These are Life stories from Boiling Springs Members… BEFORE Christ. Acts 22:3-5
…until when and how they RECEIVED Christ. Acts 22:6-16
They also share what their life is now SINCE they have received Christ. Acts 22:15
MEMBERS’ TESTIMONIES ARE LISTED ALPHABETICALLY BY LAST NAME
I was one of those born in a Christian home. I saw myself as a good person and never thought much about what it meant to be a Christian. I went to church several times a week and most all my friends were church friends.
Our church had revivals each year. They did not affect me much. However one year a Russian born Jew name Hyman Appleman came and preached a revival. During that week every one of my close friends came down to join the church. We were all about eight years old when this happened. I did not come down because Brother Appleman’s strange accent scared me.
The next Sunday Night after the revival I came down and told my pastor, Preacher Perkins I wanted to join the church. He said that would be fine but I would need to get baptized.
A week later the church scheduled a baptism service. That night all of my friends that came down during the revival and myself were to be baptized. That night before he baptized us all, Preacher Perkins explained what it meant to be a Christian to all of us. He told us that we are all sinners and that we need Jesus to forgive our sins and come into our lives, for us to become “saved”.
I am sure that he had preached this many times and I am sure that Brother Hyman preached that message. But that night for the first time I heard and understood the message.
As Pastor Perkins began to baptize each of us one by one, I got down on my knees over in the corner of the room and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins. I asked Him to come into my life and save me. Right after that it was my turn and I was baptized.
I almost got baptized without being saved. I have belonged to Jesus since that day. There have been times that I did not let Him have complete control of my life, but He has never forsaken me or let me go.
In tough times he walked beside me and carried me when I needed it.
You can also ask Jesus to come into you heart and save you. All you have to do is be repentant of your sins, that means feel your guilt and ask forgiveness. If you ask for forgiveness and ask Jesus to come into your life, God our Father WILL save you.
Thank you for taking time to read my story,
Luke Bolding- saved
Hello, my name is Luke Bolding and this is my testimony of salvation. I have to consider myself lucky because Jesus has been my savior since I was a boy. You must know that doesn’t mean I haven’t sinned or regretted any of my actions since I was a boy, but it does mean I haven’t been alone since that faithful day.
To describe my life before Jesus, I wouldn’t say I was a wicked child or that I did terrible things; I was just your typical boy. What I do remember about my childhood before Jesus was a sense of loneliness and a void within. A void that parent’s love, brother’s love, family love, or toys could feel. I constantly pondered the meaning of life, and how I was created‚Ä¶ and I’m not referring to conception.
Jesus entered my life one Sunday as I was attending church with a friend. At the end of preaching, the preacher asked that anyone who didn’t know Jesus as their personal savior pray the simple prayer, “Jesus enter into my heart and complete me”. I prayed the simple prayer and was walked to the altar by Jesus. He didn’t take me by the hand, but he took me by the heart.
Since that day I haven’t been alone. Jesus has been with me through the good times, the bad times, and the times I am ashamed of. With Jesus in my life, I have peace in my life. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a very happy person, and I’m a happy person because I have Jesus in my life. Praise Jesus!
My name is Bradley. I attend BSHS and like basketball and golf. There was a time in my life that I felt an emptiness inside of my heart. Then my Mom and Dad shared the FAITH steps to salvation with me. Since I placed my faith in Jesus , I felt the emptiness gone and I have someone to rely on.
My name is Landon. I like to run alot and play any sport. I used to have an empty feeling in my heart. The most important moment in my life was when I accepted Jesus with the help of my parents. Since I placed my faith in Jesus, my life has been filled and I don’t have a gap in my life anymore.
My name is Julia and I am a middle school student. There was a time in my life when I had an anger problem because of things that were going on. But on Mother’s Day in 2003, I accepted Jesus. Since I put my faith in Jesus, I have lost most of my anger and forgiven people that I held grudges against and come closer to Jesus. I am still not perfect and will always need His strength to carry on.
I am in high School and play baseball. I also love to workout. I am sixteen years old and sports are a major part of my life. When sports were in front of Jesus, I was confused, heading in the wrong direction, and spinning out of control. I was playing church and lying to all my friends.
Then I was at FCA Camp Retreat at Myrtle Beach. The speaker began to really “ call me out” and made it clear that I was playing a Christian but really wasn’t one. Since I have placed my faith in Jesus, I have put my life in God’s hands. He is first and everything else is second. He makes my life decisions so much easier.
I was raised Roman Catholic and always thought if I was a good enough person and tried to do lots of good works, then I was a Christian. I attended church faithfully as a child and youth, but drifted away in my twenties. Once I married my husband and moved to South Carolina, I began attending church again with him. People kept asking me why I didn’t join, and I told them I would have to be baptized and since I had already had been at 2 weeks old, I didn’t see why I had to do it again. Deep down I think I was afraid what my parents would think. I also had a lot a pride and worried what other people would think.
Finally one Sunday, a guest speaker shared Proverbs 3:5-6 and it absolutely spoke to me. When I went home after the service that morning, I kept thinking about the message in those words. I knew to be saved you have to accept Christ as the Son of God, admit that you are a sinner, and make Jesus Lord of your life. Well, I knew and believed that Jesus was the Son of God, and I sure knew I wasn’t perfect and was a sinner, but I realized I had not made him Lord of my life. That part was the missing piece that kept me feeling empty.
Proverbs 3: 5-6 says, “ Trust in the Lord with all thy heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and he will direct your paths.” That afternoon I saw that I was holding out on God. I was letting my pride about baptism get in the way. Baptism was an act of obedience that I shouldn’t be ashamed to do. If he was truly going to be Lord of my life, I follow him in ALL my ways ‚Ä¶including baptism.
Once I got my brain around that, I couldn’t wait to get back to church that night and make my decision public. I was baptized the first Sunday in November at the age of 33 , then a mother of four children- three of whom were baptized Christians.
I have never regretted putting Jesus in charge of my life. I trust him to lead me in the right direction and to re-route me when I try to head off on my own. God has never failed me. He has never given me more than I can bear. He has strengthened me as we raised five children, shown mercy as both my husband and my father breathed their last breath, and he has comforted me when I was afraid and overwhelmed.
I am amazed at the power of God and how he loves me. I am grateful that God still wants to use me and I humbled by how he blesses me. I am so glad He is in charge of my life.
I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not know who Jesus was. From my earliest memories, I can remember singing “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so ‚Ä¶”. Before I started school, I had committed John 3:16 to memory. By the time I was in first grade, I had watched friend after friend walk down the aisle on Sunday morning and become members of the church. I could not understand how this man Jesus knew me or how he could love me. And though I knew the words, I certainly had no understanding of a God who loved the world (or me) enough to give his Son so that I could live. My knowledge was empty, and I was afraid.
I was in junior high when our youth group went to see Truth in concert at Chesnee High School. For me, it started out as just another youth outing, but the Lord had other plans. That night, all of the head knowledge I had about Jesus and the Lord and the Holy Spirit were met with all of my fears and my longing to really know about this love that I had been taught about for the first 14 years of my life. I cannot remember a song or a word that was spoken that night, but I do remember the awe I felt at a God so big, so amazing ‚Ä¶ who chose to love me in spite of myself. And when they had the alter call, my feet seemed to be moving of their own accord ‚Äî I could not profess my faith fast enough! That night I was on the mountain top! But the next morning‚Ä¶ all of the fears had set back in. As I sat and talked with Preacher Hames, I kept waiting on him to tell me that I wasn’t good enough to join the church or be baptized. I know now that even then, as I had just come from the mountain top, Satan was moving in on me, preying on my insecurities. Even up until the morning of my Baptism, looking out from the baptismal pool, I kept waiting for the congregation to realize who I was and demand that I not be made clean. I remember as Preacher Hames dipped me back in to the water thinking, “This is it. I’ll die today.” But just a second later I was up, water dripping from my face and hair, looking up at Preacher Hames, then out at the congregation. My friends were laughing and clapping, my parents were smiling, people I didn’t know were glad for me. And my fears were gone.
I would love to say that since that day I have lived a perfect life ‚Äî that I have never been disrespectful to my parents; that I have never harbored hate or greed or envy in my heart. But that would make me a liar (again). My salvation did not make me perfect, it made me forgiven, able to finally receive God’s grace ‚Äî a gift I was not and am not worthy of receiving before Christ Jesus’ blood blinded God to my failings. There continue to be moments of doubt, times of fear, longings for things that are not part of God’s plan for me (at least right now), and pride in my own accomplishments. But with the help of my friend, Jesus, I am brought more fully into knowledge of God, His love for me, His plans for me. And in Him, I am not ashamed or afraid, I am loved, I am treasured. I finally understand the Good News of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life”.
My name is Nathan and I go to BSJHS. I like to ride and race dirt bikes and play football, basketball, baseball and wrestle. There was a time in my life when I was afraid of dying. I got saved, but I was still doubting my faith. The most important moment in my life was when I rededicated my life to Christ. I was at church and I knew I needed to place my life in Jesus’s hands. I talked to the pastor and I got saved. God has helped me through my life. I still face new trials every day at school and with my friends, but God helps me make the right decisions.
My name is Whitney and I am a student. There was a time in my life when I always disobeyed my parents. Then one day, I was at church at a revival service, and we had a missionary who preached. After the service, I went down and accepted Christ, because I was scared to death to die. Since I have placed my faith in Jesus, I am able to know He wants me to obey my parents and it is much easier.
My name is Tristan and I am into sports. I have an older brother. I like going to church and having fun. There was a time in my life before Christ that I was angry. I was always mad. One little negative thing would make me very mad. I always wanted to fight someone. When I placed my faith in Christ was on my daycare playground. My brother kept telling me stuff about Jesus and then I became a Christian. After that, I have been peaceful and living a good life. I have been trying to lead people to Christ. I now have a God-filled life.
I grew up in a Christian home in Virginia. I was the fifth child among nine children. My Dad preached in a small country church. The church had no Sunday school or teaching for children. So I never really knew a lot of scripture. I got the mistaken idea that everyone in that old church seemed to have a dream or something to tell when they got saved. I married young, and my husband and I moved about. We lived in Detroit, Michigan, Roanoke, VA, and Bristol, TN, and the big churches were just so different that we never attended a lot. I always loved the Lord and prayed often.
When I was expecting my child I really prayed in earnest that the Lord would save me and watch over me and the baby.
Although I prayed for the Lord to save me, I guess I was still hoping for signs. We moved to Spartanburg in 1970, and I started attending BSFBC. I learned more about faith and trusting God through faith. I read the scripture about Philip’s conversion in Acts 8:36, and saw that he was baptized by believing in God’s Word. I also read Mat. 12:38-42 that said we should not seek for signs to believe, and I felt ashamed.
I received the Lord in my heart and was baptized in 1973. Baptism was a wonderful experience for me. I just felt the spirit of the Lord wash over me as I came up out of the water. The following days of that week were just so holy to me. I saw the Lord in everything. It was Spring, and the grass looked greener and the sky more blue. I’ve heard others say that, but that was my experience before I ever heard anyone say that. I had such a thirst to know the Word after that. I think I about read the Bible through the first year. By the way, two days after I was baptized, the Lord did give me a sweet dream, that I think was confirmation. But you should not expect or ask the Lord for a sign. I love group Bible study and went 4 years to BSF, and have taken five of Beth Moore’s studies, plus Experiencing God.I had to stop because of back pain.
I love mission work and have been part of the Tuesday Morning mission group for over 30 years. I also worked for several years with Literacy Missions and other areas of the church. The Lord is my strength every day. I get through the day listening to Christian radio. I lost my husband 14 years ago.
My friends, walk with God, there is no other way….
I can remember at an early age (around 4 or 5) spending time with my Mammaw Chapman in West Virginia. I can remember my Aunt Carol Chapman teaching the little Sunday school lessons about Jesus on the flannel board. The best memory I have was seeing my Mammaw reading the Bible in the morning in her chair in her room. I can remember the sun shining through the window and seeing such love and peace in that room. I was around 5 when I realized that I needed Jesus in my life. I cannot say I fully understood salvation, but I knew that the bad things that I did was a sin against Jesus and I needed him to take that away from my life. I asked Jesus into my heart and was baptized soon thereafter.
It was not until I was 18 at camp at the Wilds in North Carolina that I heard and understood that I not only had to make Jesus my Savior but my Lord as well. I had to let him be Lord over all my life. I rededicated my life to Christ that summer. I know that my life has never been the same.
Even now, I can see how God is still teaching and helping me to know more about him everyday. His Word is fresh every day and He speaks to us in many different ways (especially when I am speechless). God TRULY so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son and if YOU will only believe in Jesus, God will give YOU eternal life with HIM FOREVER.
I was born in Texas in the mid 1960’s to an atheist family. My father believed in evolutionary science and my mother in human goodness. I grew up with no belief system–other than “buying whatever the world was selling”. After my parents divorced, my dad stayed in Texas and the rest of us moved to south Florida. There I decided to pursue the “gods” of alcohol, sex, drugs, sports and popularity. I didn’t believe in heaven or hell, so when I got depressed, I remember “comforting myself” with the thought that, if it got really bad, I could always kill myself!
I became a binge alcoholic. I abused drugs. I got arrested for buying stolen property. I was suspended multiple times from high school. My driver’s license was revoked. I nearly died waterskiing when a drunk boat driver steered me into a seawall. I spent two weeks in ICU and missed my entire first semester of college due to the resulting abdominal surgeries. This was the first of a number of near-death experiences.
To ease my guilty conscience and fit in, I joined a church and was baptized. I attended FCA and memorized the Lord’s Prayer to impress my football coach. When I got to college (Brown University in Providence, RI), I attended church, Campus Crusade for Christ, and Athletes in Action. I even spent a weekend in Boston handing out Bible tracts–I figured, based on all the stuff I was doing for God, I must be a Christian. But some real Christians challenged me. They had seen me passed out in the hallway on Saturday nights and in church on Sundays. I responded that, “Yes, I had it all–one foot in the world and one in the kingdom.” They told me it didn’t work that way–either you were all in, or not at all.
I got kicked out of college because of my same destructive patterns, which caused me to fail all of my classes. Back in Florida, I tried to change my ways, but only got worse. One night after partying, I even got run over by my own car! Amazingly, God STILL didn’t have my attention. I did develop a sense of guilt about my lifestyle. So I decided to try to disprove the Bible. I thought that Christians and their Bible must the source of my guilt, and that finding all of those “contradictions” I’d heard about would release me from its moral bondage, granting me freedom to enjoy my sin. By that time, I had gotten into pornography. And of the probably 25 girlfriends I had in High School and college, I cheated on every one of them.
I confess these things for one reason: I don’t want you to think I was a “good guy” pursuing God. I had no good in me. I want you to see how lost I was–and how amazing God’s grace is! Jesus said, “The Son of Man came to seek and save that which was lost.”
After two years, I got back into Brown. One day I was reading the Gospel of John and a “Four Spiritual Laws” tract. In the tract were two circles, representing two kinds of lives–one showed “self” on a throne, surrounded by discord and chaos. The other showed Christ on the throne, surrounded by peace and harmony. It asked, “Which circle represents your life?” “Which one would you like to represent your life?” The answers were obvious.
By that point, God had taken away all of my support systems. I was at the lowest point of my downward-spiraling life. I got to the 3rd chapter of John and read the words “You must be born again.” I prayed for that–I wanted Jesus to take control, and direct my life, taking his rightful place on His throne. Right then, He forgave my sins, rescued me from spending eternity in hell, and gave me His promise of heaven. As I stood up, I knew that I had “crossed over from death to life.” That was October 14th, 1987.
There was an immediate “night and day” change. Everyone in my fraternity house noticed it and asked what had happened to me (they did not approve of this change)! The Holy Spirit had given me a new life, a new mindset. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” My fiancee broke up with me and moved 1,500 miles away. My “friends” said I’d rejoin their wild parties soon enough. But I never again desired immoral relationships, pornography, drugs, or alcohol. My thirst was for the Bible, and I drank the Scripture in instead.
I quickly graduated and married that young lady I was engaged to–and have never once been unfaithful. She also became a follower of Jesus Christ. So did my atheist dad–just two years before he died. So have my four children. They are now teenagers who love and serve Jesus. Rather than living for Self, I enjoy teaching Sunday school, coaching, leading Bible studies, and sharing the hope that I have in Christ. And I wouldn’t go back for all the riches and pleasures the world could ever offer.
God has given me True life, and my days on earth are His to use as He wills. “For it is by grace I have been saved, through faith–and this is not from myself–it is the gift of God–not of works, so that no man may boast.” God pursued me. He saved me. He changed me. And “He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
I was born at an early age, (ha ha) the first and only son (I have a sister Kelly who is 5 years younger than I) to the most wonderful parents a child could ever dream of having. Because my father traveled for work; my mom, a trained teacher, and I just rode with him everywhere. This was before infants had to ride in car seats, so I grew up on the lap of my mom, riding in the car, staying in hotels, and waiting in parking lots of community colleges while my dad completed his business at each. While Dad worked, Mom and I sat in the car. Because my formative years were spent so close to my parents, this formed such a strong bond with them, and they were able to pass on their love of the Lord to me.
Bible stories and Bible games became the material that Mom used to teach me how to read. By the time I was 6 years old, I knew that I knew that I knew I was God’s child and that He died for my sins, and that I had accepted him into my heart. I remember going up to the pastor when I was about 7 and asking when I could be baptized. Mom and Dad had other plans though. They did not want me to get baptized until I had a depth to my faith, and I could actually understand the public act of baptism. It was not something to be taken lightly, and they felt I needed more maturity. I was baptized at Park Street Baptist Church in 1984.
I grew up in the church, clinging to many wonderful Christian role models such as Sunday School teachers, Youth ministers, pastors, and of course, my parents. When the time came to find my mate, I was told there are 2 places to meet a girl: a roller skating rink and church, so as God would have it, I met my wife in a Singles Sunday school class. On our first date I bet her $100 I would marry her, and in a year, we were married. Once married, God pressured and pushed my faith to grow even more. I wanted to be the husband that my wife deserved, and that could only happen if I was the man of God that I needed to be. God brought us to the church where we are now, and He has continued to grow us both, both in our love for Him and our love for each other. Catharine and I are now blessed with 2 wonderful children, and we both work every day to instill the strong faith that we both were blessed with into our children.
I was blessed to live in a Christian home since birth. I was saved at the age of six. I was sitting in church with my mom when the Lord knocked on my heart’s door. My Mom went to the front with me. I felt like I had five hundred pounds on my shoulders. I talked with the pastor and found Jesus Christ. I was so happy and felt like I could fly.
I know being saved at an early age kept me from doing things other teens did. I was never popular as a teenager because my sense of right and wrong kept me on a straight path.
God has kept me sane during years of personal crisis. While going through the crisis, I was tempted to do wrong to get even. God showed me that two wrongs don’t make a right. He also led me to learn Proverbs 3: 5-6. That is a very special scripture to me. I depend on my God and thank Him for my salvation. I don’t understand how people can look at the beautiful skies and flowers and say there is no God. I stand up for God and witness when the opportunity comes. I love my church and my life on earth. I also look forward to heaven.
Life before Christ: My life before Christ was lonely, sorrowful, and without purpose. I grew up in a Christian home with wonderful parents who loved me; however, I never understood why I was put on this earth. Through these years, I felt very empty and longing for some joy and happiness. It was not until I understood who Christ was that my life change forever and I truly felt purpose.
How I received Christ: I received Christ at the age of 13 at a local Tent Revival in Gowensville, SC. At that time I went forward and surrendered everything in my life over to Christ so I thought. I later found out that my life was no different. Through my high school years, I played church a lot yet still did not have any relationship with Christ. I could tell you anything that you wanted to know about Jesus but did not know Him personally as my Lord and Savior. It was not until my freshman year of college that I truly surrendered everything over to Christ. On August 18th 1999, I went forward to make a true commitment to Christ and have lived for Him every day since. At that time I was delivered from my pride, selfishness, and a previous addiction to pornography. God is so good.
Life with Christ: I can truly say that life with Christ has to be the best thing that is has ever happened to me. I now have purpose and joy that is beyond measure. I have been given so much from our Lord: My beautiful and amazing wife, Mollie, as well as my joyful son, JB. I have found out that God seeks to provide for His children in every way, not just in the big things in life, but also in the little things. I also am without a doubt thankful for our calling to the mission field, and we are looking forward to serving our Lord the rest of our lives. Thank you Father for all that you have done for my family.
My name is Andre and I attend Boiling Springs High School. I love music and I am involved in marching band. Well, it was a long time ago, but I can remember doing stuff that when I would do something wrong, I would feel bad for what I did. I felt bad for the people I had lied to or was mean to at school. So I saw God as a way to redemption. I saw what my Mom and Dad had in Christ, and when I was 9 years old, I decided I wanted to invite him into my life.
Since Christ has been in my life, I’ve tried to live all out for him, and my quality of life has improved since God has been in my life.
My name is Chris and I go to BSHS. I like to play bass and I like food. Before Christ, I found myself lying and making bad decisions. The most important moment in my life happened when I found out about another girl being saved and I wanted to know all about it. Since I placed my faith in Jesus, I have been active in church and in my youth group.
I was blessed to be born into a Christian home where both parents were always involved in the work of the church and I was always taken wherever they went so I heard about the man called Jesus as far back as I can remember. However, HE became my personal Savior when I was 10 years old. I was playing one day in the hills above my house, and I felt so close to Jesus that day I prayed and asked Him to forgive my sins and save my soul. I remember the wonderful safe feeling I had that day, and to this day in the Bible that belonged to my father are some seeds from a Poplar Tree that I picked from the ground that day and put into my father’s Bible. Why did I do that? I really can only say that to pull those out and share why I have them when I share my testimony, especially with children (Sunday School or GA’S), gets their attention! I believe God had a plan!
I was baptized in a river and became a member of Valley View Freewill Baptist Church in Clintwood, Virginia. I was asked to teach a Sunday School Class, my junior year in High School, for little children and it was called a Card Class (the lessons were on picture cards of stories from the Bible with memory verses). I taught my future sister-in-law!
God has been such a part of my life—-He was there all through school and when tests came around, it was prayer time for me for sure! Those prayers worked because I graduated as Salutatorian of my class. During sad times, health problems, deaths of family members, and happy times, He was and still is walking with me!
In my junior year in high school, I started dating a preacher’s son and my first year in college we married: we have 3 children, 9 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren. That preacher’s son is Harold Rakes and he is still the love of my life after 51 years.
Through all the years, God has given me so many ways to serve Him and my fellow man: at Boiling Springs. First I have taught children in Sunday School, GA’S, and Bible School; taught Sunday School Class for women and now co-teach a coed class; served as WMU Director at church and Association level; serving on SC WMU Executive Board; worked for 11 years at Spartanburg County Baptist Network in Mission Work; served in elected office as a school board member in District 2; started JUST SAY NO CLUBS in Spartanburg County Schools; served on the Commission of Higher Education USC UP-STATE and presently chair the committee that works to make our community attractive with landscaping and welcome sign and am a member of the FAITH TEAM at BSFB.
I have been a member of Boiling Springs First Baptist for 44 years! Remember I said I believed God had a plan for my life. I BELIEVE IT and KNOW IT! I encourage all who read this to pray, make God’s Word a part of every day life, and share the WORD.
Harold W. Rakes
My salvation means everything to me. I consider it the most important thing in life, because it determines where I will spend eternity. I grew up in a Christian home; my father was an Old Regular Baptist preacher and my mother was a saint. I think I have always believed in God. I always thought that church membership and baptism would come sometime in my future, but there was plenty of time. You see as a young man growing up, like many young people, I thought that I was indestructible. I married my high school sweetheart during our first semester of college and really thought that I had arrived. I was off to conquer the world! My wife was already a Christian when we married. A few years later, when our first child was small, my mother-in law died suddenly of a massive aneurysm and cerebral hemorrhage at the young age of 58. That was in September and the following February, my father died suddenly of a massive heart attack while driving home from church. He was only 62. All of a sudden, I realized that I was not so indestructible. The old saying,” The only thing that is certain is death and taxes” became very real for me. You see, I was already paying the taxes, and now death became very real also.
I began reading God’s word more and praying for forgiveness because I did not want to face death without Him. Then on the second Sunday in June, 1968, I had a life changing experience when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and joined the Solid Rock Regular Baptist Church in Virginia and was baptized the same day. That was over forty-two years ago, and I have grown in God’s grace every day since. My life has been so blessed; God gave us three wonderful children, two daughters and a son. We have nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren. God has blessed us with prosperity and good health. But above all, I have enjoyed the inner peace of knowing that when I die, I will go to heaven to be reunited with all my loved ones and live eternally in the very presence of God. My priorities are now on sharing that good news with others. I encourage everyone who may read this testimony that if you don’t really know Jesus Christ as your personal savior and have never prayed to Him to forgive your sins and save your soul; PLEASE do so before it is too late. – May God bless and keep you.
As long as I can remember I have been in church. I grew up in a poor, but very loving family. The church was the center of my social life, and I was always there. My best friends were in the same church, and we did everything together. I was the oldest of four children; always trying to please others.
One summer when I was around nine years old, I had a life changing experience that has made a huge difference in my life. I was at Vacation Bible School when I realized that I was a sinner and that I wanted to give my life to God. I was baptized along with my best friend that summer.
Since I made the decision to ask Jesus into my heart, my life has never been the same. I have a peace and a joy that is hard to explain. Most people might think everything in my life has been just rosy, but it hasn’t. I have had my share of problems and trials. There have been two very difficult periods in my life, and there were days I would wonder how I would get through. When I am in the midst of a trial, I know I have a Friend that will never let me down. He is always there for me as I go through hard times. He provides for me, and He knows what I need. He is always faithful. I have seen Him work in so many ways. He has a way of working things out so that I can serve Him in ways that I feel He is calling me.
I can’t say that everything always works out the way I want it to, but I know the One who works everything out. When I cry out to God, I know he hears and answers. The answer may not be what I want, but I trust Him to know the best answer for me. It has been an exciting journey, and God has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people along my journey. I look forward to seeing what He has in store for me as I continue to serve Him.
I was born on a farm way down is southern Georgia. My parents were very poor farmers. I mean poor. We had very little as far as worldly good were concerned. But I am glad that my folks loved God, and they loved us children enough that from the time we were big enough to be taken out of the house, they took us to Sunday School, church, and prayer meeting. So at an early age, I learned about Jesus and His love for me and I gave my heart to Him.
When I was eight years old, I yielded my life to the Lord. I didn’t realize all that was involved at that time, but as far as I could understand, I gave my complete heart, my complete self to the Lord. When I was eleven, I yielded my life for missionary service if that was what God wanted for me. From that time on, my goal was to be a missionary.
Coming from the background I did, I often wondered in my heart how that could be possible. I didn’t even know if I ‚Äòd ever be able to finish high school, much less go on to Bible School and prepare for the Lord’s work. But God has a plan for every life. And God’s way is best.
I did graduate from high school, and went on to Nyack Missionary College where I met some wonderful people including Anthony Maranto. After dating a couple of years, we were married and continued to prepare for missionary work. The year before Tony graduated, we had a little girl. The following year we were asked to be part of a missionary intern program and excitedly accepted. But as the time to leave neared, I realized that God was speaking to my heart to stay. Finally I prayed, “ Lord, if you are trying to keep us here, then surely you are speaking to my husband too.”. I soon discovered that both of us felt we were not to go on the mission field. Believing God was leading us, we took a small church in Western Pennsylvania. We were very happy and knew we were in the center of God’s will. However, my husband became sick and developed a deep cough. When he finally went to the doctor, he thought it was double pneumonia, but Tony would not go to the hospital because it was just before Christmas and he had so many things to do during that season. On January 3, he was admitted to the hospital and they spent two weeks running test. His condition continued to worsen and one night, he very sweetly and peacefully went into the presence of the Lord.
When I got the call, I knew what had happened. But you know, the peace of God didn’t leave me. The presence of God was right there- and oh the strength that He gave during those days. I can’t begin to express to you what God meant to me. He was just all that I needed. I wasn’t overwhelmed with sorrow, for I knew that we were in the center of God’s will. And the lessons I learned concerning Romans 8:28 were a reality to me. I couldn’t understand it, but I knew it was real because God’s Word said it and I believed it and claimed it.
What do you do when something like that happens? My husband died. I had an eighteen month old baby. I asked the Lord to direct me. I went back to the church. I worked there in the church and talked to each of the individuals my husband had been concerned about. If fact, they came to me wanting to know more about Jesus and I was able to share my testimony with them. But when I went back to the apartment, it wasn’t easy- but it was a victory. It was hard to go back there alone and stay for any length of time. But as I went, I learned a lesson. Although my husband had died, I hadn’t. I was still alive, and God still had work for me to do. God still had a plan for my life.
As the years went by, I went back to Bible school, then got a teaching degree and started teaching full time. And during all this time, there was plenty of work for me to do for the Lord: a teacher’s Bible study in my home, after school children’s Bible classes, working with young people, teaching Sunday School. You know, the Lord brought home to me something that we hear so often. Going to a foreign mission field does not make you a missionary. If you can’t serve the Lord here, don’t expect to be able to do it when you cross the ocean. So I said, “Lord, use me right where I am”. So I believed I was a missionary in those days.
After I received my Masters degree, I wasn’t assured that I would go to the mission field. I said “All right, Lord, if that is what you want, then I know you have something better for me here at home. Three weeks later I met Lou Sutera. You see, once I had settled the question about going to the mission field in my heart, the Lord brought Lou into my life. And let me say to you girls especially, God can take care of your future mate. I had prayed to the Lord, “ If you want me to marry again, then you are going to have to bring him to me.” And the Lord did just that; I met Lou in my house.
Now Lou had traveled the world over. He had met hundred of ladies, ladies who had never been married before, who didn’t have a baby. But God brought him to my house. You see, there is nothing that God won’t do for you if you trust him. Two weeks before I met Lou, my sister-in-law had said that I would never get married again because my standards were too high. But let me say to you girls, you don’t have to lower your standards one bit. Keep them as high as possible. I am telling you that if you keep yourself pure before God, if you let Him have you completely, and follow His directions, he will work out his perfect will for you. And that will be the best thing that ever happened to you.
After Lou and I dated for a year, we were married and I knew God had worked this out. When God is doing something, you know it. And I thank the Lord for the way that he has directed our lives. I believe I am still a missionary. Since Lou and I have been married, I have had several home Bible studies for ladies, worked with young people and children, and dealt with hundreds of people. God can use us wherever we are if we make ourselves available to him.
You know someone once said, “If you are not a missionary, you are a mission field. “ Which are you? If you are not sharing with someone else the reality of Jesus Christ, someone needs to be sharing it with you. And many times we fail in our walk with God because we are not willing to share with others what God has done for us.
The greatest thing you can ever know is God’s will for your life. God’s Way is best.
I was raised in a Christian home. My mom taught first grade in a Christian school, we had family devotions and prayer time, and were in church at every opportunity. I had very strong head knowledge of Christ from very early in my life. My older brother accepted Christ at the age of seven and was baptized shortly thereafter. I was five at the time and understood what he was doing and understood I needed to do it too, so I did. I prayed in my bed one night before drifting off to sleep with my mom by my side. I was baptized shortly thereafter as well and continued through my young adolescence telling this story as the story of when I accepted Christ.
However, there is more to the story. As I grew older and began elementary school, I became a very rebellious child. My mom told me later that she was very concerned whether I truly gave my heart to Christ at 5 years old that night, but she would just continue to pray and let the Lord do a work in my heart.
My parents decided to change churches when I was 12 and we began attending a church with a larger youth program and emphasis on children and youth ministries. Shortly after we had joined, our church held a revival service. I don’t remember who was preaching, but I do remember what he said. He preached a sermon on Thursday night of revival on “Why Some People Don’t Want the Rapture to Happen”. I was uncomfortable the entire service. At the end of the service, he encouraged us to tell our neighbor in the pew that if they wanted to go pray, we would go with them. So I did and my friend sitting next to me said, “Yes, let’s go pray”. So I went ‚Äì under the guise of praying for whatever need she had and went back to my seat. That night, I talked with mom some before going to bed about wondering about my salvation and having “doubts” about it. We prayed once again and prayed for peace about my salvation.
In the morning, before school, I was drying my hair and a wave of conviction fell on me stronger than anything I had ever felt. It was almost as if the Lord could not have made it any clearer that I had never truly given my full heart and life over to Him and trusted Him for salvation. I ran to my mom in the kitchen and said, I need to get saved. I prayed with her by my side and felt a heavy burden lift from my soul the minute I said Amen. I immediately wrote the date down in the front of my Bible because I never wanted to forget what happened that day ‚Äì November 11, 1994.
After becoming a Christian, my life wasn’t visibly different in a lot of ways. I still attended a Christian school and continued my activities in the youth group as I had before I was saved. But in my life, I could tell a huge difference. My attitude was changed toward the things of God. I didn’t go to church grudgingly because my parents made me ‚Äì I was excited to go, actually listened to the sermons rather than tuning them out and was excited to learn more! However, still being made of human flesh, the newness of this relationship did wane at times and I felt myself drift away from reading my Bible daily or praying daily and a few years after accepting Christ, I was in a huge battle with doubt.
Satan had me very entangled with doubting my Savior. Things I knew all my life ‚Äì I doubted. I wondered if I had done enough to be saved ‚Äì knowing that being saved had nothing to do with what “I had done”. But still, I worried and wondered if I prayed the right prayer, if I had said the words right, if God could save me, if He truly wanted to???? It was a very long and horrible battle for about 2 years. I would pray again and again asking the Lord to save me, to change me, to make me His only to finish that prayer feeling no different and still fearing I was lost. I was worthless to do anything for the Lord because I felt so inadequate and scared all the time. I shared all these feelings with my mother who prayed relentlessly over me for the Lord to break this struggle for me. After about 2 years of this struggle, through reading 1 John over and over again, peace came in claiming 1 John 5:13: These things have I written unto that believe on the name of the son of God, that ye may KNOW that you have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the son of God.
It wasn’t too long after claiming that verse and that peace that my cousin found herself in the same struggle with doubt and I realized why the Lord had allowed me to trudge through that valley: So that I could be a help to her and better understand what that feels like and to also know how it feels to have His peace again and feel his loving arms wrap around you and feel His presence in the room as you pray and cry out to Him.
I’m very thankful for how the Lord has led in my life. I’m thankful that His Holy Spirit can and does convict even those who grow up KNOWING all about Him. Knowing the catechisms and the Bible stories and all the right words to say ‚Äì I’m thankful for the day that He became EVERYTHING TO ME!
Before I met Christ my life was empty and seemed to lack meaning. I was constantly looking for something more or something else that would help me have direction and purpose. I thought the answer was in meeting my next goal, but goal after goal I did not find what I was looking for. I kept searching and searching.
One of the places I looked was First Baptist Church Orlando, Florida. It was through the preaching of God’s Word that I realized that what I was missing was a relationship with God. I realized that I am a sinner and that Jesus died on the Cross for my sins. When I was 19 years old, I placed my faith in Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior.
Now that I have received Christ, my search is over. I have found forgiveness, purpose, and meaning. I know that I am a child of God and that I can trust Him for my eternity. Please place your faith in Jesus Christ and allow Him to change your life. You will never regret it
All I every wanted was to be safe. I always thought that I was a replacement child, born a year after my sister died at age three. In those years, one did what the father said. Under the domination of the strictness, I never felt safe or needed or loved. I don’t ever remember being told that I was loved or needed. After high school graduation, I walked away from my parents and their house. My father found me and escorted me back.
I was kind of taken to a local church by my mother and kind of knew about Jesus. A friend, from another church, told me that Someone did love me; it was my Heavenly Father. At age twenty-one, I readily accepted His love, and His forgiveness of my sin at a Word of Life Crusade in New York City. Several months later, I was baptized in Schroon Lake, NY. As a babe in His family, I was hungry to know more about His Word. I was accepted to a Bible College, but when my father heard of that, he refused to let me go. A year later, and stronger in my Lord’s love, I stood my ground and broke free. Forgiveness is a long word, but when it is given and received, anger disappears. Then I started telling my family about what Christ did for me and for them.
After graduating from Moody Bible Institute, I became a home missionary with Child Evangelism Fellowship and completed my Spanish studies at the Rio Grande Bible Institute and Missionary Language School on the Texas-Mexican border. I taught first grade in a Christian school to children who didn’t understand a lot of English. The mission compound was like living in a foreign country complete with mice, snakes, and scorpions in my home. Being single, I had my Lord and the other teachers to support me. My wow of a salary was $160 a month. I had the thrill of leading many of my children to the Lord. After teaching for a year, I realized I needed more education and later graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a Master’s Degree in Exception Child Education. As part of my Lord’s plan, I started teaching again in Florida. There I met my wonderful husband and that is part of the reason I smile.
All those years with my Lord, I felt safe. I had a love that covered me with security, and devotion from Someone who really cared about me. You will notice that I have said “my Lord”, because this is a very personal relationship; He is mine and I am His. I am not an ordinary person; I am special in His sight, and He has given me a special purpose or plan for the new life He has given me. Some people say that I am “disaster committed”, well, that’s true. Since 1989, I have been involved in assisting people recovering from natural disasters. So far I have been chosen to serve in twelve national disasters with the American Red Cross, and I am also on the medical team with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. Me, on a medical team, yes, strange as it may seem, I think my Lord has a sense of humor. He chose me to be trained as a First Responder (EMS) and now I teach First Aid and CPR and soon, Wilderness and Remote First Aid.
Oh, my Lord knows what he is doing. With His security and love, I can only say “yes” to whatever and wherever He leads. So far, my life has been interesting and no matter what obstacles, health issues, or challenges are placed before me, I know He is not finished with me yet. So- I survive, I am safe, I am needed, and I am loved. To God be the Glory.
I was raised by two parents who provided me with a safe environment and plenty of food. Both my parents expressed their love for me. There were times that I felt that my parents did not love each other as much as they each loved me. I hope that I am wrong. I can never remember my parents attending church service. Consequently I did not attend a church since I had no one to set an example. As the years passed, religion was not an important part of my life. Shortly after graduating from high school, I left home. I was now faced with choices that would define my life. Religion still did not seem important to me, so I avoided it. I now had only myself to blame for not seeking the Word of God and accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
As I approached my mid-30s, I met a woman who became my wife several months later. My wife has been the joy of my life. Our guiding principles are: unconditional love, trust, and respect which have remained with us the past 35 years. I learned very early on that my wife loved God and had accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior many years ago. I still resisted turning to God, using the pressure of work and life in general as excuses.
At some point in my life I reflected on several occasions in which I felt God spared my life. I observed my wife’s daily reading of the Bible. At last I had someone setting a good example. I started attending church services with my wife. In time I came to learn that Jesus died for my sins and I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. I then made the decision to be baptized. I will never forget the expression of joy in my wife’s eyes, as she presented me with a new Bible which I use to this day.
It is my belief that Jesus Christ, with his infinite wisdom, brought my wife-to-be and myself together. I now had a woman of faith to encourage me to pray and read the Word of God. Now that I have accepted Jesus into my life, I have learned to forgive others for adverse behavior towards me.
I have been so fortunate to be in a marvelous marriage. By allowing Jesus into my life, my wife and I have had an even stronger bond. Jesus experienced much persecution and many sacrifices. Any problems that have affected me are trivial in comparison. Jesus has taught me to stop feeling sorry for myself.
Jesus has given me a glorious life. He has guided me to a life of helping others in need. I am grateful that Jesus has come into my heart. I am not a perfect Christian by any means. I need to read the Word of God daily, and to pray daily. Thank you, Jesus, for not giving up on me.