The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


TV Newsman Makes God His Anchor

By Michelle Wilson
The 700 Club To many, Frank Turner had it all. He worked his way up through the ranks to anchor the highly rated ABC affiliate, Channel 7, WXYZ in Detroit. He eventually garnered an Emmy for his reporting. With that came a comfortable six-figure salary, prestige, and a red carpet invitation to black tie affairs around town. But what many didn't know about Frank was that he carried a past so unbearable that it threatened to destroy his life.

Frank never knew his father. He was the product of an adulterous affair. At the age of 6, Frank's mother died and Frank was sent to live with his grandmother. She believed in extreme punishment -- like the time Frank brought home a report card with all A's and one B.

"A good friend of mine had received all A's, and she said that I had embarrassed her and held her up to ridicule by having the second best report card in the class and beat me to within an inch of my life. I'll never forget that," says Frank.

By the time Frank was 7, family friends and relatives began to violate him sexually.

"I was about 14. I had this incredible cloud of sadness, abandonment, guilt, shame, anxiety, and confusion over my life," Frank explains. "I felt I had nowhere to turn. It was at this time that I first was introduced to drugs and I saw that as a way to anesthetize the pain in my life."

Frank also saw it as a way to escape the demons of his past. As Frank grew up, so did his appetite and dependence for drugs. At 17, he tried crack, a pure smokeable form of cocaine. He was immediately addicted.

Says Frank, "As I grew in my profession, got bigger jobs, larger markets with bigger salaries and more recognition, I was able to develop the influence. I had finances to acquire the purest form of this drug."

His insatiable appetite for the drug was costing him more than $2,000 a week.

"I would smoke it into my lungs and I would perspire it again through my pores. I could scrape my skin and I could flick it out from under my fingernails back into the pipe and smoke it again," he recalls. "On three separate occasions my heart stopped dead cold from overdosing on that drug."

Amazingly, at the same time Frank was moving up the ladder in his television career.

"I once thought I was the most clever and crafty and lucky person in the world," he says.

And for a while Frank was. He came to work high on cocaine. Frank reported on drug busts in crack houses in neighborhoods he visited before.

"Here I was going into some of the worst areas of the city buying thousands of dollars worth of this drug in its purest form," he says. "Frank Turner doesn't go anywhere anonymously around Detroit. Not only that, but I had this two-seater convertible Mercedes. So here I am, I'm pulling up in this $115,000 car, in a $1,500 suit with one of the most recognizable faces in the city, and I'm buying drugs."

1n 1998 Frank was at the pinnacle of success. He was given his dream job, the 5 o'clock anchor spot at WXYZ. Life was good, but one day it all came crashing in.

"I was unable to do my job and the station was forced to fire me," he says. "At that point here's my whole life now being exposed, these deep hidden secrets."

Frank thought that death was the only escape. He tried to make a list of reasons to live.

"I had just gotten a puppy about five or six months before that, Ginger. I loved that little dog," Frank explains. "As I was lying there on my bed with that list in one hand and a bottle of tranquilizers in the other, that dog came and she looked me in the eye. I know that that was God reaching me through that dog with a look that just said, 'Don't give up. I need you, and I love you.' That was the one reason that I decided that I would see another."

Frank's reputation in the community was destroyed. He did some gigs as a stand-up comedian and worked part-time in radio. During this time he met a woman named Nikki.

"I knew in that moment that she was my future," he says.

But Frank still had a serious drug problem. When Nikki found out, she wanted to leave but she stuck with him anyway.

"I can remember going to his house. I had a key, and I'd unlock the door and I would just hold my breath and pray I didn't smell his dead body," Nikki recalls.

Nikki was determined to get Frank the help he needed. A neighbor told Frank and Nikki about his relationship with Jesus. He invited them to attend his church.

"Finally we did and actually heard the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ," says Frank. "We fell together in love with Christ and purposed to give ourselves as one heart to Him."

After accepting Jesus Christ into their lives, Frank and Nikki were baptized on August 15, 1999.

"In that moment, down in that water," says Frank, "25 years of addiction to drugs, alcohol, 22 of them that I had spent helplessly and hopelessly addicted to pure cocaine, immediately was removed from my body."

Frank and Nikki were married the following Sunday. After all the years of drug abuse, Frank even received a clean bill of health from the doctors.

"I have a heart even more healthy than a normal person should have after 25 years of cigarettes and cocaine and alcohol," he says.

Word got out that Frank was a different man and that he was free from drugs. After a two-year absence, WXYZ asked Frank to return to Channel 7 as a weekend news anchor.

"Then about a year later, a return to the 5 O'clock news, and then eventually doing the 5 and 7 O'clock news on Channel 7 and at 10 O'clock newscast on a local independent station that we also acquired," Frank adds. "Satan tried to destroy me and stole one broadcast from me; the Lord resurrected and restored me to three broadcasts and gave me the opportunity on one of them to give glory and honor to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and to invite others to come to salvation in Him."

Today Frank's schedule is filled with speaking engagements. Frank shares his faith as a seminar speaker and Bible teacher everywhere he goes, including drug treatment centers. Frank and Nikki have a beautiful little girl named Allyson and another baby on the way. Frank is truly a man anchored in Jesus Christ.

"I've known every depth of failure," says Frank. "There's not one station of anybody's life that I can't speak to. The grace and mercy and purpose of God have placed me in each one of these positions, so I have to be an open book. I have to allow the world to see that there's no corner of life, there's no depth from which Jesus Christ will not meet you, there's no depth from which He cannot save you."

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