Stories | Avalon Church

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It’s never too late to turn to God because he never stops inviting us back! Let’s encourage each other by sharing our stories together of how we found Jesus. Feel free to write out your story or post a video. Read or watch what others have shared below.
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Ron Culibao’s Story

I was born in the Philippines to a devout Catholic family where my father worked for the Jesuit priests for the 35 years of his working life. He and my mother were very active with our parochial church. Attending and serving in church was a big part of our family life.

I always believed in God, but that didn’t translate to anything in my life. For me, God was just a higher being you prayed to, requesting his blessings. You tried to earn his favor by performing ceremonies and reciting prayers. The concept of a holy or personal God was not something that I understood.

I considered myself a good and moral person. I had my smoking habit and occasional drinking, but I thought I was a good guy. I lived life carefree and the way I wanted.

It was in my first year of college that I felt God’s sovereign hands working.

It was one of the top engineering schools in Manila, but my grades were bad. So, they kicked me out. I remember spending the entire semester break applying to different schools hoping they would accept me. For a long time, none of them did. It was only my first year of college and I was already desperate, feeling worthless and helpless.

The coming semester was about to start when I was finally accepted by a school. I barely made it in. I changed my major from Engineering to Architecture, and looking back now, I truly believe that God was orchestrating those events in my life.

It was in Architecture School where I met Ron, who became my best friend. Ron is a very friendly guy and there was something very different about him.

He invited me to attend a small group gathering called “student fellowship” where I met people who loved studying the Bible and worshipping Jesus. I met people who were full of love and joy, and who were very sincere and bold in their faith. They were different than anyone I had me before.

I liked hanging out with these people. Through them, God slowly started to work in my heart. I started to read the Bible and join in worship services. I had not yet fully committed my life to God, but there were changes happening in me and the way I thought about God.

Then, at a student summer camp in 1986, I put my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s also when I met Norma, my wife-to-be.

It was that week at camp where I recognized my sinfulness. I felt so broken. Romans 3:23 says – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

The Lord showed how holy he is, and how my sins were an offense to his holiness. I needed His forgiveness and His grace. I needed to humble myself and pray and ask for His forgiveness.

All these years later, I cannot imagine how my life would have been if I didn’t have God in my life. God’s love and forgiveness have given me purpose and direction.

God found me and saved me in His perfect time. He revealed His great love and forgiveness for me even when I wasn’t looking for Him.

He used one person to reach me just by being there as a friend. It wasn’t any deep theological revelations that touched me, it was that sincere and patient love of a friend.

I know that my story is not unique. God can touch a person no matter what stage or situation in life they are in. God immeasurable love can reach any person’s heart.

Now I live my life with my beautiful family under God’s amazing love and grace.
To God be the glory!

“Seeking a Fulfilling Life” by Mike Wicker

“Seeking a Fulfilling Life” by Mike Wicker

Have you ever seen a performer trying to spin several plates at the same time? That was a good description of my life as a young man.

I tried many routes for seeking satisfaction in life. First I tried being religious. I was a good altar boy. At least on Sundays I was good. But the rest of the week was another story. I realized religion wasn’t the solution to my deepest longing. I tried academics. I received several awards in high school. But I discovered that good grades and awards did not bring me true happiness. I loved sports, so I tried to make a name for myself through football, hockey & baseball. Even though I was pretty good, the success did not bring the satisfaction I longed for. I had a girlfriend in high school. But this relationship was like a roller coaster & did not bring me consistent fulfillment in life. I had a good job during my University years & made lots of money in sales. But, it never brought the satisfaction I desired.

One day, before an engineering class at the University of Minnesota, two students approached me & asked if they could share a booklet that described a relationship with God. They talked about their contentment every day, that Jesus had given them real joy. I considered what they said. Eventually I realized that I wanted what they had. A few months later, I decided to allow Christ to be Savior and Lord of my life.

Almost immediately I saw changes in my life. My habit of worrying about the future began to change. My relationship with friends & workmates were realigned. I was more peaceful on the outside & inside. I developed a growing desire to know more about God, and about how to really follow Him. I learned how much He loved me, and how He had sent His Son to die for me so that I could have real life in Him. My longing for meaning and purpose in life was finally satisfied.

Through the years I have experienced many ups and downs filled with the thrill of , victory & the agony of defeat. But the deep satisfaction and peace that I found through knowing Jesus Christ as a young University engineering student has never left me. He has truly never disappointed me.

Remember trying to keep all those plates spinning? I have found that with God’s help through Jesus, I can have a balanced and fruitful life. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Only Jesus could satisfy my deepest longing and give me that everlasting life.

It’s Never too late!

It’s Never too late!

God forgave me, saved and changed me. Then I was able to love well, and be a part of God’s pursuit and salvation, of my Dad and Grandpa.

First, my Grandpa.

I was the 1st grandchild so that made me pretty special to my grandpa. 
He was THE hardest worker I have ever seen, he’d give his shirt off the back to anyone who needed it. He taught me well in those things. Because he drank too much whiskey, gambled and had a short temper, there were negative impacts too.

I had not really experienced any of that until I tried to talk to him about Jesus when I was in my early 20’s.

He said “STOP right there” with a very stern look and loud tone, pointing his finger,

 “I don’t want to hear anything more about it, ever!”

So I kept quiet until a year or so later. I was heartbroken for him thinking of eternity, and him not being with Jesus.  I just could not let it go. So I carefully wrote a long letter about how much I loved him, how God loves Him and that we are all sinners and need God – shared the gospel and how he could receive the gift of this life. 

He was so angry he didn’t talk to me for 2 years. This was a man who had allowed me to drive his new red Oldsmobile convertible to Florida for spring break with a friend. I was devastated.

I kept my words to myself and prayed and prayed, as my grandfather watched and heard about the stories as God led me through an incredible journey of involvement in the church, music, ministry in missions. The fantastic end to this story is this – he was 96  and in a nursing home in Ohio, not doing well. I called the facility and asked if there was a chaplain who could go talk to him to get things right – I didn’t want him to die without knowing the Lord!
Within a few days I was able to go there. Knowing it would be the last time I would see him,

 I finally got up enough nerve to talk to him about it one more time. I didn’t want our last visit to end in conflict, in anger.
“Grandpa, I love you, and God loves you, and…” he interrupted me and I was bracing myself …

And he says, very gently, smiling “oh honey, don’t you worry about that, me and the good Lord got that all worked out. It’s all good!” 

Then there’s my Dad. 

My parents divorced when I was in 5th grade. He was an alcoholic. As soon as I turned 13 and could make a choice, I refused to spend time with him. I saw him very few times before I went  to college. I hated being around him. 

I became a Christian when I was a sophomore. Several months later God gave me a very clear message:
“You need to show your Dad at least as much kindness and respect as you would a stranger on the street”. It just wouldn’t go away, so I called him. When I went home I’d stop by for a few minutes. I hated going to his house because he was a nonstop smoker and a drinker. We started to get to know one another but it still felt strange and strained. 

Then I got engaged. I found myself wanting him to meet my future husband, and I wanted to know that he liked him and was approving, happy about it – because that’s a Dad’s role. I asked him to be part of the wedding. I always wanted a Dad to be there to do what Dad’s do, and in my mind, this was the ultimate responsibility that he could take care of – no matter what else I felt about him. My sister felt the opposite – if he wasn’t there before he had no place or right to be in that most special spot now. But my heart had begun to soften.

 I don’t know if you can see it in the picture, but this moment when he walked me down the aisle, I was so joyous, and for the first time ever, so proud to have my Dad.
My family lived in several different states, but kept in touch by phone. 
We visited him when we went to Ohio, and it was a huge deal that we spent the night once after our baby was born. I did NOT want to be there in his environment. But God put it on my heart that it was an important thing to do – so I did. I never talked to him about God, but prayed and prayed, and he – like my grandfather – watched as we walked out our lives, loving, growing, and serving God. 

Then I got the call that he had lung and throat cancer. He was having surgery and if he made it through, he would never eat food normally again, and he wouldn’t be able to talk. 

I knew I had to go see him. I traveled back and my sister – also a believer – and I went to the hospital.

We had the one and only talk with him about the past. We told him we hated the way things had been, wished it had been different, but we had forgiven him and we loved him. I told him Jesus would forgive him too, if he would just ask. He replied that no, that could never happen, because what he had done was too bad, and too hurtful for a lot of people. 

Amazingly, he made it through the surgery and was able to talk again!

A few months later I was talking to him on the phone. I sensed something VERY different about him. Even though he had said nothing about it, I told my husband – I think God has done something, I think Dad is saved!

Several months later I was in an orientation course for Wycliffe. I received a call that my Dad was in the hospital and was not going to make it. I hurried to Ohio to see him. I talked to him about the Lord, and this time he said “Don’t you worry about that, I’m good now!  I talked to God, and me and Jesus have it all worked out!” I could clearly see he was different. He rallied and we spent time together. We talked, I drove him to his favorite places, played cards, sang to him (he’d never heard me sing before – ever) and I read scriptures to him. For the first time I felt peace, companionship, love with my Dad. After a week he says, “Maresea, you need to go back to your family and to what God has you doing. I don’t want you to come back here for a funeral because I’ll be home with the Lord, and you’ve just been here with me”. We hugged and kissed for the first and last time. It was difficult and bittersweet as I left – knowing I would not see him again on this earth, but also grateful and celebrating his sure salvation.

Because of God’s grace, power and love,  I’ll see them both in heaven and spend more time with them there!

A Doubter’s Story

A Doubter’s Story

At age 20, I married my High School sweetheart. I was a Junior with a Biblical Studies major at Palm Beach Atlantic University with plans to go to seminary and become a youth pastor. About 6 weeks before graduation, my wife suddenly died from a blood clot to her lungs. My faith was wrecked.

If God was real, why would he allow her to die?

Why would a good God allow so much pain and suffering?

And why would he be so silent to my prayers?

I decided to delay seminary to begin a “however long it takes” journey to figure out what I really believed. It didn’t matter where it took me, I just wanted to believe what was true.

I stayed involved in the church because I knew that if God was real, I would find him among his people. But I also chose to go back to a non-Christian college to work on a pre-med major to dive deeper into my love for science. And most of all, I went to counseling to make sure I healed well. I didn’t want to become a bitter person.

I quickly learned that doubt was okay and that if God was real he could handle my doubts. In fact, Jude 1:22 is a command to be merciful to those who doubt. The prophet Hosea is a book about doubt. So is Habakkuk. And Thomas doubted after personally walking with Jesus for 3 years!

I discovered that for certain people, doubt is a huge motivation to search for the truth. But it also is a motivation for humility in the search since two people can look at the same evidence and come to different conclusions. Therefore, it’s best to discern people we can trust and engage in dialogue, even if (especially if!) they think differently.

My search kept leading me to the question of Jesus’ resurrection. If it happened, I’d be all in. If it didn’t, then I was out. During this search, I never dreamed how much evidence exists for Jesus’ resurrection. In fact, in spite of all my doubts about religion, the bible, and the church, it is the resurrection that kept bringing me back to Jesus. And now, almost 30 years later, it is the power of Jesus’ resurrection-life continually transforming other people that makes this doubter even more sure of his faith.

Jesus claimed to be “one” with God. He predicted that he would be killed and would rise again in 3 days. Therefore, if Jesus’ resurrection is real, and I am convinced it is, then Jesus is exactly who he said he was – God in the flesh who can be trusted with my entire life. The hope and assurance this offers me is indescribable.

God still working

We have lived in USA for 15 years. I have seen God working my whole life, but those last 15 years are not the same. My family is true living proof that God works in a miracle way that our human mind can not imagine.

I want to focus in 2 stories. I grew up in a dysfunctional family, kind of. My mom was a Christian, my dad was an alcoholic. I prayed for him my whole life. Sometimes he would come to church, but most of the time  he was  drunk and embarrassed me .

Anyway, my dream was seeing him become transformed and a believer. In 2011 he had a stroke. I rushed to Brazil to be with him and help my brother. When I got to the hospital, he didn’t recognized me. I stayed with him that night. In the middle of the night he woke up, looked me and start asking about the kids and Carlos. His right side was completely paralyzed. At that moment, I talked to him, I shared the Gospel and I told him that God wanted to save him, but he need to confess his sins and ask for forgiveness and ask God thru Jesus Christ to be his savior. He did, I pray with him and he asked Jesus to come to his life and forgive him.

We talked a little more and he fell asleep. When he woke up again, he didn’t recognized me anymore. I truly believe that God opened that window so my dad could make the decision. I believe what the Bible says, if with you tongue you confess you will be saved. He spend his last year of life in a rehab center. Even though they divorced when I was 13 yeas old, My mom as well as and my brother took care of him. Every time they were there, I called and talked with him. He had this one year to grow his faith in Jesus Christ. My brother said that was the year that God allowed us to create a new memories for his kids and for himself.

He passed away on December 18 of 2012. I always prayed ( in private) telling God that the only thing I want was for him to be saved. I promised God that if he was saved, I would not go to Brazil to see his dead body. When my mom called me, the first thing she said was your dad passed and I can guarantee he is with Jesus. We testified his change and his faith.

The other story is when I interviewed for my citizenship. After I passed the test  the officer asked me for some documents. I mailed them to him. For some reason, they didn’t get it. Long  story short, they denied my case. There was a month fighting to reverse the decision, since I had proof  that I did it on time.

Anyway, I didn’t have time to start the process again. One morning, I could not hold it in anymore, I was in my car, and I started crying. I could not control myself. I started talking to God and asked Him, “Why? Why me? I always do everything right.”

When i finally stopped crying, I started my car and that is when I heard, “I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind me, the God angel armies is always by my side, the one who reigns forever. He is a friend of mine, the God of Angel armies is always by my side.” So I stopped and I asked, “Are you saying that You are with me? Are You saying, in the middle of this mess, You still in control? Are You saying, I don’t need to worry because you are dealing with the immigration? I want to believe, and I will rest in this Promise. I will wait.” I said that on July 29, 2016.

From that day I stopped worrying, I truly gave it to God. The next week, we were working in a house of a lady who cancer and she was planing her funeral already. She told me that day that her doctors told her to do that.

Talking to her, I asked, “Are you prepared for when you open your eyes in the other side, when you will be in front of God?” And she said, “Oh honey, I m an atheist.“

Then I remembered what just happened with me and how God spoke with me. I shared with her. And i said, “He is real, He spoke with me.”

I invited her to talk to Him. At the end of our conversation, when I was saying good-bye, she looked me and pull her scarf off of her head and she said, “How can He love me love me like this?”

I could feel God’s presence in that room, I told her, “I can see him, right next to you just waiting for you to ask him to come into your life.”

She smiled and said, “Thank you,” and that her husband was a Christian.

She passed away a month later. I learned that God love the lost so much, and he wants to save them. We need to have our eyes, heart and mind open to see how God want to use the situations.

On August 11, 2016, I got a call from the officer that interviewed me. He talked to make sure that I got a letter for the citizenship ceremony on August 12th of 2016. He even said sorry,  he said my documents never left the mail room, they found it sitting there.

Transformed from Skeptic to Faithful Believer

Transformed from Skeptic to Faithful Believer

Sadly, I admit that my frequent phrase was, “God is in His Heaven and I’m here on Earth.  He does His thing and I do mine!”  Yes, I thought I was in control and was convinced that I was no sinner. I had no vices and generally did the right thing, but was a very self-centered, prideful, and angry person. It was all about ME!

In reality, I was empty inside.  Life had no meaning and there was no purpose in living.  Quite often I contemplated suicide but easily wore a happiness mask.  I showed disregard for others but enjoyed babysitting my older sister’s children. 

So, one day, my sister and brother-in-law drove me to their house to babysit.  However, before reaching their house they parked at a church building and announced that they were going to a church service and I could sit in the car if I preferred.  Well, of course, I was going to sit in the car.  I had been conned! “Who wants to go to church?”, I thought. 

After an hour of sitting in the car alone, it started getting cold and I decided to drag myself inside.  I made sure my demeanor reflected my irritation.

After listening a bit, I knew they had something I desperately needed.  I heard about God’s unconditional love for me and how He sent Jesus to be sacrificed for my sins, cleansing and redeeming me back to Him and adopting me into His family. He also promised to never leave, nor forsake me. No longer would I be separated from God.

You see my parents divorced when I was in my early teens and each one went their separate way.  I felt alone and abandoned.  And now for the first time, I heard of God loving me so much that He was willing to die for me so that I could have communion with Him.

Wow, wow, I couldn’t think of anyone who was ever willing to die for me.  I knew in my heart that I couldn’t be such an ingrate and reject such love.  A battle ensued inside of me. I wanted to respond to the call to accept Jesus into my heart, but I was fearful of what others might think. 

Finally, nothing mattered!  All that mattered was this unconditional loving God calling me to Himself to bless, guide, and give me purpose for living.  I literally ran to the altar.

Brought up in Catholic traditions, I had no intimate relationship with God, nor any knowledge of His Word.  But the next day, when I opened a Bible for the first time, God’s wonderful promise spoke clearly to my heart: Isaiah 41:10 Fear not (Nancy) for I am with you.  Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you.  I will support you with my victorious right hand. I wept knowing that God had delivered me from darkness, spiritual blindness and brought me to His marvelous of Light.

I often use the analogy of the metamorphosis process of a butterfly to describe my experience.  God transformed me from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly. Only by His grace.

Ephesians 2:1-5: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace, you have been saved…”

I am so grateful for God’s indescribable gift.  Accept His gift today, it is never too late!

Never enough to just enough

Never enough to just enough

I was reminded today, as I shared my story with a friend, of  how much God has changed me. It is always important to remember where I have come from and where God has taken me in my journey with Him.

I can only remember one name of anyone I knew from my grade school years: Patty Gillagotte. Patty was in my first grade class. She was tall, had long blonde hair, and a great figure (for a 6 year old) and the boy I liked liked her!! Next to her I felt fat, ugly, short, and unwanted. This comparing myself to others and feeling “not enough” started early and continued.

I will not bore you with the why’s but my life was full of feeling that I was not enough or too much. Therefore, I lived to prove that I was ok and that I mattered and I was enough!!

Fast forward to freshman year of college. My roommate was a part of some of the Christian groups on campus and through her I met many of the students involved in those groups. They talked about their faith and being a Christian. I considered myself a Christian too. However, as I got to know these students (and especially the cute guys!) it seemed to me that they knew something that I didn’t know. Their lives attracted me and made me curious to know why they were so different.

One of these nice guys talked to me one nice spring day on the campus quad. He shared a booklet with me explaining what it meant to be a Christian. Wow. I learned some things! Like why Jesus came, why He died, why He rose and what it had to do with me!! I learned what sin really meant and that I needed to make a decision with my will to enter into a relationship with God.

It amazed me that I COULD even know God personally! An idea that was new to me.  It took me about 6 months before I made this decision but when I did, life was never the same!!

My spiritual journey has been about God convincing me that I am enough. That He delights in me just the way I am and created me this way. That He sees me and listens to me cause I matter to Him more than I could ever understand. He has given me rest. Rest in who I am, rest in who He is, rest in all He allows in my life, Rest in what the future will bring. I am still learning and growing and He is right next to me cheering me on with a smile of delight on His face . I am so thankful!!

People, not projects. Relationship Matters

This new series hits home for me. I first accepted Christ at 13, which was unusual, as I was raised in a “works” type faith. It was in a catechism class. And boy, how I exercised my faith! However, I had no real foundation. About a year after graduation, I joined the Navy, and, oh boy- not pretty when one doesn’t have a foundation and the “pleasures of the world” are served up on a silver platter… I found my way back to Jesus, got married and walked with Him for the years of my marriage. My husband’s feelings were hurt by someone in the church and he walked away from the faith… And a few years later from his wife and two children (3 years old and 8 months old). I turned my back on Jesus, yet again, because, in my faulty thinking, I had done everything right, I checked all the boxes. I mistakenly thought that if I did x,y, and z, naturally I would have the “blessings” God “owed” me. (Yeah, I know, stupid). It was in that desert that I raised my kids. Remarrying, and miserable for much of the early years of my marriage. When my son was 16, he started to go to youth group at a local church. (Yes, because of a girl he liked, lol). Her family, the Peterkorts,  poured into him and soon, he accepted Jesus. He would invite me to church every Sunday, every Sunday, I’d refuse, for about a year. He continued to grow in his faith, and the Peterkort family, dad, mom, and daughters, continued to pour into his life. I finally agreed to go to church with him on Mother’s Day 2001. It was like coming home. I have not looked back. I’m so thankful that my Savior, no matter the bad choices, can transform a life. And use relationship to do it. Because of their love, patience, and faith pouring into the life of a young man, my son, my life was transformed after running away from Jesus two times. I will be ever thankful to the Peterkort family for all those years of pouring truth into my son. He wasn’t a project to them, he was a soul to be invested in. In turn, their investment in him gave me my life back- not to live for myself this time, but for Christ. The Peterkorts are family to my son (and me) to this day.

Atheism, Vibrations, and Repentance.

Growing up I was a kid who was not forced to go to church, and my parents were not believers. I had decided when I was 9 years old that God does not exist, that it was a coping mechanism fro weak people, and that anything and everything can be explained scientifically. I was a passionate young atheist. Science was my god. About a year late I was diagnosed with a benign tumor in my sinus cavity, putting severe pressure on my eye, not allowing me to breath through my nose, and inflamed my face while moving my eye off-center on my face. This lasted for many months before I received my first surgery. The doctors had never seen a tumor this big, this resilient, and in such a strange inaccessible location. After my first surgery to attempt to get rid of it, the tumor re-grew and grew fast. I was put in insane discomfort and the doctors did not know how they were going to remove all of it. I was eleven years old. In the midst of trying to figure this whole situation out, I went to go visit my father for Christmas who lived in Tennessee. Christmas day at about 1am, I was still awake sleeping on the couch in the living room, crying from the discomfort of the tumor in my face, and crying even more from the fear of potential death if any surgery goes wrong. That night, my sister Melissa came out that night to get some water and heard me crying on the couch. She was there to comfort me, she prayed for me and asked me what I believed would happen when I died. She reassured me telling me of the grace of Jesus, an idea that I had rejected. But when she began praying for me, she was doing so with such vigor and passion. She began vibrating. It was nothing I had ever seen before or since. a pure illogical involuntary movement just from her faith, her love for her younger brother, and from the Spirit. At that moment I decided to give my life to Jesus, allowed him to clean me of my wrongs and my inequities. I decided then that no matter how much longer I have, I wanted to use it to get to know Christ more. I had four more surgeries, the final being a craniotomy where they had to open my skull to remove the tumor. Each surgery after that day just filled me with more and more peace, and contentment. I’m fully healed to this day, and I plan to use my story to connect to those going through difficult times, to better minister for God’s kingdom.

Coming to God

I took the long, convoluted path to God.  I never seem to do things the easy way.  I was born into a non-Christian, somewhat disfunctional family.  My father had some mental instability and my mother enabled him at very turn.  Childhood was rough.  We were a military family and therefore moved constantly.  No matter where we went, I attracted the wrong kind of people.  The first time I was raped as a child, I was only two years old.  I had a variety of babysitters that molested and/or raped me (some violent and some I acquiesced).  On top of that, my family was also abusive.  I grew up with low self esteem and thinking I deserved this treatment. When I was thirteen, I met my first boyfriend.  He was Christian and the first person who ever spoke to me about God.  Unfortunately he was either misguided or lied.  I had told him some of my history and that was a mistake.  He told me God hated me for being a whore and I was doomed to hell.  Darn!  That sucks as there is no way to unravel what has already been done.  He, of course, was going to heaven.  That is unless he comitted suicide.   So to be joined forever he decide to crash the car he was driving into some trees.  Obviously we didn’t die. At this same time, my mother made me join a church group.  The church group was run by a husband and wife.  She believed the influence of “good” kids would keep me pure.  The church group was run by a husband and wife.  I went and listened skeptically.  Is it possible God isn’t purely vengeful?  Maybe there is hope. One night my father lost complete control.  He hit me and I fell to the ground.  Then he grabbed a handful of my hair and was dragging me down the hall.  I scrambled to my feet and played tug of war with my hair.  If only I could make it to my room, I could go out the window and run.  I had never seen him quite this unhinged.  My brother called the cops on him and saved me.  I was mentally exhausted.  I wanted life to end.  I was at a breaking point.  So I decided to talk to the youth pastor.  I sat down and spoke with the husband.  He listened attentively and gave me a shoulder to cry on.  He was sympathetic and caring.  I feel he might save me.  He set up a time we could speak alone.  He never showed.  Next time at youth group they reveal that he has been caught touching some of the girls.  At that moment I give up on God.  If, and that is a capital IF in my book, God exists, then I am convinced he hates me and therefore I hate him. I actively curse God.  I want nothing to do with God, religion, or anyone who believes.  Time goes by and I delve into the sciences.  Stupid science keeps pointing to something greater.  There are too many things we can’t explain, too many perfect factors required for the world to exist.  I vaguely consider that I am wrong and maybe there is a God.  What if?  Then I quickly push it out of my mind.  If there is a God, well I have talked a lot of trash and therefore I am in for it.  Surely there is no going back. I meet my husband and he believes in God.  Seriously?  Why?  He he is steadfast and calm.  He doesn’t push.  I see another side of Christianity through him.  I see gentleness and patience.  I see forgiveness and love.  It takes me another 6 years before I take a chance.  The first time I stepped foot in a church, I fully expected lightening to strike.  But it didn’t.  I learned a little more each day.  I trusted in God a little more each day.  I eventually believe but still don’t fully understand, trust, or even like God.  God is vengence in my mind.  Jesus is love.  I don’t see how they are the same. I found someone willing to answer my questions.  So many questions!  Why does God allow this?  How can God be loving if …?  It takes a long time but I eventually come to see the love in God.  I find my peace.  Now I see God for who he really is.

Baseball Card Testimony

Growing up in Ohio in the 1970’s I was a huge Cincinnati Reds fan. The Big Red Machine. Countless nights were spent falling asleep to the Reds on the radio and way too many nights were spent up late listening until the game ended when Mom and Dad thought I was sound asleep. I loved those teams. A team full of future Hall of Famers. I knew all about them. Where they grew up, their favorite foods, their hobbies and of course all their stats.  It was always a treat to travel down to Riverfront Stadium to watch them play. I felt like I knew everyone of them. Funny thing is, though I knew a lot about them I never personally met any of them. The same could be said about my relationship with Jesus Christ growing up. I was a big “fan” of his. I  could quote verses and tell you Bible stories. I had great attendance at the “stadium” (church)., but I didn’t know Him personally. It wasn’t until I was faced with the question, “Have you ever personally placed your faith in Jesus to pay the penalty of your sins?” that I really even thought about it. All along I thought knowing the stats and good church attendance was my ticket to heaven. How about you?  This outline and verses were helpful for me and understanding this personal relationship. God loves you and created you to know Him personally                  – John 3:16                  – John 17:3 All of us sin and our sin separates us from God                  – Romans 3:23                  – Romans 6:23 III. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him alone we can know God personally and experience His love. – Romans 5:8 – John 14:6 We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know God personally and experience His love. – Eph 2:8-9 – John 1:12      

Audrey Mahn’s Story

Audrey Mahn’s Story

Audrey’s Story:

I was born in a non-Christian family in a small city in China, nobody around me were Christians. My family were not Buddhist but we had Buddha statues at home, and sometimes we would pray to the Buddha statues.

When I was around 9 or 10 years old, I liked to going out the balcony in my home and looking at the sky and the other buildings in my living area. I remembered at that time I liked to look at the sky and talk to God. I didn’t know how I knew there was a God at that time, how he put himself in my heart, but I knew the God was my best friend to a little girl. When I had troubles, I prayed to him, or more likely to make a wish. Then I grew a habit of praying to God almost every night that all of my family members, my parents, my grandparents, all my aunts, and uncles, all my cousins could live healthy and long lives over hundred years old because I love them.

However at that time, when I was 9 or 10 my dad also knew a friend who claimed to have supernatural power, so called “the third eye” on the forehead, and the third eye could see the supernatural things and do supernatural things. So I and my dad’s friend’s daughter always played together and sometimes practiced to have the “third eye” power. We never had the third eye power though.

When I was around 13, my mom started to practice “Falun Gong”, a cult religion invented by an ordinary man who claimed he had supernatural power on 1992 in China. I was innocent and naïve at that time, just went with my mom to practice this for fun. 

However when I was around 15 years old, the third year of junior high school, one night, I heard a voice told me that I should like one girl in my class, who was my best friend at that time, then I resisted to that voice that I didn’t like girls, I liked boys, then all the other dirty thoughts came to my mind, and from then on the evil thoughts tortured me since then. I didn’t know what to do. I also heard the voice like killing people or told me to jump off a building or other ways to kill myself, or homosexual thoughts, or other dirty and evil thoughts which I never thought of before, these were not my thoughts. I felt so helpless.

I fought with the evil thoughts almost every day, at school, at home, I couldn’t sleep at night because my heart beat so fast, and the demons tortured me. I read lots of psychology and philosophy books, and other kinds of books about strong will and justice, etc to help me, and I could resist the evil a little bit with my strong will. I later on learned that was the demons, but at that time I didn’t know what was wrong with my life and felt my life was full of darkness.

When I went to college, I chose English as my major and I also needed to learn western culture including the Bible. My Chinese English teacher gave me a bible as she was a Christian and she knew I was interested in Christianity. In my sophomore year, I had an American teacher Rachel, and her sister Nicole was also an English teacher in my college, and Nicole took me to their bible study one night as I told her I was interested in the Bible and God. I knew the God when I was a child, but at that time I regarded Him as my God and I didn’t want to share with others. I enjoyed the Bible study and the second time I went to the bible study and I decided to become a Christian.

That year’s summer vacation time, I did a part-time job in the city Chengdu, China where I went to college, and another of my American friend Hannah allowed me to stay at her apartment. One night I shared my experience of hearing the voice and fought against the evil thoughts for so many years to her, and I felt part of my brain was taken by the devil. Hannah prayed for me to cast the demons away from me in Jesus name, and I immediately felt something left me.

Hannah told me I couldn’t look at her eyes straight as if I was afraid of something, and she told me that was the devil. Then Hannah called another American friend of mine, Pauline, who was a Christian and also a psychologist. Pauline asked me to kneel down to God, confessed all my sins and forgave everyone in my life who hurt me. Prayed to God to let every places in my heart occupied by demon to open, kick the demons out and invite the Holy Spirit to come to live in my heart.

We prayed for around two hours, I kept on shaking and felt some supernatural things left me. Then Pauline asked for the demon’s name, I heard a voice inside of me saying an English name, then we looked in the dictionary, it meant the third eye, which was the supernatural power I practiced before when I was a child.

After that, I looked at the mirror, I saw the light in my eyes, and I could look straight to my friends’ eyes. The memories I lost when I was tortured by the demons returned to me. I felt so free. God set me free and broke the chains on me. I was tortured by the demons for around 7 years, and God saved me. Although I was suffered for so long, I then realized the great plan God arranged for me, he saved me from the devil and I could work for him and do a great testimony for Him and serve him all my life.