My family didn’t go to church when I was little. I was baptized when I was born in Australia; so my mom is Australian and my father is British-American. I was baptized Serbian Orthodox and my father was not happy because he’s a “science man” and sometimes that means no faith at all.
We moved from Australia, and we moved around a bunch because of my father’s work. That was always put first in our family. It was weird because my father worked so much and was never really around; so I didn’t understand why we were moving so much.
I never really saw him and when he was home he wasn’t really happy either. So the whole thing was just kind of confusing.
I remember as a kid I was just very confused and cried a lot. I still cry a lot.
Since my dad wasn’t home much and my mom worked remotely from home (before that was what everyone was doing), they would drop me off at the neighbor’s house across the street. When I was there in the basement with this Vietnam War vet, he eventually began touching me, and that wasn’t really cool.
I remember closing my eyes – and I didn’t even know what praying was – but I said that I don’t want to remember this. And I don’t remember. I have the general sense that it happened a couple more times after that, but I don’t remember; so that’s cool.
As I grew up I was a very weird child turning into a weird young adult. I always liked computers a lot. I would run home, so that I could get on the computer. I didn’t just play video games, I just liked reading stuff and researching stuff and looking at things.
It’s tough to explain my group in high school because they were a bunch of people who were really smart but would not try. They would not apply themselves, but they had brilliant minds. For some reason I decided that I fit along with them because it was easy, and that’s the one thing that was easy at the time.
I constantly struggled against my parents. As a teenager I really put up a good fight. I was always sneaking around with boys and never really doing anything good. I never got into drugs and I never got pregnant, but that shouldn’t be a sign if your teenager is doing well or not. I certainly wasn’t doing well, even though I wasn’t doing those things.
But then there were things I was doing just on my own without putting thought into them. They were all beautiful. I was doing robotics and I made it to the world finals, but it was effortless. It was just like my body was leading me through these things.
I’m also a multi-instrumentalist. I play the piano and the viola. When I got home from school I practiced for hours, and I never had to put my thoughts into it.
But I was putting all my effort into struggling, and I think that’s a pattern I saw a lot in my life. I would put effort into struggling, but the things that I was guided to do would be beautiful.
After graduating from high school my parents were divorced, probably because my father was never home. I would get passed back and forth between my mom’s house and my dad’s house. At first they would kind of pretend like they were fighting for custody over me. But it was really just them pushing the problem child off to the other adult.
Eventually I applied to colleges and got into a lot of really good schools, but I chose to stay close to home. I actually flunked out of the university because I was just struggling against everything good that was coming my way.
Eventually I ended up back at my dad’s house. Living in the city was nice, but he had a girlfriend. She began spending more time there, and it was a really small condo; so there really wasn’t room for me anymore.
I was driving back from a friend’s house one night, and I was driven off the road by a drunk driver. I didn’t get any insurance money from it because the drunk driver crashed far enough up the road that they counted it as two separate accidents. There was no proof that he had caused me to swerve.
Then I put all my money into buying another car. I was still working after this, even though I was clearly concussed and just frazzled. My father told me I had to keep working. He said, “You don’t get breaks in life, you just have to keep working.”
I was driving to work at 6:00 a.m. to the Christian coffee house I was working at. I ran a red light and hit another car right next to the hospital. I feel like it was meant to scare me in the “Scared Straight” way.
I was laying in the hospital, and I didn’t really know what praying was at this point. I was just ready for life to be easy.
Luckily, I was working at a Christian coffee shop; so it was really cool to talk to the pastors and they gave me a nice Bible. I never actually made it to church because I was off on Sundays and that was the only day I wasn’t working or going to school. I needed to stay home and breathe.
After the second car accident that October, I was taking public transport everywhere. There wasn’t a super awesome infrastructure for public transport. I was taking a bus somewhere to transfer, and then I would get to work an hour early or an hour late. Those were my options.
It was really important to me that I stayed working there even though my father said, “I don’t get why you’re working for them, like, it’s a religion.” I said they’re really nice to me and I feel special when I’m there.
Now I’m buying a house with my boyfriend, which is awesome. God gave me him to remind myself to slow down. To remind myself to be at His whim, to calm down and breathe and stop struggling against everything in life.
Oh, I’m going to marry my boyfriend. We’re waiting until we’re 26, so we don’t lose our health insurance. It’s a very modern problem, but we both have medical issues.
I also have to think about how I’m going back to the school I originally failed out of with a full degree.
I’m very grateful for my church now. I actually love my church, and I look forward to Sundays. I know how to pray now, so I’m going forward in life.
I look forward to serving Him, and every connection that I’ve made along the way has been magical. God has put me in a lot of peoples’ lives for a reason and put them in my life for a reason.
So I look forward to spending the rest of my life with God.
Note: Someone reading this may be skeptical that I was recruited by a church when I was clearly going through a struggling point in life, which was the mindset my father had. I actually worked at a Jewish summer camp for two years before I had the coffee shop experience. We would have service on Friday nights, and they definitely had the option to “recruit” me into Judaism. That didn’t happen.
More Faith Stories
There are people who sometimes have a stomachache and think it's cancer, they think it is a terminal illness. Sometimes people think there is no solution, but it is only a stomach discomfort. It's something bad that you ate that upset your stomach. It is that people that are losing their faith. They get concerned about so many things. They wake up and see the car with a flat tire, and it is a bad day.
There are more important things we need to learn. We need to seek the Lord, because time is short, time goes by quickly. I've got three children: my first daughter is 25 years old. My son is 21 and my other daughter is 16. I mean, time goes by fast.
This means this is an opportunity for you to devote your heart to Jesus Christ, so that He can save you, so that He can be your guide, so that He can be your path, so that He can be everything in your life. Listen to this message, share it with your family. If you do not have a family do not think you are alone. God is with you wherever you are. God will be with you come what may.
Now, what happened with COVID two years ago was unbelievable. God put us to the test. Many people died, and that's something that's coming ahead. There will be more illnesses, there will be more regulations. But if we keep our faith in God, if we continue to trust in God, He will give us the peace we need, the peace the world needs.
Sometimes in the community, there are a lot of people who are watching their backs. For their own protection they hire bodyguards that watch over them night and day because they feel insecure. But we have God to protect us. Day after day, God protects us. God takes care of us. God gives us strength.
I strongly encourage you, I dare you to seek the Lord. This Why I Love Jesus ministry goes across the globe spreading the word of God, telling the world Jesus Christ is real, He is not dead.
There have been many stories in this world which were looking forward to changing history, but we have this story of faith that we believe, come what may, the Lord will be with us.
So if you have relatives, share this experience with them: brothers, sisters, parents. If your family has never been in contact with Jesus, now is the time for you to tell them to embrace Him, to embrace God. Tell them about the story in the Bible that says there is a man in hell, being burned there, and he would like to have a chance of getting out of there. But unfortunately, he has already lost the opportunity. In other words, there is no way he could leave hell.
And you who are there watching this testimony, this word of the Lord, this is the opportunity that you get. Maybe we don't wake up tomorrow; we don't know what will happen tomorrow.
This is the moment for you to say, "Lord, forgive me. I have failed a lot; I've failed in several things, but I want You to be my Savior, I want You to be my shield, I want You to be my strength, I want You to be everything in my life."
Make your decision. Sometimes in day-to-day life, we make decisions, many of them, but this is the most important decision you should make in your life. That is to devote your life to Jesus Christ, commend your life to Jesus Christ, so that He can be everything in your life. May He be your peace, your strength.
At times, people have enough money in the bank and think with that they will change the world, think that will be their protection. But money is only an ordinary piece of paper. In the end, the paper will run out, the money will run out, but treasures we did will remain when we're in heaven.
So let's make this an invitation. Let's hope this message will reach someone in need of it. So you who are out there, this message is meant for you.
My stepfather was an alcoholic, and we had a difficult life. But God changed us. When I began going to this church in 2000, God changed me. God changes you, and God wants to do great things with your life.
So, I mean, maybe you are also having a hard time with an alcoholic father, an alcoholic mother. Let me tell you, I had bad thoughts in my head about finishing him, killing him, destroying him, so that it all would end. But when I got to the feet of Jesus, when I started going to church, God made changes in me. God makes changes in you. God changes your mind.
When God entered into my life, and I looked at my stepfather again, I saw him in a different way. I held a grudge inside my heart, but nevertheless, God was working on me. God worked on me and gave me peace. I was smart enough not to commit a crime. God showed me the way I should live.
In addition to being at peace with God, He gives you intelligence. God gives you wisdom to be on the side of right every day in our lives.
So, this is an invitation, whether you're a woman, or man, or youth. Young people sometimes make decisions which scar their lives forever. To put it another way, if you are young, make your decision to accept Jesus: don't wait until tomorrow and say, "No, I'd better wait before accepting Jesus Christ, before accepting God in my heart. I've still got a long way to go. I want to live my life, and I want to do things. When I'm older, I'll see whether I change." But we don't know what happens tomorrow, so you should make up your mind today.
I've had some friends who made their decisions too late. I had a friend who said he was going to drink his life away. He was going to drink, that's what he was going to do. He was going to do drugs, to live a totally careless life. He thought he was being cleverer than God. But he wasn't, nobody is smarter than God. At the end of his life he was going to seek God's forgiveness.
Had God been given the opportunity, He would have forgiven him, He would have indeed. But my friend didn't take the trouble to get to that point. He was doing his drugs, drinking and whatnot. Then he grabbed a gun and shot himself in the head.
I mean, we don't know what was the last moment in his life, whether he asked forgiveness or not. We only had the word he killed himself by putting a bullet in his head. Odds are he didn't have the opportunity of begging God's forgiveness, and he lost his life. Or better expressed, do not let the enemy fool you. The enemy hampers your life.
That means to move on and accept Jesus Christ. He is going to give the answers. He is going to give you the peace you need. That's my testimony, and I know this is on behalf of God, so people would turn to Him.
People get lost, people haven't wanted to recognize their faults. God has a plan for your life. That means if He gave you this plan, accept it, accept it. We have free will, people make their own decisions. God has already chosen some individuals. God has predestined people. Whether you are predestined or exercising your free will, make your decision and follow Jesus Christ.
Your life will change, He is going to transform it, and He is going to help you in every way, be it economic, social, psychological, whatever you need, God is going to help you.
Thank you for your time, thank you for this opportunity that God gave me to share my faith. I come from Houston, Texas, but I've been working here in Delaware, and this is an opportunity God has granted me to share good news and continue to spread good news. We're the ambassadors of the word of God. So thank you for this opportunity, and let's move forward with this testimony which is for the benefit of society.
In May of 1982 Carolyn and I went on a Lutheran Marriage Encounter Weekend. Here was where God opened my eyes and heart to his role in my marriage and life. That weekend changed my relationship with Christ.
God has given me my dream of serving as a choir director. I see lives change as we are singing. Singing correctly is sometimes less important than letting the Spirit come to us as we practice.
I remember an incident when the Lord rescued me from a person who intended to do me harm. God’s protection was a miracle in my life!
I wasn’t raised in a church; so I knew nothing about Jesus or God. I did go to Vacation Bible School in the summers and heard and loved the song, “This Little Light of Mine.”
I went into the ocean and was immediately swept off my feet by a riptide. There was nothing in the water for me to float on, and I was running out of energy. I asked God if this was how I was going to die.
My faith grew to have a focus on trusting in God’s word as assurance. To believe his promises are true. We experienced the faithfulness of the God who called us in many, many ways. In addition to joyous times, we faced grief and pain.