The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Missionary Models Jesus to Fashion Industry

By Rod Thomas
The 700 Club -Robert Grasseschi enjoyed the money and status that came with being an international model. “Somewhere, somehow, I'm going to be okay if I just get to another level. If I get stardom, if I get to that next level of notoriety, that's when I'm going to be fulfilled."

But, what he liked most was the attention; something he says he never got from his dad. “I had this amazing mom, but I was always looking for the approval of the love of a father. It led to me being very, very insecure.”

One place he did find approval was on the basketball court. A record setting point guard, he was a star in his small town of Sutton, Massachusetts. To him it was more than just a sport. “It was a way to mask the pain and I just really became obsessive with it. Because the more I played basketball, the more I didn't have to deal with the void inside.”

In high school his head coach became a father figure to him. “He just showed this unconditional love towards me. In my highs, my lows, he was a real big rock in my life.”
Robert earned a college scholarship where again he enjoyed success. Then, in his junior year, a knee injury cut his career short. “I knew it was over. And soul searching just began. Where do you go from there? It was suggested to me to go into fashion and to start to model. I'm going to make my dad proud. I'm going to make my mom proud. I'm going to make my coach proud. I moved to New York and I started to model.”

Robert gained recognition in the U.S. and overseas. He loved the attention, but he was also drawn into the lifestyle of the fashion industry. “I really started going into the party scene hard and I was really introduced to the club drugs there in Greece, the ecstasy and cocaine and special k and weed.”

After five years, that lifestyle wore thin. “The accolades that I received in fashion still were not cutting it. And so I just wanted to go home where I was really loved.”

Robert left modeling, quit the drugs and returned to Sutton to coach basketball. While driving home after a game one night… “The windshield blew out. The glass should have decapitated me and it didn't. About 30 seconds later I realized it was a pedestrian. It was horrific. They found out that a person had three-times over their alcohol level and unfortunately the pedestrian was standing in the middle of the road.”

Though the accident was not his fault, Robert couldn’t shake his feelings of guilt. “How does someone die when it's not your fault? Yet, you feel responsible because you're driving the car. I was so devastated I needed to get away,” he remembers. “That’s when I went back to Hong Kong on my last stint just to get away from the area and the environment.”

The agency assigned him a roommate. The man was a Christian and noticed Robert was hurting. “He shared about the suffering that Jesus went through. That he had gone through suffering for the sins of the world. And so it really, really gave me a lot of hope.”

That hope soon turned to anger. When Robert returned home he reconnected with his father, but within months, his dad died. Soon after, his former coach also passed away. Robert blamed God. “I just was so mad. I said, ‘Y’know God, if what my roommate said in Hong Kong is true, and You are who You say You are, then You've got to prove it because I don't believe it.’ I've lost my father, my coach, and I'm still dealing with the resin of the accident because all these things are only bringing that back up too. And I've lost everything.’”
One night while watching television, Robert came across a preacher who was giving a message he had heard before. "God wants you well," and that God's only good and that the devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but God came to give life and life abundantly. He said that you have to give your life to Jesus and that you need to be born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit. Not only did Christ take my sins, but He took my sickness.”

Robert accepted Jesus Christ as his savior. “It was incredible. For the first time I felt a real encounter of the love of a father, and that was through our Heavenly Father. That void that I was always looking for my whole life was finally filled.”  

Robert grew in his faith, and says he learned that Jesus wasn’t the cause of his problems - He was the solution. “I can't compare my suffering at all compared to our Savior. He didn't cause any of this pain; that we're in a fallen world and that He's only good.”

Robert is now married. He and his wife Faytene are now expecting their first child. “She's the most amazing woman and loves God so much and it's just such an honor and a journey to be with her and with our new child on the way.”

“The goodness of God has just changed my life. When you come from a place of approval and you know you're already approved there's no more pressure - You’re just satisfied.”

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