By Mark Ellis, Special to ASSIST News Service
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (ANS — May 22, 2015) — He grew up in a small town in the Midwest, a bright student who got straight A’s. But in high school he sowed wild oats, which led to ongoing drug problems until he had an extraordinary 48-hour vision of hell and its demons.
“I had always considered myself an atheist,” says Paul Gill, the author of Anastasis: A Memoir. “I didn’t grow up in a religious household. It was a non-subject.”
Part of his alienation from God stemmed from a troubled upbringing. “I had a painful childhood and I blamed God. I couldn’t understand how he could have made such a place. I couldn’t see any good in it. Because of my anger I decided he didn’t exist.”
In high school, Paul began to hang out with the wrong crowd. “I got into a lot of trouble; I drank a lot; I partied a lot.”
By his senior year he had landed in jail several times. “I went to rehab at 17 to avoid a longer jail sentence,” he notes, and spent his 18th birthday in rehab.
After he was released he returned to drinking and his downward spiral accelerated. Following his high school graduation, he and a friend hopped on a Greyhound bus and traveled from Louisiana to Colorado. He finally landed in California, north of San Francisco, where he took up residence, working in a pizza parlor.
The job allowed him to sleep in and continue his party lifestyle. “I surrounded myself with people who drank,” he says.
In October 1998 his life changed after he experimented with crystal methamphetamine. “I was awake for close to a week,” he recalls. Toward the end of that week, a veil was lifted that allowed him to see into another realm.
“I looked at my bedroom door and I saw the ghost of a little girl holding a mug of beer. She was shivering.”
Paul approached the door, tentatively. “Why are you here?” he asked.
Mark Ellis is a senior correspondent for ASSIST News Service and also the founder of www.Godreports.com, a website that shares stories, testimonies and videos from the church around the world to build interest and involvement in world missions.
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