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Keith was always running. Trying to get away from the problems he didn’t want to face. Or maybe he was chasing after something better. His parents were teenagers, too young to raise a child. Keith would stay with various family members throughout his childhood.

“I would always feel that I didn’t belong,” says Keith. “Like why am I living with my grandparents? It was almost I felt that everyone had a duty to provide for me. I never quite fit in anywhere, at school, at home. Not fitting in made me feel alone.”

Keith dropped out of school after the 9th grade, and soon found a group of friends that accepted him.

“I met this guy, Donnie. He taught me how to smoke cigarettes, he taught me how to drink. And things just seemed to be getting really good with my new best friend.”

At 16, he left home and moved in with his friend. He was free to do whatever he wanted. Keith wanted to drink.

“I felt a freedom when I drank to come out of this place that I was in. I could talk to people. I was good looking, I was stronger. So alcohol brought an effect that took away maybe some of the pain or the feelings that I couldn’t identify at that age. And marijuana did the same.

Keith the user soon became Keith the dealer.

“I would do construction and at night I would go to bars and sell drugs. And there was a guy at the bar and he went to pull in his, pull out money, a wad of hundreds. And I would go up to the guy and I said, ‘Hey, are you needing any drugs?’ And he said, ‘No, I’m not needing drugs.’ I said, ‘Well, buy me a drink.’ And he says, ‘Well, get a job.’

Keith got a job with the stranger at the bar, and that was the beginning of his career in the adult porn industry.

“I ended up being the second largest distributor of adult video in the U.S. I would later buy a manufacturing company making the movies. I would put out two new releases a week. And I became the world’s 10th largest manufacturer. That ex-boss I had ended up coming to work for me. I closed him out of business. So life was bringing me something for the first time a new drug, a drug that I had never experienced. Because I had always felt I wasn’t good enough. I always thought I wouldn’t matter up to anything. And I thought, now I’ve found it - money. Money would make me good enough.”

Keith could buy anything he wanted. But there was one thing he had that he really didn’t want.

“In the height of my success, I still carried around shame. I knew there was some sense of right and wrong inside of me. But I would ignore it. I’m just a guy running a business, making money and I’m not really doing anything wrong. But something inside of me told me I could possibly be doing something wrong. I felt as though I was always running from myself. And someone had made a profound statement to me one time that said, ‘Wherever you go, there you are.’ I just kept doing a spin cycle. It would be like I’d run to here, I would do this, do this, and end up here again.”

In 2011, Keith moved to Ventura and opened a yogurt shop. Though still in the porn business, he tried to somehow remove himself from the business. That same year, Jude Fouquier stopped by the shop and met Keith.

“They had just moved here to start a church in Ventura,” says Keith. “And we would meet at Starbucks and I would begin to tell someone, for the first time, the truth about myself.”

“And he was shamed by that,” says Jude. “He began to tell his life story. In fact, he began to tell me that he started the yogurt hut, just simply serving yogurt to kind of – for people not to know. But he was open. And I could tell he just needed to hear that God’s not mad at you, that God is for you, and that God is good.”

Keith remembers a conversation they had in his car. “We sat in the car and he said, ‘Keith, can you repeat after me when I’m praying?’ And I went, ‘Well, that doesn’t sound too hard. Sure, I’ll repeat after you.’ And he would pray the prayer.”

Keith asked Jesus into his heart that day. He went to Jude’s church, and learned what it meant to be a Christian. And he got out of the porn business.

“And I would start to forge relationships with people that I had, with neighbors. I mean, you have to understand, I had cameras around my house. I had a wrought-iron gate out front. I wanted to keep people out, not let people in.”

Keith got baptized at the beach by his home. He loves learning about the Bible, and his favorite story is about Jesus and the man at the pool of Bethesda.

He said, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ‘Why do I need to pick up this mat? I’m going to leave this. I’ve laid on it for 38 years, I’m not going to carry it. I’m going to leave it right here.’ But I think He wanted him to tell his story of how he had been healed. And I feel like my story is my mat. That God healed me and told me to pick up my mat and walk. And to tell other people that there’s hope. I want to say that I had a pretty bad life, and that I was a pretty bad guy. And today I’m a whole different person through Christ. The old has gone, the new has come.”

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