Against All Odds

How can I tell this story the way it deserves to be told? I guess Ill start from the beginning.

Within the last few months, momentum built for a traveling evangelism tour around the U.S.   With a little luck and some gracious support from The Urantia Book Fellowship, an anonymous donor, and many others involved, this dream became a reality.

I found myself flying over Tijuana sitting next to a nice young girl who had just joined the Army and was heading home to Ohio. We joked about being from states no one knows about and I told her that I was going on a two month road trip which of course lead to me telling her about the UB and giving her a flyer. She seemed semi-interested but after reading the card said she had a friend in Canada who would love the book. She said he also loved yoga and spirituality like me. It was a very warm and easy first introduction.

So after landing in Chicago and getting my bags I headed to the train to make my way into the city. I sat down exhausted and the train took off. After about ten minutes, a man sitting about four seats in front of me stood up and started to talk. For a second I thought he might be robbing the train. Boy was I wrong.

He introduced himself with his full name but all I heard was Melvin. Though he had his back to me I could hear him talking about how he had recently been released from prison where he had spent 22 years. He said that he was trying very hard to find a job and that he refused to be a victim of the system. Expressing that all he really wanted was honest work. Then he talked about the skills he had like being a mechanic, painter, and an all around hard worker. He ended by saying that he was slightly embarrassed to have to do this but that he refused to “twiddle his thumbs” and that he was sorry if he had made anyone uncomfortable. Then he sat down.

I knew before he was even finished talking that I would be offering him some kind of help. So I approached him and asked if he would like to come sit by me and chat. He came over and started to talk with me about how he had gone to prison in the first place. Chicago being one of the worst murder capitals of the nation, they have some very strict laws on the books.

Melvin grew up in a rough neighborhood. When he was 17, he went to a party with a group of friends and one of the people in the group had a gun. They weren’t gang-bangers, but one kid thought he was cool or tough or something. While at the party that kid was confronted and he ended up shooting two people. One died, the other was paralyzed. According to Illinois law, if you are aware of someone having a weapon while they are in your company and they kill someone, you can be charged with murder. So all six boys who went to the party with him went to prison. Melvin received 44 years and ended up doing 22. He is now 41.

After hearing this story and having already witnessed his courage and genuine desire to do right, I felt incredibly humbled. I offered to buy him dinner. So we got off the train and I called Allison, who I hadn’t even seen yet and told her to come meet us for dinner. We walked over to Qadoba and sat down to wait.

1000_urantia_wordsHaving helped me carry my bag he asked why it was so heavy and joked that it “better not have a dead body in it”. As we sat down, I opened it up and showed him the stacks of outreach materials which filled the bag to every edge. He saw this sticker and asked if he could have one.

Then he asked what the Urantia Book was.  I told him that my Father had found it in San Fransisco and that to me it was the guide to the galaxy. He asked to see one and I pulled mine out to show him. He instantly looked in the index and saw the sections about the universe and started to get the happiest look on his face. We both quickly started to realize that I had just introduced him to what he had always been looking for. He asked more questions and just kept getting more excited by the fact that he had somehow discovered this book. When Allison, Mike, and Jay arrived, we all got food and sat down to eat.

By this time Melvin was so excited that he was almost getting emotional. He shared that he had written a book in prison called “Holy Men Without Religion”. He said he was a theology junky and had always been looking for a better explanation about God and the universe. So I decided that I was going to give him the only book I had brought with me. He was so excited and grateful and kept saying that he was for sure going home to read the book untill 4 or 5 in the morning.

As we parted ways it felt like I had a new brother. I told him that everything that had happened was because he had, against all odds, made a commitment to God to keep his integrity in check, even after being screwed over by life and the system. With nowhere to work or a place to stay he still refused to give in. He refused to let his morals go or to give up in God.

This was the most humbling, inspiring introduction of my life. And this was only day one.

Written By: Teuvo Orjala

Spread the word ❤

Feel free to share this article by using any of the following buttons:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on telegram
Share on email

16 thoughts on “Against All Odds”

  1. Great story, Teuvo, told with heart. Your experience shows what happens when we allow angels to be our social networking engineers. I’m guessing the angels present–yours and Melvin’s for starters–enjoyed the experience as much in their way as you and Melvin did in yours. In fact, I bet this was a good day for them too. Good for you for staying in touch with them!

    Happy continuing travels til we see you on the west coast!


  2. God leads in mysterious ways, an yet it wasn’t so mysterious. The Spirit was there all the way to lead you at what the Lord has chosen for you to do. God bless. By the way the Urantia Book creation the one in blue and at the top of your story is wonderful and as I have stated it would make a good Urantia Book cover.

  3. Ay, man! This was an inspiring read. Teuvo, you GO, man! 🙂 Waiting in anticipation for the next *Urantia Now* alert…and, ja, may your angels move with you step by step…

  4. Good job, Teuvo, you’re finding out the leading of the spirit really works. I’ve been on for eight years, so far. If everyone could just do this in their everyday travels. When you open yourself up to the leading of the spirit, you are on the path to being brought into contact with truth seekers. The angels need our arms and legs. Hope you can get rid of some of those pamphlets and replace them with books to give out, as this revelation is the greatest gift besides our dedication to the Father’s will that we can give. Keep up the great ministry work!

  5. Love these stories when the angels feel so close and when you can literally hear faith overcoming fear……. when ministering is an equal of giving and receiving — talking and listening. Sharing is indeed Godlike when it’s from soul to soul. My prayers are with all the Melvin’s of the world who overcome the injustices of humankind only to discover the forgiving tolerance of the Spirit. Touching story, Teuvo. Your writing skills are catching up to your evangelizing skills 🙂

  6. Miranda Clendening

    Teuvo…Thank you for being the wonderful servant of God you are 🙂 this world is blessed to have you in it. Keep spreading the good word and love!

  7. Thanks for sharing your experiences, Teuvo. Your story of Melvin brought tears to my eyes and I remembered the excitement & awe when the angels “coincidenced” my getting The Urania Book.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Whether you’re curious about our courses, want to join us as a volunteer, or would like to make a contribution, feel free to reach out :)