God got his attention when an ATV fell on him


By Michael Ashcraft –

As in so many fairy tales, a life-changing event hit Eric Quiles as he lingered in front of a looking glass.

Bleary-eyed in a bathroom, high on mushrooms, after another one of the endless parties, Quiles observed his unsavory appearance reflected in the mirror.

Then God spoke to his heart: Is this how you want me to see you when I return?

Pastor Eric and his wife Jennifer

Raised in a church, the Utah native had become a rebel.

When he was 18, he was kind of forced by his dad to join the military.

“It was a time of a lot of turmoil. I found out a lot of things about my real father.”

Raised by his alcoholic stepfather, the family relocated from New York hoping the change of place would bring a change of behavior for Eric. It didn’t.

What worked however was an invitation to church. At 8, Eric started attending church with his family and the change was radical.

The Quiles family

At 17, he was pressured to join the military. A pastoral change discouraged the family, and they left church.

For his part, Eric found out his “dad” was really a stepdad. There’s no problem with that, but it bugged him that everyone else knew and kept the secret from him, which unleashed unexpected emotions and questions in his soul. Who was his biological father? Why did everyone keep the info from him like it was a secret?

“I felt betrayed. I decided to leave the church. It was like egg on my face. It was like everyone knew except me.” Eric says. “I felt ashamed, out of place and distraught about the whole thing, and I went to the world.”

Now Eric calls his stepfather his real father because he has processed the whole thing. And his stepfather never stopped visiting and praying for Eric while he was AWOL from God. “He never gave up on me,” Eric acknowledges.

After seven years of being lost in the abyss of drugs and partying, Eric was broken, depressed and suicidal.

“I was by myself. I was involved in all kinds of drama. I had a son out of wedlock,” he says. “I was down and out, at the bottom of the barrel.”

As misery grinded his soul, Eric became despondent of life itself.

But before he attempted suicide, he had two encounters with God.

One was in the mirror. The other was when he was trying to be the life of the party at an ATV outing. With a façade of having fun but suffering inside, Eric rode his Banshee off an embankment and rolled it.

Despite the vehicle falling on top of him, Eric was unhurt. A friend was not so lucky — he went to the hospital. Eric meditated on his brush with traumatic injury. As he lay looking skyward at the bottom of the sand dune, Eric heard the still small voice of the Lord.

What are you doing with your life?

“I hate this life. I hate it with all my passion,” Eric retorted. “Just take my life already.”

In a nano-second, he flashbacked to Sunday School. He saw his teacher quoting Jesus in the Bible. “If you lose your life for my sake, you’ll save your life.”

Eric was startled by the vision. It seemed God-driven.

“God, I surrender,” he said in his head. “I’m done. I don’t know what to say.”

He said he was done, but he wasn’t. He kept using drugs and continued forlorn for two weeks.

Things got worse.

Increasingly, the thoughts of suicide dominated his headspace.

But he didn’t want to execute an outright suicide. He wanted to make it an “accident.”

“I wanted to end it. But I thought I could tell God it was by mistake,” he suggests.

His plan? Show up before the Judgement Seat of God and say, “I don’t know why I’m here.”

How would he stage the “accident?” His roommate and him had been experiencing increasing tension of late. He would party with him and provoke him. His roommate would kill him.

On a Friday night, the troublesome twosome decided to drop acid, drink and party the night away.

Sure enough, the roommate eventually snapped at him in a nasty way.

“Say that to me again,” he retorted.

He did, and they began to fight, falling and rolling around the floor, nearly knocking over the roommate’s big screen TV.

As they grappled, Eric got a sudden revelation. “I realized I don’t want to die.”

Eric stopped fighting, and so did his roommate.

Angry, the roommate called Eric’s uncle to report on his bad behavior.

This uncle was an interesting character. He attended church but also smoked marijuana with Eric and his roommate. He talked about the sermon while inhaling weed. Go figure.

This uncle sounded threatening over the phone.

“That’s it, we’re going to take you both out,” he snarled.

But Eric had already decided he no longer wanted to die, so he grabbed his knife and waited for his uncle to arrive. He would defend himself as best he could.

Sure enough, the uncle burst in and saw Eric with knife in hand.

“Eric, what are you doing?” he said.

Eric was caught off guard. He was sure his uncle meant harm. Bitterly he responded, “What do you want from me?”

“You need Jesus,” the uncle said.

“I didn’t know what he was saying,” Eric recalls now. “I was waiting for a fight.”

“Look at you, look at you.” his uncle said. “What are you doing?”

Eric dropped the knife.

“What do you want me to do?” he asked his uncle.

“You need to go to church,” was the reply. Quickly, Eric decided “I’d rather go to church with this guy than fight with him.”

That night, his former pastor was preaching as a special guest. He held Ray Rubi in high esteem and with great appreciation and affection.

God spoke to Eric. At the end of the sermon, Eric received Jesus into his heart and was born again.

Immediately, he became a fast-growing disciple powered by vision. He married, had children and learned to rap for outreach. Soon he was ordained and planted a church in Norwalk, California. Then he has been involved in a number of pastoral changes and “pioneer works” around America.

Today, Eric pastors in Lynwood, a city in Los Angeles.

If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here

About this writer: Michael Ashcraft is a financial professional in California.


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