Rosie O.

from GA
Story #678
I grew up in a church-going family in Houston, Texas. We were semi-normal and lower to middle class. I had heard the Bible stories and knew about Jesus, but I did not know Jesus. Therefore, He didn’t make much of a difference in my life.

I had a pretty rough middle school and early high school experience. I had been around parties, alcohol, drugs...you name it. More than once, I was in a car with a drunk driver, and more than once, I was in dangerous situations with boys that could have seriously gotten me killed.

When I was 15 years old, I had a friend who was actually a closer friend to my twin brother than to me. He was going to a special evening church service at a Pentecostal church on the other side of town. My brother couldn’t go, but he asked if I still wanted to go with his family.

At first, I made up some excuse and said no. This may have been a Saturday, and in my mind, “Who goes to church on a Saturday, and who goes to church at night?” He then said, “Well, if you don’t choose God, then...I don’t know what to say.”

Ouch! What?! I was SO full of guilt. I thought about it some more, and then I agreed to go.

The pastor there was, I think, from Peru and did not speak English; he spoke through an interpreter. In typical Pentecostal style, he was very animated, and he invited people to go up to the front and “receive the Spirit.” This was very different from my Methodist upbringing.

I’m not exactly sure what happened or why I even stepped forward. Perhaps I knew that I needed a change and thought this might be the answer. I mean, my life was turning into a wreck. As I was in the front, I let everything go to God, and I just trusted Him. It was not super theological, and I couldn’t even put words to it at the time. All I knew was that I felt free.

I went home, and all I wanted to do that night was read my Bible and pray. I stayed up very late doing those things, so full of joy. I soon got plugged into a youth group at a different church (one with a more vibrant youth group) that some of my friends attended, and I stopped hanging out with the friends I previously had, who were doing such crazy things.

Over time, I understood Jesus and the Bible better. I understood how full of sin I am, and that God does not overlook or ignore ANY sin. HOWEVER, He is SO loving that He volunteered to be punished FOR me, instead of me, for every single one of my sins.

Perhaps a year later, I was baptized at my new church, and since then, God has always brought people in my life who encouraged me and taught me, no matter what city I was living in. He is always with me through everything, teaching me and building me up, and He gives me hope and peace in all circumstances.

I KNOW where I will go when I die, because I have been forgiven, and that assurance is everything. It means that I don’t have to worry about things in this short life. This life is like nothing compared to all of eternity.