My Story: Mark Ziegler of Edinboro

Mark Ziegler

This Is My Life And How I Received God Into My Life. When I was growing up I really didn't know much about God. I went to Church but really never paid much attention to it. I was an Alter Boy and started getting God in my life. See, I was beaten when I was young. My dad would come home from driving a semi truck and he was drunk and took my brothers and I down stairs and whipped us with an orange racetrack piece. We were beaten naked, tied to a pole in the basement. We did nothing wrong, but my dad did not care. We all got it all the time.

I went to school all the time with marks on me, and then it got worse. I had my hands over the stove flame for doing wrong, I got burned and had blisters on my hands. My life was hell for me I didn't know a lot about God.

Then it got worse. Something happened to me at the age of ten. My mom died; she had cancer through her body. I was mad at God. He took my mom, and now I didn't have a mom to run to when things got bad or when I needed a shoulder to cry on. I was sent to a foster home, then to another foster home. I was in almost twenty foster homes through out my life. Nobody wanted my sister or me. My three other brothers found a nice foster home. There was a lady Mary, who took very good care of my brothers. My sister and I tried so hard to go and live with her and her husband because it seemed like Heaven there, and then one day it happened that we got to live with them.

I was still so mad at God because I still did not understand why he took my mom; she was only 39 years old. I cried every day hoping she would come back to me. One day when I was in a car I seen a lady that looked just like my mom, she was standing on the side of the road and Mary, Wayne and I went by and I looked back and she was gone. I was scared; why would God do this to me? Did I do something wrong for him to take my mom from me at the age of ten, and my sister and my other six brothers? I was the youngest one of the boys and then my sister. So I stayed at Mary's home until I was eighteen. I left to find my other brothers and my dad. When I did find them, they all drank and did drugs so, I thought this was what I wanted to do.

After about five years I was in a bar as a bouncer while also working during the day. One day this lady came in and I asked her for ID and she showed me it. About a week or so later we started going out. Her name was Diane Hemenger. Then she told me after a few months going out that she was going to have a baby. I was scared again so I didn't talk to her for two weeks. But I knew I had to step up and be a man. I did and in 1989 we got married. I stopped partying for a while, but still I couldn’t put God in my life. I went to church because she wanted to go. I did it for her, not myself. My son was born in 1991. I still did not seek God and then things started to get worse for my wife, Diane and me. I got hurt and could not return to work. I have had a total of thirty-seven surgeries in my life, and I died in three of them. When I died, it was dark and cold. I felt very lonely.

Years passed and I still did drugs; I did not want anything to do with my kids or wife. She told me she would leave me. I said “ok” but she didn't leave, so our life went on with me not working. I went on disability and started spending more money on drugs. We got a home and started having things come our way, but I thought money and drugs were more important than wife and kids. I started going to this church and I liked it. Then the Pastor told me I have to be baptized and join the church and wear a suit. I didn’t want to wear a suit and I didn’t want God in my life.

Then it hit us hard. We went bankrupt and lost our home, car and everything else. So we had to move. We looked in Edinboro and found one home but I still did drugs and didn't want God in my life. My kids got on my nerves and so did Diane. Then Diane came up to me and asked me if I would like to go and look for a church in Edinboro. I said ok just so she would leave me alone. So the day came, we went to church. We came to McLane Church. People were shaking my hand and asking us how we are doing even though we didn't know them. That was nice of them. I was like “what is going on? What do these people want from me?” This may sound strange, but we saw food and I asked Diane how much are these people going to want for coffee and food? We tried hiding in the back of the church, people still found us and wanted to talk to us. I knew something was up. I was going to be asked to donate for the doughnut or the coffee I was eating and drinking. But they didn’t, and they welcomed us to McLane Church. I was feeling a lot better.

So a week later I was sitting at home alone and had a Bible and opened it up. I started reading it and then I closed my eyes and prayed asking God to help my family and I so we can become closer as a family and have a relationship with God.

Then I did it, I made a promise to God that I will stop doing drugs and start loving my wife and kids like a husband is supposed to do. I opened my eyes and I had tears coming down my face. I was scared; I felt like someone was in my home but the dogs didn’t bark so I looked around but there was nobody in sight. I went back to McLane Church, and they where talking about people getting baptized and so I talked to my family. I told them I want to be baptized and I want God in my life. Before I got baptized I talked to Daryl Myers to find out why God took my mom and my dad from me, and then he said God didn't take her from me; it was her time and my fathers time. When you’re young you don't understand what God does but now I know my mom and dad were suffering from cancer. So I asked God to forgive me. I wanted God to know I was not mad at him anymore, I love God and his son Jesus because he gave his life for everyone. So the big day came my wife, kids and I were going to get baptized together. We walked in the water and went down I came back up and felt like I had the spirit go right through me and I knew that God forgave me for my sins. I started to have tears come down my face so I covered my face so nobody would see me. It was the most wonderful thing that I have ever done.

I know I'm not perfect, but I do have God, my wife and kids in my life. See, even though I have God in my life, I’ve still had problems. Money wasn't there; my wife was still looking for work. But we prayed every day and night so God could show us how to live a Holy Life. Then Diane found a job working at Wal-Mart; it wasn't much pay but it helped with the bills. We met some really wonderful people who showed us a program called Good $ense. That way we can work through our life and manage our money problems. We also had two great counselors.

To this day I like to volunteer at McLane Church along with my wife and my two great kids. They still followed by my side when I was doing all these horrible things. They showed me that they loved me, even though I felt like I didn't deserve it. I'm very glad they stayed with me.

I just found out this year from my doctor that I will be losing my right arm because of my illness. He said eventually that I will also be losing my left arm within five years because of my illness. With McLane Church family and their prayers, I know that I can make it through this illness that I have. If not then I will have to accept what God has planned for my life. Now I know it’s my turn to show my family how much I love them. I'm also thankful for having such a wonderful God and his son Jesus in my life and this wonderful family and Church.