Ray Robinson
The United States of America

I am a single father of two beautiful children. My son is starting college and my daughter just started 4th grade. I am in what I call a transitional period. After many years in sales and sales management, last year I got honest with myself about how unhappy I was. My unhappiness had taken a serious toll on my life, and it was time I stopped trying to do things “my way.” I accepted that “my way” did not work, and that I needed Jesus to take the lead in my life. I could write a book about all the circumstances in play at the time, but for now, I will say that once I surrendered, God showed me much! The months that followed were nothing short of amazing and I am thankful for the opportunity I have had. While He was there over all the years, I never let Him fully in or fully lead. I had a way of stepping in front of Him or turning away from Him. Surrendering to God and His leading has made all the difference.

I was baptized October 26, 2003. If I took the time to write about all the struggles I had with sin and with the life of “sex, drugs and rock and roll,” you might be waiting to hear about how my baptism changed my life. The truth is, a big part of those stories would be from the period SINCE my baptism! Part of what I learned last year was how the shame and guilt from this perpetuated my struggles and my unhappiness. Last year, on the 11th anniversary of my baptism, I laid the “baggage” of shame and guilt down. In a blessed experience at my dad’s grave, I felt both his spirit and my Heavenly Father’s Spirit and, for the first time, felt the love of both. You see, another struggle that came to light last year was I had never personalized God’s love, possibly because I never heard my earthly father tell me that he loved me. I went graveside to write love letters from both my dad and God to myself (an idea given to me after watching the Ragamuffin movie). On a side note, a friend shared the movie with me because she felt lead to do so. Fantastic stuff! That IS what God is all about!

In short, the story goes on with me pursuing a childhood interest to drive a semi truck. After so many years working daily with dozens of people, I needed some quiet time with the Lord and a time to draw closer. It has been nothing short of incredible. I have been home for some weeks now and through conversations found that an old calling was present again. I felt the tug on my heart that I am to share the love I now know, with the passion that I have, with those He places before me. I have felt like I am supposed to be used as a bridge to connect hurting people to God and His Gospel. There have been some particular things that have been on my heart, and I accepted that He has placed them there for me to deal with them. I hope to use this experience with CLI, and the education, to do this work. I feel blessed!

How will the scholarship help me achieve my goals? Well, without the scholarship, I would not be able to pursue any training. Financially, I can’t afford any training. I am currently not working, but that should change in the next few weeks. Over the past 15 months or so, my means have drastically changed! While it is a change in my entire lifestyle, it has been an ongoing blessing. I can’t help but believe it too has been a part of His plan.

I want to add a paragraph to share my gratitude. I am grateful to God for this life He has given me. For salvation, but also the grace and mercy He has shown me since. I am thankful that He has never forsaken me and for His love. I want to thank CLI for this wonderful program and for all of those that make this opportunity possible for me and all of those around the world like me. I am thankful that God finds me useful and grateful for the opportunity to be used by God. And for whoever is reading at this point, I am thankful for you! May God bless you! 🙂