Pastor Andrew CadoganI was born in Jamaica and came to the United States with my parents in 1974. We eventually settled down just outside of Rochester, New York; this is where I grew up. Despite going to church on a routine basis, it was not enough to overcome the depression and anger I regularly felt.
I went to Cornell University and majored in Sociology – concentrating in Social Psychology. In an attempt to understand and gain control of my surroundings, my plan was to continue my studies until I received a Doctorate in Psychology. My thought was if I could understand what made people behave the way that they did, I could reduce or even eliminate the pain in my life caused by others. The applications for graduate schools were completed; the envelopes were addressed and stamped. Despite my intentions to move forward with my plans, they were abruptly halted. One morning I woke up with the idea that I should look for a job instead of going to graduate school right after college. (It would take an additional three years for me to realize that God was leading me in this way.) I remember being very worried about telling my parents that I would not be continuing with my education after college. By “Divine Design”, I was only able to find a job in New York City – the one place in the world that I did not want to live. I moved to New York in 1994. Life in the “Big Apple” was very stressful for me and I regularly drove into Long Island in an attempt to find some “suburban peace”. Even though I didn’t understand this at the time, no peace obtained through natural means or circumstances can ever be permanent. Time and time again, my same depressed and angry nature would re-emerge and assert itself.
One morning in the summer of 1997, I woke up in a way that was not like any other in my entire life: When my eyes opened, I had a desire to pray and communicate with God. I also wanted to read the Bible. Since I didn’t even own a Bible, I had to go out and buy one that day. After I returned home, I just sat down, turned to the book of Genesis and started to read. When I would drive anywhere, I turned to Christian radio stations to listen to Christian music. Most of all, I experienced a peace that could not be explained through any natural means. Each day I continued to experience the peace of God without any real understanding of what was going on. Towards the end of the week, I got the idea that what I was experiencing was not going to last indefinitely. Sure enough, in about a day or two, the presence of God lifted. I remember sitting in my car crying out to God saying “Lord come back!” I went on basically saying, “It took 25 years for You to show up. I don’t want to wait another 25 years for you to come back.” Within a few months, God led me back to a church that I had visited once before. After the Bible study, one of the members led me in prayer and I became born again.
About two years after getting born again, the Lord told me that he wanted me to go back to school in order to enter the Education field. Once I had given up on my plans to go to graduate school, I had no more intentions of returning to school. Because of this, I needed some extra assurance and encouragement that I was actually hearing from God before taking this big step. I agreed to return to school on two conditions: 1. The entire Masters degree had to be paid for in full; I was refusing to take any loans to do it. 2. I wanted full time employment in the field. Both conditions were met and I became a Teacher. About two years after that, I felt prompted to ask God whether or not I was to make some changes in my employment situation. He responded “Guidance Counseling.” Soon after that, I started another Masters degree program. This time, however, I did not finish what I started. I dropped out of the program because what was being presented “wasn’t me.” At this point I was out of the will of God. More changes would soon follow that. In February 2007, God moved me out to California.
On New Year’s Eve of 2011, I was invited to Shiloh Tabernacle. I remember being very excited about the invitation. This was without knowing anything about the church or what I was going to experience that night. God spoke many things that night and indicated that it was time for another change. Without knowing it initially, Shiloh Tabernacle was an answer to my prayers. God also later said that while I had served in the past, I was really going to learn about serving now. On July 28, 2013, I was ordained at Shiloh. I am thankful to God for this newest phase of serving and learning. I look forward to God continuing to reveal and manifest Himself in greater and greater ways. The best is yet to come…!
Read Pastor Andrew's testimony