(Testimony Tuesday: This is another in a series of stories on Pathway attenders who were baptized spontaneously on Easter Sunday.)
Two words describe Harry Snyder’s teenage years: In and out.
Of a drunken stupor.
Of a drug-induced haze.
Of homes while committing burglaries.
Of juvenile detention facilities.
Of stints in rehab centers.
“I really didn’t expect to live past 17 or 18,” he reflected. “That’s the road I was on. Something had to change.”
It was time for Harry Snyder to go all in.
And come out as a changed man.
Harry grew up “in the sticks,” about a half-hour north of Butler. As an avowed atheist, he didn’t believe in God, but he did believe his older brother’s lifestyle was right for him to follow, too.
It was a seductive cocktail of substance abuse mixed with petty crimes to sustain the habit.
“My brother is 13 years older than me and he was in and out of prison all the time,” Harry explained. “He was addicted to drugs and he brought me into that lifestyle.”
Harry’s drug use started with smoking weed at age 14 and reached its zenith a couple of years ago when he began shooting up heroin.
“I was doing it all,” he remembered. “I started using a needle, selling drugs, committing crimes. It all caught up with me.”
During a stay in a juvenile detention center, Harry was introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous, and in the process, he became more open to hearing about God.
Not long afterward he met his girlfriend, Katie Duffy, and she invited him to attend Pathway Church with her.
“I started to become aware that there was something different about followers of Christ. I wanted that.”
During a visit to Pathway, Harry met Executive Pastor John Westurn and subsequently moved in with Pastor John and his wife, Michele. Harry began attending Community College of Beaver County and, on Tuesday nights, he joined the Westurns’ small group.
Diane Brosius also is in that small group. And one night when Harry was feeling particularly down, he texted Diane and she came over to pray with him. He accepted Christ that evening.
A few weeks ago, Harry made his faith public when he entered the waters of baptism during the 10:45am service on Easter Sunday.
“Never in a million years did I imagine getting baptized,” he said. “I was kind of nervous being in front of all the people, but it was an exciting day for me. It’s definitely a landmark in my spiritual journey.”
Harry, now 22, lives in Beaver Falls and works for the Tiger Pause youth ministry. He hopes to return to school in the fall and then marry the young lady who brought him to Pathway. He’s got other plans for his future as well.
“I want to start a family and be of service to God — primarily youth.”
He paused for several seconds before continuing.
“It’s hard to explain but life is just better now. I have more freedom,” he offered.
“I just want to experience the joy of salvation and live it out.”