Gerry Eppinga's got a weathered look about him that suggests he'd be more at home in a hard-drinking bar in Prince Rupert than preaching from the Bible beneath a big gospel revival tent in Cloverdale.
But when you get down to chatting, you see he's left that all behind.
"We got caught up in that life, and then in drugs, and then little by little, to make a long story short, my whole life went down the drain," he recalls.
But that was before a preacher from Edmonton showed up at a little Native church in Prince Rupert, where he was living with his wife Beatrice. He swallowed his pride.
"That night, by faith, I asked God to help me. I really needed his help. And it came from my heart."
Gerry is a Dutch immigrant and Beatrice is Haida. They've been married 35 years.
Six years ago, the Eppingas started up a full-time Pentecostal Christian ministry called Christ for First Nations/Return to Jesus Christ Ministries that sees them pulling a colossal revival tent around western Canada in a trailer about three months every year.
It's not every day you see a gospel revival tent like the one they've set up in Cloverdale's Millennium Park, near the corner of 64th Avenue and 176th Street.
It's been there for more than a week now.
Their final night of preaching will be tonight (Tuesday) before they move on.
About 100 people have been coming every night.
"The tent is an idea that wherever people are that need Christ you can set up your tent," Eppinga said. "They may not come in the church, but they would come in the tent."
Boring services, these aren't. "Last night you should have been here to take pictures," Beatrice told the Now.
"Everybody was slain in the spirit and laying on the floor and talking in tongues.
"It was awesome."
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