The Bear Man

Back in September 2015, I had a near-death experience that changed my life completely, as I was attacked by a grizzly bear in the deep wilderness of Canada. Some could say I’m very lucky for being alive. But for me, that was the ultimate sign of how God’s pre-determined plan is infinitely clearer than any effort or resolution we may have.

I became a grizzly attack survivor for a reason. Not by accident.

While I’m still looking for an answer as to why I was allowed to carry on in this life, I decided to share my story with as many people as possible. I believe that if someone out there can feel inspired to reevaluate their life’s priorities through knowing of my close call with death, then it all would be worth it.

People of faith know that God promises a safe landing. However, He does not promise a calm passage. Allow me, the “Bear Man,” to share this life-changing experience with you, and hopefully my scars can spark some thoughts of gratitude and appreciation for life, while you go through your own journey.

“The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”

- Mark Twain

“The Bear Man is a very inspirational story about the human spirit, a man's incredible will to survive, and the fact that God is always in control. It will leave you thinking about the 'what ifs' and a perspective that life on this earth is precious, but incredibly short.”

Gene F. Thompson III, President of InterLinc Mortgage Services

“Everything changed in a second when Jim VanSteenhouse realized he was being stared down by a grizzly bear. Locked in the powerful jaws of the animal, one thought came roaring to the surface, ‘Will I go to Heaven?' Jim survives to tell his powerful story and to inspire others to ask the same question.”

Dr. Ed Young, Second Baptist Church, Houston

“God sometimes uses unusual ways to get our attention: I believe that Jim learned from his near-death experience that God was not finished with him. He was reminded that his work was not done.”

William D. Peery, The Sovereign Institute, LLC

“After hearing Jim's story, every person should ask themselves two questions: 'If I die, where am I going?' and, 'Is my life on Earth making a difference?”

Jake Baker, Riverway

“Through Jim's survival of the bear attack, he shares how God is calling all of us to take a look at how we are living our lives.”

Mark Ultis, UBEO

“Knowing Jim personally, I greatly admire his courage and energy. Jim was knocked on his back in a brutal way, but he is back on his feet and is a better man for it. We all get knocked down at some point in life, but not everyone decides to get back up. Jim's story will inspire you to get back on your feet and encourage you to be a difference maker.”

Lance Berkman, Retired MLB All-Star

THANKS FOR ONE OF THE BEST GATHERINGS WE HAVE EVER HAD. Jim was great, his message was tremendous and his style left everyone on the edge of their seats. PLEASE tell him how much we enjoyed having him and he can come back anytime. I watched the expressions on people’s faces and no one even moved. You could hear a pin drop it was so quiet. GREAT guy and thanks for sharing him with us.

Jack Foster, First United Methodist Downtown

The BEAR Man's presentation at our sportsman dinner was challenging to everyone present. To the unsaved there was a clear presentation of the Gospel and one man excepted Christ. To the Christians his challenge was to put your priorities in order living a life worthy to be called a Christian. The sharing of the life change as a result the Bear attack was genuine and just exceptional.

Richard Stone, Michigan Center Bible Church

Thank you so much for making a trip to Michigan and blessing Michigan Center with an incredible bear story but an even more incredible message, one that you have a gift for sharing. It’s funny, I actually grew up reading books that contained bear attack stories, so being a Christ follower and an avid outdoorsman I was so in tuned with your entire speech. I am not sure how often you do these events or what kind of responses you get from some people but please, keep spreading the Good News and telling your tale even when there’s no response. You've planted many seeds. The quote about the devil saying “Oh hell, he’s awake” is something that struck my heart and I have already started acting on those convictions. Praise God for you Jim, I wish you the best in your walk with Christ, your family, your business and your hunting endeavors :) Shoot straight in all that you do..

Jim Harrington, Avid Outdoorsman

Jim, the men and I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation and testimony last night. I've received great feedback immediately afterward and today. We had 112 in attendance. That's 20% of our total population...in other words, a fantastic turnout. The TDCJ will definitely benefit from you. If you ever need my recommendation to other Units, please feel comfortable in making that known. God's richest blessings to you and your family.

Larry James, TDJC Chaplain

Here comes the Bear man” echoed through the speakers of the prison chapel and the atmosphere was filled with a sense of childlike wonder. The Bear man, with the incredible ability to articulate the content of His amazing story encouraged the Audience to overcome their “bear life experiences” with passion and a great sense of humor. The men all walked away after seeing the mercies of God manifest in The Bear Man’s story feeling valued, motivated, and without a doubt that Jesus saves. It was truly an incredible night in which the Lord was glorified through the story and through the invitation to follow the Lord in their own lives.

David Trickett, C.H.A.R.M. Founder

Jim's story was absolutely moving, it impacted not only our students, but all of our leaders and volunteers as well. I believe the Gospel is clearly heard and told through his story. Truly a reflection on how the Lord uses our testimonies and lives for his glory. If you have not had the privilege of having Jim come in to your organization to tell his story, then you need to do it. It will not disappoint.

Anthony Lane, Ozone Ministries

What a great presentation, we had close to 450 people there and they listened to him with great intent. What a blessing that we could connect with THE BEAR MAN. He's got a message that all should hear.

Joe & Nancy Hudson, President U.P. Bear Houndsmen Association

I enjoyed a chapel experience that was more than just a sermon. It was nice to hear a true story that developed someone’s walk with the Lord.

Jenna Miller, Mississippi College Student

I loved the speaker in chapel yesterday. The Bear Man did a great job at pulling in our attention and keeping us focused. I enjoyed how he told his testimony and showed us how God can work in our life. It was an eye opener that showed me how fast my life can change.

Lane Oxner, Mississippi College Student

The Bear Man at Mississippi College was the best testimonial I have ever heard. I met Jim and told him the speech was great. I did not tell him it put a lump in my throat (several times) and a tear in my eye, but it did indeed. I truly felt that God used me to coordinate The Bear Man speaking at MS College and I am grateful this event was able to happen. It was truly amazing. One of the best aspects is that a dozen or more young people gave their life to Christ.

Jim Jenkins (retired)

Well……where would I begin. The Bear Man standing at the prison gate, standing in the rain, so silent, so patient, so NOT moved by any of it. I should have known there was so much more which lay deeply below the rain soaked surface, below the cowboy hat, and behind the piercing eyes. The Nail pierced Savior! That is WHO was deeply rooted there. The man, Jim, never flinched. And after hearing his hunting stories, we now know why. He was made and re-made for this. This? Testifying of the miracle of life and The One who gives it. It is truly so fragile, and oh so brief. Jim’s story reminds us all of these truths…using a man, a guide, an attack, and a rescue! How did it make us feel? Our every emotion was stirred. It was exciting, it was captivating, (pun intended for prisoners), it was fearful, it was funny, it was painful, it was celebratory, it was all these things and so much more! We all, the prisoners and the volunteers, found ourselves in Jim’s stories. We could all identify with different parts of his journey. And WE are all survivors! Living in a fallen world, … an exciting yet scary, captivating, funny, and painful world. I believe many of the ladies in that particular prison, (only God could have known) could identify strangely enough, with his scars. Carole Young is a Medical facility! Their bodies have been cut and sown, and pieced, and some parts are missing. They found hope in hearing his story. His story of a life threatening, life changing attack, yes, yet a rescue and a reason far greater! His Savior met him there! In the midst of it all! He came! He saved! And now, a story to tell, so much greater, for it is not Jim’s story, it is Jesus’ story. THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. THE GOOD NEWS! The women rallied around him, getting autographs, in awe of his journey. A survivor’s journey, for truly that’s what we all are. A man, a woman A Guide (GOD) An Attack (the enemy) And a Rescue. JESUS Rachel, thanks for the ask. I was able to relive it all over again, and I so needed it today!!!! A Reminder of our Hope Of His Life The Survivor from the grave, with the scars to prove it.

C. Kaye Trickett

With a humble heart, Jim shares his amazing story. Soon after experiencing the horror of being ripped open by a grizzly bear in a remote wilderness, he experienced the gripping moment when he transitioned from a hopeless victim certain he was going to die, to feeling the Holy Spirit fill him with an overwhelming peace - a "peace that transcends all understanding." The Bear Man inspires us all to share Christ’s love with others every day.

Paul Pizzi, Christian Business Luncheon of Tomball

News

From one-on-one interviews to auditorium speeches, I’ve now spoken to thousands of people at churches, universities, schools and other events.

If you are interested in me sharing this story, please fill out the form below and I’ll contact you shortly.

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