My Story: Discovery of the Process

Rev. Mark Dandridge Pendleton

I had just turned fifteen years old when I first experienced the Begin a New Life process.

It was summer time, and I was working in my grandmother’s vegetable garden. There was something on my mind that was troubling me. I don’t remember what it was; but I do remember that it had a real grip on me—it was tying me up in emotional knots, and it wouldn’t let go. So I decided to run the problem through the four steps of Begin a New Life. As I continued working, I did the following:

  • Took an honest look at myself.
  • Recognized and admitted to my part in the problem.
  • Prayed to the Lord.
  • Began a new life.

This was the first time I ever practiced these four universal steps of life change. What happened was remarkable. By the time I was finished going through the steps, the issue that had tied me up in knots was gone—it disappeared entirely. The shift in my state of mind was so significant that I thought to myself, “Wow, this process really works!”

Then the process disappeared from my radar screen. For whatever reason, I didn’t return to it again; or if I did, I was unsuccessful at making it a regular spiritual practice. But regardless, that one experience of the process was one that I never forgot.

I grew up through my teen and adult years to age forty-four. During those years, I learned and utilized different types of spiritual practice. Each one of them helped me along my spiritual path; but I wanted more. In my heart I wanted a spiritual practice that fit my soul, and none of the ones I’d tried had done that—not fully, not completely. For all of those years, I felt like David the shepherd boy in Jewish scripture who tried on the king Saul’s armor in preparation for battle with Goliath. But Saul’s armor didn’t fit David—he wasn’t able to walk in it.

And for all of that time—age fourteen to forty-four—I didn’t forget the one experience I’d had in my grandmother’s garden. Occasionally I would remember it or recall it to mind; and when I did, I would think to myself, “What about those four steps of life change that I learned years ago—what if I were to go through them over and over again—for whatever problem might currently be facing me? How much might it impact my life for good?” And what’s interesting, despite these thoughts, I never returned to the Begin a New Life process as a regular practice. And so the process sat on the mantelpiece of my mind—waiting to serve me, help me, and impact my life for good.

Around the time of my forty-fourth birthday, I had decided to combine the four steps of Begin a New Life with the spiritual program I was practicing at that time. I did so; but combining the two approaches didn’t work either—it was confusing; it made me feel like I was spinning my wheels spiritually, unable to get any real traction in my life. I felt like I was in a marriage relationship with two partners instead of one.

At that point I knew that I had to choose one of my two “partners” over the other; and I knew in my heart which one it would be. I chose the steps of Begin a New Life.

That choice came in the fall of 2004, and since then I’ve never looked back. I haven’t needed to look anywhere else for a baseline approach to life change or spiritual transformation. This one provides me everything that I need and want.

What I’ve discovered in Begin a New Life is a process that can remove any stumbling block in my life, and one that allows me to realize my deepest longings, hopes, and dreams. After many years of searching, I've found a process that fits my soul—truly, deeply, and completely. I am content.


As a final note, when I first began this process as a regular spiritual practice, I kept a record of the positive effects that it had on my life. That list grew until it was fifty-eight items long. Then I stopped keeping track. Later, I culled the list down to include all of my favorites. That list was twenty items long. Of those twenty, my favorite three are as these:

  • This process takes me to the real heart of any issue that faces me faster, more directly, more deeply, and more completely than anything I've ever experienced. In fact, at times it does so in a breath-taking way—almost literally.
  • This process provides me a sense of closeness and togetherness with God that I haven't experienced before. This has been an unexpected surprise in my life.
  • Finally, (and this is my favorite), this process provides me a sense of hope—regularly and consistently. In fact, in all the years that I’ve practiced this process, there hasn’t been a single session that I’ve come away from not feeling a sense of hope—a sense of, “I can do this; with God’s help I will conquer this thing in my life.” Wise people say, “Don’t say always or never;” and yet what I’m saying about hope at the hands of this process has always been true for me—every single time. This has been a real blessing in my life—one that I couldn’t have anticipated.

Register now! with this simple electronic form.

“Begin a New Life” at Sunrise Chapel on October 12 - a workshop on 4 universal steps of life change and spiritual transformation that bridge across all faiths and cultures.


October 12, 2013

8:00 am - final registration

8:30 am - 4:30 pm Workshop


Sunrise Chapel, 8421 E Wrightstown Road, Tucson, AZ 85715


$20 registration fee by October 5

$25 registration fee by October 6-11

$30 at the door

Lunch is on your own - BYO or order out


Want to talk? Need more information?

Call Nathan at Sunrise Chapel 520-298-1245 or email

Learn much more about the whole program - Go to the Begin a New Life website.