Redemption on the River: “Going Home”

By   •   February 3, 2011

In the latest Billy Graham television program, viewers will see the impact of the 2010 Rock the River Tour West through the eyes of local young people. This is one story from the Fraser Valley event on August 7.

Melissa walked into Millennium Park late and alone. She had asked her son’s father to come with her, but he backed out because of the rain as did another female friend. Still, she came. “I’ve known for a long time that I needed something, that I needed to change my life,” the 26-year old said, quietly.

When Melissa arrived, she immediately was captivated by a video sharing the candid, gritty testimony of Brian “Head” Welch, the former lead guitarist for the metal band Korn. “He talked about using a lot of drugs, and having problems with his wife and kid. I could relate,” she said.

Melissa’s own life had been something of a roller coaster even since she got married at 17. A few years into the marriage, she left her husband and got involved with a man who encouraged heavy drug use and promiscuity. To break away, she got pregnant with someone else, thinking a baby would help her clean up her lifestyle.

Life did cycle up for a while until her son’s father went to jail. “I had to do everything on my own and went on welfare,” she said. Melissa was lured back into a relationship with the second man when he promised to take care of her. The promise proved empty, and Melissa began searching for a way to escape.

“I was trying to decide whether to see him that night,” she recalled. “But I went to Rock the River instead. I decided to change my life.”

So it was that Melissa was standing by herself after the Head video ended and Franklin Graham began his third message. “I heard that story about the prodigal son coming home before,” she said, “but that night it sounded like it was for me. I thought, ‘If I make this change, I am going to have to go back home to my parents too.'”

Then Franklin said, “This could be your last chance.”

Melissa knew he could be right. “I had gone to events like this before but I was always too scared to go up front. Maybe I was meant to go to Rock the River alone. If someone else had come with me, I might have just stood there too.”

That didn’t happen. When Franklin invited people to come forward, Melissa knew it was time. “He did a last call and I felt I had to go forward, and I started crying. I wanted to stop all the craziness in my life.”

A group of caring women gathered around Melissa, took her to the special counseling area, prayed with her, and even took her to Tim Horton’s for coffee afterward.

“I had been to church before, but no one ever talked to me there,” she said. “This was so different. People cared.”

Melissa was baptized on September 19, 2010. Since then she has found a church, completed an Alpha course and is involved in a women’s Bible study.

“Yes, I did have to go home,” she said. “Home to my parents and now home with God. There is no better place to be.”

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Be sure to watch the February TV Special featuring first-hand testimonies from other young people whose lives were forever changed at Rock the River.

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  1. Suzanne says:

    Melissa you made a choice that will be forever changing you. Learn to delight yourself in the Lord. Someone told me that a few years ago and now I can see what he meant. God is going to move on your behalf for every decision you involve Him in from now on. My 19 year old daughter died of a drug overdose in 2007. Salvation takes on a new meaning when someone you love dies. He will be there for you no matter what.

  2. Tony says:

    Praise God

  3. samson says:

    God moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. He plants his foot in the sea and rides upon the storm! God knows you and will accomplish his divine purpose in your life in the days to come. AMEN.

  4. John says:

    Melissa, your story touched my heart. I'm a retired Baptist minister praying for young people like you. You've been blessed to be a blessing. May God use you mightily now in the lives of others.

  5. Mary Ann says:

    Melissa, I think we all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts and until we fill our lives with Him, nothing else satisfies. I too was at wits end until I came to Christ. I never knew this peace until I surrendered my life to Him. May God richly bless you because I know that He has good plans for your life. Jer. 29:11

  6. Kent says:

    Welcome to the big family of Christ where all troubles and pain stops, where you can smile with a perfect reason because Jesus was perfect and though we may not feel right to wash His feet, we will one day be with Him. Gods Peace, sister

  7. Keith says:

    It takes alot of support to put on a show of this magnitude Often it appears to be just a waste of money to the unlearned. But those who have a heart for the lost see its value beyond the cost. Even just one like Melissa makes it all worth it. What value has just one to God? He came down from Heaven to find the lost .. even if it was just one. What a price He paid to do it! What a Savior! Thank you BGEA for All you Do in His Love!

  8. Mary says:


  9. Len says:

    My life has been so blessed. I want many to come to Christ and know His Love. It's His Spirit that will bring you to Himself. Please don't wait or put it off till another time. Trust Him, He will do it all. The gift is waiting to be received. Believe in Him and have everlasting life. You will praise Him from this day forward. This is my prayer in Jesus name, amen

  10. Dawn says:

    I too had to come to a point of surrender.. After several attempts to myself, control an addiction to alcohol, and after losing everything that meant anything to me.. I finally gave up and surrendered to something much bigger than myself.. and that was Jesus.. Now, GOD is restoring me back to a life with a lving family, my children and a wonderful man who is full of Faith and loves me dispite all I have done in my past.. GOD is a GOD of many chances and I am grateful you surrendered too..