Sometimes when God is calling you, you can’t hear Him because of all of the noise in your life. This was true for Ryan Eastep. Being born in Texas, Ryan moved quite a few times before settling in Wichita when he was nine. His mom, being single, met a man who took interest in her and her children. At some point she left, leaving Ryan with the man in Wichita. While living with him, Ryan was abused and had difficulty fitting in with friends at school.
They eventually moved to northwest Wichita and he began attending school in Maize. Although he made friends at school he never felt like he fit in. “I really wanted to tell someone about my abusive life, but it was always uncomfortable and there was a lot of shame.” To escape the pain he began drinking and using drugs at 13 or 14.” He eventually moved out and dropped out of high school.
Ryan was working full-time and met a woman he’d known from his childhood, and he continued his life of drugs and alcohol. When their son was born, Protective Services became involved, since his girlfriend had previously been in prison for drugs and child abuse. “I had made a commitment to stay with her…to gain complete custody of my son.” He eventually received his GED and was taking college courses. “I thought I was living life and had it all figured out”; however, he failed a drug test that would have given him full custody of his son. This began another cycle of drugs and drinking.
Ryan met an amazing woman, Michele, but he couldn’t give up his old lifestyle. She got pregnant but he wanted to be the “family man” this time although he had no idea what that was. For years their relationship was “on again, o again.” They eventually parted ways and Ryan was in and out of jail. “That was when,” as he says, “I was introduced to the gospel of Jesus Christ; I heard God tell me it was ‘prison and death or change.’”
In 2014, Ryan met Heath Duncan who became his best friend, mentor, and was willing to walk by his side through the rough times to come. In 2016, he was reunited with Michelle and their daughter. Together, and with open hearts to God’s leading, their relationship has grown strong and are planning on getting married later this year.
As a regular attender at Pathway, he has committed himself to God and being a good man and father. He has hope for the future of his family and feels freed from the bonds of addiction.He knows God forgives our sins and wants us to follow Him no matter what our past life has been.
Photo by Jim Oertle