I am Wally H. Marks Jr, and I plan to study for ordination online at the Christian Leaders Institute (Learn more about online Bible classes, Click Here). I am married to a wonderful, beautiful wife named Michelle. We are both excited about the journey God has called us to travel through ministry and continual growth in Christ Jesus. We live in Mobile, AL.
In total, we have five children from different marriages. I have two daughters from a previous marriage. Michelle has two daughters and a son from previous marriages. We also have four grandchildren from her two daughters and one other on which we are excited about. God has blessed us so much through His wonderful mercy and grace. Our journey together is truly an amazing story, so much so that we could write a book about God’s love, restoration, and forgiveness for a family.
God Stepped In
We met when we were both on a steady course, headed away from our relationship with God. We were living in sin and a spiraling downward place of darkness. Our families were broken beyond repair. At least, that was our perception at the time. We eventually married but continued down a road apart from Christ. Both of us previously had a wonderful relationship with Jesus.
Eventually, we came to what appeared to be a tragic ending of our marriage. However, God stepped in. He accomplished this through the restoration of Michelle’s relationship with Jesus. The Holy Spirit led her to battle for our marriage and me. God graciously restored my relationship with Jesus and powerfully redeemed our marriage. We are not perfect, but God has marked us with his blessing of restoration.
We now see every area of our lives as opportunities for ministry. Therefore, we are doing all that we can to follow the leading of God’s voice. Jesus is a wonderful Lord, Savior, and awesome Redeemer of all things! He makes all things new!
My Ministry Calling And Salvation Testimony
In 1986, I was born again as a teenager. I received Jesus while I was drunk and high on alcohol and marijuana. It was late one night while I was at home. I came across a preacher on TV and was tired of trying to find anything else to watch. So I decided to watch the preacher.
I was born and raised Southern Baptist but was not born again. This preacher was preaching with lots of energy, but that’s not what caught my attention. The thing that got me on the edge of the couch was the excitement displayed by the congregation listening to him. By the way, the preacher was Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. The people’s excitement level caused me to want to hear what he had to say.
By the end of the message, I was on the floor on my knees, weeping as I had never done. I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior that night. That is when I was born again of the Spirit of God. It was one of the most amazing things I had ever experienced in my life.
Within approximately three months, I realized that God was calling me to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. I started pursuing that call. However, gradually I placed it on the back burner as pursuing wife and children became my top priority. This shift was my fault because I lost the vision of the call. I fell back into alcohol, which eventually led to a terrible divorce that plunged me deeper into a dark pit.
Study for Ordination at CLI
So, here I am. God brought me back to the call to preach and minister His love to others. Isn’t God so good?
He could have left Michelle and me right there in the dark pit we were in, but He didn’t. It brings me to tears when I think about where we were and where we are now! Romans 11:29 says – “for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” I am so thankful for this!
So what am I doing here at Christian Leaders Institute? I am here, at the moment, to pursue the Licensed Ministry Chaplain credential. After I receive that credential, I plan to continue to study for ordination. I plan to get the Chaplain Minister Ordination. I am excited about CLI and what they offer! They are truly a source that God has provided in the times we live in for people to receive an education.
What God has Done and Is Doing
I worked for Aaron Oil Company for 19 years, driving a bobtail tanker truck and picking up used petroleum oil. This was oil from automobiles or certain types of machinery that had to be disposed of by the companies who utilized our services. Aaron Oil Company is considered a recycling company because they process the oil to fuel oil used as energy. I enjoyed my years there. It was a place that helped mold my personality and allowed me to grow in many areas.
In 2017, God powerfully pursued Michelle and me. We were close to submitting to that pursuit of His Holy Spirit, but I chose to run deeper into the darkness dragging Michelle with me. Running from Jesus brought us to the edge of the destruction of our marriage and family all the way into 2018. It was then and there at that cliff that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit caught us both. God reached out and grabbed Michelle and me as we were going over the edge of that terrible cliff. God pulled us both back to solid, safe ground and raised us up out of that dark pit.
After the awesome returning prodigal celebration God the Father threw for us, He poured His word and love into us. In 2019, the Holy Spirit spoke to both of us and asked if we would be willing for me to quit my job at Aaron Oil Co. The commission was to provide lawn care services to those in need as a ministry to the community. We both said yes, and the journey began. Things were beginning to get off the ground when Covid shut things down in 2020. The shutdowns brought delays to the ministry.
Called to Ministry and Study for Ordination Online at CLI
During this time, God led us to begin volunteering at a local Hospice facility. We became associated with the Hospice through Healing Rooms Ministries. We joined the Healing Rooms just before Covid shut everything down. The Hospice asked the Healing Room to come in to pray and minister to patients and family members. I fell in love with this type of ministry. We all had to join their volunteer program so that we could minister. As a volunteer, I can go anytime and visit with, minister to, and pray for those who want it.
This has stirred in me a great desire to pursue the credentials of becoming a Chaplain. I never dreamed that the Holy Spirit would lead me in this direction, but it is such an amazing journey. I have already learned things from CLI that have helped me as I minister at the local Hospice. It has been such a blessing to me. I look forward to furthering my education and training to achieve my certifications and eventually study for ordination here at CLI.
Thank you, CLI and all the staff and leadership, for allowing students like myself a place to come and receive a quality education.