After getting saved, Pastor Mike went on to attend Midwestern Baptist College to prepare for the ministry. During college he spent his summers on Staten Island and made the friendship of Pastor Mel Sabaka, the founding pastor of First Bible Church. It was a friendship that would have far reaching consequences for Brother Mike. After graduation in 1981 he moved back to Staten Island and with the help of Pastor Sabaka and support from some of the families at First Bible Church, he founded Harbor Light Baptist Church on the north shore of the island.
Pastor Mike says, "Those three years at Harbor Light taught me many things about the ministry, most of all, how little I really knew about the ministry. But the Lord was so good to me anyway during that time. Souls were saved and I learned how to trust the Lord for my needs each day and to just wait on God. In 1984 I received one of the greatest blessings of my life: a godly wife!" Pastor Mike met Donna on a "blind date" arranged by a pastor friend in Connecticut and they were married two months later.
Soon after he was married, Pastor Mike resigned from Harbor Light and joined our church, proving himself faithful in various ministries: as deacon, assistant pastor and principal of the church’s Christian Academy. He finally became pastor in 1993 after pastors Mel and Dan Sabaka resigned. The Lord gave Pastor and Donna five children: Michael, Aaron, Lisa, Justin, and Lauren. Sadly, in 2003, after eight years of battling cancer, Donna went home to Heaven, having been comforted and sustained by her Saviour through numerous surgeries and chemo treatments. She was loved dearly by her family and church and we await that wonderful reunion day when all the saints will be caught up together in glory!
After Donna’s death, Pastor Mike continued serving the Lord as he had before; taking care of his children, preaching and ministering to the flock at First Bible Church. As the next five years passed, there were numerous mission trips, many hundreds of days spent street preaching around the city, souls saved, Bible studies and Institute classes taught, and all the usual cares and burdens of the ministry. But then in 2008, through the influence of their children and the prayers of many in the church who had been hoping for this to happen, Pastor Mike and Margaret Albright were brought together by the Lord and were married on August 31st, 2008. Pastor Mike said, “This was one of the most unexpected and undeserved blessings of my life. We are both so thankful to God and we’re amazed to see how He was preparing us both for this. It truly is worth it just to wait on God.”
"Without a doubt, the greatest day in my life was the day I trusted Jesus Christ as my Saviour. I had grown up in a Christian home. My mother was a Sunday School teacher and my Dad was a trustee in the church. At meal time in our home, as we sat around the table, we read the Scriptures. I knew the stories in the Bible, sang the hymns in church, sat through Bible preaching all my life and I thought I was a Christian just like everyone around me."
"However, inwardly I was a stranger to the One who loved me the most! I was a rebel in my heart, full of sin. I had grown bored with church in my teen years and began to get in trouble constantly. I am amazed now when I consider how merciful God was to me during those years."
"Childhood memories of New York City shaped many of my plans and desires. Immediately after high school I moved back to New York and entered art school at Cooper Union on a full scholarship. I was living my dream, or so I thought. The East Village offered every kind of sinful experience imaginable and I was going to try them all. But those Bible verses from my childhood kept coming back to haunt me. I knew there was a God and I knew He saw everything I was doing. In spite of all the excitement of life in the city, there was an emptiness and loneliness inside. Things started to spiral downward and in my junior year, I dropped out of college and went back home."
"Not long after that, at what was surely the lowest point of my life, a personal tragedy took place that made me really face myself and admit where sin had brought me. I got on my knees and cried out to Jesus Christ for the peace and salvation that I knew only He could give me. I found to my joy that His ear was open to the cry of a sinner. I fell upon His mercy and understood for the first time the wonderful truth of Calvary. HE had taken MY PLACE! He had taken my sin and He had given me His life, eternal life! What a joy filled my soul!"
"It was a whole new beginning. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2Corinthians 5:17) Old habits began to drop away. New desires took their place: to read and study the Bible and fellowship with other believers was all I wanted to do. I couldn't get enough of the preaching and began to think that God would have me spend the rest of my life preaching His Word! Now, by His grace, he has given me the desires of my heart. It is a privilege to serve the King of Kings. I thank Him for his mercy on this poor sinner and for the blessings of my family and a good church. What a great God and Saviour!"