'Mad Dog' spreading his message one town at a time
BILLY Graham, Franklin Graham, Benny Hinn, "Mad Dog".
He's an unlikely evangelist but Kevin "Mad Dog" Mudford has been on a decades-long mission hoping to change the lives of people suffering due to alcohol and drug abuse.
The son of a World War II veteran, Mr Mudford grew up in a broken home in Napier, New Zealand - a tough start that shaped the first decades of his life.
"No hugs, no love, no nothing," he said. "It destroyed the family because of his stuff. I'm not knocking him though because that was a result of where he came from.
"They say your first teachers in life are your mum and dad ... alcohol came into the family and if the grog wasn't brought in I wouldn't have went down the road I did."
Mr Mudford began drinking at 13 years of age and was in a youth detention centre at 15.
"Seven New Zealand prisons I ended up in from 15 through to 20, 21," he said.
When he got out he returned to his old ways and eventually spent time in dozens of mental health institutions.
"I went looking for a mental illness I never had," Mr Mudford said. "It was a safe environment. I was in jail but not out there in the big cruel world.
"It was time to boot me out when they found I had no issues up top.
"There was nowhere to go and I had no answers. It never occurred to me if I stopped drinking my life could change."
It wasn't until someone called Kevin an alcoholic that the penny dropped for him.
"I thought about those words - alcoholic, alcoholic - but I was too young to be one," he said.
"My idea of an alcoholic was some old guy at the park with the raincoat, tennis shoes and brown paper bag."
Mr Mudford's older brother, Michael, had followed a similar path but had gone to church and was converted into a lay minister.
"I went down to visit him (in 1981) and he was just on fire for the Lord," Mr Mudford said.
"I looked up to him and that really helped me. I gave my life to Jesus Christ... Billy Graham style.
"I'm a fighter and want to have a go at something. I said to myself I'd give up the drink for a week. The bonuses came in straight away - I had money in my pocket."
Mr Mudford has been sober for almost 38 years and has been touring Australia for 25 years.
"I'm not a pastor - a pastor stays in town and works with the flock. An evangelist goes from place to place going to where the needs are," he said.
'Mad Dog' talks
- Tonight 6.30pm
- Sunday 9.30am
- Both sessions at Carinity Education (803 Glenlyon Rd).