|Previous Testimony||Next Testimony|
- Kevin & Rachel Dowling -
- Off the Streets by the Grace of God -
CBC graduates, Kevin and Rachel Dowling,|
operate In Jesus Ministries in Colorado
Kevin and Rachel first met in Grand Central Station in the heart of New York City. After a quick, casual conversation, Rachel boarded one train and Kevin another. But, as fate—or God—would have it, they met up again that same night in a different part of the city. They have been together ever since.
Kevin and Rachel soon married, but the honeymoon was short-lived. Trapped in the tentacles of drug addiction, the couple found themselves living on the streets without a dime to their name: “Every penny we were able to hustle, steal, or con someone out of went straight to the dope man,” recalls Kevin. “Drugs were absolutely an idol in our lives.”
“We wandered the streets hungry,” adds Rachel. “The first time we ate out of a dumpster was when we saw a pizza box sitting right on top of the garbage heap. Most of the pizza was still in the box, so that was our dinner.”
At one time, Kevin and Rachel|
slept on the streets of New York City.
Little did Kevin and Rachel know that their newfound breakfast spot would soon change their lives. After a while, the Dowlings began hanging around after breakfast to help the church staff clean and put tables and chairs away. They also took time to chat with some of the church people.
It wasn’t long before they began attending the services as well. “Although we were going to the church, we were also still living on the streets and getting high. We never told anyone what our lives were really like,” says Kevin. He and Rachel were certain that those at the church would not approve of their lifestyle.
But at least one lady in the church didn’t care. “We met a lady named Pat, and even though she knew we were homeless and had nothing to give back, she invited us into her home,” says Rachel, still amazed at her generosity.
Kevin and Rachel have been together|
since the day they met in Grand
Central Station, New York City.
Pat continued sharing God’s love with Kevin and, when she felt he was ready, asked him if he wanted to give his life to the Lord. He did, and he received Jesus right there at Pat’s kitchen table.
“I was so excited…so joyful,” recalls Kevin. “I told Rachel that I had gotten saved, and I asked her to do the same.”
“I remember saying to Kevin, ‘But I’m not worthy. I don’t deserve Jesus,’” says Rachel.
The very next day, Rachel had her own conversation with Pat: “Pat told me, just like she told Kevin, that God loved me very much—no matter what. I’d never heard that before. I didn’t know God could love someone like me.” Rachel also gave her life to Jesus, and she and her husband experienced an immediate infilling of God’s unconditional love and grace.
Although they were completely transformed on the inside, the Dowlings’ circumstances were still dire. Their drug habit was so ingrained, they knew they wouldn’t be able to get free on their own. They checked themselves into a Christian rehab center that took in married couples. While Rachel was able to stay in the program, Kevin had to first clear up past issues with the courts due to his probation. After his year of probation was up, he informed his probation officer that his only hope of staying out of trouble was to get out of New York City.
Kevin distributing food at|
Charis Bible College.
“When we were in Pennsylvania, I stumbled across Gospel Truth on television. I was hooked,” says Kevin. “We started watching Andrew every day and ordering his books and CDs.”
Once, when Kevin was tuned in to the program, he heard about Charis Bible College(CBC). He mentioned CBC to Rachel, but neither gave it much thought initially. Meanwhile, the couple was trying to purchase a home in Pennsylvania, but every time they thought they had an open door for a place of their own, that door would slam shut.
Kevin recalls, “It was funny how every avenue we tried for a home suddenly became closed off to us. About this same time, God started bringing the thought of CBC alive in my heart. One night, I came home from work and woke Rachel up. I said, ‘Why don’t we just move to Colorado and go to the Bible college?’”
“I just looked at him and said, ‘I’ve been waiting for you to say that.’”
Kevin and Rachel and their ministry, In|
Jesus Ministries, supplies bread to
shelters and individuals from Colorado
Springs to Woodland Park, CO.
“Sitting under the teachers at CBC has totally changed our lives,” says Kevin. “We’ve learned that we don’t have to earn anything from God; He just loves us and gives us His gift of salvation absolutely free.”
One of the biggest changes Kevin has experienced is how God’s grace has transformed him into a brand-new person: “Simply by studying God’s Word and staying focused on His love, I’ve realized that God has changed things in my life and inside my heart that I didn’t even try to change. Over time, I’ve just become a very different person.”
Kevin opening the trailer in a local|
parking lot to distribute food.
One of the ministries the school offers was a perfect fit for the Dowlings: an outreach to the homeless. Kevin and Rachel jumped at the chance to be involved in this food ministry and led it throughout their entire second year at Charis. Now they’ve graduated, but they continue serving in the ministry by bringing food to CBC students at the school three times a week and providing ministries and churches within Colorado Springs and surrounding areas with all the food they need.
Kevin and Rachel stand amazed at how God has grown this ministry. “We receive thousands upon thousands of loaves of bread every week, plus meat, canned goods, and dry goods,” says Kevin. “Each Saturday, I pick up a trailer full of food, and people from all around come and take whatever they want. We had no idea it would turn into something this big.”
|Invalid Asset URL|
Kevin and Rachel have become members|
of a Christian motorcycle group called
the Black Sheep. Kevin is the Assistant
Chaplain of the organization.
But God hasn’t limited Himself to only meeting the Dowlings’ needs; He has also given them the desires of their hearts. Kevin explains, “For many years, I’ve always wanted a brand-new Harley. And, once I became a Christian, I wanted to be part of a Christian motorcycle group.”
Not only did God provide Kevin with his Harley and lead him to a Christian motorcycle group, but Kevin is now an assistant chaplain with one! The group is called Black Sheep because their goal is to be different. While a lot of motorcycle groups are on the streets looking for trouble, Black Sheep riders are out looking for ways to serve.
“This group loves to serve and give in any capacity,” says Rachel. “God has brought us into this group because it’s an extension of our passion.”
|Invalid Asset URL|
|Rachel & Kevin are happy in the Lord.|
Whether it’s feeding the homeless or ministering to the hopeless, Kevin and Rachel never want anyone to feel that they’re useless or worthless just because they’re going through hard times. They’ve been there themselves, and now they want to be able to see people through God’s eyes: “We want to treat people like kings and queens,” says Kevin, “because when you love God first, then love your neighbor as yourself, everything else falls into place.”