Conversions

    Every spiritual life is a journey. Mine began in Warner Robins, Georgia in 1971. I was born into a good Methodist family and had a strong Christian foundation laid for me in childhood. But unfortunately, as is all too common, during my teenage years I drifted away somewhat from this good foundation and was lukewarm at best towards Christianity. I still attended weekly church services and youth group activities, but my interests were mainly in having fun with my friends and having a spiritual life was far from my mind.

    But at age 17, I had a profound conversion experience that impressed upon me the reality and urgency of Christianity. I gave my heart and life to Jesus and experienced a great sense of meaning and purpose in life. Around this time, my family and I became Southern Baptists, which matched well with my new fervency and devotion.

    I ended up going off to college to Jerry Falwell’s well-known Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, which proved to be an ideal place for me at the time to deepen my devotion and learn more about the Faith. It was a great time of spiritual development for me, and by the time I graduated in 1995, I felt energized and excited about where Our Lord would lead me and what He would do through me.

You can read Todd’s whole story here.  Hundreds of other conversions stories HERE

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Originally published a few months ago, but very current and good news!

10281068-3x2-700x467Some amazing news came out of Australia today with a famous atheist politician receiving baptism. Bill Hayden had been the leader of a major Australian political party, then was the Governor General of Australia for 7 years. (The Governor General is the one who signs bills into law in the Queen’s name in 15 Commonwealth countries.) Recently, at 85, he renounced his atheism and joined the Catholic Church.

Getting Close to Death

The Australian reports his motivation to take this step.

Bill Hayden, at age 85, has ­renounced his atheism and been baptised into the Catholic Church.

The former Labor leader and governor-general said it was witnessing so many selfless acts of compassion by Christians over his lifetime, and deep contemplation while recovering from a stroke, that prompted his decision.

Toying with Catholicism for Years

The Australian article continues with a bit of background from Bill Hayden.

“I always regarded myself as a fellow traveller with Catholicism and declared I was a Catholic on official forms, but it wasn’t official,” Mr Hayden said. [His family had been Catholic.] “I would go to mass every Sunday and then go to benediction when I was a teenager. I didn’t know that I wasn’t officially a Catholic, and found that out only later when my sister did the family history.

“When you grow up with it, I don’t think it ever really leaves you. The Catholics have ceremony very much in place. But it was more than that. I could just feel in my heart that I didn’t feel fulfilled.

“There is more to life than just me. I had to make a dedication of myself for the good of others, ­before God. I felt that strongly.”

Sincere Motivations to Convert

It is also worth noting the reasons Bill Hayden wrote to friends about his conversion.

In a letter to family and friends, he explained that the Christian principles of “humanity, social commitment and service to ­others” aligned with his personal and political values, and guided his return to the Catholic faith.

“Christianity represents for me the qualities I have attempted to apply in my life but from now on will strive to uphold, with faith,” he wrote.

So often we can write people off and think there is no hope. However, stories like this of conversion late in life should teach us not to lose hope on anyone.

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An Interview with Catholic Evangelist Steve Ray

by Steve Ray on March 9, 2019

“My family and I have discovered that the Catholic Church is the best-kept secret in all of human history.”

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Catholic evangelist Steve Ray. Since I am a high school theology teacher, I have long been impressed with what Steve has done for the Church; for instance, I have shown some of his “Footprints of God” videos to my students, who are justifiably spellbound by the remarkable imagery of the Holy Land. Steve, a reliably entertaining and informative Catholic media personality also has a website, “Defenders of the Catholic Faith,” and he is active on Twitter. If you would like to learn more about why Steve Ray embraces the Catholic faith as a proud and fearless disciple of Jesus Christ, you can find his books on Amazon or at Ignatius Press. May you be inspired by Steve’s testimony here.

1) What initially drew you to the Catholic faith, and how has Catholicism enriched you and your family’s life since converting

Catholic  becoming2.jpgThat’s a big question. I was born and raised an Evangelical Protestant. My parents were inspired by Billy Graham, and I grew up in that warm environment. I considered myself a Bible teacher. I became Catholic not necessarily because I saw anything beautiful in the Catholic Church at first, but when I was 39, I began to see three problems with Protestantism: 1) What was worship? 2) What is the authority that binds Christians? (We thought this was the Bible alone, but that would never work.) 3) How many Churches did Jesus start? (There was only one, per Matthew 16:18 and John 17.) We spent a lot of time contemplating these questions. Then, a good friend of mine, Al Kresta, converted to Catholicism in 1993. Al and I have been best friends since 1983. We home-schooled our kids and studied the Bible together. My wife and I told him that was the stupidest thing we ever heard — why would someone become Catholic? We started studying the Church Fathers to prove Al wrong, but instead, the Church Fathers kept proving the Catholic Church right! A year later, we became Catholic.

2) As a high school theology teacher, I have enjoyed showing some of your “Footprints of God” DVDs to my students over the years. What is your favorite site to visit in the Holy Land, and why?

Oh, my goodness. Well, we’ve been to so many different places. The favorite place that I have visited is Iraq. That is where it all began, with Abraham, who had even worshiped pagan idols (see Joshua 24:2). It was exotic there, but even dangerous; when we were there, ISIS was beginning to come in. It’s hard to get there, and hard to get out, and very difficult to be there, but it was still my favorite.

3) You have written various books – which was your favorite to write, and why?

downloadThat’s like asking which of your four kids you like the best. I like each book, but for different reasons. The one that has had the greatest impact is our conversion story, Crossing the Tiber. That was my first, and probably most impactful, of the books. Twenty years later, I am still getting emails from people telling me that that book made them Catholic, and I get a sense of humble joy from that. It’s actually selling more now than when it was written!

4) Ignatius Press is in the midst of celebrating its 40th anniversary. What have been some of the joys that you have experienced working with Ignatius Press as your publisher over the decades?

They have been around for 40 years, and I have worked with them for 24 of those years. I would say their loyalty and top quality; everything is so thorough and meticulous, whether grammatically or theologically. They are a marvelous organization. They have really taken care of me and other authors, not only with books, but with DVDs and other media. They have given me free rein to make those movies, and God has a great sense of humor, in letting a former janitor do this, instead of somebody with a Ph.D.

5) If you were to meet someone who had never heard of Jesus, what would you say, in a paragraph or so, to convince him or her that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. John 14:6)?

Screen Shot 2019-03-02 at 5.26.55 PMI would start probably one step before that by telling the person that life demands an explanation: where did this come from? It wasn’t by chance; there had to be a designer. What kind of designer would this be? He would have to be perfect and loving. This God is so amazing that he came down and become one of us. He literally condescended; it’s the scandal of the Incarnation! The angels must have thought: what in the world is he doing? One should look at the big picture about why we are here, and it all points to Jesus Christ, the Incarnation of our redeeming God.

6) I always ask this of my interviewees: what is your favorite scriptural passage, and why?

One stands out, and it may be trivialized by sporting events and so forth, but it is John 3:16. That verse is a summary of the whole Scriptures, and of the heart and mind of God. That verse, in a few words, tells everything in a simple sentence. Everything is wrapped up in that one verse. I am proud to say that my mom gave me $0.50 for every verse that I memorized, and they are all in my mind today.

Family all7) Any parting wisdom for our readers?

My family and I have discovered that the Catholic Church is the best-kept secret in all of human history. We see the humanity of the Church, but it is also, of course, a divine institution. There is no better place to be than in the heart of the Catholic Church, even with everything going on and some people making a lot of mistakes. It is the place where I will live for the rest of my life. I also want to thank Ignatius Press for all they have done, especially through their orthodoxy. Ignatius Press tries new things, such as the use of technology with making my movies. I wish them a good 40th anniversary, and I am glad to have been a small part of it.

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From San Francisco’s “Gay Mecca” to Healing in Christ (Boy, doesn’t that sound politically incorrect :-)

February 6, 2019

Catholic World Report Interview: Visit a street fair in San Francisco’s Castro district and you’re likely to meet Joseph Sciambra, 45, wearing a “Jesus loves you” t-shirt and handing out copies of his book,Swallowed by Satan. It tells the story of how, as a boy growing up in a lax Catholic family in Napa, California, […]

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Explaining to Family Why He Left the Denominations for the Catholic Church

January 9, 2019

This new convert sent me a nice e-mail thanking me. I asked if I could share it on my blog. He agreed but asked to remain anonymous and I agreed. He said, “I converted because I lost all the discussions I had with a Catholic workmate – if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. One problem […]

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Julie’s Story: From Episcopal to Baptist to Anglican to Catholic

December 22, 2018

At the age of three in 1974, our family moved to Austin, TX. The first thing my parents did was join a wonderful Episcopal Church in which I spent my entire childhood. My parents were diligent about bringing me to church every Sunday and making sure I “robed” as an altar server/acolyte. My mother grew […]

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White Supremacy, Black Power, to Islam, then the Road to Damascus: My Journey into the Fullness of the Christian Faith

October 31, 2018

Follow Dustin through the phases of his life including Islam until he finally discovered the Catholic Church. Maybe you’re like me (aside from being born with Cerebral Palsy and defying doctors’ pronouncements, by the grace of God, that I would be confined to a wheelchair and relegated to a vegetative state). Maybe you grew up […]

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Robin’s Story: Boring Catholic, to Protestant and Back to Exciting Catholic

October 10, 2018

Robin writes: I wanted to begin this blog with my conversion story. For some of you, you may stop reading here but I encourage you to continue. This is my second pilgrimage with Steve Ray and his wife Janet. I choose to travel with him because I would not be a Catholic today if it […]

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Triumph & Tragedy: Jimmy Akins Conversion Story and Loss of his Wife

September 17, 2018

 Many people know Jimmy Akin. I call him my friend and have great admiration for this friend. He is also a Square Dancer. But do you know his story? Get a cup of coffee, turn off the TV and settle in for a great story. Not just gut-wrenching and edifying, but also an Introductory Course […]

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Steve Ray interviewed “Why These Catholic Converts Remain”

September 14, 2018

Leaving the Church in ‘protest’ against perceived problems isn’t a Catholic option, former Protestants explain. Interview with Judy Roberts CULTURE OF LIFE |  JAN. 7, 2018 “For Lannette Turicchi, changing churches because of a scandal or the way the pastor interpreted the Bible was part of being a Protestant. But now that she has professed faith in […]

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My First of Eight Appearances on The Journey Home

September 7, 2018

Seems like a long time ago, but also seems like yesterday. It is one of the few times you will ever see me in a suit and tie :-)  It was a great joy to share with Marcus Grodi and his audience why I switched from Baptist to Catholic. This episode was televised on November […]

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“An Interview with Catholic Apologist Steve Ray”

August 29, 2018

An Interview with Catholic Evangelist Steve Ray Posted by Justin McClain on Thursday Aug 23rd, 2018 at 3:31 PM “My family and I have discovered that the Catholic Church is the best-kept secret in all of human history.” I recently had the opportunity to speak with Catholic evangelist Steve Ray. Since I am a high school […]

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Steve Shares a 9-minute Story of his Early Life and Conversion

August 19, 2018

While at Steubenville two weeks ago, the Coming Home Network and The Journey Home asked me to share stories of my conversion not heard before. Hope you enjoy it.

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Islamic Convert to the Catholic Faith on Journey Home

June 30, 2018

Derya Little grew up in a culturally Muslim household in Turkey, but when her parents divorced, it caused her to question everything, including the tenets of Islam. Studying it critically for herself, she was put off by its treatment of women, its chaotic history, and the master/slave relationship between Allah and his followers. She rejected […]

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Love these kind of e-mails: Back to the Catholic Church

June 26, 2018

Revisiting a nice note received from England: Thank you, Steve. My sister-in-law was Catholic and she turned away to be a new-born Christian [Fundamentalist Protestant]. A lot of these people got round her and constantly told her she was going to hell unless she gets born again and she then tried to convert me and […]

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This Convert Enticed Me to Convert – Dr. Thomas Howard

April 4, 2018

Dr  Thomas Howard’s book Evangelical is Not Enough really started our conversion process. Janet read it and wouldn’d Stop talking about it. I was listening to his story on cassette tape the day I said fortuitously “I am a Catholic” with tears in my eyes. With more tears in eyes I met Dr. Howard and […]

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