Christian Leaders Institute is Here for You!
Have a dream to go into ministry? At the Christian Leaders Institute, they have a big heart and open arms to everyone wherever you live. Here at CLI, they offer free online training in ministry.
My Early Years
Hello, my name is Marie Cook. I currently live in Moscow Mills, Missouri. At this time, I work as a Direct Support professional in an ISL home. I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. My baptism was in the Lutheran faith. Every Sunday, my parents went to church, and I went to Sunday Bible school. Through confirmation classes, I was confirmed in the Lutheran faith. As I got older, I served as an acolyte, which eventually led to me being a member of the church choir and teaching Sunday Bible school.
Things were different in church than it was at home. I grew up in a military family with stringent rules. My parents both drank and were physically and emotionally abusive. My father was also abusive toward my mother. The only way they knew how to show their love and affection for me was through material things. In school, I was never well-liked and was always in trouble. I also hung out with the wrong crowd of kids in and out of school.
My parents eventually stopped going to church. For me, this fact was a great disappointment. I searched for a church in hopes I would be able to convince them to go back with me as a family. During my search, I found a Lutheran church in O’Fallon’Fallon, MO. My parent went, and they were happy, and things got a little better.
As I matured, my life had many obstacles. I married three times, and they all ended up in divorce. Each one ended with either being unfaithful, drinking alcohol, using drugs, or being emotional and emotionally abusive. Being a single mother of four children was a struggle. I worked full time and went to school full time. Eventually, I had to quit school to concentrate on raising my children.
Once they were in high school, I went back to school and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice. Life was a struggle for me, and I became furious at the world and hated myself for everything. Lost and confused, I knew I didn’t want life to be this way. I was introduced by my close friend to Celebrate Recovery for co-dependency. Through God’s Word, I began to love myself and heal.
Faith Renewed and Free Online Training in Ministry at CLI
I was blessed at the age of 53 to be reborn in my faith and baptism. My new life began with the desire to learn more about God’s word. I became a member of a non-denominational church. I was so intrigued and happy to start my journey in a beautiful and excellent relationship with God. Soon, I joined the women’s ministry, coffee with a friend, and learning through Bible studies. I minister to woman in jail with the women’s jail ministry from our church. On my first mission trip, I learned of God’s love, compassion, grace, and mercy for me. To this day, I read my Bible, do a daily devotional, and go to Bible studies to grow my relationship with my God.
My main interest is in Judicial Restoration, and I want to retire and work as a missionary. My compassion in learning more about ministry is so I can bring the Gospel to others. Then, they can know God and His love for them. God leads me in directions I would never go. It wasn’t by chance that I found the Christian Leaders Institute. If it weren’t for CLI’s free online training in ministry, I would not get a degree/certificate in ministry. Pray that God continues to show me the path He wants me to follow.