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Testimony of Mark Bohanan
On November 15, 1992, I walked into the Union Gospel Mission near downtown Sacramento, California, a broken man. Sitting there, I couldnít help but think of how I had messed up my life. I tried every way I could think of to become a success but I always failed. Thatís when the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to give Christ a chance.
But to give Christ a chance, that just seemed too easy; and all I had to do was to give up the pursuit of my own gratification. Over the next eleven months I did just that. I began to study scriptural concepts, and it surprised me how much sense they made to me. You see for me, God made applying spiritual truth very easy, and after what I put myself through on my own, this was a welcomed relief. Giving Christ a chance became easier and easier.
It has been just over fourteen years since I walked into the Union Gospel Mission and my life has not always been easy as those first months. The first three years I struggled to live a Christian life apart from the church, and while this may work for some, to a degree, it did not work for me. I learned that I must become part of the church body in order to thrive, grow and survive. Once learning this I applied great effort in becoming a part of the body of Christ. Over the next eleven years I ministered through maintenance work Youth Ministry, as a Missionary to Ukraine, and then through Pastoral Ministry. Also I returned to the Union Gospel Mission several times as an employee working as Kitchen Supervisor, Program Director, and finally as the Chaplain.
The day when I walked into the Mission, my life changed. Soon after, the Holy Spirit gave to me the below scripture verses that I now claim as my life verses:
2Cor. 5:17-21 (BBE). "So if any man is in Christ, he is in a new world: the old things have come to an end; they have truly become new. But all things are of God, who has made us at peace with himself through Christ, and has given to us the work of making peace; That is, that God was in Christ making peace between the world and himself, not putting their sins to their account, and having given to us the preaching of this news of peace. So we are the representatives of Christ, as if God was making a request to you through us: we make our request to you, in the name of Christ, be at peace with God. For him who had no knowledge of sin God made to be sin for us; so that we might become the righteousness of God in him."
For a long time I had a very limited understanding of what this truly meant until one day after speaking in a church in Ukraine. During the message I gave my Salvation Testimony and after the service a man named Misha (Michael) approached me. Misha had much to talk about, but one of his questions was profound, and his question changed my life. Misha said "we have great need in our country for drug and alcohol rehabilitation and I appreciate all your advice, but how can you help me?" It was as if God Himself was asking me "What are you willing to do?" Unbeknownst to me, my wife Laura was hearing God quietly ask that same question of her that day. We both independently decided that we must respond to Godís question but were not able to talk to each other about it until the next day. What amazement in learning of each otherís heart. Over and over during the next couple of days the question was reaffirmed for us and we knew that God was calling us to the Ukraine.
Another quiet truth that God put in our hearts was for me to attend Bible College. When we returned to America I quit my job and enrolled in a Bible college. We had no idea how we would we cover the cost. With God though, when He calls you He provides for you. Four years later, just this past June, I graduated from Bible College with all costs having been provided by God and His Kingdom.
Now the time has come for the next chapter in my lifeís story, and itís hard for me to even imagine where I would be at in my life had I not decided to give Christ a chance. Isnít God good?!
Mark Praying during a Mexico Mission Trip
Mark at home in Sacramento with his dog Rascal.
Mark & Laura Speaking at the SASBC International Mission Rally