Hey, Veritas. My name is Nathan Kaloupek. I'm part of the team on staff here and I'm excited to have Paul share his story. Paul and your wife, Lori, you've been involved in Veritas for a couple of years now.
Paul Campbell: Probably four to five years.
Nathan Kaloupek: Yeah. So we're going to have you just share the story of what God has done in your life, drawing you to Jesus and then your involvement now. But we want to share stories of what God's doing to highlight who he is. Our God loves to raise up mature disciples and send us as everyday missionaries for his glory. And so I'm excited for you to share with our church family what God's done in your life. And we're excited too to be part of the story of how he's continuing to grow you guys and engage you in his mission. So how did you come to know Jesus? What's your background?
Paul Campbell: Well, it's kind of it's kind of odd. We actually came out of what we considered a Christian based cult. I was raised in that. So my version of Jesus was fairly distorted. Church was heavy on strict laws and Old Testament holidays and works based salvation. So, you know, I came out of that background and immediately stopped going to church and I went to college, which is pretty common. I didn't have a really good life. I was really out of control with a lot of items. I had a failed marriage lasted 18 months, you know, hard issues there. And when I met Lori, it was odd because I had no interest in God or the Bible at all. But our first conversation was about the Bible. And she was a Roman Catholic struggling with those beliefs. I brought all the weird cult ideas and we closed down a pizza parlor that night.
Nathan Kaloupek: So you experienced this kind of legalistic thing and then just totally went the opposite direction. And so you guys meet and get married then just after college or what was that?
Paul Campbell: Lori was twenty one so she just finished college. I was twenty five at the time and the only religion that I knew of course was the church. So we went back to that until the founder of the church died and we left about four years later. And from there it was just a spiral downhill, you know, really dark times, marriage is in trouble, talking about divorce, absentee father, absentee husband, totally workaholic, suffering from medical conditions. I was taking six to seven meds a day suffering from massive depression. And at a point I just literally came to the end of myself. I came home, told Lori that I was going to the mountains for a week. And we would figure it out when I got back.
Nathan Kaloupek: That’s kind of out of the blue.
Paul Campbell: Yeah, I was done. I was done with marriage. It was done with my kids. And I didn't even know if I was coming back to be honest with you. I was suffering a lot of depression at the time and had just given up on a lot of things.
Nathan Kaloupek: And did you have Christians in your life or people like that?
Paul Campbell: I didn't. We quit going to church for about ten years. And Lori, bless her heart, would go to the local churches and she prayed intensely for me. And of course, in my situation, it just made things worse. It was the hot coals. And so, you know, I went to Estes Park, Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains and for a week and two days I spent time railing at God and in his mercy, he didn't turn me into a cinder. On the third day, God had had enough. It's his turn to speak. And I began to see my life role as a scroll. And every instance God showing me that I had nothing to do with this. This was your decision. This was your you know, you've been running from me, but I've always been there. I’ve always been behind you. And then in a moment that I can only describe as supernatural, I felt like somebody had reached into my heart and squeezed my heart. And I had taken my Bible for whatever reason on that third date, which I can't understand. And I began to read Romans. And by that afternoon I was on all fours crying, begging for forgiveness and just had this experience of renewal like I can't describe. I came back, told my wife and kids, sit them down, apologized. I told them what had happened. And of course they're like, yeah, right. Which they should have. I had said that lots of times before.
Nathan Kaloupek: Sure.
Paul Campbell: But over the weeks and months and years to come, the love of God filled me up, not only me, but it spewed over into my wife who saw her prayers for twenty years, answered, and into my children, who, when we dropped them off at college, says, I don't want anything to do with you or your religion to see all three of them say through the Salt Network at UNI in five years. And it's it's still flowing out through us. My children not only are saved, but they're working to be better disciples. And they are seeking, you know, mentor positions where they can lead other people. It's really it's just hard to describe what God has done. Sometimes God works as a trickle through people's life. It was a flood of blood to our family.
Nathan Kaloupek: And its so cool that your wife faithfully prayed for you for so long, even not seeing fruit for so long.
Paul Campbell: In fact, things got worse before they get better but she refused to give up on me. So, you know, prayers to work. Don't ever give up on your spouse and your children. God's got a plan. God's faithful. God always shows up. We just, we just have to give him time sometimes.
Nathan Kaloupek: And one of the things I want to share at Veritas with that story is you guys are taking steps on leader pathway, kind of that process of sifting and discerning if Connection Group co-leadership is the right thing for you guys right now. How did you guys decide, hey, that's something we want to we want to try out?
Paul Campbell: It started with Steps which again, I can't speak highly enough about. You know, Steps is a tool the church is using to show people the sin in their life. And more importantly, it's how to exercise the gospel in your daily life. And that's been huge. It doesn't replace the gospel. I would never say that at all. But it's been a tool. And Lori took it first and I saw a definite change in her relationship with Christ. And I said, I want me some of that. And I took it. And not only did it run a bulldozer through my spiritual life revealing sin, but it had a healing effect on our marriage. It's kind of hard to explain. We always had this land mine between us in our marriage where we said, oh, we have a good marriage because we don't argue a lot. And what we had done, the things we did argue about, we had little flags on and we just didn't walk in those things. We were weaving through our marriage and after Step, we learned to embrace the sin in our life, to dig those things up then so that there was nothing in between us. So it was a natural extension. When the church approached me to be a Steps mentor, I said you know, I would love for others to experience the same change in our life and our marriage. So there wasn't much thought to that when the church approached us for being leaders. That was a different story. I said, are you sure, have you got the right guy? You know? But after talking to Chris and Ann Evans, which, by the way, shout out to them they're great people and we love them, they've been great community group leaders. And, you know, they assured me that, you know, we were capable of doing this and we both prayed about it. But we've always tried to take the approach of Isaiah, you know, when asked, who shall I send to say, here we are, Lord, and to realize that, you know, that the ability to do things isn't in our own to do the Holy Spirit guides and equips. And our job is to step up in faith rather than rely on our own abilities just to do things. So we said, yeah, we could do this. We can do this.
Nathan Kaloupek: Praise God. Well, Veritas I mean, some of the things I just want us to reflect on is that our God is big. He saves whether we're chasing him or not, and he might use faithful prayers for 20 years for someone that that the world would say give up hope and God is still pursuing. And I love the story of that overflowing to your kids. I have gotten to meet all three your kids and just see little glimpses of that life come alive and taking the next steps of faith. Here I am, Lord, send me. When we have that God quake in our life the appropriate responses are alright whatever, It's going to be the right thing. We're grateful for you guys in the ways that you're serving and excited for how God's going to continue to bear fruit in you and through you in that process. Thanks Paul.