My testimony is one that is only by the grace of God. It is a testimony that contains ups and downs, although it has consisted of more ups than downs. I got saved at around 5 or 6 years old. The way I heard about church was through some children that my mom used to watch. Their mom drove one of the buses and they invited us to a children’s church promotion. It was through this that my brother, sisters, and I started attending church. We soon found out that we could earn more points if our parents came to church. My parents thought it would be a good idea for them to come to church on the bus with us.
My parents fell in love with the church there (Calvary Baptist Temple in Fort Collins, Co). My parents got involved with the church, instantly going all day Sunday and Wednesday nights. After being there almost a year my dad started driving the bus route for Sunday morning as well as visiting the children on Saturday mornings. By constantly going to church I was able to develop a grasp of salvation, after making several false professions of faith. I was one of those kids that got saved every Sunday morning. There was finally a time in one of those professions that I finally grasped a fully knowledge of true salvation. That next Sunday night I was baptized.
After being at Calvary Baptist Temple for several years, we moved back to my hometown of El Paso, Tx due to family issues (I was in 4th grade at this time) . Once we moved back, we attended a church for a few weeks until the secretary ran off with the Pastor. From there, my family stopped going to church. It was from this point that we started running from God. My brother and I eventually started turning to the streets for answers. I was involved in gang activity at a pretty young age, following my brothers footsteps. I started hanging out with the wrong people and doing the wrong things because I felt like I needed acceptance somewhere. Therefore, I did a lot of things to get accepted by the gang I was affiliated with.
My parents eventually realized how deep we were in the gang when, as a family, we were at a football game and people tried to fight my brother and I. My dad did not want our family in danger due to what my brother and I were involved in. It was from this point that we ran to Alabama to run away from our issues. In the process of moving, we just about lost everything due to a wreck. The company that we hired to move our items got into a wreck and all of our possessions were not retrievable. All that we had was what we had in our car. We lived in Alabama for about 11 months. It was the worst 11 months of my life. It was one of the lowest in our lives as a family.
It was here that my dad received a call in our hotel room where we were living in on the roughest side of Bermingham. It was a call from my Pastor (Park Sutton) in Fort Collins, Co. He told my dad that he felt lead by the Lord to give us a call. The Lord used that call to work in my father’s life. After a couple hours of talking to Pastor, my dad said that we were going to move back to Colorado. He said that we are not going to run from God anymore. At this point in my life, I still believed there was a God, but I thought I was okay where I was at in my life.
We eventually moved back to Colorado during my sophomore year of high school. I was really rebellious at this point in my life. Even though, as a family we were back in church, it took awhile before I gave my heart back to the Lord. It was not until the summer going into my Junior year that I yielded my heart back to the Lord. I was at Silver State Baptist Youth camp when the Lord called me to preach. I eventually graduated high school and I attended Heartland Baptist Bible College in Oklahoma City, Ok. I graduated from there in May of 2018. Since I have graduated, I have been plugged into Rose Hill Baptist Church in De Queen, Ar. It has been a blessing to be able to teach the 5th-8th graders and run the van ministry.
Although my life has had its forks in the road and many twists and turns, it is only by the grace of God that I am in the position that I am in. Looking back on all this, I can say that I have been blessed. I don't deserve to be where I am but I am glad that the Lord is willing to use a person like me. If you would have asked me 10 years ago where I would be in my life, I would of thought I would be in jail or dead. But because the grace of God in my life, I can say now I am happy and in the will of God. The Lord wants to work in your life as well, but you need to yield yourself to Him. Die to yourself so that you can live for the Lord.
My testimony consists of as follows:
From birth til 5 years old my life consisted of attending the local Baptist church 4 hours a week, (Sunday School, Sunday morning preaching, Sunday night preaching, and Wednesday night preaching), and the rest of the time, as you may assume, was spent playing.
From 6 years old til 16 years old my life consisted of attending that same local Baptist church 4 hours a week, public schooling 40 hours per week, (7 hours spent on the grounds, 1 hour on the school bus per day, this is a modest estimate), the rest of the unaccounted for time was spent largely in playing.
There is one occurrence that I must point out that differed from this routine a little less than a month before my 14th birthday... I came under tremendous conviction of sin from the preaching of the Word of God and I found myself convinced that I was a sinner in need of being saved from hell. I asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me. I believe on that day I was "born again" spiritually. I believe what follows comes from a combination of many factors but in short over the next few years I gradually drifted away from God, even so far from Him that I began to question if sin was even wrong or was it just because some book said so...
The next 2 years my time was spent in much the same way with the exception of the fact that I no longer rode the bus instead I was driving which also meant that my "play time" was changing in content as well...
A few months shy of my 18th birthday, certain changes took place. I decided to move out of my dad and mom's house and get out from underneath their authority. I finished my last year of high school, but completely stopped going to church... More importantly than that, I got as far away from the God of the Bible as I could... From just before I turned 18 until sometime in my 23rd year, my time was spent doing whatever I felt like doing...
I found myself in a horrible pit of filth, and disgust. I found myself to be what I knew the Bible called "a sinner."
Somewhere in the midst of my 23rd year, I decided to open a Bible. I turned to a random passage. I read in it II Timothy 3:1-5 which describes what people will be like "in the last days." That passage was like looking in a mirror of what I had become. I decided, at my sister's suggestion to please my mom, to go to church that coming Sunday morning. As I listened to the preacher, years of emotion flowed from me as I cried through the entire sermon... The following week I pondered hard what and where I was in life. I decided to go back to church the following Sunday. Before the preaching was concluded I had already given my heart to God in total surrender. I can remember wondering if it would be ok to ask if I could stay in the sanctuary of that building and just sleep on a pew for the rest of my life...
My walk with the Lord since then has by no means been a perfect one... But it has been the best thing on this planet that's ever happened to me. To walk with Jesus day by day has been fulfilling in ways words fail to describe.
In writing this, I must point out that I wish my testimony was different. It's not. I've seen both sides of the fence, God's and the world's, I've seen both perspectives. I have found that the Bible, God's Word, has all of the answers to life's questions that we seek.
God and His grace are good. The world, flesh, and the devil are not. This is the conclusion that I've found. This is my testimony.
I'll have to admit that sometimes I wonder what God is up to in my life. As I see people struggle around me to make ends meet and others suffer from physical pain, I ask myself if God is seeing what I am seeing? Does He care as much as I do? Is He going to do anything to fix the mess that I am seeing? I know that the typical preacher answer is "God is on His throne! He is in full control!" There is a level of comfort in knowing that He is in control, but it would be nice if He had an office next door that I could stop by and visit with Him about all the struggles that I see. I'd even be willing to make an appointment or wait in line to get His advice on how to help. Yet, how little time I actually spend doing what is most needed in any given situation: that is, prayer. Isn't this truly how we get ahold of God? Isn't this how we access the throne room of grace? Isn't He always ready to answer and delights to hear from us?! Yet, how little time i actually spend on my knees, begging God to work on behalf of those that need Him most. I beg God to let me see a revival of personal prayer in my life that would overflow into the lives of those around me. A fire that would burn so deep inside of me that I could actually see and know my God on a deeper, more personal level. Oh, dear Lord! Teach me to pray!