that it was separated from God and therefore was unable to know God. It could only question His existence. I was truly an agnostic believer in God. I believed He existed, but I doubted that He could save me. On May 14th of 2014, I was on deaths doorstep. I had relapsed 11 times in the past 10 years and had given up all hope. I accepted that I would die in this illness, and quite frankly, I was so tired of wanting to get well and failing. After 47 day at the Salvation Army, I went back to Lake Isabella to stay with the only friend who had not given up hope for me. That was the day, while sitting under a tree crying and reaching out to God in a way I had never done, that I loudly, heard the audible voice of God.
I was told to stay there where He planted me. I was told to go to Faith Community Church and enter into discipleship under Pastor Scott, who had previously tried to help me. I was told to enter a well known recovery program that was divinely written by Him and attend every day. The last thing He said was, “Michael, I want you to tear down the fence that has been in your life. A fence that has separated you from me. Your life will be in the service for Me and I will transform you into the man I want you to be. If you ever rebuild that fence Michael, I will call you home to me.” It has been almost 180 days and I am unrecognizable to people who know me. I am a student of the Word. My life is dedicated to being obedient to Him and what ever He would have me do.
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