My name is Kent Manton and I am trained to protect people and property. I served our country for six years in the United States Marine Corps.
I would like to tell you my story.
When I was seven years old, my parents got a divorce. I felt sick. My father had been unfaithful to my mother. I was in the third grade when I started to have questions about the meaning of life. My heart hardened, and while I did not receive any answers to these questions, I continued living for the moment.
Around thirteen I started searching for my purpose in life. I learned about this new sport called aggressive roller blading from a movie. I started hanging around another local skater by the name of Chris Burge. I could see he was different than most skaters and even most people. He was positive, he didn't slander other people, and his life had purpose. His heart was filled with something mine was missing. I didn't know it at the time, but he was different because he was a Christian. I had heard the gospel growing up, but it didn’t resonate on my heart. Chris shared with me about Jesus, and this was the first time someone intentionally spoke to me about God as an adult. I began to contemplate the things he had shown me. Afterward, I continued to live out the same lifestyle apart from God.
One night I was partying on the weekend as I often did. I had taken two pills of ecstasy while hanging out with some friends. At the end of the night we were smoking by the city reservoirs and one of the kids began to talk about God. The thoughts consumed my mind well into the next day.
In the afternoon of the following day I was helping my aunt prepare a flower bed for spring annuals. With the conversations of the past months and the previous night still on my mind the Lord changed my life forever. He had been preparing me to receive salvation and His Holy Spirit. In an instance, Jesus had consumed my mind, body, and spirit. I fell to my knees knowing I was in the presence of holiness. Tears poured from my face as God showed me that He was indeed real, and that He was the creator of all the Earth. The trees, the soil, all the complexities of the world that seemed to work in perfect unison. It made sense in my mind for the first time! Like Chris, I too had a purpose in life. I gave the Lord control of my life and asked him to break me down so that he might rebuild me in His image.
My life began to look completely different in some aspects and unchanged in others. A new zeal for living was placed on my heart. I had, for the first time, motivation. After a year and a half of barely staying afloat at the alternative school I began to pursue my studies with zest. The Lord then placed a thought in my heart of joining the Marine Corps. As a consequence of joining the military, I had to stop doing drugs. My friends could see the change in me. I truly believe the Lord sent me to serve in the Marine Corps to remove me from the lifestyle everyone else was adopting around me. God taught me responsibility, determination in adverse situations, leadership, and a respect for authority. What a Great God we serve!
Over the years that I served in the Corps, God was convicting me of my sin. I was forced to see why God designed sex to be between a husband and a wife. Abstinence became natural as I waited on my wife. The Lord also convicted me in 2009 to quit my cursing as this behavior did not honor God.
Over the three years while working at the embassy, I was able to earn my associates degree. Who would have thought it! Kent Manton, a high school druggy and flunky, would be a college grad! Several months later I met the girl who would become my wife. We courted for eight months before the Lord said it was time for me to ask for her hand in marriage. We are currently learning to follow God’s principles for marriage. Jesus has since given me a great job at L3 Communications where I work as a night shift security officer. I'm still pursuing my bachelor's degree and hope to receive it within the next two years.
I'm currently being discipled by an elder within my church. I'm also still a sinner, but I'm constantly learning what it means to be a Godly man. I'm so thankful the Lord has given me a community of believers to lean on and be held accountable. I now know my purpose in life, to bring glory and honor to his name.