Below are excerpts Trinity folks wrote about the beginning of their journeys with Jesus:
….I was invited to attend a fellowship in one of the biggest theaters in the city. When I entered the place there was something in the air that was so different I could not describe it. Then the singing began, the choir was just beautiful…Every one seemed to be happy…I could remember the lyrics of one of the songs. It ran like this, "We are standing on holy ground and I know that there are angels all around, we are standing in His presence on holy ground." In my mind I was asking, is this the reason I am feeling so different? Am I really standing on holy ground in God's presence? Then came the preaching, the text the preacher preached from "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God." (I Cor 1:18). The preaching was so powerful that I thought that among the crowd of people that was there that night the preacher was speaking directly to me….. I knew by the time he finished his message that I needed God's forgiveness and I needed to turn the control of my life solely to Him. When He made the altar call I was ready to come down the aisle to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior.
When I was 12 and 13 we attended a Pentecostal church. The denomination sponsored a revival series in an auditorium in the city. I attended one evening. The preacher was very interesting and what he had said touched my heart. He gave an altar call and I responded; I gave my heart to Christ that evening.
My parents made sure we got to Sunday school – even when they didn't go to church. They also made sure we got to our religious instruction classes when we were old enough. And it was in these classes that the pastor, talking about Jesus, began to penetrate my heart…. He took it slowly. He seemed to know I needed to hear God's Word in small doses. "God can wait till you're ready to hear and see Him" he said at an early session when asked how we could be sure God even existed….Over the next two years, I argued, I questioned, I rebelled. But the pastor never wavered in his teaching that "Jesus did all this for you." I didn't know what "all this" was. I just knew that he was willing to listen and respond without yelling, swearing, bitterness or physical attacks. Through it all, he gently, but insistently, showed that Jesus was the one way to true happiness – not a happiness that came from the people and things of this world, but a deeper happiness, a joy, that came with the dawning of a loving relationship that nothing on this earth could ever destroy.
[A] rock band that did Jesus music, going around sharing their music and what they believed….I had never before met people who seemed to understand what they said they believed. And what they believed seemed much more real than what I had heard others talk about. …they said they had met Jesus, that Jesus was really alive, and that they had a relationship with Him. That Jesus had a relationship, a personal thing, with them. And that they had found love and acceptance in a way they had never found before. They loved Jesus, they said, in a real way, and they loved each other, which seemed evident in the way they interacted with each other. This very much hit a nerve for me. I wanted to be loved for real…And if God – Jesus – really wanted me, then I wanted to know more about it.
I feel as though I have known Jesus all of my life – but the first time I truly gave my life to Jesus was at church camp – I was 11 years old. I had a very good room counselor and she really talked and explained it all to us girls. I had heard it all before but had never truly committed myself to Jesus. My life did not change, as my parents – Mom and Dad – were both true born again Christians and my home life showed that.
I was fortunate to be born into a Christian home…I was also fortunate to have a very sincere Christian Sunday School teacher, and she would take time to have long and serious discussions with our class. ..I really can't pick out a day I became a Christian. I believe it grew with me and stayed with me. …When troubles arise, there are times when you can't explain it or even want to talk about to anyone. Then it is such a comfort to talk to Jesus and really open your heart to him. I just can't think of not having this pleasure.
I had a very strong temper, and I always argued with my mom. After my baptism, I could see myself slowly becoming a calmer person. …Then God took my mom home to be with Him. It was a very difficult journey, but looking back, I have grown and matured a lot from this experience. I could share with others this difficult experience, and told them how amazing God is throughout this time.
For as long as I can remember I have always believed that "the LORD is my Shepherd and I shall not want"; I learned this from my mother who taught this to me by example. …she had a loving heart and spirit that showed in everything she did. Everyone knew she was a Christian by the way she treated them. I [have] trouble pinpointing when my relationship with Jesus Christ changed…but I think that it was as a result of watching my mother shrink before my eyes and eventually die. I only knew that because she believed in Jesus and had always accepted him as her Savior that she was going home to be with him. …I know that I am in the midst of the struggle [between the way s of Jesus and the ways of the world] and I know that the Lord is my Shepherd and when I stray he is always there waiting for me to confess my sins and to receive his forgiveness and to put my feet back on the path that will eventually lead me home to be with him and the Father.
I cannot remember a time when I did not know that Jesus my Lord and Savior was a part of my life …I was brought up in a Christian home…Throughout the years there have been trials in my life. My family has looked to me for their strength and I have found that strength in the Lord.
[My brother] and I grew up being very active in [the church] youth group. We had great mentors, participated in very meaningful events and grew in Christ to become true believers. I still clearly remember the weekend retreats…and summer camp.
It was, I'm sure, the design of God that led me to a position on the staff of a clergyman. I must admit I sometimes felt confused and annoyed. Having attended church all my life I felt I knew God, after all I did believe the Apostles' Creed and tried to obey the Ten Commandments. I began to learn that knowing about Him is different than knowing Him personally. Jesus Christ came into my heart when I simply let go and let God.
What inspired me [in my teens] was listening to the conversations of "ordinary Christians"; people who didn't profess to know all the answers but who were quietly setting an example in simple everyday ways. …it was through simple examples – it wasn't theological or 'churchy' stuff – that helped me to see that in a world characterized by 'them' and 'us' the real Christian act is in doing something mundane or everyday to reach out to someone you don't know.
Prayer and the love for God and Jesus were always in my life, although I thought for many years that God never heard my payers. Then I had to make the most important decision of my life….I prayed and thought about this decision for two years. God spoke to me [through a daily devotion] for two years in a row on my birthday….I would like to encourage people to look at events in their lives with new eyes, so that they might see the miracles that are happening to them over the years.
In growing up my mother taught me about Jesus; later I joined a church and taught Sunday School and learned a lot more….a very dear friend of mine asked if I was a born-again Christian, and that started me thinking: was I? A few years went by…we were in [a] church service and were invited down front. Something came over me; I got out of my seat and went down. That day I received Jesus as my Savior.
From a very early age I witnessed Jesus working in my life and my family's life in very direct ways….when I was very young a family member had an accident and needed to be cared for 24 hours a day…I witnessed a tremendous outpouring of love and support from people in the church. It was genuine "actions" that I witnessed. Little acts of love and charity that really helped us hold it all together. Plus lots of prayers….as I watched people around me, it became very apparent that many people miss the whole point of life. It's not about accumulation of things…but …ultimately, love. I learned to have faith. We prayed, we worshiped and we engaged our faith as best we could along the way. ..my relationship with Jesus has become very deep and very personal. Sometimes too personal to describe.
I have a clear childhood memory of my Dad saying he needed to talk to me one night at bedtime. I was probably 6 or 7 years old and I was sure I was in trouble for something. Instead, he wanted to talk to me about Jesus! After he confirmed that I believed in Jesus and loved him, he explained that the next step was to pray and ask Jesus to come into my heart. So I did, and it's been a very interesting journey. I've had so many times when I've felt very close to God…I've also had times where I've taken steps away from God, where I tried to find my way through life on my own…but, like true friends, Jesus and me always find our way back to each other.
My mom read the Bible a lot. I remember a time when my youngest brother fell ill with a fatal disease. My father dropped to his knees and renewed his pledge to honor God if his son were spared. God answered that prayer, and my father worshipped faithfully, even through his final illness. ….When I was 12 years old…my cousin…took the time to talk to me about God and ask me if I wanted Jesus to live in my heart. She got down on her knees next to me as I knelt by her bed and together we prayed. She gave me her own Bible – I still have it – and encouraged me to tell others in my family what I have done. It used to be that as I sat down to dinner each night, it felt like someone was missing, even in a big family. After I asked Jesus into my heart, that feeling disappeared.
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