Written by Timothy A Carey – June 10, 2011
Michael Keen was born with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which is a muscle wasting disease usually ending in death sometime between teen years and the early thirties usually from lung or heart failure. So Michael, now 35, has had his share of trials throughout his life including, but not limited to losing the ability to walk, losing the ability to push his own wheelchair, weakening lungs and respiratory illnesses. Somewhere along the line Michael lost his way. Michael recalls, “life was just living and living haphazardly … life was one big party … a reason to celebrate, eat, drink, curse, being obscene, not taking marriage seriously” and a reason to be angry at God. Life went on like this until there was a downturn in his condition after an emergency gallbladder surgery in 2005. He had a choice between either letting himself die or getting a trach with a ventilator breathing for him. “There’s not a doubt in my mind, that the Holy Spirit was guiding me. I was facing death, but I heard God tell me ‘Its not your time, your work is not done, I am not done with you.’”, Michael explains. This incident changed Michael’s life and perspective on life. About 8 months later Michael started on his journey, his calling, to becoming a pastor, much as my calling is to be an advocate. Michael goes on to say being a pastor is exhausting for a person in his condition, but he wants to encourage people that great things can come from persevering from trial. He wants to let everyone know, “God allows bad things to happen so that we may be our strongest, in our weakness”. Despite health problem and having a bout with heart failure he continues to fight the good fight through the trials of life and be a pastor educating people with disabilities about God and Jesus. He has a website called Spirit Roller Ministries, which has been ministering for approximately 3 years. Since March Michael has been planning with the help from an anonymous benefactor to start having Sunday services at a brick and mortar site on June 26 in Waynesboro, Virginia. The Sermons will also be on his website. He also advocates for people with disabilities helping them find the resources they need.