Fear to redemption, author’s life unfolds
The odds against him were stacked high. Sexually molested at the age of 4, he served time in juvenile prison at 13. By the time he was 15, psychologists determined that he would never succeed in life. “You’ll most likely spend the rest of your life in prison,” a probation officer said to him.
But God had a plan. Formerly of Scott Township, author Bernie Bernwall tells his life’s story in his newly released memoir “Mi Vida Loca,” which translates from Spanish to “My Crazy Life.”
Born in Los Angeles, he moved to Canada to live with his mother, grandmother and great-grandmother where a troublesome pattern began with the Toronto police. Once back in the states, the behavior continued as he was involved in both petty and grand theft in the notorious gang member-infested “Pico Neighborhood” of Santa Monica.
Considered a trouble youth, he lived in boys’ homes, juvenile hall and in several foster homes before moving to Five Acres Children’s Aid Society, a home for emotionally handicapped or orphaned children. Back home in 1968, the next year was filled with truancies and continuous trouble with the law. A youth home known as “Trailback Lodge” became his home in 1971, where a former inmate friend introduced Bernwall to the Gospel message of Jesus.
At 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Drugs, alcohol and sexual exploits followed Bernwall from West Germany to Washington, D.C., until he recommitted his life to Christ. Following seven years of active duty, Bernwall enrolled in a Bible school and eventually received a diploma, an equivalent to an associates degree in theology.
A graduate of Mid-West Bible College, Bernwall began preaching God’s Word and has been involved in ministry for more than 27 years ministering in prisons, jails, juvenile probation camps and at churches in the U.S. and Europe.
In 1992, after completing a course in Wildlife Law Enforcement and Conservation for a camping program at a church where he was employed, Bernwall was asked to become involved in weekly children’s services.
Teaching young people changed Bernwall’s life and he thanks God for giving him the glory for renewing his mind. Although Bernwall continued to move around the U.S., he has remained in ministry and began teaching and preaching in the same Los Angeles probation camps where he was once locked in. He began writing screenplays and wrote his book, “What Wouldn’t Jesus Do?,” taking a hard, cold look at the last four decades of Christian influence in the U.S. The book was published in 2011.
In May of this year, Bernwall moved from Pennsylvania to Wyoming to join a friend and his wife as they ministered and reached out to Native American tribes in three states.
His most recent book, “Mi Vida Loca: A Boy Chased by God,” published June 2013, is Bernie’s inspiring memoir. It is available on amazon.com.