By Rachel Leigh
Live Action News
The last thing on Mitchell Tillman’s mind 15 years ago was the idea of becoming a missionary to Mongolia. Although he was raised in a Christian home in Birmingham, Ala., Tillman rebelled against his roots and moved out at the age of 17.
After the death of his first wife, and a following marriage that ended in divorce, Tillman spiraled into a lifestyle of drinking and crack cocaine addiction.
“I was a car painter living in the body shop,” Tillman said. “I was making $1,000 a week and spending all that on drugs. When some friends of mine overdosed, I started thinking about where you go when you die.”
After being caught and arrested for drug use, Tillman cried out to God from a cell in the Birmingham City Jail, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his famous open letter to Southern church leaders on April 16, 1963.
“I got thinking about what I had done, and called on a God I didn’t even believe in, and asked Him to forgive me,” Tillman said. “God got me out of the trouble I was in.”
Tillman was sentenced as a first-time offender to a rehabilitation program where he got clean from drugs. Shortly after his initial conversion, Tillman’s life would abruptly change when he answered the call to go into missions.
“When I got saved, I fell in love with the Lord and wanted to do something for him,” Tillman said. “For about two or three months I was looking for a church in Alabama, but I just couldn’t get involved there. I told my dad I wanted to be a missionary. I visited Mongolia and I fell in love.”
Tillman and his father decided to begin a ministry in the vast, unconquerable Gobi Desert.
“My original goal was to plant one good, active church,” Tillman said. “What really got me going was working out in the desert and meeting people who’d never heard the name of Jesus.”
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