Hello, my friends, I am Keith Ellis. I am happily married and have three young children. I have two daughters, ages six and four, and my son is two. Working two part-time cleaning jobs makes finding time for school hard for me. However, at Christian Leaders Institute with their free online seminary courses, I can not only find the time, but it is also affordable.
I had a hard life growing up. My mom was single and had a few guys she would bring home, which led to fighting. So, I was afraid as a kid. I have a physical disability on top of that, as well as was bullied a lot.
Then, one day a friend of my grandma gave me a Jesus film based on the gospel of Luke. As I watched the movie, I felt like I could relate to Jesus. Unable to read at that time, I watched the video over and over again. I remember praying the prayer at the end of the movie. Soon after that, I wanted to attend church and asked my mom to give me money for the church offering. Jesus became my obsession.
Struggles and Salvation
Sadly, later on, I left the faith and pursued a more spiritual life as I called it. I also started to snowboard. For five years, I did that and things that I should not have done. But, on my 13th year of snowboarding and my 9th year of working at the ski area, I was night hiking. When my group got to the top, we started to snowboard. I fell off a cliff and looked up at the stars. Suddenly, I heard a still small voice say, “Sober up, and follow me. I will make you great and give you a family.”
Unsure of what to do, on my day off, I went to town. I found myself in a thrift store looking through some clothes, and I found a Bible. So, I bought it and started to read it. I read Matthew, then Revelations. It is a big part of my testimony because I got scared of the beast and 666.
After that season, I left the ski area and went to Alaska, where I met my wife. I asked her out, letting on that I was a Christian when, at that point, I was not. We would read the Bible together. Then, one day, she read Isaiah 53, and at that point, I believed and was saved! Six months later, we got married.
After we were married, we started a family and went to a small church. I was baptized, and my zeal for the Lord grew. One day, my wife asked me what I thought of moving, so we prayed about it. Sadly, our church split when all I wanted was unity. I also felt the call to be a pastor and thought of applying for the pastor’s job. But, as I had no training, I decided not too. We got a new pastor.
I was taking the offerings, attending a friend’s prophecy update meeting, and a prayer group. My pastor asked me to teach an adult Sunday school class. I did, and that convinced my pastor that I needed to become a pastor. However, money was an issue, and I did not know about the free online seminary courses at CLI. So, he mentored me for a time.
Then we got a call from my wife’s grandpa asking her if she wanted his house. So, we prayed about it. One day, after reading Genesis 12, the Holy Spirit urged us to leave this land. So, we moved to Wisconsin, where my wife’s grandpa lived and took care of him.
The medical problems
One day, we decided to go swimming at a nearby lake. I was swimming in the shallow end and suddenly felt weird. So, I raced back to shore and then blacked out. My wife told me that I had a seizure and was taken to the hospital. I had a brain injury as a baby. So, I needed to be on medication for the rest of my life. I felt discouraged, however, the Lord was trying to teach me dependence on Him through this.
A few years later, thyroid cancer and eight cancerous lumps in my neck tested my faith again. After surgery and a lot of prayers, I survived it. A month later, I went home and had another medication for the rest of my life. I am thankful because it has brought me closer to God than ever.
My Renewed Calling from God
I never could shake the desire for becoming a pastor, and now my wife felt it too. But where should we start? One day, my wife and our church secretary set up a phone appointment with our old pastor in Alaska. He agreed to mentor me over the phone.
I started a Bible study group in my home and found the Christian Leaders Institute with their free online seminary courses. After prayer and looking at this online seminary, I know CLI is the place for me to get ministry training at my pace. I needed CLI because of my family and jobs. I encourage anyone who feels called into ministry to give CLI’s free online seminary courses a try! God bless you all, my friends!