Salvation Stories

Marriage 'On The Rocks'

God Gives Couple the Gift of a Second Chance!

Dennis and  LaTricia Westfall of Fort Smith, AR

LaTricia Westfall was ready to sign the divorce decree. Her marriage to Dennis had been on life-support for some time now. Everything was in place and the only legal acts left undone were the signatures.

All because of Dennis’s failure as a faithful husband and provider, LaTricia was “sick and tired of being sick and tired” — always hearing his excuses and hollow promises to change. He never did. That’s why she was filing for divorce.

Both Dennis and LaTricia had endured unpleasant childhoods.

Dennis and his siblings were neglected, beaten, starved and abused. Eventually they were parceled out to foster homes by DHS, only to suffer more of the same. He finally landed with a couple that loved him sincerely, but by then it was too late. Dennis had already begun abusing drugs.

LaTricia’s childhood was not much better. Her parents divorced when she was two, and although she saw her dad on weekends, her mother became addicted and was in and out of LaTricia’s life until she turned 13. LaTricia held much of her pain inside, and it soon turned into depression — which became acute when her dad died.

“I was also watching my marriage crumble because of my husband’s alcoholism and drug abuse,” LaTricia says. “That’s when I began to seriously consider suicide.”

To avoid suicide, LaTricia wisely decided to enroll in college, “just to keep my mind off of my problems.” She soothed her depression in her studies and even became a born-again Christian. She began praying for her husband’s salvation, but for a long while thereafter, the marriage continued to suffer.

Instead of keeping a string of promises to LaTricia, Dennis spiraled even further into his addictions.

“There came so much strife in our marriage that one night, after losing yet another job due to drinking, my wife kicked me out of the house,” Dennis says.

“I wandered around for two weeks in a drunken stupor,” he says, “often filled with supplements from pain shots I’d get from the hospital.”

Dennis says that with nowhere to go he found himself in the woods underneath a blanket in the rain, and God began speaking to his heart. “You have a wife who loves you and is praying for you. She cannot stand to see what you are becoming. Do you not see the pain in her eyes when you fall into the lies the devil tells you?” God seemed to say to him.

Somehow Dennis found himself at The Salvation Army’s Fort Smith, Arkansas, Corps, where they were serving breakfast.

Dennis Westfall testifies to the saving power of Jesus Christ in his life.

“I remember seeing this short, plump guy in uniform and singing of joy,” Dennis explains. “The Holy Spirit urged me to go and talk to him about my loss of hope in humanity and about my loss of faith in God.”

On that Sunday morning, Dennis accepted the invitation went to surrender his heart to Christ. Perhaps this was the “last chance” he was so desperate to have, both with his wife and with life in general.

When Dennis called LaTricia with the news that he had “gotten saved,” LaTricia had her doubts. Was this just another excuse? How could she believe him?

After much cajoling, Dennis convinced LaTricia not to sign the divorce papers “at least until you go to church with me this Sunday and see for yourself — I am a different man!”

a“Over the next few months of attending regularly, those seats started to shrink, until she was sitting right next to me,” Dennis says, beaming.Against her better judgment, LaTricia agreed but sat five seats away from Dennis. However, LaTricia noticed that the people at the corps were warm and welcoming and were treating Dennis as one of their own. She even began sensing a change in Dennis’s attitude toward her. Perhaps there was a chance for their reconciliation, after all. It was worth a shot.

“Over the next few months of attending regularly, those seats between us started to shrink, until she was sitting right next to me,” Dennis says, beaming.

Of course, LaTricia and Dennis never signed the divorce papers, and today they serve as local officers in the corps where they rediscovered love — their love for one another and the love God has for them!

LaTricia works at the corps in the BFI (Blood & Fire Initiative), and Dennis is a Sunday School teacher, Men’s Club vice-president and the Community Care Secretary. He also works as Program Director, helping “to guide those who are in the same place I was, out of the darkness and into the light.” The Westfalls both have a passion for people in need of Jesus — especially youth.

God has given this young couple the gift of a second chance!

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