The Testimony of Wade "Duck" Anderson
I was 10 years old when my father vanished and left my mother to raise five boys. My father was an automotive and Harley Davidson mechanic in those early years of my life. The love I had for my father, even after his leaving us, led me to follow in some of his footsteps.
For the next five years, my mother worked two and sometimes even three jobs to support all of us. I was the oldest so that put me in charge of the household. By the age of 14, I was tired of that role and due to the responsibilities I had, I felt that I was a man and soon left home to ‘find myself’ a place in the world.
That decision led me to running with a crowd of people several years older than myself. It wasn’t long before I was in the midst of experimenting with all sorts of drugs and fast cars. This was in the late 60’s to early 70’s. It was during these experimental days that I traveled back and forth, hitchhiking and by car, across the United States several times. At one point I decided to load up my motorcycle and made my push to leave the small town life and go west to Arizona. By the mid 70’s, I had been married and divorced for the first time.
Leaving the small town and entering the big city life, it took years for me to realize that I had jumped from the skillet into the fire. The fast pace of what seemed to be a city that never slept soon led me into an outlaw motorcycle lifestyle full of guns, fast motorcycles and even faster drugs. As this lifestyle had become the ‘norm’ it tallied up a second wife, a beautiful daughter, a new home and countless other relationships all by the early 80’s. I was spiraling out of control, I never realized how much the family I left behind had kept me grounded.
In the mid 90’s, I had met my now beautiful wife but before we were to be married the state of Arizona had put a hold on those plans as I took a tour to the Arizona State Prison System. I would love to say that that was the end of that old lifestyle but it wasn’t. I was busted two more times and put on probation. Never stopping the old lifestyle, I did however successfully complete the probation times.
I had really grown sick and tired of all the eventful things that always lay around the corner that lifestyle carried with it. But I had been in it for so many years that I didn’t ever see a way out without being put in a box.
It was a beautiful spring morning in April 2007, when I found the way out of it all. I had a motorcycle accident less than a quarter of a mile from home with my 8-year old grandson on the bike with me. This became my Damascus experience. Immediately after the accident I left the bike behind and in a daze, bleeding and gasping for air, I took my grandson and walked the 8 to 10 houses to my home. I had been in many bike accidents in my 38 years of riding but this time there was something deeper going on. I didn’t think for a second that I was dying but as I headed for the hospital, I looked to the sky and simply stated, “Hey, if You take care of this I will take care of the rest of the things in my life.”
Just like the Apostle Paul, after being in the hospital for a couple days my eyes were opened to see things and feel things I’d never experienced in my lifetime. Actually, it all was so different that it was almost scary. I found myself searching for a church, someplace that I might feel comfortable and feel accepted. On this journey for a church I ran into several old pals that I had thought dropped off the face of the earth. It became obvious to us all that Jesus was the answer to all the things we had longed for, for so long.
In a matter of a week we had decided to get together on Sunday afternoons to lift each other up and encourage each other to continue on when things were rough. It was only a month or so later, when I felt in my spirit, “Send hope, Love and encouragement.” This was a weird experience for me but I asked the question, “To whom? The only people that I know are murders, prostitutes, drug addicts and convicts!” An answer came swiftly, “That’s who I mean, people like yourself that have seemingly lost sight of these three things.” I knew instantly who and where these people were so the few of us got together and decided to print a single page 2-sided newsletter to send to 35 of our personal friends behind bars, that was September 2007. By April 2008, most of the original crew had split off to do different things and by June 2008 my wife and I, along with our youngest daughter and son-in-law had come into agreement to press on to see where God wanted to take the Overcomers for Christ newsletter. Since June 2008, my daughter and son-in-law do all of the graphic arts and design for the entire newsletter and my wife is the administrator who keeps things in order and done in a timely manner.
In July 2007, I was invited by a friend to go to the Father’s Day service at Living Word Bible Church in Mesa, Arizona. That day I knew I found the church that I was going to be planted in. I began serving in the church as an usher and became a member of the church. I have matured spiritually at Living Word Bible Church and in doing so my entire family has come to know and grow in the Lord there.
As the mailing list grew to 250 people, it was getting to be out of hand for us to support. I had it set in my heart that I was going to pray that day until I received the answer from God of where we were to go for the support He had set in place for us. I remember praying, “God You said, ‘We have not because we ask not’. Well I’m asking.” There came such a peace and excitement as I heard in my spirit, “Okay, you’ve asked Me now go to the church.” I made an appointment with my pastor at Living Word Bible Church and shared my vision of the newsletter with him. That day we became the prison ministry for Living Word Bible Church. God always provides.
From that day forward this ministry has grown into much more than a newsletter from the outside to the inside. With every letter that is written to us here at the Overcomers for Christ ministry, we always send each person back a personal hand written letter. We do our best to answer any questions through the Word of God. We purpose to send them hope, Love and encouragement that there is a much better life than the one most of us were caught up in for so long, a life with Jesus. So we are actually a mentoring letter correspondence ministry as well. We encourage those on the inside to sow the things they do have while they are incarcerated such as testimonies, artwork, poetry, prayer requests, praise reports and their Spirit led messages and then they are printed in the newsletters to help set others free as well.