Father, Husband Makes Radical Transformation

January 23, 2014 | Liesl Vistaunet

He pulls headphones out of his plug-pierced ears and begins to tell his story. “I like rap,” says Ken Acquin, a member of Pleasant Valley Church in Happy Valley and the father of a Portland Adventist Academy sophomore, Anderson Acquin. “But it’s Christian rap.”

The man knows his music. He was one of the original Stryper fans and also has a thing for Petra. But don’t let his tough exterior and love of hard rock and rap fool you. He also loves the Gaither Vocal Band, old hymns, Native American flute music and gospel music.

More importantly, he loves God.

Acquin was recently baptized at Pleasant Valley Church. Despite being a regular attendee for several years, Acquin says he was living a life far from God.

Acquin was raised a Christian and as a teen was baptized with his mother, a faithful woman to this day. But life happened. Acquin brought his Bible with him when he went to the Gulf War as a Marine. “But if you asked me how much I opened it after boot camp, well, it wasn’t very many times,” he says. “I began to party and live a hard life.”

Life after the Marines wasn’t any better. “I continued to make poor choices that hurt my family,” says Acquin. “Thankfully, I married a patient woman. Many times I found myself in tears thinking that this wasn’t who I was supposed to be. I knew I needed to be a man my boys look up to and to see a man that loves God.”

In and out of many churches over the years, Acquin went through the motions but never had a relationship with Jesus. His wife, Sylvia, grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and suggested they visit one. He agreed. It took a few more years, but thanks to supportive pastors like George Gainer and Greg Phillips, his sons' belief in him, the faithfulness and patience of his wife of 20 years, and a sermon series and altar call by Herald Altamirano, Acquin’s heart was pierced with a love so powerful it affected every nook and cranny of his life.

“A lot of people came to my baptism,” he says. “Even friends who aren’t Christians came to show support.” Acquin beams as he adds that his mother was there. “She said it was one of the best days of her life,” he recalls. “That meant so much to me.”

“I’m an older guy,” says Acquin, who is only in his mid-40s. “Change is hard. Even my pastor said it’s unusual to see a husband and father my age in the baptismal tank. Baptism is admitting I’m weak. But I am. That song is the truth. I am weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me.”

Watch Acquin tell his story on a video interview that was aired before his baptism titled "Ken's God Story"

Acquin's love of music includes Native American flutes which he plays beautifully.