For much of their married life, Paul and Tara Pearson would have described themselves as a “Christian” couple. Tara’s faith in Jesus Christ sustained her through trials and sorrows, and she truly believed that her husband was clinging to that same deep and rooted faith. Together, they purposed to raise their two daughters in the church, grounding them in Biblical truth. But, beneath a seemingly well-built Christian life, Paul’s belief system was false, and his spiritual sight was clouded by long-held lies and heresies. Read their story to see how the Lord uprooted Paul’s faulty beliefs and sprung up a new life in Christ – changing their family’s story forever.
Paul & Tara Pearson
Paul: Growing up, my mom believed in Jesus, and she tried to raise her children in His ways. But my dad’s understanding of truth was completely warped. He believed he was without sin, he believed in reincarnation, and he thought the Bible was totally insignificant. So, I had all these confusing beliefs that were a part of my upbringing. I was baptized as a boy, but in a church with very false teachings.
I thought I was a Christian, but I know now that I wasn’t. I believed some things about Jesus in my mind, but those things never went all the way down to my heart where I really trusted in Jesus as my Savior.
Tara: I was born into a “real” Christian home where my parents loved the Lord. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was young, and for my most of life, walking out my Christian faith came easily. I struggled through some hard things as a teenager, but the Lord pulled me back into relationship with Him.
Paul, who was from Oregon, met Tara, an Arkansas girl, while he was working in Cody and she was vacationing here. Three years after they met, they reconnected, and the Lord knit their hearts together, leading them to marry.
Tara: When we got married, I really thought we were both Christians. We both wanted the same things: to get married and raise our family in the church. I knew we had differences in our beliefs, but it wasn’t until later that I began to uncover some of Paul’s strange beliefs about reincarnation and other things. We both always wanted to raise our children in a Christian home. But, looking back, we had two different versions of what that really meant.
Shortly after they were married, the Pearsons brought Tiana (their honeymoon baby) out West, first to Montana and then to Cody, where they built a home and life together. Those joyful days of parenting little ones were also marked by struggle and difficulty.
Tara: Tiana was very sick early on, and that was hard. We had a miscarriage, and then God gave us Zoe, but she almost died a year later. Our house burned down, and our church burned down, and my grandmother died. As we struggled through that season, I really clung to the Lord. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and I really lived that verse. I got through that time because of my faith in Christ.
Through those years of ongoing trials, Tara continued to believe that she and Paul were on the same page, that he was clinging to faith and trusting in God’s goodness the same way she was. Paul recalls “suppressing” and “hiding” the sorrow of those difficulties – because he didn’t yet share Tara’s bedrock of faith in Christ.
Paul: I had always gone to church with Tara and the girls, but it was really just a Sunday thing for me. We ended up switching churches, and suddenly I started to see people who were just really alive in Christ and full of zeal for Him. So, I started to crave more of God.
In 2009, the Pearsons hosted a visiting family during a week-long conference at their church. One of the men noticed Paul’s earnest searching, and intentionally shared the Gospel with him. For the first time, Paul truly understood what it meant to have new life in Christ. He also experienced profound deliverance from the bondage of his past – release from the demonic influences that had held him captive.
"Before, I had tried to be the spiritual leader, and now he really became the spiritual leader of our home. He was encouraging all of us to study Scripture, and to grow."
Paul: I knew that my heart had been swept clean, and I also knew I needed to start filling that space with Jesus. I needed the Holy Spirit. I started reading my Bible every day, and memorizing Scripture, and just replacing the evil in my heart with more of Jesus.
Tara: He transformed so quickly. Before, I had tried to be the spiritual leader, and now he really became the spiritual leader of our home. He was encouraging all of us to study Scripture, and to grow.
The Pearsons have been blessed to see the Lord at work in their girls – even when Paul himself wasn’t truly following God.
Tara: Tiana was always sick when she was young. She was diagnosed with diabetes at age nine, and had other health issues that we couldn’t figure out. She spent a lot of time in the ER. One day, still as a young girl, she said, “I don’t want to come here anymore. Just tell people to pray for me.” Her childlike faith was such an encouragement to us, and we did get to watch God take care of her. She knew nothing could save her but Jesus.
Tiana’s quiet but sure faith in God’s ability to heal and strengthen her impacted the couple by helping them build their own trust in God. And Zoe was a gifted Bible scholar and an exhorter from early on, often asking her parents, “When did you last read the Bible?” or “What’s spilling out of your cup?” – meaning, what is overflowing from your heart right now?
In March of 2020, just as the world “shut down” in the initial days of the COVID pandemic, Paul experienced a head injury that rattled not just his brain, but their entire family. As he recovered, anger surfaced easily. The blow to his head had impacted his emotions, his memory, and his cognition, and the family – together in Cody due to college shut-downs – faced the slow journey of recovery together.
Paul: In the end, Jesus used my brain injury to draw me closer to Him.
That summer, the Pearsons found Outpost. As they joined this band of “broken brothers” and began to serve within the church, they saw the Lord weaving their stories together, pointing them so clearly down His paths. The four Pearsons chose to be baptized together in the river. Though all of them had been baptized previously (the women as infants and Paul in a cult-ish setting as a child), taking that step together signified the new life they celebrated in Christ.
In spite of their eagerness to grow together, the Pearsons were reluctant to commit to the two-year Re:Generation pilot program, but God orchestrated circumstances to lead them in that direction. As they have trekked obediently through the process, they have seen so much growth, and they are excited about sharing what they have learned with others as they become Re:Generation leaders in the fall of 2022.
Paul: We are just getting closer to Jesus.
Tara: We are excited to get to share the hope of Jesus with others who might come to Re:Generation for healing but who don’t already have that foundational hope.
Each of the Pearsons has found a place to serve through Outpost, an area where their unique giftings and personalities are furthering God’s Kingdom, where they are flourishing and helping others flourish.
We have seen God be so faithful and just bring about things we couldn’t have planned. And it’s such a gift to have our girls pouring back into us, and to see them pouring into others. Their faith has strengthened our faith.
Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”