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OZARK- Ben Neafus loved science museums growing up in Colorado. His father was on staff at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and Ben spent a lot of time there. As a teenager, he volunteered at the museum.

His view of the world was shaped by science. He said, “My identity has been found in science.”

As he grew and developed, he had only a moderate interest in Christianity. “My father was not a believer and he never talked about faith,” Neafus said. His mother was a believer but practiced her faith in private. “We sometimes turned on Robert Schuler on television on Sunday mornings. There was really no basis for Christianity,” Neafus said.

When he was invited to go with other teenagers to youth groups and worship services, he tried to blend in and said, “I looked a bit like a Christian from the outside. .”

He got into some trouble as a teenager and was sent to a group home for a time. There he had the opportunity to go to a church and he investigated a little about Christianity. “But I was kind of like a chameleon.” he said. “I had a little burst of discovery, then I gave up on faith completely.”

He considered himself an agnostic, perhaps even an atheist. “Every time faith arose, I started arguing with people. I ended up getting very angry with the church. I had trouble connecting with Christians and felt rejected. .

In his twenties, Neafus said, “I thought I had it all figured out in the world.” He went to college for a few semesters. He got a job with a touring theater company as a member of the stage crew. The company sent him all over the country and overseas to work on different Broadway touring shows. He worked his way up to managing a touring company.

He met his wife, Cécile, at a show. Quickly falling in love, they got married after just three months. He said, “I could act like a Christian, and she thought I was.” It didn’t take long for the truth to come out.

They then had two children, Caleb and Ava.

The Neafus family moved extensively from Colorado to Arizona and then to Maryland.

He truly encountered the Lord in the spring of 2015. It was Easter Sunday and he heard a sermon that really touched his relationship with God.

“God prepared my life for that day,” Neafus said. “God and I were at an impasse. I came home, tried to read the Bible, but nothing made sense. He said he finally prayed to receive Christ and it made a “day and night difference”.

A new job in a new place opened up, and the Neafus family once again moved to upstate New York. His struggling marriage was healed, and he began to be discipled by the men of the church. Along the way, he began to study apologetics, specifically the field of defending the Christian faith that combines Scripture with the disciplines of science and archeology.

He said: “I tried to reverse engineer everything I learned in science and the church. I have always been told that science and Christianity are incompatible. I compared creation to the Big Bang theory. He said, “I wanted to know, where is the evidence?”

The Neafus family eventually moved from upstate New York to the Ozarks with a new job at Branson’s Sight and Sound Theater. Before moving, his pastor pulled him aside and said he was going to encounter “cultural Christianity” through many in the Bible Belt. In New York, you are either a believer in Jesus or you are not. There is no pretend or social Christianity. He found a stark difference in how Christianity is received in popular culture here and there.

He gave up acting along the way and now works as an engineer at a manufacturing company near Springfield. The family lives in Ozark and they are members of Hopedale Baptist Church, where he leads a men’s Bible study and helps teach teenagers. Once a month he has a session where teenagers can ask any question – without restriction. They talk about faith, science, reason and apologetics.

He also taught at the First Baptist Church of Ozark. And a few months ago he became a member of the Missouri Baptist Apologetics Network.

Neafus said he was open to teaching and holding seminars at Baptist churches in Missouri. His areas of concentration are in several areas:

• Creation and “young earth” theories

• The authenticity and reliability of the Bible

• The problem of pain and suffering (why do bad things happen to good people?)

• And why does the God of the Old Testament seem different from the God of the New Testament?

“Hopefully the study of apologetics will inspire people to love God,” he added.

To contact him, take a look at his profile on the Missouri Baptist Apologetics webpage:
mobaptist.org/apologetics/mban/.

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