No, this isn’t a story about the actor who starred in popular television shows in the 80s and 90s, although he would say that his life was just like the TV show Happy Days.
Growing up in Wisconsin during the 1940s and 50s was a very happy time for Patrick Duffy. He wasn’t surrounded by the temptations that entice our culture today. Drugs, alcohol, and sex outside of marriage was actually frowned upon. Patrick spent his youthful summer days sailing, swimming, and skiing on Lake Superior. His parents were married for 61 years and he enjoyed a wonderful childhood. When he was old enough, he enlisted in the United States Navy because he loved boats and always wanted to serve our country. It was there that he met Joe, who after 50 years, is still a great friend.
But even though Patrick had such a lovely life growing up, he still felt empty and didn’t know why.
During his time in the Navy, his good friend Joe, who was a Christian, would tell Patrick about God. Patrick knew about God. Growing up his parents took him to church every Sunday but he never actually studied the Bible. Patrick says, “I knew the Holy Spirit was working on me while in the Navy, because even the doctor and the chaplain were Christians. [They] were praying for me the whole time!” One day after a church service on the boat, Patrick was overwhelmed with emotion and broke down crying. One of his friends asked him if he’d ever asked Jesus into his heart and it was then that Patrick became a Christian. “Whenever we’d set out for liberty (leisure time in different ports) the places would be full of prostitutes and bars, so I’d hang out with the doctor and the chaplain to stay out of trouble.” It was also then that Patrick discovered his love for God’s Word. “I was excited about the Bible, I started reading it, and couldn’t put it down!”
After leaving the Navy, he spent a year with Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization that he still supports to this day. He attended Bible College and learned how to evangelize and share the gospel. Patrick also has been listening to and watching Pastor Greg Laurie since 1970. But he says his real passion is marriage counseling, “I know about the hurt and devastation of divorce, so I try to mentor and counsel couples having trouble in their marriages. I hope that I can influence as many people as I can for the gospel to make a better world, people are starving out there and they don’t even know it.”
At 75 years young, Patrick isn’t slowing down either! Three and a half years ago he became a newlywed! He says he’s never been happier, and calls these the best years of his life. One of his favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future.”
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