My personal testimony consists of two parts: my conversion to Christianity and my recovery story. My conversion to Christianity is a little different than most, but similar as well in other ways. Growing up in Pentecostal circles consisting of normal Sunday and Wednesday church services, as well as many revivals, crusades, and tent meetings, my exposure to Christianity was constant. By the age of six, I began to take notice of the things going on around me at these events and my fascination grew stronger each day. Finally, at the age of eight, I asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart and cleanse me of my sins.
By the age of ten, I had seen many of the signs and wonders contained in the Bible happen right in front of my eyes at many of these events, to include divine miracles, the use of tongues, the interpretation of tongues, prophecy, and even exorcisms. I also experienced the overwhelming presence and power of the Holy Spirit during many of these occurrences. As a result, even at this young age, I had a good understanding of the majesty of God and possessed an unshakable faith in Him. The things I had experienced while growing up in this environment served as a testament of how real He is and His personal interest in our lives.
Given that our childhoods and experiences may be starkly different, I can understand how someone without any exposure to the Gospel may have questions or concerns before making a decision. For me, there were no fireworks or parades, but simply a young boy wanting a relationship with Jesus. I knew that because He was capable of the awesome things I witnessed, I wanted a friend like that forever.
Without these experiences as a foundation, it is much more wise and respectable to ask as many questions as needed and seek to find out all you can about Jesus Christ, much like getting to know a new friend. I am more than willing to share what He has done in my life and help you make that life-changing decision. Since I decided to give my life to Christ, He has directed my path in every possible way, and provided guidance and comfort when needed. I simply cannot visualize my life without Him.
One example of this is my recovery story that tells of a particular challenge that I overcame with the help of Christ. In 2006, I deployed to Iraq for my first combat deployment. Upon my arrival, I was both nervous and anxious all at once, even though my faith in Jesus kept it from becoming unbearable. On my first few patrols beyond the perimeter of the Forward Operating Base, I would find myself walking through the countryside and in small villages with little to no security besides my body armor and weapon. Despite reports of a rogue sniper and Improvised Explosive Device cells in the area, we continued these patrols.
On one particularly hot day, I was standing on the bank of a canal in the open with no accessible cover for hundreds of yards. A number of scenarios began rolling through my head, and I waited helplessly for a possible sniper’s bullet at any moment. This thought process began a downward spiral and I began thinking about what would happen to my wife and kids if I was killed. The helpless and exposed feeling I had standing there in the open was overwhelming.
Then, all of a sudden, something strange happened. A feeling of great peace came over me and it seemed like a voice started talking to me. It reminded me that I was a child of the mighty living God, and no weapon formed against me would prosper without His permission, as promised in Isaiah 54:17. It also reassured me that, even if I did perish, I should not fear death because a child of God holds the promise of heaven.
From that moment on, I no longer worried about what could happen to me. I knew God was in control at all times, and nothing happens without His divine permission. This resulted in a much more peaceful existence in a place of turmoil and death, and this assurance sustained me throughout this deployment and others. Friend, a peace and confidence like that only comes from one source—a secure relationship with Jesus Christ. I will be happy to help you find it when you are ready. Thanks for listening.