My name is Joe Freeman and as of April, 2010, I am a new creation, one of The King’s kids! Receiving Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and making Him the center of my life has transformed this former alcoholic/drug addict into a disciple of the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I have decided to follow Jesus until I am called home to Heaven.
I grew up the eldest of nine boys in the Philadelphia area before moving to the shore town of Wildwood Crest, NJ. As a child I was physically and emotionally abused by my father. My mother lived in fear of my father and was controlled by his anger and dictatorial style. He was a punishing father, physically, emotionally, and verbally. He hit first and did so often. Degradation and public humiliation were the norm. He expected us to do as he said, not as he did. He drank a lot, smacked my mother around, and by all indications was unfaithful. An agnostic at best and an atheist at times. he acted as if he were smarter than God and was angry with God. My mother sent us to Catholic church on Sundays but she was too afraid of my father to go herself. I never saw my father show forgiveness to anyone. If you did it, you paid for it. A mistake was a screw-up, not tolerated and generally beaten out of you. He was brutal, not gentle.My opinion and image of God was that He did not love me or even like me. God was a brutal punisher who looked for me to fall and then swiftly and brutally punished me. He could never forgive me for even the smallest offense and I could never please Him or make Him love me.
I was also sexually abused by a female babysitter starting at age 11 for a year and a half. This led to further pain and turmoil in my soul and damaged my concept of intimacy.
I began to drink heavily in college and ultimately became addicted to drugs, alcohol, and women, which continued for 40 years, costing me my marriage, family, job, and health. I trusted no one and relied only on my three best friends; me, myself, and I. I ended up in a crack hotel, broken in body and soul, and ready to blow my brains out because I saw no hope.
A friend told me about the Colony of Mercy at America’s Keswick, where he had found deliverance form the bondage of addiction. I practically crawled across the street to the hotel office to make the call to the intake coordinator at the Colony and was able to go to Keswick in April, 2010. My life was radically transformed when I began to understand the truth of Galatians 2:20, that Christ IS my life. I had known of Jesus in earlier years but had never had a personal and intimate relationship with Him nor the knowledge of what He had done for me that day on the Cross. I went through the 4 month program, stayed for the Discipleship program, and then was offered an internship to work alongside the chaplains at the Colony of Mercy.
My wife and I were introduced to the ministry of Grace Fellowship International through the books of Dr. Charles Solomon. We attended the conference/workshop/school in November of 2011 and have felt God’s calling on our lives to share the message of the Exchanged Life and Jesus as the Bondage Breaker on a full-time basis. We desire to teach others that Christ came “so that they may have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).