Life Stories (247)
I was born in Edmonton Alberta and at the age of 3 moved with my family to Kelowna. My Dad became very involved in a local church and from my earliest memories I also seemed to be involved in some capacity. Being the oldest of 6 children did bring responsibilities and you just did what you needed to do to keep peace in the family and set a good example as the others were watching. Church was all I knew and up until my late teen age years never questioned it. At this stage of my life fear was the operative word as I was well aware of the rules and very conscious of it though when I broke them. I lived with a lot of condemnation and was not a happy person inside. Having said that compared to the rest of the world I was a good person. I was in a protected God fearing environment but lacking something.
I grew up in a loving, Christian family with a strong, Mennonite heritage. Being the youngest of 4 children, and the only girl, I grew up in a musical and performing family, and attended a Mennonite Brethren church in Williams Lake. Church attendance and involvement was the focus of our family life. I received Jesus as my personal Savior at a very young age and was baptized by the age of nine. Growing up, the personal testimonies of my family’s persecution for their strong faith during WWII, and how the Lord miraculously guided and protected them through that time, always had a strong influence on my personal faith journey. I always knew God was with me.
From a young age I had always know the gospel of Jesus and what he did for humanity on the cross because I was raised by a family who had Christian values. I memorized my Scripture, said my nightly bedtime prayers and attended the Salvation Army church. Yet I do not think I really open up my heart to God’s word and Spirit in my younger years because in my late teen years I would rebel. A typical young adult pursuit for independence became my excuse for selfishness. As Frank Sinatra would famously sing, I wanted to do it “My way,” and this would lead to self-destructive choice.
Selfish, arrogant, proud and rebellious are all characteristics which I have had great struggle with. I was raised in a Christian family where I occasionally attended church. At a young age I said the magical prayer that is supposed to get you into heaven. I led youth groups and was a part of a leadership team at my church when I was about 13 years old.
I was raised in a wonderful loving home. I left home when I was 16 and lived and worked in Calgary, for many years, but I lived a very selfish life.
I heard about a church and what they were preaching and wanted to know if it was real, so I attended some services. I realized what the Pastor was saying was real and prayed with him and accepted Jesus into my heart and life; for the first time, I knew what the word sin meant.
I grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland and can’t remember a time when I didn’t go to church (morning and evening services and Sunday School in the afternoon). Despite that, it wasn’t until I attended a 2-week crusade when I was 8 that I understood my need to give my life to Christ in order to become a Christian. The years’ following were a slow and steady growth-time in my Christian life. I attended Capernwray Bible School in the UK for a year and it was there that I was baptized and deepened my roots in Christ.
Growing up, the church was like my second home. Both my parents were youth pastors until I was 8, and then they both worked at the church, my dad as the head pastor and my mom as the administrator, until I was 14. It was when we moved to Lloydminster when I was 8 that I began to wonder why my parents were so committed to what they did at the church. My dad led me to the Lord the night I asked him about it all. I was baptized when I was 10, but I had not surrendered everything to Him or fully followed Him until this last year.
Before I met Christ, I lived and thought this way. I followed Japanese culture - just living for money and pleasure. I didn't think about the future because I didn't feel I had a purpose. But I always felt like there was something missing. I collected my ideas from many different people - historical figures, samurais, to make my world view. I hated religion.
Growing up in a Christian home gave me the foundation that God existed, but He did just that; existed. In my world, I was the centre of the universe.
And it worked for a while. I was good at school, excelled at sports and was able to get a scholarship that paid my way through university. I attended international track meets and if I wanted to achieve something, I could do it in my own strength. That was, until I didn't.
The night was so dark. It was quiet except for the monotonous hum of the car motor. The car pulled up to a stop sign. Seven kids were asleep in the rear seat. My mother asked, "Which way, left or right? Where do we go?" We were heading down a road with no destination.