I originally wrote my testimony in 1998.
This update is for 2001. It is great to hear what God has done in the past, but what is He doing now? He is a
living and active God. If we are a committed Christian, then there should be continual
positive changes in our life, and we should be having ongoing victory in the areas He has
delivered us out of. And any victory we have is by His grace alone.
I still have a friendship with my ex-wives Pat and
Karla. We are able to do things together and live beyond the past hurts. We are even able
to talk about some of the damage of the past. When I am of need of spiritual advice, I
know I can go to Pat or Karla. I respect their counsel.
I am very aware that I could be an abuser all over again-but I make a conscious choice to
not walk down that path. I have learned to not "act out" my anger, but to
ask the Lord how to work through the anger. And yes, sometimes I get upset and want to be
controlling-I have not "arrived".
My son, Joshua, (he is 19) has been living me with
me for the last 2-1/2 years. I wish I could say that I have never been verbally abusive
with him in the last two years, but I have gotten very angry a few times. And he has his
own anger issues. But praise God, both of us have grown more mature in the last two years.
If I was not walking in victory, he would not be living with me. I have seen my son grow
leaps and bounds spiritually. I do not believe that this would be happening if his father
was not changing. Because Joshua has chosen to stay with the Lord and not blame Him
for the abusive home he lived in, Joshua is making many right choices for his life. More
than anything else, he is open to correction and guidance. Praise God! A 19 year old young
man that will listen and even apply the advice of His father. A
19 year old young man that
listens to the advice of other adults in his life and who has earned respect with other
adults. This is a miracle from God Himself. And I believe this has happened not because I
was a great father (I wasn't), but because I allowed God to change my life and show that
Jesus Christ is worth trusting in.
I pray that Joshua will get the help he needs so that he does not repeat the sins of his
Many people who know me say that I am a very
good, moral person. They are impressed by my commitment to Christ, my desire to share the
Gospel of Jesus Christ, my willingness to help others grow spiritually, and the
openness and vulernablity that I live by. To a large extent they are correct in regards to
my actions. But like any other human being, there is an inner war that goes on within me.
In the last year the Lord has been taking me through
a fiery furnace experience. The Holy Spirit has been revealing the deeper things in me. He
has been showing me more of what is behind the anger and control that is in my life. He is
desiring to bring more inner healing to me. He wants to work on the root issues, not just
deal with the symptoms. He has been revealing the sins and flaws of pride, false humility,
perfectionism, performance oriented living, low self esteem, lust, judgmental, too busy,
fear of intimacy, and much more. He has shown me the measuring stick of my life is not
others, but His Word. I have known about these issues in my life for several years. But
now the Father is saying, "They must go! They are preventing you from being the man
of God I called you to be. I can not use you to the fullest extent until you experience
deliverance. I have a great work for you, but I need a broken vessel, not a wounded
vessel." I need to say that again-"I have a great work for you, but I need
a broken vessel, not a wounded vessel." I am sure that statement is for somebody else
I believe the next step in my ongoing healing is to
work through the fear of intimacy. Jesus wants to be my best friend. He wants more of my
time. The more time we spend together, the closer we will become. That leads to intimacy.
Which means I need to be able to trust Him. In my head I know He is trustworthy, but I
struggle with trust. Needless to say the Father has more work to do in my life.
My son Joshua, for a
time, did not want anything to do with God. He became
discouraged because of some events with the break
up from a girlfriend and church issues. He
chose to move out of the house and live on his own. He started to hang out with
not the best of people. He then experienced the death of his grandmother and is
now coming back to God again. He is starting to get plugged into a church and be
used in the gifts that the Lord has given him.
I have moved to, and have started a ministry
Capitol Hill, Seattle area. More and
more I am learning to walk in humbleness. I still struggle with perfectionism,
but by the grace of God, I am learning to not be performance oriented. On an
ongoing basis, Jesus shows me He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Pat and I do not have much contact, but when
we do it is good. Because of the change the Lord has done in my life, I have
been able to encourage to get help for her Eating Disorder. She has received
some great counseling in this area of her life.
Karla has moved to the Seattle area. Karla
and I were having some great time together for awhile, but it seems that
whenever we get closer, the scars from the past come up in both of us. I wish it
could be different, but it isn't. We both know that we would be there if the
other needed us, but we are not able to have a very close relationship. I think
our biggest problem is that when things happen, we interpret them by past
Karla has gotten married. The Lord has put it
in my heart to pray for their marriage and that the Lord continue to heal Karla
of any wounds I have caused her. I also pray that the Lord heal Karla of any
wounds in her life before our marriage. Throughout the years I have wondered if
I truly love Karla. There now is no doubt in my mind. I have the love of God
within me for her. It is an unselfish love. In the natural realm there is
nothing for me to gain by loving her, but I still have this tremendous love for
My son is hanging out with better friends
than he has in the past, but he is not very consistent in his church attendance.
The Lord is continuing working on me in the
change of my character. He is dealing with me in regards to my sarcasm. He is
calling to be a more sensitive and gentle person. He is putting a heart of mercy
The Lord has also called me to spend more
time in intercessory prayer for others. Here is a
Intercessor Prayer Guideline that I use. It is very powerful and help you focus
on being specific in your prayers. I need to be much more faithful in using it
Once a month I preach at a county jail and we
minister a couple times a week in
I also do some phone and e-mail counseling.
15 Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship
Sermon on Anger
We have been busy with the ministry
The Hill for Jesus. We care tremendously for
the people we minister to on a regular basis. It can be very discouraging, but
we are reminded that our success in ministry is based upon being obedient to the
call of God, not how many people change, get saved, etc. However, at the same
time our goal should be to see the miraculous work of God in people's lives.
Karla and her husband have moved back to
Alaska. I have minimal contact with them (this is the way it should be). As time
has gone by and I have dealt with my own flaws I have come to realize that at
times I have taken on too much ownership of the failures of my marriages. My sin
played a big role, but the women had their problems and I see the evidence of
that in their lives currently. I pray they will become all they can be for
My son Joshua and I have been having some
good times together this summer. Overall he is a good young man, but he still
needs to make a strong commitment to the Lord. He is going to church on a more
regular basis. For awhile he lived in a college district which is not good, but
he is getting an apartment with a friend from church. In my heart I would love
it if Joshua and I could minister together sometime. But not my will, only God's
for my son.
I am still struggling with having deep
intimacy with the Lord. Many who know me would say I am a very godly man who
loves the Lord tremendously. But my measuring stick is not what people think. I
want the anointing of God in my life. I don't want to just walk in His gifting,
I want to walk in His anointing. That requires communion. Throughout the day I
think on the will of God, desire to do His will, and by His strength do His will
(and fall short at times). However, He is asking me to go deeper. He is wanting
much more personal time with me. I am not sure if I am making sense to anyone
reading this. I think it will for those who are feeling the same tugging.
We are starting to see individuals living on
Capitol Hill make some right choices in their life. We have seen some drug
dealers stop selling drugs, a few addicts stop using drugs, and more
individuals going to church. We sense that very soon there is going to be an
outpouring of God's Holy Spirit and there will be many who repent of their sin
and will make choices to serve Jesus with all their heart.
My son is still not totally sold out to Jesus
yet. But at least he is not involved in alcohol, drugs, illicit sex, greed, or
riotous living. Overall he is doing much better than I did his age.
Over and over again it seems that the closer
I get to Jesus the more I see the holiness of God. More and more I realize that
I am nothing without Him. Over the years I have struggled with pride and fearful
of walking in it. I have realized that pride will fall away automatically if we
get close to Jesus.
Since living on Capitol Hill, the devil has
tempted me more than ever with sinful behavior. Much more than when I was a
non-Christian. He would love to cause me to stumble and fall into various sin
and destroy The Hill for Jesus ministry. However, I am aware of his tactics and
realize he is out to steal, kill, and destroy. By the grace of God we are
walking in victory.
There are times I am aware that I have the
victory over anger only because of the grace of God. I have an individual I work
with that 'pushes many buttons in me". I don't always deal with him in a proper
manner, but much better than I would before. At times I see him as the "thorn in
my flesh". A good thorn to have.
I am getting married. The Lord has chosen for
me to be married again. I am experiencing the promise of Joel
2:25. "Then I will make up to you for the years, That the
swarming locust has eaten, he creeping locust, the stripping locust, and the
I had no idea that I would ever be married
again. I will share more later, but here is the Wedding
If you have not gone to our
Wedding Site I would encourage you to
do so. Read about how me and Carmi met and learn about her own story. I
still cannot believe how God has blessed me with a wonderful wife. And for
all of you who are wondering, no there has not been any verbal, emotional,
or verbal abuse in our marriage. I am truly a different person. Overall we
have a very romantic and loving relationship. We love being with each other.
It truly was God's will for us to be together even though both of us
believed that I probably should not be married. God works in some
There has been one area that has been a
tremendous struggle for me. Carmi is from a culture where you do not share
your feelings and when you are angry you do not express your anger. She will
clam up tight when she is hurt or upset. This is very hard for me because I
strongly believe in communication in a marriage. At times I have tried
everything to get her and help her to open up. Only recently have I seen her
break the cycle of silence when she is upset or hurt. This situation has
pushed my patience to the maximum. It has been very frustrating. But I have
had a choice-to walk in the ways I have in the past or to walk differently.
I have chosen to walk differently. I actually embrace this problem that has
been in our marriage. It has caused me to trust in God alone. It has shown
me that I am a different man. There is so much more I could write on this.
When I have more time I will share how God has been in the midst of all this
in building character in both Carmi and I. All I can say is that in spite of
the hard times, we love each other tremendously and more each day. What a
difference from my past experiences.
Joshua, my son, is living with his mother's
father and his mother while he works full-time and is going to school
part-time. He still is not sold out for Jesus and is not attending church,
but he is staying out of trouble.
I am so far behind in doing updates,
maintaining this website, etc. Our
The Hill for Jesus ministry and our involvement with
Victory Life Center, has consumed
much of our time.
Carmi and I have been married for over
a year. We truly are in love with each other. We love being in each others
presence (I work from home, so we are together all the time. In the past
that would have created much turmoil). We have so much fun. There is a lot
of laughter and joy in our relationship. At the same time we have had some
hard moments. Needless to say our personalities clash at times. In the year
of our marriage we have had some times when it has been very challenging.
But it is obvious to both of us that these are times where God is using them
to build character in us and to fine tune us.
There are many times that I could go
back into my old patterns. It takes much self talk and prayer at times to
not fall back into the old lifestyle. Because of all that I have gone
through in the past, I have been able to help Carmi to go through the
struggles she has with some of her issues. I have been able to be the strong
one through the hard times. In the past my depression would have overtaken
me, but I refuse to ever walk down that road again. I certainly have gotten
Through our cell group, God has used
us to really touch some lives. Because of the people we work with and the
issues they have, Carmi has made many sacrifices for ministry. She truly is
a godly woman. I know it has been very hard for her at times.
I would say that our first year of
marriage has probably been more challenging than maybe other marriages, but
we have worked through issues that other marriages take years to work
through. I believe it will only get better for us.
Still busy as can be but want to give
a very quick update. Carmi and I have had a challenging few dayss. We just
completed a special event and it is very obvious that the enemy was trying
to sabotage it and our marriage. At the same time God is using all this to
bring transformation, growth, and character in both of us. Regarding
transformation, Carmi is going through a major overhaul of her life in some
areas. And of course, the Lord uses this as time to work on me also.
There was one day that I fell back
into my old patterns. I screamed and yelled and was very ungodly in my
behavior. I felt I was losing control of a situation and I blew it big time.
Afterwards it scared me and it was a vivid reminder of my victory is only in
Jesus. It also was a reminder that I can still be a big jerk at times. As
time allows I will write much more on all this.
Update November 2007
It has been a very long time since I have given an update. Carmi and I have been married for about 3-1/2 years. We certainly have had some challenging times, but overall our marriage has been good. There will always be some challenges because of our personalities being so different. But these differences bring great balance. The challenges in our marriage have been much harder for Carmi than me. But at the same time she would be the first to say that because of the challenges she has broken through some bondages in her life. And through the challenges I am always reminded that I can never trust in my own strength.
We are no longer doing The Hill for Jesus ministry. VLC has moved to Kent, WA and through some tough soul searching and seeking God, we decided that we must focus on the Kent area regarding ministry. I am the Outreach Pastor for the church along with many other duties. Both Carmi and I have active cell groups (bible study groups).
Joshua is in the Marines. He has been to Iraq and back. The military has been very good for him-it has brought a level of maturity in his life. I am very proud of him. He is starting to get closer to the Lord and have a desire for the things of God.
Update February 2009
Well, it again has been a long time since our last update. Carmi and I are going on 5 years of marriage. We are grower more and more closer over time.
In October 2008 we did a short missions trip to Uganda, Africa. We are very involved in ministry and I have many responsibilities at VLC.
Joshua is in Iraq finishing up his 2nd tour of duty in Iraq. He is now a Corporal.
Listed below is links to sites that have pictures and more info on us. I don't do much with this web site anymore.
We also are on Facebook. Just do a search for Richard D'Andrea Dover and Carmi Lazar Dover.
Update November 2011
Well it has been almost two years since our last update. Carmi and I have been married for 7-1/2 years. We, like any other couple have our moments, but we are doing good overall. The ministries we are involved in can be hard on a marriage but we refuse to let the challenges of ministry ruin or marriage. Since our marriage I have had around 3 events where I was the 'crazy man' like I was for years and years. I can say with absolute confidence that I am a totally different person than who I was in the past-only because of Jesus Christ and His grace. This is not to say that I do not fall short-I do many times. I can fall into anger, frustration, impatient, etc. The difference now is when I am going down that road, I am aware, and renew my mind.
For the last two years I have been the Program Director of Fairhaven House. I am now the president of Fairhaven House. Fairhaven House is a non-profit, low-income, clean & sober housing program. We provide housing for men who are in recovery. I am also the Founder and Progam Director of There is Hope Radio. There is Hope is a live talk show that discusses addiction and recovery. About 5 months ago Carmi and I left Victory Life Center and I became the Outreach Pastor of Seattle Open Door Church. I am also the pastor of Community of Hope, a recovery oriented church service. So needless to say we have our hands full when it comes to ministry.
My son Joshua just completed 5 years in the Marines and is now going to college for Computer Programming.
Update September 2015
It has been 4 years since our lat update. Carmi and I have been married for over 11 years. Our marriage is better than it has ever been. We talk about we do not know how we would survive without each other. We have made a pact with God that if we are to die before Jesus comes back that God must take us both out at the same time. We joke about but that is our prayer. I know for a fact without Carmi I would have sabotaged the ministries that God has placed me in. Because of me Carmi is a much bolder person than she was in the past.
For the last six years I have been the Executive Director of Fairhaven House. At one time we had four houses and overseeing over 32 men. However, God is now taking us into another season. We are moving away from specifically recovery ministry. We now have two houses, one with 13 men and the house we live at with a couple living downstairs. For 5-1/2 years we did a live radio show called There is Hope Radio. The season for live broadcasts is over. We will be doing more Internet radio.
For the last 3 years I have been the Senior Pastor of Seattle Open Door Church and the Administrator over three non-English speaking congregations (Nepalese, Samoan, and Korean).
It is a small church and I need to focus on growing the church.
God has been calling me more and more to a watchman on the wall ministry. We are in the Last Days and He is calling me to help get the bride ready for His coming. He is giving me more of a writing ministry instead of a front lines minsitry. But I have to say I miss at times the front lines ministry. Especially ministry in the streets. You can read my various articles at www.pastorrichblog.com. You can keep updated about our lives by going to https://www.facebook.com/pastor.richard.d.dover.
Currently I am having to 'tent making' to earn an extra income since I have volunteered my time for Fairhaven House and There is Hope Radio, and I receive a very small salary as a Senior Pastor at SODC. Check out www.creatingfutures.com and www.imerchantdirect.biz.
My son Joshua is living in Southern Oregon and it looks like he will soon be getting married.
"Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on
in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,  I press on
toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will
perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. "
Praise God! More and more I am trusting Jesus more to be my best friend. The Lord
has been showing me that He is faithful.
In the midst of all my struggles, trials,
tribulations, challenges, and questionings I know that the Father is on my side. Father
Does Know What's Best. And I await the day when I shed off this old flesh, receive a
glorified body and spend eternity with my Creator. Until then, I will serve Him by faith
and grow in Jesus. The reality is that until we receive our glorified body, we will
struggle and war with our flesh. Our spirit is regenerated, but our flesh is still flesh.
He is my hope.
"For in Him we live and move and have our being..."
If you don't know Christ, humbly turn your life over Him. If you have accepted
Christ and He is your savior, allow Him to be Lord of Lords in your life. Get help!
Wherever God leads you. It may be through counseling, medication, going to a Spirit-filled
church, deliverance from demon possession, and maybe all of the above. Do whatever it
takes! It is worth it!
"for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good
Praise God, He began a good work in me and He will complete it. He gives
me the desire to live and serve Him for His good pleasure. I can let go of the past and
press on toward His calling for me.
Some of you reading this may say you don't need Christ. You have lived
a moral, good upright life and have lived by the Golden Rule. According to the Bible, if
we have sinned only once, we have 'missed the mark'-sinned. No one is 'good enough'.
"As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one."
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through
Jesus Christ our Lord."
How To Accept Christ