HILLSVILLE, Va. (Oct. 25, 2018) — Michael Dolinger was 24 years old and the father of a young son when he was charged with five felonies for selling marijuana. Before the sentencing, he asked permission to take his family to Disney World because he thought he was going to prison.
“I never did anything like that with my dad, so I wanted a memory to go with me,” said Dolinger, who was four years old when his own father was incarcerated.
On Sunday, Oct. 21, the 28-year-old former drug dealer preached for the first time at the United Methodist church where he has found sobriety and a new community. His seven-year-old son watched with big brown eyes. His wife held their two-month-old baby daughter.
“God wastes nothing,” Dolinger told worshippers at Out of the Box United Methodist Church. “Tell everybody. Tell your friends. It’s that simple.”
Several in the crowd were not regular church attenders. They came to the storefront church to hear what “Mikie” had to say. Hundreds of people watched the Facebook live video of his testimony, re-sharing the message “God wastes nothing” on their own pages.
“You didn’t come here because you’re perfect,” Dolinger said. “You came here because you’re broken. But God is the creator. He’s the source. He’s the manufacturer. You can go and look somewhere else, and most of us have, but every time it will lead you back to him.”