(By: Dean Vander Mey)

Dear John (Eldredge):

I am privileged to be serving as executive director of Set Free Ministries in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. I spend most of my days in ministering to the hurt, the broken and the lost, from all walks of life. I want to share with you a story of how your book “Wild At Heart” not only ministered to me, but prepared me for an event that happened last week that has God’s hand writing all over it.

In August 2003 our family rented a cottage on Lake Michigan, which allowed me to spend lots of time with my wife, 6 daughters, and my extended family. During this week of rest & relaxation, I read your book “Wild at Heart” cover to cover. As I began to read the first few paragraphs, I was captivated. One of my favorite things to do in life is to hunt elk hunt with a bow & arrow.

Through out the week I read in the pages of your book of how God wired me and made me a warrior, a fighter, and a conqueror. I wanted to thrust my fist towards heaven and shout a resounding “Yes” but the beach bums lying around me prevented such an emotional out burst.

You see, four years ago I sold a business I had begun some 23 years earlier at age 15. When sold, it was a multi million-dollar enterprise with 40 employees, but God was calling me to ministry. I sold out with no real assurances of where God was going to place me. God being faithful landed me as the director of a ministry that fights daily for the souls of men & women. We understand spiritual warfare and currently help many out of all sorts of bondages including those who want to escape satanic covens. God placed me on the front lines to “fight the good fight”.

"Fight the good fight"

That’s why your book meant so much last week. You affirmed what I feel and know in my heart of how God has created me. Not only did you affirm me through your book but also God did through an event that will forever be a part of me.

I finished the last chapter of “Wild At Heart” about 5:00 pm, Friday July 18. It was a stunning day at the beach. The winds were @ 35 mph from the north and the waves were raging. Being just a few hundred yards from the pier, I watched in awe as the waves crashed against it. The spray from these crashing waves would shoot 25 ft high and blow over the other side. Being “wild at heart”, I saw nothing but adventure. I summoned two of my older daughters Brittanie & Ellie to go with me to the pier for one final look before we left.

As we approached the pier, we noticed four young adults, two girls & two boys, fighting against the high seas and having a ball swimming in it. We also noticed their desire for adventure had tempted all four of them to deep waters…beyond the safety of the swimming buoys. I instructed my children as we strolled near the pier to never be as foolish as these four in search of fun.

What fun we had as we ran along the pier! We tried to escape getting wet from the walls of spray that lash over the pier to no avail. My daughters & I laughed at each other as each was caught in sheets of spray from the raging waves crashing against the steel walled pier. We had reached the end of the pier and decided to race back to shore as the winds were now blowing harder and the seas grew more furious. As we laughed and ran for the safety of shore, I noticed another middle aged man, all alone, running towards us. He face emitted concern and fear. We watched as he ran towards to the edge of the pier, the edge where the waves were crashing. He peered over the pier’s edge and began to yell down below…. To whom or what we didn’t know.

Fear began to grip me. I no longer saw the four foolish young people we had seen before our walk out to the end of the pier. I ran to see what the commotion was. As I ran to the pier’s edge, a wave crashed against the pier and drenched the yelling stranger. I heard his words before I saw it’s victims…. “I’ll go get help,” he screamed. He turned his back and ran… he ran off the pier…away from the danger to seek another willing to face it.

I looked over the pier’s edge and there they were…the four foolish ones. The once fun waves had now become the fiercest of enemies. The rip tide had pulled all four into the pier. The waves methodically smashed their weakened bodies against the steel pier and quickly would drag their bodies through exposed rock boulders that ripped open their flesh. I saw one of the girls disappear below the waters surface only to emerge again…gasping and coughing up water. She was drowning. The others tried to help but could not. They were being thrashed and pulled under too. All four had desperation in their eyes as they cried for help.

All four had desperation in their eyes

I had nothing to throw. There was no lifeline. I yelled at Brittanie to run for a rope. I saw a ladder some 40 feet away. I now had a choice to make…climb in or stay safe. I ran to the ladder and hung on for dear life. The waves unleashed their fury and crashed against my body. I yelled at the four to swim to my outstretched hand. Again & again, the waves pummeled them against the steel pier. Repeatedly they would disappear below the water surface only to emerge frantically gasping for air.

The first to come close was a girl. She was exhausted and nearly drowned. A wave crashed her body against the side of the pier and I reached as far as I could. I seized hold of her arm. She was heavy. She was crying, choking and began to puke all over me. I cradled her limp body with one arm around her and with one hand desperately hung to the ladder. The waves kept smashing up against us both. The Lord had not only provided courage for the moment but strength beyond my own physical abilities. I pleaded with her to be strong and to climb to the ladder to safety so the others who still were being pummeled by the high seas could be pulled from it.

Like an eternity

After what seemed an eternity, she grasped the ladder rungs and crawled to the safety of the pier. There were still three more frantic people who were all struggling to stay afloat. They swam with all their strength to get close to the ladder to which I clung. The next to come near was the other girl who appeared to be nearly drowned herself now. Weak and gasping for air she reached for my outstretched arm only to be slammed against the pier and swept back over the protruding rocks. Another wave came on the heels of that to thrash her again when I reached out long and far to grasp her outstretched arm. She slowly climbed the ladder to safety to cry with her friend who was shaking uncontrollably from fear and shock of the event.

The two young men were now left. Each swam towards me. Once again, waves smashed up against the pier nearly washing me into the foaming waters. We all fought against the wind, the waves, and our own fear together, yet alone. I reached once again and felt the strong grasp of the young man's hand as he gripped mine…like a death grip. I pulled with all my might as his body rose from the waters below. He climbed to safety to join his friends. One left…c’mon God…please help me help the other one Lord! Once again as if guided by the hands of angels the waves that meant to batter his body against the pier delivered close to my outstretched arms. I seized hold and would not let go. He grabbed hold of the ladder rungs and climbed to meet his swim mates.

I then climbed to the safety of the pier and rested. I was soaked to the bone yet adrenaline still rushed through my veins. All four of the young adults were hugging each other and the two girls openly wept. They each rose to their feet to embrace me saying over and over again…thank you, thank you, thank you. I looked to my children and said it’s time to go.

I laughed to myself as I watched my children tell the other family members at the cottage of the wild events they just witnessed at the pier. My mother’s response was “textbook”. You should have been more careful, you have six children you know! I could chuckle at this response because your book prepared me for a woman’s response to danger. 

As I contemplated these events, I see God’s almighty hand and confirmation. God had given me strength to help the weak and desperate. Not only on treacherous seas but helping others in the floodwaters of life. Your book helped me see who God had made me to be, and within an hour of finishing your book, I got to experience God’s affirmation of that in the physical realm.

The spiritual lesson God has taught me from this event will forever be etched into my mind. Spiritually, 1000’s of souls have violated God's laws & ways; his boundary buoys to keep us safe. Many, in search of fun & pleasure, they have drifted into dangerous seas. The once fun waves of fun & pleasure now pull them closer & closer to their impending doom. They cannot see their folly until it is too late. Desperately they cry for help as they realize their peril, but no one is around. They are thrashed by the fury of the enemy, the destroyer of their souls. They are drowning. Maybe, per chance someone may come to offer help, but do not ask him or her to get involved. They will go search for another to help…but it may then be too late.

Now I must choose. Do I judge these foolish ones, and refuse to endanger myself because of their stupidity? Do I run to get help? Surely, this is beyond my strength. This is dirty work and the outcome unknown…should I go? I remember then…my Savior...and watch Him hang on the tree for me…I too was in deep waters and being thrashed against the rocks of life and He grabbed my hand and pulled me to safety. I will be like Jesus. I will rush into danger, “ for yea, though I walk through any valley of death, there he will be with me.” God has proven his strong arm to save!

Thank you, John, for using your God given gift of writing and encouragement. These gifts have helped me more than you will know!

Your Brother In Christ, Dean Vander Mey, Executive Director 

Dear Reader - are you at peace with God?  If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW!  Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake. 

To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity, to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help you understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.


JESUS DID IT! and...


Remember:  All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity.
(Matthew 6:19-21 is our assurance)