Kelly Lohrke: A Lost Cause Found in Christ
By Mia Evans-Saracual
The 700 Club
Kelly Lohrke: What they called it was hardcore punk rock. That’s the kind of group of guys I hung out with. It just meant you did everything to the fullest. If we were going to party, we were gonna party hard.
Mia Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Kelly Lohrke lived to party in L.A.’s underground punker scene.
Evans- Saracual: Twenty-two years ago, what did you look like? Describe yourself back then.
Lohrke: Oh, tore up Levis. Leather jacket. Spiked blue hair. That was the cool thing, the creativity you could do. I dyed my hair more than women back then.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Heavy drug use fueled his life.
Lohrke: It just never ended. Taking acid two or three days, taking PCP. Then somebody would have cocaine. It was an escape from my problem. It was an escape from everything.
Evans- Saracual [reporting]: Nothing calmed the seething anger that set in when he was a child.
Lohrke: My dad left my mom when I was six weeks old, and I grew up not having a father. My mom worked long hours. No parents’ supervision so my house became the hangout.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Kelly’s after-school routine involved getting high with his buddies and throwing wild parties.
Evans-Saracual: So, you pretty much controlled the house
Lohrke: Yeah, I did.
Evans-Saracual: Things between you and your mom turned violent.
Lohrke: Yeah, they did. She tried to discipline me, and I’ll never forget. I remember my mom yelling at me and hitting me, then I turned around and I hit her back.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: What happened next blindsided him. He wanted to smooth things over with his mom. He thought opening up to her about his drug habit would help.
Lohrke: She freaked out. Man, it was just too much. Within 24 hours, I was locked up.
Evans-Saracual: Locked up where?
Lohrke: At a mental institution. It was hard, because I was just a kid. I wasn’t crazy; I was just on drugs. I was more high in there than I was on the streets. They were giving me Thorazine and Percodan. I came out worse than I was when I went in. I came out more angry, more upset.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: And more reckless…he sold drugs and partied with his punker friends day and night.
Lohrke: It brought a sense of fulfillment, but I was empty at the end. I always left empty. I felt I had identity. It was the message: rebellion. Don’t listen to the government; don’t listen to your parents.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: That attitude got him kicked out of every high school in the county... And his own house. At 16, Kelly was on his own.
Lohrke: I’m shooting up cocaine, crystal meth. Pretty much whatever I could stick in my arm. I was so addicted. I’d been sick, had hepatitis, lost everything, dealing the drugs. I had nothing left. The girl I was living with left me. I was by myself completely. I remember I needed a place to stay [because] I had nowhere to go. My grandfather had a house there in L.A., and he had renters there. They were Christians.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Kelly’s grandfather made an arrangement with the family. Albert and his wife agreed to let Kelly move into the garage apartment, and Kelly brought along his bad habits.
Albert: When I first met Kelly, I was doing a Bible study, and so I told the Bible study folks that we needed to pray for Kelly. He was either gonna get saved or he was gonna move out, because I wasn’t gonna have somebody living in the back like that. That’s what we began to do.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Albert and his wife Yolanda believed God would intervene.
Lohrke: Next thing you know, I’d be having these crazy dreams of the Rapture, Heaven and Hell. I’m like, ‘Man, this is like really messing my fun up here!’ This went on about three weeks.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Then, on a three-day meth binge, Kelly’s path took a dark turn. He became homicidal behind the wheel.
Lohrke: I felt different that night. If I could put all my anger for my whole life in a bottle or in a day, it was that day. I’m driving on the freeway, and some people pulled up beside me. They’re laughing at me. I ran them off the freeway. Just ran them off! Just rage! I’m thinking, ‘I’m gonna hurt someone tonight.’
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Finally after several hours, as the drugs wore off, the strange thoughts subsided, and Kelly drove home.
Lohrke: I’m coming down, and this heaviness is hitting me like a ton of bricks. But when I opened up that garage where I lived, something hit me. The minute I walked in there, I fell to my knees and I began to cry. I felt my body was tingling, and I didn’t know what it was. I know it was the Holy Spirit now. I cried for two hours saying, ‘God, I’m so sorry. I can’t do it no more. I can’t live like this.’ I didn’t know what I was saying. I didn’t know what I was doing. I knew Jesus. I heard that name. I knew God. I was just crying out for Him.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Kelly immediately told Albert what happened.
Lohrke: I go, “Dude, something just happened to me. I think I just gave my life to Jesus.” That was it.
Albert: We knew the power of prayer. God did the rest.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: The next day, Kelly went to church with Albert’s family.
Lohrke: The pastor was preaching. At the end, he gave an altar call, and I knew I had to go up there.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: The power of God set Kelly free from his addictions.
Lohrke: I never got high one day in my life after that day in that garage. Never smoked never drank, nothing. And I didn’t even want it.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Kelly says God healed him of an incurable disease.
Lohrke: They prayed with me, and I got healed. The doctors said, “It was a miracle you don’t have it.”
Albert: God brought deliverance, because that’s who He is, the Great Deliverer. What I’ve seen God do in him, God can do in other people.
Lohrke: Little did I know, God had a destiny for my life to be a pastor, and I’m now preaching all over the world.
Evans-Saracual [reporting]: Kelly and his wife Esther lead the congregation at Praise Chapel Christian fellowship in Kansas City, Missouri. They share the eternal hope found in Jesus Christ.
Esther: Twenty years ago God knew who he was going to bring together, and little did I know that this was gonna be the outcome… just thousands of people coming to Christ.
Lohrke: Jesus came to reach the worst. He wants to use imperfect people. The weak people He makes strong. I’m just a punk rocker that got saved in a garage that everyone gave up on. I don’t deserve to be here. God is a God of grace and mercy. Sometimes I look and say, “God, You’re using me? You remember who I was?” And He says, “No, I don’t, because I’ve forgiven all that.”
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