(Actual Column Onine)
I met a remarkable man last year at Dr. James Dobson’s ‘Family Gathering’ conference in Colorado Springs, Colo. His name is Victor Marx, and his life defies all odds.
I immediately was struck by his commanding stature, his godly confidence, gentle humility -- and all of that -- couched within the horror story of his own life.
You see, as a child, Victor lived in 17 houses, and attended 14 schools. He had four stepfathers. Three molesters. And one unsuccessful attempt by a pedophile to murder him at the tender age of 5, when he was lured into a building, sexually assaulted, and then locked in an industrial cooler to freeze to death. His family found him there, unconscious.
Things didn’t fare much better for him in grade school, where a teenage boy began showing him much needed attention with gifts and taking him on trips— this would be classic grooming techniques to ensure his silence when the molestation began. Victor says, “I felt like Humpty Dumpty, and I’d fallen off the wall.” (Citizen, 2015)
How does one survive such gross abuse? Marx’s story is so powerful and compelling because it demonstrates how a relationship with Jesus Christ can alter a man and his future. Marx’s story exemplifies that nothing in our lives is ever wasted, no matter how disastrous, when turned over to the Lord.
It is yet another example of God taking our mess and producing a message. It is what ‘Standing Strong’ looks like.
All odds would say that Marx’s brokenness as a child would have stunted him, hardened his heart, or perhaps even begun a repeat cycle of abuse on another child. No!
Once Marx found Jesus Christ, he allowed Christ to restore and pick up all the broken pieces that within his own human effort was impossible.
And out of God’s grace and his personal pain, Marx birthed a ministry called “All Things Possible” (ATP).
This ministry has grown exponentially through the years from prison ministry to saving children in conflicts in the Middle East.
His heart beats for the hearts of broken children, perhaps because a time long ago, still hidden away in his own heart, he knows well the feelings of neglect, abandonment, and abuse. He has inwardly walked in their shoes.
He continues to impact fractured communities all over the world in Northern Iraq, Syria, Burma, and Cambodia.
As a former Marine and trained martial arts seventh-degree black belt, he teams up with missionaries and has completed six high-risk missions to provide children medicine and support in war-torn areas.
The history of this outreach and his personal testimony are chronicled in the film “The Victor Marx Story.”
I share this with you because I could not be more excited to announce that Victor Marx will be coming to Ocean City to be the keynote speaker at the Soldiers For Faith Men’s Gathering—Standing Strong—at Coastal Christian Ocean City church, Eighth and West avenues July 29.
All men, ages 12 years and up, are invited to attend.
You can get more information and register at www.soldiersforfaith.com.
I believe there are plenty of males out there, but we are in great need of strong, godly men. Marx’s testimony will truly inspire.
ED. NOTE: Matthew Maher is a former professional athlete and author of the books "U MAY B THE ONLY BIBLE SOMEBODY READS: R U LEGIBLE?" & “Imprisoned by Peace”. His “Decisions Determine Destiny” assemblies are funded by State Farm and service youth in the tristate area. He is the President of Soldiers for Faith Ministries and also the Director of Student Ministries at Coastal Christian Ocean City. He served four years and seven months in N.J. State prison and was released August 2014. You can learn more at www.themattmaherstory.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattmaherstory and Instagram @matthewmaher7.