By Mark Ellis and Michael Ashcraft, Special to ASSIST News Service
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (ANS – June 18, 2015) — As a street tough and drug addict, he spent his life on the edge of the law. But heaven broke through in a surprising way one afternoon when he looked death in the face.
“I would beat up bullies,” Philbert MacKowiak said. “When I was a little kid, my mom told me the story of Samson. I would pray to God to give me strength against my three older brothers when they would pick on me, and I would beat them up.”
But if he knew about Samson, his understanding of God was limited. He fell into drugs and alcohol at age 8.
By the age of 23, living in Oakland, California, he was a serious addict. One day he smoked 10 PCP joints in his car. When a police officer rapped on his window and ordered him to open it, he suddenly hit the gas pedal, flying off with “50 cop cars after me,” he recounted.
He started driving towards the Bay Bridge with patrol cars in tow.
“I was going to drive my car off the Bay Bridge,” he said. “I was furious. I hated the world. I didn’t want to live, but I was scared to kill myself because I heard it was a mortal sin.”
As he toyed with ending his life in this dramatic fashion, he suddenly pulled over on 82nd Avenue and gave himself up. God was at work to keep him alive.
The police subdued him with club blows and hauled him off to jail.
After a rehab and court dates, he decided to leave California and move to his brother-in-law’s corn farm near Cornell, Washington. But with his ongoing drug use, he felt estranged from them.
Eventually, the loneliness of being 36 miles away from people, the frustrations of feeling unloved by his family and his continuing addiction all drove him towards suicide.
He found a shotgun and stuck the barrel in his mouth. When he was about to pull the trigger, the phone rang “out of the blue.”
Photo caption: Philbert MacKowiak
About one of the writera: Mark Ellis is a senior correspondent for the 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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