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      Tom Jarosh's Testimony

A few years ago, my wife's mother died; so my wife was out of town. My son Jonathan presented me with a ticket to go see a movie, and really insisted I go. It turns out that was a turning point in the lives of all of my family. Before I get to that, let me give you a little background.

My son Jon was a tall, blond haired and blue eyed, good looking guy. He was a very special guy, a great kid who would be the first to jump in and help anyone in trouble. No woman changed a flat tire with Jon around, and he would never accept payment for his good deeds. Also, he was a super salesman. As a teenager, he sold more newspaper subscriptions than the adults. I used to say there are certain great salesmen who could sell ice cubes to the Eskimos, my son could sell the franchise. But there was one big problem: Jon lived in a fantasy world of lies, stories that I think he sincerely believed were true.

I suppose that it all began when my wife left me. We began with a joint custody arrangement, but she would often refuse to take him on the weeks he was to be with her, or she would call and ask me to watch him when something more interesting came up. Later, she moved in with a guy who owned an adult book store and arcade. She would take him to work with her at the store. I tried every legal means to get him out of that atmosphere, but believe it or not, authorities sided with the mother's rights. I found out later he was mistreated there, although no one will tell me exactly what happened. Eventually, my ex-wife relinquished custody, and my son came to live with me permanently. Not long after that, my ex disappeared, and we have reason to believe she was murdered by her new husband.

One day Jon was not home for supper, but he called to tell me he was with friends and asked if he could stay for a few days. I asked who these people were, and he explained they were from a church called "The Door." I met with them, and they seemed to be committed men in love with the Lord, determined to reach the lost youth of this city. Jonathan was a persuasive soul winner, and the guys really wanted him to stay. Yes, they were aware of his lying, but they felt their prayer could help. So I felt good about things....until one day when I got a call from the police. It seems Jon had stolen the assistant pastor's check book, and forged a check for almost $1,000. He had been caught and arrested.

The court turned him over to me after a short stay in jail, and ordered counseling. We all went to several sessions, and of course Jon had several more private sessions. As I said, Jon was a super salesman, and convinced the doctor of the veracity of his stories. It wasn't until after he was arrested again that she checked out his stories, and discovered she had been totally deceived, but I'm getting ahead of myself. All this time people had been praying for him, although a number lost faith when he was arrested time and again. But I couldn't stop praying, I couldn't surrender my son to satan. He had made a confession of faith earlier in his life, and I stood on the promise of God to honor that in spite of everything I saw. It wasn't easy to believe my son, but I had God's word on it. There were several "Christians" who tried to convince me that Jon's confession had been a scam, but I couldn't allow such thoughts to stick on me. After all, my son's soul was at stake.

Just weeks before that movie I mentioned at the beginning, Jon had been picked up for selling bogus newspaper subscriptions. So that brings us to the Sunday when I went to the movie. It was a trying time: My wife had been out of town for a month settling the estate of her father when her mother suddenly went to join him. My son had been under my constant supervision, and it really appeared he had learned his lesson. So I left the house for two hours, and when I returned, I discovered my son had taken almost everything of value.

One of the things taken was my wife's "Princess House" check book. Princess House is a home party plan which sells fine crystal, but my son was able to convince people it was a new whorehouse he was starting, and thus cashed several thousand dollars of fraudulent checks. When he was finally caught, we found he had been staying in a motel. Living with him were five dogs, who had spoiled every inch of this small room. Here was a boy who wanted love and companionship so much that he choose to live in this filth.

Jon was again behind bars in Juvenile Hall. Because of the extensive nature of his crimes, several agencies had lawyers present to prosecute him. His lawyer had the integrity to realize that this was a boy who needed help, and agreed to sending him to the state mental institution. Finally, after time in jail and the institution, Jon was released.

The bad part of this all was that Jon seemed to be two separate people, one with a decidedly evil nature, and another who is a son any dad could be proud of. Most of the jail time was done by the good son, and when he was released, this personality seemed to be firmly in control. When he was released, he was without a place to stay, so I opened my home to him. But after a few months, the evil side emerged, and again we were robbed. Not much to take this time, just enough to give him bus fare out of town. Once again he was caught, but this time, the Lord caught him in jail. His testimony appeared in an earlier edition of this newsletter, and should fill in some of the blank spots.

My purpose in writing this was to encourage others not to give up on their prayers for someone, despite what you see. The Lord doesn't give up on those He has selected; we must join our prayers and means with His and watch the miracles happen. Today, my son is studying for the ministry, and is proving to be a valuable aid in helping me set up a prison computer net so you Christians out there can correspond with your brothers and sisters behind bars.

I believe satan has always been afraid of the God given talents which Jon has, and has tried his best to turn him. But a praying dad couldn't let that happen, and that's the role you must play for your loved ones. The irony is that Jon was led back to the Lord by another of the world's rejects, a man convicted to 99.5 years for multiple murders. As I said, God doesn't give up on those He has selected! So why in the world would you?

Receive God's Blessings,