Brother Joshua’s Testimony
I grew up in a Christian home. Around the age of 16 I started heading down the wrong road at a fast pace not knowing I would end up doing everything I always said I would never do, and criticized others for doing.
I started out with just “hanging out” late with friends but over time that changed. At age 17 I went to a party. Plenty of of alcohol and a few drugs but it was nothing I hadn’t seen before so I stayed a while but when I left I told the person I was with, “I will NEVER do all that garbage!” So I just continued to hang out late but for the most part stayed out of trouble. When I turned 18, I felt like I was an adult I had some new friends that weren’t so great but I still held to my word I didn’t do drugs but by this time I had started drinking some but it still didn’t seem to be my thing so I stayed away from the partying crowds. After having a few close scrapes with the law and having some friends that weren’t the most desirable.
My opportunity finally came to have a fresh start when my parents asked me if I would like to move to Reno with them. I thought it over and changed my mind many times and finally decided it would be good to have a new start and if I didn’t like it I would move back to Washington where I came from. I packed up and headed to my new home.
When I got to Reno I decided I would be good, change my life, and live for God, but with no one my age at the church my parents attended I decided I needed friends my age and God was once again put to the side. My new start eventually brought me knew friends but still doing the same kind of things I had just moved away from. Strange that it didn’t even cross my mind to bring my new friends to church with me but rather I decided to stop going to church and be with them. This went on for over a year. But as time progressed I began to change again. For the worse.
I met a couple more new friends and began to party on a regular basis. Up until this time I had been to small parties but when I showed up to this one, it was different. There were over 100 people there along with every kind of drug and all the alcohol anyone could handle. By this time drinking was not strange to me even though I had always controlled it and managed to somehow refrain from getting “drunk”. This is when my downhill slide officially started, “I got plastered.” I smoked weed for the first time, puked my guts out, lost my wallet, and had a hangover for almost 2 days. When I got over it I said once again I will never
do that again. I still drank but not to excess and didn’t smoke weed anymore. But then I moved on to the next chapter in my life.
I bought a motorcycle, left my parents home and moved in with two guys I barely knew We started partying on a weekly basis. One weekend in June I planned to make a trip to Washington for a graduation and most of all to see all my old friends and show them “the new me.” My plan was to make a 10 hour drive in 4 hours. Of course by this time I wasn’t always thinking straight. I took off as fast as I dared to go. Reaching speeds of over 170 mph I never dreamed what lie ahead.
Just a few miles out of town I topped out on a hill in a construction zone doing about 120 mph in a 35 mph zone and there sat a California highway patrol. I knew my only chance was to run or I was going to jail at the speeds I was traveling. The construction zone was being directed by a pilot truck with only one lane of traffic being allowed to pass through at a time I hit the throttle and away I went leaving the cop in the background along with the pilot truck and other traffic. I then passed another cop coming the opposite direction and left him as well by this time doing over 170 mph. About 10 miles up the road I pull off to let my heart slow down again and that’s when in the distance I saw about 5 cops with a road block on the freeway. I knew if I didn’t turn around and head back home I would be caught. So I did just that, my plan was to head home, get my car and drive to Washington and take my time.
So I take off again maxed out. I pass the cop that was chasing me before and again he turns around and comes back after me. As I come to the construction zone again I see that traffic is in my favor. So I ride along with it, or beside it I guess I should say. When with no warning the pilot truck swerves and takes a 90 degree turn right into my path just as I am about to pass him . I have no time to react other than to stand up on the pegs as my bike t-bones into him at about 140 mph . My only thought is, “I’m Dead” I flew over the hood and slid down the road for over 300 feet pretty much stripping me of all the skin on my back, legs and arms. As I slid to a stop I realized that I was still alive but instead of thanking God. I push myself up, thinking I am going to start running rather than face jail for speeding but my first step proved otherwise. My foot was facing forward but had done almost a total 360 and is only hanging from my ankle, my hand and arm was ripped to a mangled mess, and my titanium riding gear which I had just purchased a few days before, was stripped off into shreds. What a sight I must have been.
As I lay there on the asphalt, I vaguely remember some things such as the shock wearing off and the pain setting in, the ambulance arriving, and the officer reading me my Miranda rights.
Once I got to the hospital I couldn’t remember anyone phone number but my sisters. I called her and told her that I had wrecked my motorcycle and was in the hospital. I asked her to call my mom and let her know that I was fine.
My mom showed up and didn’t even need to ask where I was because she heard my screams as soon as she entered the emergency room doors. She heads straight to the room they had me in. Needless to say I was hurt pretty bad, I wasn’t fine. I was in the hospital for just under 2 months and while in there I thought about how God had spared my life and so I made up my mind once again that I would go back to church and live for God.
I finally got out of the hospital and my resolve to live for God once more only lasted a short time and soon I was back with my old friends and my old ways.
I started hanging out with three guys that I became friends with at the Apprenticeship school I attended. One was a gang banger that had done 9 months in jail before being acquitted for murder in a gang shooting, a heavy drug dealer and user, and a drinker like none other. The other two were just more or less just your typical partiers.
I remember getting a call from one of them asking me if I wanted to make some “easy money?” Of course who doesn’t?” I soon began another chapter in my life. The life of a dealer. But I saw no harm as I knew I would never use the stuff only provide a service and make some easy money.
I escalated to dealing hard stuff and soon was not just a dealer but a user as well. Within two weeks I was spending money like it was water and I was hooked it got pretty bad and so I told myself I wouldn’t do that, that I was NOT a drug addict. Isn’t that what they all say? I lost about 30 pounds in just a few months and had my hands into more illegal stuff then should be written.
One night at the peak of everything I went to someone’s house that I barely knew and was smoking weed with them and drinking. Unbeknownst to me they had laced the weed with what is called dip, a mixture of ethanol, embalming fluid, and a few other things that I am not too sure of. I won’t go into detail concerning the ordeal that followed but God was with me because I made it home in one piece and fell into bed. I woke up the next morning still unable to fully focus but as it was wearing off. I resolved once more in my mind I would do better. But it only got worse from there.
I didn’t care anymore I started drinking all I could and taking everything I could to get high. I got alcohol and drug poisoning one night and puked till I had blood coming out of my eyes and nose and all that was coming up was black fluid and blood. You would think that would be a changing point but when I came too I did more drugs to make me feel better and got over it.
During this time I met Anabel, who was to be my future wife. We began going to parties together and after that we started dating.
Just under a year after my motorcycle wreck I went to my final court date for what was being charged as 7 counts of attempted vehicular man slaughter while evading police. I was sentenced to 1 year in jail. I tried to sleep my life away hoping it would pass swiftly. I got out 8 months later for good behavior and went right back to what I was doing before.
The first weekend I was out all my friends had kind a welcome home party for me. Some guys came over and we were all drinking and a fight erupted. In the middle of it a gun is pulled out and pointed at another guy’s head that was pinned up against the wall. Not wanting to be involved if someone got killed being fresh out of jail Anabel and myself left.My last episode of anything to do with partying, I went out to a few clubs with some friends. I got pretty wasted and took pretty much anything that was offered to me, which should have been a lethal concoction but once again God spared my life. I drove around till sun up the next morning because I couldn’t figure out how to get home.
Anabel told me she was leaving me and my parents had pretty much nothing to do with me and I had no one else. The friends I once thought I needed so badly were not what one would call “friends”. So I told Anabel that I would stop all of it and straiten my life out. That was April 7th of 2008 And so I began a new chapter in my life. I started going back to church but more or less just to please everyone else. Even though I knew in my heart God was the only answer. I thought I could do it all on my own
I stopped everything like I said I would and by end of that month I asked Anabel to marry me. She said yes and May 24th we were married. I still had not chose to become involved in church because of the fact that I always have had it in my heart not to be a hypocrite and act one way and be another so I chose to hang on the edges instead. Finally later that year I made up my mind to give my life to God and surrender all to Him and I received the Holy Ghost and my life has not been the same since.
The Lord has blessed my wife and I beyond what we ever thought He would and has supplied for us even when it seemed that there was nothing that could be done. Thank the Lord for his grace and mercy because without it I would be dead many times over and burning in a devils hell. God is a good God! And I cannot thank him enough for sparing my life and loving me when I was unlovable!
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Sister Neumann Testimony
I was raised in a non Christian home. My family was morally pretty straight but God was not part of our life. I was a straight A student and was a good girl ,without God, until I hit junior high school. I remember having a conversation with one of the most popular girls at my school. She told me I needed to start going to parties so I would be more popular. I was “too good”! That was the turn for me. And it wasn’t for the good. I got my first M.I.P at the age of 14 in which I woke up in a de-tox center after almost dying from alcohol poisoning. My second M.I.P.was when I was 18. During those years I became anorexic and then bulimic. During anorexic times I literally thought I would get fat after eating a quarter of an apple after jogging for miles. I wrestled with bulimia to the point I would store what I threw up in containers in my closet if I was afraid family or friends were suspicious.
When I was 16 or 17 I began smoking cigarettes and doing drugs to also stay thin. I remember one time having to go to church with one of my girlfriends. Her mom made us go. The night before we had drank a lot of alcohol and probably smelled of it too. The preacher picked my girlfriend and I to sit on the platform and help serve the communion items. I thought “what a joke-can’t they sense we aren’t the right choice for this job?” It soured me on religion for awhile.
At the age of 17 I started working for a buffet in my hometown in Oregon. By this time in my journey I was smoking, drinking at night, doing drugs at work in the bathroom during the day, and bouncing from anorexia to bulimia. God placed a real man of God in my life on that job. I remember times he would lose his cool at work (they loved to push his buttons) but he would always return to work with an apology for not being the Christian he should have been. Eventually this man’s 2 1/2 year old daughter died. Nobody from my job was planning to go and I felt one of us should, as a show of support from his work place, so to the funeral I went. I wept that whole service long not understanding that what I was feeling was the presence of God for the first time. That man of God had asked me several times through the years for a bible study but I had turned him down. A few months after the death of his daughter, I asked him if he was still willing to teach me a bible study. Of course he was thrilled to do so. Sometimes I was too stoned to go, sometimes too drunk and I would cancel our bible study. But every time I would go to one, I would again feel that strange feeling like at the funeral. One day at work (while throwing up in the toilet) I decided it was time to check out his church. I was so sick of life and empty in my heart, that I decided that I had to give God a try.
My second service that I went to when I was almost 20 years old back in 1989, I decided to get baptized. I got baptized in Jesus name, and when I came up out of the water I couldn’t stop smiling. It felt like my checks would split. It took me a couple weeks longer before I was filled with the Holy Ghost. The same girl friend who’s mom made us go to church asked me “Why do you have to go to that church?” I told her it’s because that’s where I feel God. On the night I got the Holy Ghost, I left the alter, drove out in the country, parked my truck on the edge of a wheat field and began to cry out to God. The next thing I knew, I was speaking in an unknown tongue as God gave the utterance. I had left the alter at the church too ashamed for others to hear what I needed to confess to God. I asked my Pastor’s wife “what now?” and she said keep praying every day until you speak in tongues again. That’s when my journey began with a love affair with God!!!!!! And now 22 years later I am a Pastor’s wife of 10 years, married to the most wonderful husband (for almost 16 years).
Who would have thought such a thing possible when I walked into that church 22 years ago. I am a very blessed and privileged woman to have been showed this precious truth.
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Sister Ruth Testimony
I grew up in a house without God, literally. There was never a single mention of Him. I remember when I was in 6th grade, a friend of mine invited me to go to church, and I wanted to go, but my Dad said no way. I knew so little of Him that the toughest subject I had in High School was a section on Religion. I almost failed! But my sisters and I were brought up to be good girls, had very strict standards and morals, and we turned out to be good responsible young women.
I found out later in life that my Dad had been a Baptist Minister when I was very young. But he had fallen away and I never really found out why, but that explained a lot about how I was brought up. I went through life just like everyone else in the world. Thinking I was doing okay. I was a good person. I didn’t hurt anybody on purpose. I knew that there had to be “something else” out there beyond our little existence, but I didn’t know what and didn’t really seek it out. I was a strong person and could handle everything myself.
Then my husband died. After the initial crush, after everyone went home, I went back to the business of living. I didn’t lean upon anyone. I didn’t want to burden them. I could handle things myself. But I was bleeding inside. My heart was broken. But I could handle it. I had watched the programs, read the books. I knew what people had to do to get through these kinds of situations. I couldn’t handle it. I never talked to anybody because I did not want to burden them or bring fresh sorrow to their lives. Meanwhile, I could not even think about him without immediately breaking out in tears, so I would just have to push it away. It wasn’t getting any better.
After about a year, I went to see a therapist for a while. But it didn’t go away. When I came to church, I still didn’t know what I was looking for. I had been dating Edwin for a while and seen a significant change in him since he started going to Soul’s Harbor. So one day, I asked if I could go with him, just to see what it was all about, and support him. There was something different going on there! But I was still “in control” but out of control. My heart was broken. When I finally got to the point where I could ask God for help, I asked him to heal my heart. I could not do it myself. But He could and did. I still cry sometimes, because some memories are sad. But it is not overwhelming. God took that burden off me. He was the only one I needed to talk to. He healed my broken heart and gave me a new life.
Sister Anabel’s Testimony
I remember always thinking as a teenager how I could not wait until I could move out of my parents house and go to college and meet a bunch of people and be able to go to parties and clubs whenever I wanted and not have to worry about my parents finding out. I was so anxious to get out of their house that I graduated a year early.
In 2006 after I graduated high school from Round Mtn, NV I moved to Reno to go to college, and finally I thought I was as free as a bird I was able to go to parties whenever I wanted, and I would use my sisters ID and go to clubs with my friends, boy I thought I was just living the best life ever. I remember the first party that I ever went to I walked in and there were probably about 100 people there and I remember the living room was just a big cloud, so many people smoking weed. I had never seen it nor smelt it in my life. And really I was kind of scared cause I didn’t know what I was getting into, but what do you know had a few drinks and became relaxed, no biggy. I woke up the next morning so hung-over and at somebody’s house I didn’t even know. The next morning I told my friends how hung over I was and where I woke up, and they just said yup well that’s what happens when you party hardy. So I thought hmm this is cool.
I went to many parties, and needless to say many things I wish wouldn’t have happened, happened to me. I remember lying in bed night after night thinking how grouse and disgusting, and worthless I was. I was so mad at myself for being so stupid and for putting myself in some of the horrible situations that I did.
Well I guess I didn’t really learn my lesson by all the bad things that happened to me, because I continued to live the party lifestyle for about another year in a half.
I remember sitting in my room one night thinking, wow now what I am so burnt out there must be more to what so people call “Living the Life”. So I decided to slow down on the partying lifestyle just a little bit.
In the mean while I met Josh, my future husband. I dated Josh for about 2 months and then he had to go to jail for some stuff he had done in the past. He was there for 8 months or so. In the mean while I continued to date him and we would write letters back and forth daily. I remember many times questioning myself why in the world I was dating this guy who is locked up in jail, not only did I question myself, but my friends asked me all the time what is so great about him why are staying with him? All I could say is I don’t know there is just something about him I can’t explain it he is just a good guy there is something good deep inside of him.
I met Josh’s family about 1 week after dating. And then not long after his sister, Janaya and I began to talk on hotmail messenger back and forth.
A few months later she invited me to go to church with her, so I said sure I will go. Sunday morning rolls around and I remember walking into the church and hearing everyone praying out loud and in the dark. And my whole life growing up I was raised catholic and we always prayed quietly, why? I don’t know but that’s just what my parents always told me to do. Anyhow she walks me up to the 3rd
bench to the front and my legs are shaking I was so scared, I had never been to a church like this. After that morning service I went home and I told my sister, “wow that was some weird people, they were praying out loud, crying and talking in a different language, it was so weird.” Well it must not have been too weird for me because I continued to go some Sunday mornings.
At this point of my life I wasn’t really going out very much I was more into school and just staying home. As a matter of fact 2008 New Years I went to the church New Years party and I didn’t go out to any parties or any clubs unlike the years before, that was a very big change for me. I remember getting home that new years night lying in my bed crying praying, “God I don’t want to be the same person, I want my life to change. I feel like such a grouse and worthless person. Help me God, Please change me, I don’t like who I am.” I had such an empty feeling inside myself.
In March of 2008 I got the Holy Ghost for the first time ever. I had never experienced such a feeling like this before. I felt like a totally different person within. In May of 2008 before I got married I got baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and had all my sins washed away. And I no longer had to worry about all the stupid and shameful things I did. Thank God for being so merciful!
I have now been living for God for about 2 ½ years or so, and it is the best thing that I have ever done. My walk with him just keeps getting better and better. I don’t ever want to walk away from the truth. It scares me so bad to think what a mess my life would be like without God in my life. He has blessed me and my husband in so many different ways. I am so thankful for everything he has done for us.
When I began to come to church faithfully and stopped doing the things of the world, some family and friends began to turn their back towards me, and began to say that I was just being brainwashed, and that I didn’t have to do everything that I was doing. But I made up my mind I don’t care what anyone has to say about me, I am going to give my life to God, and I am going to live according to his word. And with the help of the Lord I will make heaven my home some day!
Sister Lisa’s Testimony
Sister Lisa 9 Years After Christ
As a child I would dream of being someone else, in another place and time, being happy. I always was searching for something to make me happy. Truly happy, like joy, even though I had no idea what joy really was.
I had good and loving parents, but they were unaware that I was sexually abused from the 3rd
grade to the 6th
grade, which made me trust no one. I was depressed and often thought of suicide. I began drinking in the 4th
grade by sneaking into my parent’s bar. In the 6th
grade a friend of mine stole her big sisters stash and we began smoking pot. This started a long and painful addiction to drugs and alcohol.
In high school I discovered speed and cocaine. Heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol I began selling drugs and stealing from my parents to support my habit. My mom took me to my first drug rehab counselor when I was 16 years old.
At 17 years of age I became pregnant and got married, hoping this would make me happy. I stayed married for 6 years and had two beautiful children who I loved very much, but my husband was very abusive and the depression soon began to creep back upon me. Not knowing how to escape the physical and mental abuse of my husband, and feeling strangled and trapped by my depression, I packed a backpack with a change of clothes, some pictures of my kids and my ID and I ran as far as I could, leaving my husband and my children.
I began living on the streets of San Francisco, where I began running with a gang and selling and doing drugs and drinking more than I ever had before. I went to jail several times and was facing 3-5 years in prison, when I began to wonder if I would ever have a normal life or if this was what life was all about. When I got out of jail I moved to Reno to see if I could begin again where no one knew me. After a few years, I was back to selling drugs, doing drugs, drinking, had two more kids and was meaner than ever. I trusted no one and disliked everyone.
One night my children’s father tried to kill me while he was high and drunk. He left me lying on a hotel floor to die. As I laid there I remember thinking “God why can’t I just have a normal life?” God spared my life that day and I knew He had. I stopped drinking and doing drugs, but I still struggled with depression. I was now raising two children on my own while their father served a prison sentence for trying to kill me.
A few months later as I drove home one night, I hit an 18 year old kid crossing the road and paralyzed him from the waist down. As I laid in bed that night, I began to cry as I had never cried before. I cried out to God to help me. I knew I needed Him and that I need a church to help me. I asked God that night to bring me someone who would take me to that church. I asked for a church that would please God and tell me the truth of how to live for Him.
That same week a woman approached me in the parking lot of my apartment and invited me to church. As I stood there with my kids looking thinking “is this the someone I prayed for” I told the woman I would go. That woman was Sister Patsy, and she not only returned that night to take me to church, but also came several more nights and began teaching me a bible study. Every time she would come to my apartment to teach me about the Holy Ghost and baptism in Jesus name, I would think, “ I want the peace I see in this woman.”
I studied the bible that Sister Neumann had given me and tried to remember all the things Sister Patsy had taught me about the Holy Ghost. I had never heard of the Holy Ghost and didn’t know if it was “for real”. I read the words of Jesus “ But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name….” The Comforter, just what I had been searching for. I prayed that night, God if the Holy Ghost is real, I want it, I need it!
The next morning was Sunday and I went to the alter and repented of all my sins and was filled with the most wonderful gift, the Holy Ghost, and I was baptized in Jesus name that night. And that very same day God gave me peace and joy beyond what I could ever dream.
I have been freed from my shame, depression and sins. God has blessed me by reuniting me with all my children, giving me a wonderful, loving and God fearing husband, a great church with a wonder Pastor and family and giving me His joy and peace through His word. This is truly Joy unspeakable!
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