He was a rough-and-tumble bronc rider -- a tall, lanky guy who followed the rodeo. With a swagger to complement his Wranglers and spurs, there wasn't a man around who enjoyed the thrill more.
"I was a cowboy," Micah Smith said as he reminisced about his rowdy youth in West Richland and south of Kennewick, Wash. "That's a domestic way of saying I was wild."
But God was about to rein in the direction of the then 23-year-old and move him to a new path -- one that would make a difference around the world.
"I was working out at Hanford, Wash., and this guy would tell me about Jesus," said Micah, recalling his job as a pipefitter on the nuclear reservation and a persistent co-worker. "I'd be rude and say, 'That works for you, but I'm not interested.' But I could see he was different, he had light."
Micah remembers how it spurred him to study other religions, even positive thinking, but ultimately he felt an emptiness. Then on a late Saturday night in 1979, he had what he describes as a "Road to Damascus" experience.
"I was alone in the living room listening to the song Amazing Grace on the radio," Micah said about the memory and the exact moment he verbally challenged God and his existence. "And the spirit of God came into the living room -- an overwhelming love. And not only a love, but all this feeling of weight and burdens fell away."
When Micah rushed into the bedroom to tell his sleeping wife, Nancy thought he had been drinking. But from that night on, he was radically transformed, a difference that didn't go unnoticed by Nancy or his co-workers.
"I went into work Monday and guys said, 'You look younger, you look different,' " Micah said.
Not long after, the former cowboy became a preacher -- a church pastor teaching the very message he had once rejected.
But God had even more in mind for this man's life-purpose.