Pastor Chik’s Testimony

From Dope To Hope

by Pastor Chik Chikeles

Growing up as the youngest of six children, I was the only child from my mother’s second marriage. My father left after I was only nine months old. Although born in Illinois, since the age of one, I was raised in East Anaheim, California and fell into a hippie lifestyle at a very young age. At the age of nine, I started smoking pot. From there I progressed to P.C.P. and Cannabinol and was fully addicted by age twelve. As if the drugs were not enough, I found myself an alcoholic by the age of fifteen.

As with many kids using drugs and alcohol, school just didn’t seem to matter. Full time employment and living on my own was what I wanted; so by age sixteen I quit high school. Over a period of two and a half years of living “my way”, I thought I had some success as a warehouse foreman and “big time drug dealer”. However, one day in July, my world (what little there was of it) came to a STOP! I was in serious trouble because of bad drug deals. The word on the street was that people were looking for me and they were not friendly. It took me no time to enlist; on July 22, 1981, in one day I signed up and entered the United States Marine Corps and was off to boot camp that same day!

One year later, still a drug addict and alcoholic, I gave my heart to Jesus Christ and was “born again”. I was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Other Marines around me were getting saved and their lives were different. The real love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ was showing through them. I could not deny it any longer. It was in June of 1982 that I became a Christian and really started to LIVE!

Still in the military and stationed at Camp Pendleton, California I began attending Calvary Chapel of Oceanside CA. February of 1984 I became an ordained deacon. A street ministry called, “The Brother’s House” drew me in as an elder in July of 1984. Our purpose was to take men off the streets, feed, clothe, lead to Christ and help them to become productive in life once more. This ministry lasted until July of 1985. By now I had been out of the Marine Corps for nearly one year and was employed as a carpenter.

Until March of 1986 I was a deacon. At that time I was asked to become the Volunteer Youth Pastor of Calvary Chapel of Oceanside. Nearly two years later, in November of 1988, I was asked to be ordained as a pastor and come on staff full time to the Senior Pastor Ralph Wood.. By now I was married to Kimberly, the wife of my prayers and dreams and had two wonderful boys–Kevin and Luke. I sensed the Lord’s direction, that it was time to put away my carpenter’s tools and really go to work for Him. From 1988 to 1991, I served as an assisting pastor at Calvary Chapel Oceanside. I sensed the Lord’s direction again, this time to move to Minnesota and establish a Calvary Chapel Fellowship in Saint Paul. With our third and last child, Kara, a little money and great expectations, we were sent by our church to start another Calvary Chapel two thousand miles away from everything we knew.

After starting the church in our home in December of 1992 we moved to many different locations. Calvary Chapel Saint Paul currently meets here. Calvary Chapel Saint Paul ministers to a wide range of ages and is a very racially diverse church.

As a senior pastor I have been truly blessed by the LORD and expect greater things to happen in the years to come. II am often asked to speak at various youth and adult functions. I am very active in the life and culture of Saint Paul as well as the rest of the state of Minnesota where I am used by the Lord as a church planter. I am evangelistically and Missions minded as well. My life and ministry can best be summed up in what I call my “life verse”, Galatians Chapter 6, verse 14:

“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

The Lord Jesus has truly taken me from the depths of dope to Himself. Jesus is the highest of hope.