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Entries in Testimonies (23)


Pharisees Transformed 

Greg and Katrina Owens stand with Andrew in the freedom of Jesus, at the 2011 Atlanta GTS.
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Early in their marriage, Greg and Katrina Owens made the decision that their family would serve the Lord. Greg had been raised in a very quiet Baptist church where, according to Katrina, "You could've heard a pin drop—unless someone was snoring." On Katrina's side, she came from a broken and abusive home, and her family's church attendance was inconsistent at best. In an effort to avoid being seen as hypocrites, the young couple made a conscious choice to join a church that they believed did everything the right way. Intent on becoming good Christians, submitted to God in all ways, the Owens quickly became entrenched in legalism. Now, after 11 years in the death grip of religion they have come to know what it means to truly be free in Jesus. The Owens found freedom in 2009 through reading Andrew's book, The Believer's Authority.

Katrina and Greg were so set on being good Christians that the accepted the bonds of legalistic religion. (Click to enlarge)In their former church in North Carolina, the Owens submitted to an exhaustive list of rules. The stringent regulations eliminated just about every enjoyable aspect of modern life, but eager to please the Lord, the Owens lived within the church's regulations. For five years Greg's brother served as their pastor, and under him, Greg stepped into a position of leadership within the church; first as the choir director and then as a preacher. Eventually Greg was ordained.

The Owens sat passively under condemning and sin-conscious teaching for nearly a decade. They were taught that they were wicked, that God was angry and that they needed to fear God's wrath. Preachers consistently used Old Testament examples of people being killed for their disobedience to scare and condemn the congregation—ultimately keeping church members bound by fear.

For Katrina, and many other women in the church, particularly those within the leadership circle, striving to meet the church's ultra high standards came at a price. Try as she might Katrina never felt like a good Christian wife. Even Their bondage drove the Owens to search for the truth—even if it meant going agaist their church.
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when women around her marveled at what she accomplished in her daily routine, she felt worthless. Failure to meet the standards caused internal struggle and depression for many women in the group. Some, Katrina included, relied on anti-depressants to manage their struggle.

"I was trying so hard to be a real Christian, but all I saw was my sin. One day, I heard this verse, 'Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed in thee, for he trusted in thee' (Isaiah 26:3). It was then that I began to realize that having a focus on sin was the same as having my eyes on me instead of Him," said Katrina.

Frustrated and tired, Katrina began to realize that the people in her church were all poor, broke, and disgusted. The Owens family, including Aubree, Bryson, Justin and Corbin, out from under law and living in the truth of God's unconditional love and grace (John 1:17).
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She and Greg craved the truth and they began to pray for a way out. After years of being beaten down with graceless teaching, Katrina started asking God bold questions. One of her questions was, "Why did He let Satan exist?" One day in 2009, as she lingered in a Christian bookstore, she received an unexpected answer to her question. The Holy Spirit led Katrina to Andrew's book, The Believer's Authority. "This [book buying] was actually against my religion. So I argued with God. This was not the title I expected so I asked for confirmation. I told God that if the Scripture references in Andrew's book were from the KJV, I would take it home. The references are, and Katrina began what she calls her "enlightening."

Reading Believer's Authority was a real eye opener for the Owens. The first thing that caught Katrina's attention was the authority originally given to man in Genesis. She went over the scripture references with a fine tooth comb and began to share what she was learning with her husband. The couple then downloaded The Believer's Authority teaching so Greg could listen to it on his way to and from work.

Andrew and Greg chatting at the GTS in Atlanta. (Click to enlarge)Katrina began to recognize the Lord's voice. Even while mopping the floor, He reminded her of the scriptures in the book. He told Katrina she had authority over sickness; that the power of life and death is in the tongue, and ultimately, He told her He would deliver her from religion if she would receive it. "When God said that to me, I wanted deliverance. I didn't even realize at the time how much religion I had," Katrina said.

As the Owens gained revelation of the Truth, it became increasingly more difficult to sit through a church service without feeling angry. They knew they were being deceived and could see clearly the intentions of the people they called their leaders. "I was ashamed," said Katrina.

The Owens are free from religious dress codes. No more mandatory dresses as seen in the photo above. Katrina started wearing pants in 2010. (Click to enlarge)Through Andrew's teaching the Owens realized that God is not controlling everything and it changed their lives. As the revelation came that God has given believers dominion, and that He is not controlling or demanding, and that He is not holding sin against believers or withholding healing, the Owens were set free. "The more we read, the more we studied and found Andrew to be right. Our lives did a 180. I could see how Satan loved putting people in religious bondage. I saw that I was under that and began to rebuke death, sickness, etc. We were Pharisees transformed. For the first time, we began to "speak to the mountain," and we saw it move. Our marriage has been changed. The way we raise our children has been changed. Nothing is the same and we both agree—we will never go back," said Katrina.

The Owen's new revelation and understanding freed them from their bondage and gave them the courage to leave their controlling church. As they walked away, they were shunned by their friends, and some family, and the church stripped Greg of his ordination, but the Lord was faithful to provide comfort and new fellowship. Eventually, the Lord led them to move to Greenville, South Carolina where they found a new church home at Foundations of Faith pastored by Charis Bible College graduate, Larry Romero.

"It takes courage and boldness to break free, but it is worth it. There is nothing to turn back for, but everything to look forward to. We had to choose not to care what people thought of us. When we heard the good news from Andrew Wommack, we threw out everything we had ever known and grabbed hold of Jesus. We had to stand against family, friends, and everyone we knew, but a new love for Jesus made it easy. I am so thankful for a personal relationship with Jesus. Since reading Believer's Authority, life will never be the same," Katrina said.


Levi Crawford: Light Shines Through

Pastor Levi Crawford, His wife, Brandy and daughter Carys. Levi is the founder of Fountain of Faith Church in Florida. (Click to enlarge)Levi Crawford once professed to be an atheist and he wasn't passive about his denial of God's existence. Instead, Levi purposely persecuted Christians—he hated them. He remembers taking religion classes in high school for the sole purpose of learning how to undermine what the Christians around him believed. He loved to provoke believers to the point of questioning their own faith. However, in his late teens, Levi encountered the God he didn't believe existed and his life was radically changed.

Levi (left) playing bass guitar with his band before receiving Jesus as his Savior. (Click to enlarge)Growing up, Levi couldn't wait to be old enough to move out of his family's home; he looked forward to being on his own, free from family entanglements. Levi's family didn't get along, in fact, they couldn't stand each other, and his home life was ravaged by the effects of alcoholism. When Levi was nineteen, however, light began to break through his darkness; first the Lord got a hold of Levi's mom, and then his sister, and then his dad. "After seeing the change in their lives, and hearing God's Word preached for the first time in my life, I got saved as well. It's a miracle what the Lord did in my family to restore what seemed impossible to fix," said Levi.

Levi began serving the ministry through which he was saved and grew in the Word. After graduation, Levi went on to college where he hosted Bible studies in his apartment. While holding one of his studies, he felt a strong desire to start a church rise up in his heart. Levi turned his musical skills toward worshiping the Lord. Here Levi (blue shirt) ministers with his father and mother, and Associate pastor, Tim Maryon on drums. (Click to enlarge)Unsure whether it was a prompt from the Lord or his own thought, he put the idea aside.

The ministry Levi had faithfully served throughout his years in college ran into problems just as he was graduating, leaving he and his family without a church to call home. As they struggled to find another congregation, which taught on the goodness of God and the authority of the believer, Levi realized his time had come. He shared with his family the idea the Lord had placed in his heart years earlier and the family helped Levi launch Fountain of Faith Church.

As the church was getting off the ground, the Lord was revealing to Levi, the balance between grace and faith. Levi began to see that God had provided everything for the believer, but that the believer needed faith to access the provision. As he got a hold of this truth, he did a search on the Internet to see if anyone else had ever taught on the topic. Associate pastor, Tim and Levi display a gift they were given for Pastor Appreciation Day at Fountain of Faith. (Click to enlarge)That is when Levi came across Andrew's website and his teaching Living in the Balance of Grace & Faith. What Levi heard exploded in his heart and he understood more fully his position in Christ. He had heard about faith growing up, but had never heard about grace. Levi devoured Andrew's materials deepening his revelation.

With each teaching series that Levi listened to, the fruit of his own ministry grew. Listening to God Wants You Well broadened his understanding of God's willingness and eagerness to heal and the fullness of salvation. Where he once saw inconsistency, he now ministers more successfully.

After listening to Andrew's financial series, Levi changed the way Fountain of Faith handled their money. "We gave, and the members in our church tithed, but there was no understanding behind our actions, or purpose to our giving. As a ministry, we started sowing into Andrew's Bible College. We did this because we too are a teaching ministry, and we wanted to partner with the anointing Andrew has on his ministry. He was expanding his school, and we wanted to expand. It wasn't even a week after we started that Levi's congregation is growing and so is his family—here he is with his wife, Brandy, 2-yr-old daughter, Carys and newborn daughter, Macy.
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God blessed us with a building that was bigger, in a better location, with divine favor from the landlord!"

Through Andrew's teaching Levi has grown to know God more intimately and has effortlessly begun to flourish in his role as a pastor in Jesus' church. Once a self-declared enemy of God, Levi has now embraced the fullness of Jesus Christ one revelation at a time.

"I cannot speak enough about how thankful I am for Andrew Wommack Ministries. They have changed my heart and in turn, changed the hearts of my congregation. It's amazing for me to think of the influence and the lives changed by AWM. Down here, in South West Florida, there is a church that has been impacted beyond words," Levi shared.


Kurt Barreto's Road to Victory

CBC-Florida graduate, and traveling minister, Kurt Barreto and his wife, Leisa, at Andrew's 2011 Minister's Conference. (Click to enlarge) It is true that most people will face challenges in their lifetime; for instance, losing a job or facing conflict with a family member. And, there are those who will face circumstances with more devastating impact such as bankruptcy, addiction, divorce and homelessness. In Kurt Barreto's case, he endured each of these—and more. Yet today, he and his family stand in a position of victory, thanks to the Lord’s unconditional love and grace in their lives.

Kurt grew up in a small town on New York's Long Island. By age 29 he had become relatively successful, at least by the world's standards. Kurt was a young professional running a subsidiary of the largest automotive dealership consulting firm in the country, he was married with two children, a daughter and a son, and his future seemed bright. But, by his mid-thirties, his life had fallen apart. Kurt's first marriage had ended in divorce, he had lost his job, and he had begun drinking.

In the late nineteen nineties, at age 37, Kurt had reinvented himself, gotten remarried and had managed to get his foot in the door, in the then booming mortgage industry. He did very well for several years and was able to make an increasingly handsome living. The Barreto family (L-R: Kurt, Nicole, Giovanni, Leisa) celebrating Giovanni's high school graduation in 2007. (Click to enlarge)By 2004 Kurt owned a mortgage company, a large home and a rental property.

On the surface the Barretos appeared to be doing well. Underneath, however, Kurt's social drinking was becoming a dependency, his then adolescent daughter, Nicole, was struggling with issues at school and Kurt was leveraging his entire family's financial future.

In late 2005 Kurt's life began to unravel again; a hurricane severely damaged the family's primary residence and the rental home, and his mortgage business was in legal trouble. In addition to these struggles, Kurt's wife, Leisa, had suffered traumatic injuries in a horseriding accident and faced the possibility of never walking again.

In 2007, the Barretos lost the mortgage business, their homes went into foreclosure, and more serious problems were brewing with Kurt socializing with business associates. At the peak of his mortgage career Kurt was rubbing elbows with clients in exclusive restaurants and country clubs where a hamburger could cost as much as $125. (Click to enlarge)Kurt’s daughter. Kurt's social drinking had become alcoholism and strife was raging within their extended family because Kurt had borrowed money from various family members in an attempt to save his company. Eventually, Kurt's business dealings left his family broke and deeply indebted to relatives, and his father was forced to file for bankruptcy.

After moving to a new state with the intention of starting a new company, things only grew worse. Kurt’s business efforts failed and he was fired was from two subsequent jobs. Even with Leisa's income and Kurt's unemployment benefits, they were unable to afford the home they had rented, and to top things off, his daughter had become involved in a dangerous relationship. Eventually, the strain was too much and Kurt was hospitalized for depression.

Shortly after his release from the hospital, Kurt took on work as a handyman, but his drinking had become such an issue that he plummeted to an all-time low. One evening, One of the Barreto's properties in Florida, prior to Kurt losing everything. (Click to enlarge)Kurt passed out, drunk, on a customer’s couch and Leisa had to go pick him up. At her wits end with both Kurt and their daughter, Leisa, told them to move out. Kurt loaded his tools and his motorcycle into a trailer and headed to his brother’s home.

As he pondered his plan to stay with his brother, who pastors a Christian church in Florida, Kurt changed his mind. Instead, he decided to drive to the nearest U Haul warehouse facility to rent a storage unit. There he made his home for the next three months. From December until February Kurt lived in his unit, showering at the local YMCA. When the weather became too cold, Kurt plugged in a small space heater, which blew the breaker in the building and his make-shift housing was exposed.

It was during his time living in the storage facility that his brother had given him Andrew’s booklet, Self Centeredness—The Root of All Grief, which Kurt preparing to live in the UHaul warehouse storage unit. He managed to remain undetected in the unit for three months. (Click to enlarge)Kurt claims turned out to be the most profound reality check he had ever encountered. Kurt asked his brother for more information and was directed to Andrew’s website where he downloaded and listened to over 250 teachings. “Being separated from my wife and family, I rode an emotional rollercoaster and these teachings were literally the only thing that kept me from going crazy,” Kurt said. “In the midst of living on my own and listening to critters walking around all night in the warehouse walls, trying to protect myself from roaches for three months, I still managed to find a profound peace that I never felt before, as I recognized how awesome God is.”

As Kurt grew in his relationship with the Lord, he was convinced he should pursue reconciliation with Leisa, but she wasn’t receptive to Kurt's supposed change of heart. Kurt didn’t give up, however, and simply continued to pursue the Lord. In this pursuit Kurt learned about Charis Bible College and After Leisa recognized the transformation in her husband, the two began to work things out and were reunited. Here Leisa walks the dog on the couple's first visit to Colorado Springs for the 2011 Summer Family Bible Conference. (Click to enlarge)he decided to move to Colorado to attend. Imagine his excitement when he realized there was an extension school in Jacksonville, right near his storage warehouse. He called Danon Winter, Director of CBC Jacksonville, and arranged to start school the next week—in the middle of the term.

Today, Kurt, now a graduate of CBC-Florida, looks back and realizes that his time at CBC saved his life. After his first year, he began spending weekends with Leisa, who recognized the changes in her husband. She eventually joined Kurt in Jacksonville, where they live together now—their marriage is better than ever. In addition, Kurt convinced his daughter to attend classes with him in Jacksonville for a two week period. While there, her transformation unfolded before his eyes. She now lives in Colorado Springs where she attends CBC- Colorado full-time.

Through his time at CBC, Kurt realized that the call on his life is to travel around the country, as the Lord leads, in the family's motorhome, to share his testimony and teach Discipleship Evangelism. To learn more about Kurt and the Barreto's ministry, Jesus for Dummies, visit, God Followers Ministries.