Dr. Ralph "Yankee" Arnold is a longtime pastor, evangelist and youth expert. For many years, he led a Colorado ministry called The Christian Ranch that brought thousands of teens to Christ. But Arnold started out just as lost as the thousands of people God has used him to reach through the years.
God used his teenage crush to lead him to Christ, Arnold says. He saw a girl and "went after her," he tells host Greg Stier on the Gospelize With Greg Stier podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network. He asked the girl's parents, "Can I marry her?" and received a firm no. "Why?" he asked.
"Because you don't have a job, don't have any money, don't have a place to live," the girl's parents told him. "And her mother said, 'You're a bum,'" Arnold says.
"And everything they said was the truth. I was one hopeless case," Arnold says. And as that lost, hopeless case, he ran away and married the girl. "Her daddy came looking for me with a gun. He was going to park my soul in eternity, but instead, he had mercy upon me. And one night, he explained to me the gospel. I trusted Christ as my Savior."
That background, Arnold says, helped him relate to the many teens touched by his ministry through the years—including Stier, who says Arnold led many of his family members to Christ.
"Why do you think they listened to my testimony and where I came from? Well, that gave everybody hope. ... 'If God can use Yank, He can use anybody,'" Arnold says.
For more of Arnold's testimony of how God has used him to reach thousands of teens with the gospel, click here to listen to the entire podcast.
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