Blog #Truth


31Jul

“Through the life of Muhammad, I found DEATH. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I found LIFE!”

Sonia Azam"When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me." (Psalm 27:10)


“Through the life of Muhammad, I found DEATH. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I found LIFE!”

I was Muslim–born in Islam and in a Pakistani family in Britain. The Lord Jesus began a good work in me and I know He's going to complete it until the day He returns! When I was a young Muslim–I used to read the Quran quite a lot. My dad taught me to read the Quran in Quranic Arabic when I was young which is very common with Muslim families. Parents are very important in teaching children everything they know about the religion to grow in the faith. From the very young age of five, it was my dad who taught me how to read certain verses in the Quran. We had to memorize the verses in the Quran in Arabic, not in English. Muslims pray and memorize scriptures in the Arabic and by the time I was in my late teens and early 20’s–I was reading the Quran, but it would puzzle me because I wasn't able to comprehend exactly what I was reading and I found out that this is often the case with many Muslims. We can memorize all the verses from memory–we have volumes of Arabic prayers and scriptures that we have memorized, but we don’t know what we are talking about because we didn't understand the language that it was being taught. It’s like learning the Bible in all Hebrew, but we didn’t understand the meaning because it's not our dialect. My parents speak or adore Punjabi, but mostly at home we learned and spoke English. There was just something about the Quran that I didn't understand because it was in Arabic. Eventually, I got to read the Quran in English because my dad gave me an English translation and it was in this, that the Lord Jesus began to work behind the scenes. God knows when one’s soul is longing to seek the truth. He's so faithful! The more time I spent reading the Quran in English, the more I would come across verses about Jesus. I began to compare and contrast verses in the Koran about Muhammad and Jesus and would question why He died on the cross. I didn't understand–it didn't make any sense. I couldn’t find any answers in the Quran regarding this person Jesus. He seemed so different–so special–really special–even in the Quran there's a testimony of Jesus! The true living God began to reveal Himself to me by sowing seeds in my heart.

I also thank God and grateful for street preachers on the train and London public transports for it was through these faithful preachers of the gospel, that would hand out tracts so I can learn more about Jesus. Honestly, if it weren't for them I don't know how long it would have taken the Lord to get me to believe in Him. This all began to happen at the same time when I was seeking the Lord and trying to understand Allah, Mohammed, and Isa. I was searching for the truth. 

A little more about my family background–I was the eldest of four kids–a tomboy, and considered the rebel –the scapegoat–the black sheep. It was in my 20’s that I started seeking God in my heart. I wasn't a religious Muslim girl–I was spiritual you could say and trying to find out who Jesus was. Why was He so different than Mohammed? I would keep the amazing little gospel tracks that I received on the street and the trains, and I would keep them secret and safe from my family because in those tracks there were scriptures about why Jesus came and died on the cross. Then, I would think–the Quran says He didn't die on the cross, but Christians say He did, so to me, it was a contradiction.

Later on, I found out that historically it’s a proven fact that Jesus did die on the cross for our sins, but at this early stage of sorting things out, I had a lot of questions. I have a very inquisitive mind and I was very curious. At the time, of putting the truth together, I felt that I had no theological understanding because I wasn't very good with religion in that I didn't understand anything about Christianity or Islam. Everything I learned was from the Quran. Some of the things that the Koran shares about Jesus stood out to me because it says that Jesus is a Spirit of God and He's the Word of God. The Quran also says that the Word was in Jesus and He did lots of miracles. I learned that Jesus had a lot of power. Again, I concluded that there was something really special about Him and I desired to know more. It was because of the gospel tracks that I received that I learned even more truth. Keep in mind, that I still didn’t have a Bible and back then, the internet wasn’t a big thing to look information up as it was 2001. So, I would read the scripture verses in the tracks and compare them to the Quran. I also tried to talk to my god at the time Allah, but he was so distant and all I saw was blackness. I even began to question why Muslims say they worship one God but pray faithfully bowing down before a rock like a star in the Kaaba. This was something that never sat right with me even as a Muslim–I was very hesitant to learn about the prayer because there is just something about the Kaaba–the black shrine in Mecca because remember, that's their prayer point–the focal point for all Islamic prayers facing the Kaaba (black stone) in Mecca. I would see the picture of the Kaaba all the time on the prayer mat in my dad's room where he would pray and it would freak me out a little bit. I used to have a lot of problems with fear and I knew the spirit of fear was following me for many years. As a little girl, I never liked being in the dark and for some reason when verses of Jesus would pop up, it would do something in my heart and I wanted to know so much more about Him, but I wouldn’t dare get a Bible–it didn’t even cross my mind. Eventually, what happened was I got to the stage where I began to believe the reason why Jesus died on the cross and that He was the Lamb of God–He was sacrificed and He offered Himself up to die for all humanity's sins in the world. As a Muslim, I understood what sacrifice meant because of the animal sacrifices that are done when celebrating two different types of Eid’s. One of them is where they would commemorate Abraham offering Ishmael, not Isaac. Remember Muslims believe that they are the chosen people not from the Isaac bloodline they believe it is from Ishmael. So when I came across the scriptures about Jesus dying for the sins of the world and He was the Lamb of God–it began to make so much sense to me and the Lord was giving me understanding. Again this is without having a Bible and through having a few gospel tracts that I would keep safe by hiding them in my briefcase. In the next few months, I came to believe the Good News that Jesus Christ was God who came in the flesh–the Word of God because I had that testimony from Islam that He’s a Spirit of God.

Then one day around 3 am or 4 am, I waited for everyone to be sound asleep and I got out of my bed to kneel and talk with the Heavenly Father. It was there, that I surrendered to Jesus as I remember saying to Him…“Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of your Son Jesus who became a sacrifice for my sins…I'm so sorry, please forgive me…help me and my family to see you and help us to know who you are.” It was at that point, that I crossed the line from being a Muslim girl to believing in Jesus—a breaking point. It seems cliché, but I’m telling you that I received the peace of God from that day onward. His Holy Spirit came and He started to live in my heart—I know it because it was right after this I desired to get a Bible and read what Jesus wrote.

In deciding to follow Jesus, I had no idea how bad my Muslim family would take it, so I kept it a secret for five or six months. My baptism happened months later. I end up doing some temporary work in my employment for extra cash. Bear in mind that I'm still living with my mom and dad and siblings while keeping Jesus a secret until the day came when I got this job, and I'm supposed to be helping the local community Town Hall. It was the general elections in the United Kingdom, and I was helping them with the ballots. It's the town in London called East Town. It’s still there and on my lunch break, I would confess to others that Jesus is Lord. I had no trouble with it and I knew He was God and eventually He would work it out–He would tell my family about Himself and would save my mom and dad. I had it all worked out in my brain. Well, during my lunch period one day there was a Pentecostal gathering of Colombian Christians in the town hall in the venue where I was working. I went into the main hall because I was curious and I peeped in as they were singing songs in Spanish or in the Colombian language—I wasn't sure, but I just had a good feeling about it so I walked in and they were so excited they thought I was Colombian, so they said to come on in. I thought they were celebrating a marriage or something, and then one of the girls by the name of Angelica came over and asked me if I was a Christian. I stumbled for my words—looked over my shoulders and whispered “yes I am”. She then asked if I would like to come in and if I had a Bible with me. I told her that I don't have a Bible, and I'm actually on my lunch break—I was making all these excuses because I got nervous as I was still keeping it a secret. She said to me to come over as she went and grabbed a Bible and gave it to me. I wish I could rewind and see this moment in history. I just grabbed the Bible and thanked her so much. After, I just wanted to run off and sneak it in my handbag, but I stayed in the service. Then the pastor or preacher began what we call an altar call for people to come up front and give their lives to Jesus. I saw one person than another walking up to the front to surrender their life to Jesus. I thought to myself that I wanted to do this because I knew I should make a public confession. Later on, when I got into reading the Gospels I learned Jesus said that if we deny Him before men He’ll deny us before His Father, but if we confess Him before men He’ll confess us before the Father. (Matthew 10:32-33) So I waited a few minutes for people to do their thing and I knew that I wanted to surrender my life to Christ. I was nervous doing it because again, I’m in a Muslim family and still considered Muslim and I knew if anyone was to see me there would be hell to pay, but I did it anyway because I felt that I was in a safe environment and I knew that God had to set this thing up for me.  After all, He even had a stranger give me a Bible. There is no such thing as a secret believer in Christianity—we must boldly confess Jesus Christ—we must deny all false religions—deny idolatry—and publicly confess that there is only one God—there is only one name and that name is Jesus Christ. We must come to the place where we do this boldly and unashamedly. At the time, I was still very timid and nervous about this whole thing because I was keeping Jesus a secret, but I will never forget that it was a Saturday on June 2nd, 2001, that I gave my life to Jesus. After this, I was so hungry to read the Bible. I started reading the Bible from Genesis. I have heard that most people when they come to Jesus go to the Gospels or to the book of John, but I didn't have anyone to help me or say start here or go there, so I just figured the best way to start a book is in the beginning. I read the whole Old Testament in a couple of months and then began the New Testament. In between, I would go back to the Old Testament to check things out. I found the Bible fascinating and I was getting so many answers to my questions from why Adam and Eve were created and what the deal was with Satan because the Islamic view of the devil in the early stages of creation is peculiar and made no sense.

So when I was reading Genesis I went over to the books of the law and I understood a lot from all the books of the law which is Deuteronomy and Leviticus. During this time, I also discovered Christian cable TV and would watch some in the early hours while my parents were sleeping. I used to love Derek Prince's teachings and I learned so much from him early on in my walk with the Lord. I am so in love with Jesus it’s like fire as Jeremiah says His Word is like a fire—How can I hide it? How can I keep it a secret? I can’t! I would write love letters to my Heavenly Father and little poems of prayers and keep them in my bedroom. I didn't know how to express all this love that He was giving me—I didn’t know how to express all this love He was giving me especially while still living in a Muslim household. As some time went by, my mom noticed that I wouldn’t wake up early for Ramadan to fast, and then eventually, she found my prayers that I wrote to my Heavenly Father and saw my Bible that fell out of my handbag. 

Once my family found out, everything began to happen quickly. One day my mom picked me up from the town hall where I worked and while we were driving home she began to ask me…What do the letters mean that she found? Who was my Heavenly Father? And, then she said that you’re not even fasting. I was really quiet and she started to get very aggressive and angry. This is how the demonic works—it wasn't my mother it was demons—Demons in my mom getting irritated with me. She said you're not even admitting and denying it! We do not call Allah our Heavenly Father and Jesus is not a Son of God! She was beating me as she was driving the car and then said…“You better think this through before you come home today—I'm going to drop you off and tell your father so you better reconsider because he’s not going to be happy! I got really scared but knew that I was going to have to say what I believe. At the time, I was still with my ex-boyfriend and he wasn't supportive or seeing the transformation going on in my life. In fact, he slapped me on the face for believing in Jesus. I learned that you could be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but Jesus Christ will always pull you out. Even though I was considered the scapegoat and black sheep in my family—the taunting increased. When I got home my dad confronted me and asked if it was true what my mom was telling him? Surprisingly, it was my mom that was more aggressive with me than my dad and after my father and I talked—my mom ramped up the attacks a lot against me in which she began to get all the relatives to come over to try to talk sense into me and interrogate me. Remember, I was only just beginning to read the Bible for myself and trying to understand the history where Jesus came from—I was very young in the faith not baptized yet—my family was coming over and putting me in the hot seat and asking me so many questions intimidating me. I would tell them that He’s the God of Abraham. They didn’t like what I said, but I shared with them what it says in John 10:1-11“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” 

I then remembered that I read that same terminology before in the Old Testament about the Good Shepherd in Ezekiel 34, so I knew He was Jesus there's no doubt about it it's all over the book and that He is the God of the Old Testament—It has always been Jesus! Ezekiel 34:11-16 says— ‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, [b]in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.” Jeremiah 23 speaks about the Shepherd as well.

So this is why I was trying to tell my family that He’s the God that has created everything. I said to my dad…“Don’t you agree because in the Quran it says that Jesus is coming to judge the world?” I continued …“Muhammad isn’t coming to judge the world—He’s dead.” This is when I would get slapped on my face. Jesus is alive—He’s the resurrected God—It’s so amazing, and the truth of the Gospel shakes everything you know. I was only beginning to learn, but He was going to show me much more.

So anyway, I dealt with my family members coming over for awhile, but then it culminated to the point where I was asked to leave the family home because they couldn't accept that I have become a Christian and an apostate in Islam. It was very embarrassing for the whole family, and my dad and mom would say that I was the only one who has ever done anything like this and it was the worst thing that could have happened to the family and it would have been better if they found out that I was doing drugs or something else because then they could contain and help me, but the fact that I've denied Islam and in doing this—I denied my family. They took it very personally. I shared with my dad, that he said that our faith lies in the roots of Abraham and in that regard, Jesus is the same God. I wanted my dad to read it for himself, but it was difficult. I knew that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were one and I knew in my heart, that He was with me all along. It wasn't possible that Jesus could come and be physically present with me, but by His Spirit He's with me—He’s with us. His Spirit of truth gave me comfort in the midst of things becoming so heated with my family. I received and believed the truth of what the Bible says and found myself not knowing where I was to go for I had nowhere to go.

The Lord would speak to me through scriptures, and as I would be asking Him what to do, I would turn to a page in the Bible that would speak to me and would receive help from Him. How many times does this happen to us when we’re praying about something and we open the Word and boom—the Lord is talking to you? Many times! One of the scriptures I turned to was from Matthew 10:21-23 and it says…“Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another.” So I would read all these beautiful things that were encouraging to me, and God would speak to me through them that everything was going to be alright and I was doing the right thing. I learned that Jesus taught us that if we follow Him, people would reject and betray us, and if you’re going to deny Islam as I did and stick up for the name of Jesus, you can even lose your parents—You can lose everything. God tells this in His Word so we would be prepared.

By the time Christmas Eve came of 2001, my parents called the emergency doctor to come and visit me because of course, they thought I was losing my mind. They told the doctor that I was hearing voices and talking nonsense. I told him that I was absolutely fine and it was just a domestic situation at home with a disagreement we were having. The doctor said if I needed any further help to call the special number that he gave me. If I happened to be upstairs while my relatives visited, I would have to go downstairs and sit and listen to all the stuff they were saying to me in trying to talk sense into me. They would even say I would burn in hell and that I have become an apostate or a kafir and I should be dead by being stoned to death. I cried a lot because at the time, I didn’t understand why they were so hostile toward me. I was naive and I really came to Jesus with a childlike faith. I believed with my whole heart that Jesus was Lord—that He was alive and not dead because He came back to life, and that He was coming back again. The Quran actually says that Jesus will be coming back to judge the earth as well. I would rather follow a man that is alive than dead! God gave me some boldness even in the early days and I would speak what He was putting on my heart.

It was Christmas Day and my mom, dad, sisters, and brother were home. My parents wanted me to leave the family home, but I had nowhere to go and I didn’t have any Christian friends as of yet. My younger sister, who was around 12 years old at the time, shared my room and would often see my parents smacking and beating me so she was worried and would get really upset and cry at times not knowing what was going on. I would try to comfort her by letting her know that everything was going to be OK. My brother was in his early teens and didn't understand.

When the night would come, my dad would say to me…“You have to understand…What you have done is very bad and we cannot accept you this way. You need to make a decision. Either you continue with Jesus or you come back to your senses and we’ll get you married to a Muslim man, and you’ll be fine and you can forget about Jesus.” I told my dad that I cannot deny Jesus because He is God. I proceeded to apologize over and over again for all the bad things I did in my life and for giving them so much trouble as I was a rebellious tomboy.

I tried to encourage my dad to read the scriptures for himself on why I have come to know Jesus is God, but he couldn’t receive it, and they thought I lost my mind—we couldn’t reason with each other. They were sure that someone in my life was brainwashing me, and they wanted to know who told me Jesus was God. I was scared to say anything to them, but I needed to tell them that He clearly showed me the truth that in Islam, you’re worshiping an idol as paganism. My mom became very emotional as I am sure she believed she had lost her daughter. That night, I was slapped and beat and realized how serious the situation was. I sat at the edge of my bed talking to God telling Him that I did not know what to do or where to go and that I love my parents. I was always a homely girl and wasn’t independent like some teenagers and people in their 20’s. In fact, I went to a university a couple of years prior and dropped out because I was so homesick. I was terrified because I didn't know what to do so I opened the Bible and this is what I read from Psalm 27:10…“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” When I read this, I knew that the Lord was with me and was going to take care of me—Everything was going to be OK. How can anyone tell me that Jesus is not God when I'm talking to Him and He's talking back to me? That’s no coincidence! So I took a deep breath, and I said …“All right then, okay Lord, let's do it.” I had a suitcase which was full of things that I have accumulated over the years that I emptied as my little sister watched with concern. I told her not to worry and that it would only be for a short time and I will be staying with a friend. As I was packing, I remembered what Jesus said in the Gospels if you want to follow Him. It says in Matthew 16:24…“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” I wanted to stay with my parents as I had attachment issues, but the Lord was allowing me to surrender in His time step by step. It was around 4 in the morning, that I sneaked out of the house while they were all sleeping to catch a taxi. Three months went by and I was still very mindful of how upset everybody at home was as well as the Islam community. Once in a while, I went home to check in on my family to test the waters and see if they calmed down, but they were still very angry with me and there were just more arguments and they would say nasty things about Jesus and I would leave again. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell my family where I was staying because I didn't want them to know in case there would be any drama for the people that I was living with.

After leaving home, I started attending a church and soon was baptized. Of all days for my mother to look for me and find out where I was, it was on the day of my baptism. I was already anxious that anyone from my family would find out about what I planned to do. As I was getting ready to be baptized, I gave my testimony and began to cry. When I looked up, I saw my mom and auntie there. My heart sank and I thought to myself…“Not today! Not on the day that I’m getting baptized!” I then tried to tell the pastor to give him a heads-up that there might be some trouble because my mom was there. He said that it would be fine and it was good that she’s in church, but then as I was stepping down into the base of baptismal water she walked up and was screaming and cursing about Jesus and me. At the same time, Pastor Tony continued to baptize me while holding his hands over my ears so I couldn't hear what was being said. He then proceeded to say…“I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” I was so excited to die to myself and rise up with Christ as well as saying my own prayers in my head trying to block out what my mother was saying as she screamed at the edge of the baptismal water. I asked the Lord to please forgive her because she thought I was lost and didn’t know what she was doing. The people that were at the church rose and began to pray in tongues. It was the first time I have ever heard what it means to pray in the spirit or in tongues and I realized what was happening was a spiritual battle. I was still sobbing my eyes out because I didn’t want anything to happen to my mom as she was so hysterical saying things like…“I'm going to burn this church down! I'm going to get your brother to burn this church down! You rejected Islam! You rejected Allah! You rejected the whole family!” The leaders in the church tried to calm her down, but she had what seemed to be super-human strength which was actually demons manifesting in her. After the baptism, I got dressed and stayed with a family from the church for a season. There was a rumor going around that the local taxi firm had my photo and gave it out to the drivers who were mostly Muslim to be on the lookout for me, so every time I would leave the house or go anywhere, I needed to disguise myself because I didn’t want anyone to recognize me.

Eventually, I moved up to north England in Derbyshire and stayed there for five years. In those years, the Lord isolated me so I can have time alone with Him to get grounded in the Word and grow in my faith. There were lovely people in the church and they looked after me and gave me a job. While there, I did keep in contact with my family and they tried and succeeded to persuade me to come back home, so I did. When I moved back, they forbid me from going to church, and unfortunately I compromised for the sake of saving them respect in the community and because they both were struggling with sickness. In fact, one night my dad collapsed due to his type 1 diabetes and we were concerned that he would go into a coma. I had memorized Isaiah 53:5 and I confessed healing over my dad in the name of Jesus. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” My dad came around and felt better before the ambulance came and he said to me…“I heard you pray in the name of Jesus for me.” I said…“You did?” and then, I thought he was going to hit me, but he didn’t and said…“Thank you for doing that.” A miracle in itself!

When I moved back home, my career and social life distracted me and my relationship with Jesus grew more lukewarm. I turned to music and dancing which as a little girl I always liked. Because of the prohibition my family put on me, when I would go to church they would find out. I didn’t want the church to get in trouble, so at the time, I thought it was best not to go. When I moved back to London, the Lord began opening doors for me concerning a documentary and opportunities to share my testimony on very popular media outlets under a different name than my own of course. My interests also grew in political things such as terrorism. I knew that the Lord had a calling on my life and for various reasons the enemy was trying his best to take me off track. Even from the early days, I became distracted from hurtful people that would come into my life, but the Lord still kept me close to Him even though for a bit, I had a pattern of drifting from Him and then coming close to Him again. In this, I learned that fellowship with other believers is essential not only for encouragement, but for our protection and support. Going to church too is very important in strengthening our walk with Him. Because I didn’t have this at the time, I threw myself into my career, music, clubbing, and getting involved in politics. I began to have many contacts in the media as I continued to do things “behind the scenes” fearing what my parents would do if they found out. All the while, I didn’t stop reading my Bible because I knew that God showed me so many things in those five years, and He began something special so I can help others by exposing truth and being a bold vessel for Him. But first, I knew I needed to get rid of my fear of man that always seemed to be there even though my heart burned for Jesus. As I share my story, it’s 2019, and I moved to California. Before moving, there was three to four occasions where my dad had me sit with the Imam from the Mosque because they were so worried that I was getting more stubborn in my faith with Jesus, and they thought it would take a Imam Mosque leader to talk with me about why I was wrong about Jesus and that I have been brainwashed into believing that the Bible is true. At the time, I didn’t know how to answer the questions that he was asking—as they were questions that  only apologetic's and people like that would be able to answer. So I had no idea what to say, but I had my Bible in my hands and would tell him…“Well, it says here” to no avail as they would not listen. Unfortunately, there’s a blindness and an evil spirit behind this thing and twice, the Imam said to me that my punishment for what I’ve done was death and that I’m a kuffar or apostate and I need to die for it, but then he said something to my dad like well you know, this is the UK though. I knew the seriousness of what I’ve done to accept Christ and appreciated the concern of the Muslim community, but they don’t know what I know right now, but they will. Many from the Islamic community are coming to the knowledge of Jesus. In fact, Muslims are coming to Jesus in great numbers around the world because He’s appearing to them in dreams and visions. Those that have found Jesus are persecuted, but they don't care because they are saying… “We found everything…He’s our treasure!” Jesus talked about the treasure in His parable—He’s the treasure—He’s the world’s most precious treasure and no one can steal that from me ever again! “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44) I want to serve Jesus for the rest of my life! I have to let my light shine like a candle in the darkness.  I ask for boldness in Jesus name. We all are special in Jesus' eyes. He considers us so much that He even numbers the hairs on our head. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7)

Jesus is returning soon—I'm so excited! A lot of hard times are coming, but we have to be strong. We can't let anything shake our faith. He’s the Shepherd—He’s the door and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—there’s no other and I want to serve Him all the days of my life! Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) 

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“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But  whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven."  (Matthew 10:32-33) 

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this illustration, but they did not understand the things which He spoke to them. Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”  (John 10:1-11)

‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, [b]in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.” (Ezekiel 34:11-16)

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”       (Exodus 20:4-6)              

“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.”  (1 Corinthians 10:14)

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26Jun

Amanda Grace's life changed in an instant in August 2002, when she felt fluish, and then collapsed in her mother’s home starting a 16 year battle with a rare neuropathy and autoimmune disease. The Lord brought her back from the verge of death multiple times, and raised her up from being paralyzed in a wheelchair. This amazing testimony is truly a testament to the power, grace, and love of Almighty God!

Amanda Grace


What the Lord has done for me has been like a baptism by fire, and I believe what I've been through really shows the strength and power of the Lord because His strength is made perfect in our weakness. The more we go through—the more of His strength can be demonstrated in our lives. The Lord is everything to me!

From the time I was a child, I fought illness. At the age of four, my mother found me in my crib blue and rushed me to the pediatrician. It was discovered, that I had severe asthma. I found myself in the hospital a lot because I would get pneumonia and bronchitis often. At times, I would need oxygen tents because I couldn't breathe outside of them. Because I was in the hospital so much, I missed a lot of school work. Unlike today, the choices to treat asthma were limited. Two of the options were adrenaline shots and slo-bid which was like giving a child ten cups of coffee. When I was about six years old, nebulizer treatments became available. 

I praise God for my mom because she's a strong woman in the Lord and she raised me to be the same—a fighter—one that perseveres and doesn't give up. My mom took care of me a lot when I was going through all of this. Unfortunately, my father wanted nothing to do with the Lord and everything to do with the world and worldly things. This caused a bit of a rocky childhood because the Bible talks about a house divided cannot stand, and because of my dad's choices, there were both spiritual and physical implications in our lives. So fighting illness, and dealing with this was not easy.

I was raised on the border of the Bronx, NY (the south end of New Rochelle), and by the time I was fifteen—we moved into Hudson Valley, NY. This move was a whole new ordeal for me because the high school was rough even back then to the point of needing security guards. I then went on to John Jay High School, which was another adjustment, and I began to have gastrointestinal issues—this was the secondary symptoms showing up before the primary symptoms.

I ended up having terrible gastrointestinal issues, and at the age of sixteen, my gallbladder had to be removed because it stopped working due to problems with the ducts going to my pancreas. By the age of seventeen, I ended up getting pancreatitis from all the gastrointestinal issues I had been fighting.

I began to attend Santa College in Lavelle, NY and while there, I was still very sick and thin because I couldn't eat a lot of foods due to my incredibly limited diet. The college was very accommodating with everything, but it was very frustrating.

By the age of twenty, my parents ended up getting a divorce. My mother tried she did, but there are just times that somebody is so set in their ways as my dad was, that it's too destructive and not good all around.  With the divorce, my whole world changed and I found myself taking six classes while working thirty hours a week to try to support myself.

Nine months after getting out of Siena College in New York, I was working at Global Financial Services in Harrison, NY as a hedge fund accountant on a hedge fund worth hundreds of millions of dollars. When I interviewed at Globo, they had me take a financial IQ test. The highest score for this test because of its difficulty was a 40 out of a hundred—I scored an 80 out of a hundred doubling their highest score and they immediately hired me at very generous salary for a 21-year-old. It was a very stressful and intense job because a hedge fund that's worth hundreds of millions of dollars has different currencies. stocks, bonds, commodities, futures, you name it it's in that fund. 

Because of all I had gone through as a kid, I stayed away from a lot of indulgences that other kids experimented with such as, drugs and cigarettes. I barely drank a glass of wine every now and then because of the health problems that I have been through—I was going to the gym, eating right, and doing everything I could to keep my body completely healthy. But nine months into doing all I could to keep healthy—I began to feel flush however, this was no regular flu—this was a killer virus and within seven days, I collapsed on the floor of my mother's bathroom and she rushed me to the hospital. The doctors did not know what was wrong and thought it might be Lyme disease or MS. They ran many tests, but couldn't find anything. In an instant, my life changed! I was unable to walk or talk well and I was very weak. I will tell you that this was an attack from the pit of hell!

Eighteen years ago, doctors did not know about viruses attacking the nervous systems and neuropathy—they knew much less back then than they know now about such issues, and so the doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. I was released from the hospital and we started our journey of looking for specialty doctors. We went to fourteen specialty doctors in a year and a half to try to figure out what had happened to me because, it was clear that something was very; very wrong. I deteriorated more over that time, and by the time I got to Dr. Adam's a year and a half later, at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, he had to admit me to the hospital because my blood pressure was 70 over 40—I was thin and very weak. After testing, he thought that maybe I had pots syndrome (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), but he said…"There is something else going on here that we can't quite put our finger on…an underlying autoimmune issue that we can't quite diagnose yet." Then, Doctor Adam's told me that I had to go into rehab because I was too weak and my body wasn't functioning correctly. So, I was admitted to Burke Rehabilitation Institute in Westchester, New York. It's a fabulous rehab center and the people there were amazing. I spent over a month there which happened to be during Christmas and New Year's. Even going through this God was faithful! So many people came to see me, and they decorated my room for Christmas. One of my mom's friends made food for Christmas day. The young adult's group from Faith Assembly of God that I used to help came to see me too. God was faithful in sending all these people to support me during this time. Now, as good as the rehab center was, they had never quite dealt with nervous system issues like I was having so I will tell you—rehab was very intense and difficult.

I started rehab in a wheelchair, but when I left—I walked out of there using a cane—praise God for that. The doctors told me, that I couldn't go back to work in the field of finance due to it being too stressful—They felt it would break down my body, so I had to figure out how to rebuild my life. I was very shy at this point and even afraid to pray out loud because as a kid, nobody was allowed to talk about God around my father. He would get very angry, so I was very introverted about my relationship with the Lord until He helped me with this through this trial.

I ended up being very weak and frail for a long time and would go through bouts of sickness. The doctors had trouble keeping me healthy as I would keep getting infections, so it was one step forward and two steps back. Doctor Adam's decided that I needed to have white blood cell transfusions (IVIG immunoglobulin) which are put into your body intravenously, with about a four-hour drip. They started me on a regiment once a month for five days in a row. I will tell you, they give them to cancer patients too and make you incredibly sick and tired you're down for days after you get these treatments. Well, I had an anaphylactic reaction from the brand they put me on and needed to be rushed to the hospital, so they decided to put me on it once a week instead of five days in a row. I was very weak a couple of days after treatments and was in the house a lot—I did not have much of a life—I couldn't drive and had to have somebody watch me when I went out because my legs tended to give out on me.

For seven years, I slowly got better. I still couldn't work, but I was able to drive. I continued to fight intense pain with neuropathy. It felt as if, my limbs were on fire or I was being burned with cigarettes, as well as needles being stuck into my joints. It took a lot of mental toughness to push through. To try to ease the burden and the excruciating pain, my doctors put me on a pain regiment. Pain is stress on the body, and if the body is in too much pain, it will break down the immune system. They didn't want me in a more weakened condition and to be able to go out and live and function as much as I could.

In 2012, I got married and was attending a church called John 3:16 Christian Center in Burbank, NY. The Lord had brought some wonderful people into my life there. At this point, I was able to do some housework, drive a little and some other things, but would have to pace myself—one day on—one day off—so if I had to go out and do grocery shopping, I'd have to rest the entire next day because it took my body three times more energy and fortitude to do the simple tasks that everybody else takes for granted. A lot of times, when people get sick they don't feel useful and their self-worth goes down a lot because their identity becomes that illness. I encourage you to not let an illness you are fighting become your identity because you are so much more than that lie of illness that's going on in your body. God is greater than any illness—Jesus died for people to be healed—He died for our sins.

I had to keep reminding myself during this trial that my relationship with the Lord and faith in Him was growing. Unfortunately, other things were going on in my life that added more stress and for anyone fighting autoimmune neuropathy diseases/illnesses conditions—stress is one of the worst things for your body—it's toxic and can cause relapses and the body to break down. At this point, I was in such a weakened state I was not supposed to be around anybody sick and I ended up being around somebody that was sick and from that, I ended up getting pneumonia and needed to be rushed to the hospital—something was not right the morning I woke up on September 30th, 2012. I woke up that morning, and my limbs were involuntary, I was having a lot of trouble breathing, my chest was in pain, and I felt as if I had an infection. The doctor said that I had to get to the hospital immediately. So my mother rushed me to Putnam Hospital in Carmel, NY. By the time the doctors got there and examined me, my left lung had completely shut down and no air sounds were coming out of my left lung. Within 30 minutes, they had me on a heart monitor, an IV drip of antibiotics, and steroids which are like my nuclear option—I wouldn't touch them unless it's life or death—steroids are great for inflammation, but they have a host of unpleasant side-effects. Once admitted to the hospital, I was put in the cardiac care unit because of the neuropathy and autoimmune complications I was fighting, my entire nervous system crashed—my body crashed—I lost the ability to walk, my blood oxygen level had dropped to 90 which anything below 95, the doctors don't like to see because it tells how well your body is moving oxygen through your bloodstream. I was having a lot of trouble breathing, and even trying to get into my wheelchair to go to the bathroom my heart rate would shoot up to 170 beats per minute setting off all the alarms at the nurse's station (they put my room in front of the nurse's station for this reason). I was in the hospital for three weeks but wasn't completely stable and the doctors made a decision, that I had to go to rehab again to learn how to walk again. Well, let me tell you that during this time, I had a lot of conversations with the Lord about why He let this happen—"Lord why am I going through this again? Why do I keep getting sick? Why? Why? Why? I asked a lot of why's in that hospital bed, but I also knew that I had to cling to the Lord for dear life because He was the only one that was going to save me in this—He was the only one that could heal my body—He was the only one that could bring me through this trial. I have learned that the devil (enemy) will launch an offensive before the plans of God even come to fruition in your life to stop His plans. In the Bible, the enemy did this a lot even causing the fallen angels to go down and have relations with earthly women to create the Nephilim those Giants to try to interrupt the seed—the line that Jesus would be born through. So the enemy is known for launching offensives to try to stop the plans of God from coming to fruition in your life before they even come to fruition.

When they told me that I had to go to rehab again, I was crying—I was tired—I wanted to go home—I didn't want to be in the hospital anymore—and trust me, they were lovely people the Lord sent— amazing nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists—a pulmonologist, a gastroenterologist, a primary doctor—there were quite a few specialists involved in this decision. Before going to rehab, you're supposed to be stabilized however, the primary doctor made the mistake of sending me too early, and I was transferred by ambulance to Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie, New York. When I arrived, I was in terrible distress and had a very difficult time breathing and then a horrible asthma attack—so much so, the doctor said that they didn't know if I was stable enough—they were angry at Putnam Hospital for sending me prematurely to rehab, and they said to me that they didn't know if I could endure rehab because of my lungs and all the pain I was in. Pneumonia had exacerbated the neuropathy and I was in twice as much pain as normal. The pain felt as though it was between an eight to ten 10 all the time. The doctors decided to put me on an IV pain medication to get me through rehab and on round-the-clock respiratory treatments. I was also given large doses of steroids which they had already done a Putnam Hospital. One of the unpleasant side effects of steroids is they make you gain a lot of weight and I blew up like a balloon. My face looked round and at 5'9" I almost weighed 220 pounds. Between the steroids and the heparin shots given to me in my stomach every day to thin the blood and prevent blood clots, I was black and blue—swollen—looked completely disfigured—Yes, I felt ugly and like a black-and-blue disfigured bloated pin-cushion! Emotionally, I went through a very hard time with how much this fight—this trial—the disease—pneumonia—and how the medication had disfigured me—It was very difficult to deal with.

I ended up starting a two-month stay at the rehabilitation center, and tied the longest record they had for rehabbing there. They put me right in front of the nurse's station. I praise God because I did have a lot of favor through everything. I had a private room and when the nurses took their breaks, they pulled the curtain and they would chat with me—my room was the happening place to be to hang out and chat. Other patients would come to visit me and I'd go visit them as well. The hospital gave me special privileges and one of them was to be able to decorate the wing for Christmas. I decorated my wheelchair too with all sorts of garland in the spokes and ornaments hanging from the handles then, go scooting around the floor—the nurses would laugh. The nurses were very attentive to me not only when I was in pain or distress, but also if I wanted special food from the cafeteria. I had wonderful physical and occupational therapists, who were dedicated to trying to get me well.

While at rehab, I was on medication to help my heart rate, antibiotics, steroids, and a cocktail of drugs that tried to keep me stable and alive. Then another complication arises from the steroids and weight gain—for the first time in my life, I became diabetic and needed insulin shots anytime my glucose level went above 200. I continually had IV's and then, they put a PICC line in me, running from my vein to my heart. I had to put my faith in the Lord and trust Him—I was walking through the valley of the shadow of death, but God was walking with me—I was never alone—He never left me—He never forsake me—He never allowed the plans of the enemy to come to fruition in my life—He never allowed the enemy to kill me— He always stepped in the way and gave me the grace because His grace is sufficient to help keep me pushing—"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4) "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I was at physical therapy for a couple of months and while there, they had to put metal braces on my legs from my knees down to my ankles—I looked like the bionic woman. These metal braces forced me to stand up and during therapy; I would have somebody behind me with a wheelchair and someone else on the side of me. At first, they had me walking a few feet then—I slowly progressed to the point where they sent me home in a wheelchair along with physical therapy. Let me tell you that it's a very humbling experience when somebody has to take you to the bathroom—when they need to help bathe you—wash and dry your hair—and dress you—count your blessings for the simple things you can do because if you lose them, you will see very quickly how important doing tasks independently really are.

I was sent home four days before Christmas on December 21st, 2012, and my husband, Chris, had put up a Christmas tree. My dog's Roxy and Gracie had no clue where I went for two months—they were dumb-founded and when I arrived home, they were happy and confused all at the same time. I do have to say, that I felt very insecure being home on my own because my husband worked and I was in a kind of incubator for two months with people around to watch and protect me.

To help at home, I got an aide three times a week and my mom would come to help as well, but I had to learn a lot on my own like how to slide into the wheelchair by myself and go to the bathroom. I also needed to learn in my weakened state, how to go get food out of the fridge and feed myself. Soon, I received a wonderful aide by the name of Mary, who was sent by the Lord to help me with everything including walking my dogs and the insurance company. With her help, I was able to get an electric wheelchair with all the bells and whistles. This helped me greatly, so I could get out of the house and walk my dogs around the property. Getting fresh air was another huge blessing! I knew that the Lord was providing these blessings to help me get through everything—He was giving me provision to help me endure the battle. I have learned that passionate people have a will to fight and being a feisty Italian girl who was raised in the Bronx—I had a will to fight! 

It's a good thing I am a fighter because by Christmas I got sick again with such a horrible infection that I couldn't even sit up. My mom and dad came over even though they're divorced—which was slightly uncomfortable, but they both wanted to be there for me. My husband, Chris, was determined to cook Christmas dinner and my mom helped him. I was so sick I couldn't even get up to enjoy Christmas. I was bloated and something was very wrong because I couldn't move—perhaps I was sent home a little too early because four days later, I end up back in the emergency room with the doctors telling me that I had bronchitis and they had to admit me. All the progress I made for the two months that I was in rehab being able to stand up with the braces and walking a little bit was lost. It was like I was paralyzed from the waist down—I had no use of my legs—my body had completely crashed. I was back in the hospital depressed and beside myself and crying out to God from my heart..."Where are you? I need you! Why?" Over the next three weeks, the Lord did some pretty miraculous things. I had ended up back in the cardiac care unit and they had sent me to a step-down unit, which is when you're well enough to be out of ICU or cardiac care and they send you to a regular floor. My husband came early on New Year's Eve to see me, but he was exhausted and went home. I said to the Lord sadly…"I'm going to ring in the New Year all by myself in a hospital bed." Well, no sooner than I said that, the nurses from the entire floor came into my room with hats and noisemakers and said…"Amanda, we took a vote and we unanimously decided we all wanted to ring in the New Year with you!" This was an answer to prayer praise God—the Lord really heard my prayer about feeling alone, and all the nurses came in and put a party hat on me, gave me a noisemaker, and we all rang in the New Year together. 

Every morning, I had a respiratory therapist come in and they would make me blow into a peak flow meter which would indicate how well I was breathing. A good reading is 400 or higher and mine was around 280, so my lungs were still not completely healthy. The one time I blew into the meter, it felt like somebody had plunged a knife into my chest sending my therapist running to get the nurses because I couldn't breathe. They rushed down the hall and brought an echocardiogram (EKG), which read that I was having a heart attack. Then they rushed out of the room and called a code. Because most of the doctors and nurses on the floor knew me, and the room number that I was in, they all came running. I was suddenly surrounded by twelve doctors and nurses. It was too early in the morning for my husband or mom to be there, so I was alone and scared as they were taking blood, putting things into my IV, making me put nitroglycerin under my tongue, got me on oxygen as they were rushing me back down to the cardiac care unit. I said a very simple prayer…"Lord, you're the only one that can reach into my chest and stop this heart attack—I'm scared—please help me." By the time we got down to the cardiac care unit another echocardiogram was taken, the heart attack had completely vanished! It just registered that my heart was beating a little fast, and the doctors and nurses were in the corner comparing the two EKGs saying…"How did this happen?" They checked the machine and it didn't malfunction—they were completely dumbfounded! The Lord miraculously stopped the heart attack that the enemy was trying to bring against my life! That is the power of almighty God! Yes, my heart needed to yield to what God says—that's how powerful the name of Jesus is because every knee must bow and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord.  (Isaiah 45:23, Romans 14:11)

They called my mother and in turn, she called my husband. She raced over to the hospital and when she got there and heard what happened she was just praising Jesus up and down—she was calling people—I mean it was truly miraculous! You know it is one thing to hear about miracles, but when the power of almighty God manifests in your life and miracles begin to happen it's a whole different ballgame—it's a whole different story. I was at the hospital another two weeks before they sent me home in a wheelchair. I couldn't walk at all and it was too soon for me to go back to the rehab, so I needed to go home and they had a nurse come to clean my PICC line. The nurse happened to be a gentleman who was about six foot five and 300 pounds—he was a very big boy! Well, my puppy, Roxy, who we rescued from a high kill shelter down in Georgia, had enough of people taking her mommy away and she was going to do something about it, so on this particular day when the nurse was washing his hands in our kitchen sink, I heard Roxy yelp, and the nurse yelled…"Your dog just bit my a**!" Shock and embarrassment came over me, like blood draining out of my face, and before I could yell at Roxy, she was doing a victory lap wagging her tail—head held high running around the kitchen and living room like she just did a great thing and from that day forward, that nurse never turned his back on Roxie again.

I was only home for about ten days when I woke up one morning throwing up among other symptoms. The PICC line in my arm was red, hard, swollen and oozing. I felt like I was going to die! My husband could see that there was something very wrong, so he called my mother and they brought me to the hospital which was a tough ride because I threw up the entire way. My mother called the hospital when we were on the way, so the medical staff was ready when I arrived. When I got there, they immediately put me into nausea medicine, pain medicine, and they pulled the PICC line out. When the PICC line came out, there was a hole in my arm that was oozing. They did cultures and sent it to be analyzed and it came back that I had MRSA. I became septic and found out it's so rare to get MRSA through a PICC line that I had to be reported to New York State. Now, I was septic fighting MRSA that kills healthy people and I am in a weakened state—my heart was weakened—my body was weak—I couldn't walk, and now here comes the third attack MRSA and septic. They immediately admitted me to the hospital and put me on a nuclear bomb of antibiotics that included multiple IV bags at once. The situation was grave—In fact, I found out later that the doctors didn't know if I was going to live because my body had little strength to fight off this very; very deadly infection.

My mother called everyone who could pray because God was the ONLY ONE who could intervene and stop what was going on. Well, something miraculous happened—within two days, the numbers on my blood work doubled and were near normal! Dr. Singh was so stunned that he came into my hospital room and said…"Amanda, I have to tell you—we didn't think you were going to live and it's incredible the turnaround you've made in just two days!" Well, because I kept on improving, I only had to stay there a week and they sent me home without a PICC line for good reason.

They couldn't get me back into the rehab facility, so I went home completely paralyzed from the waist down—I had no use of my legs whatsoever. The Lord had saved my life yet again—He had miraculously intervened yet again—No infection—No disease—No situation is impossible for God! I am home in a wheelchair, bloated from the steroids, black and blue from the PICC line, and disfigured but—I'm alive—Praise God! Once home, I had to adjust to life in a wheelchair. My aide, Mary, came back to work with me again and she would bathe me, wash and blow-dried my hair, help with laundry, walk the dogs and so much more. My mom was also working overtime to help out because my husband was not around during the day due to his job plus, it was like an automatic pilot for my mom because she's been through this with me since I was a kid. Even though Mary and my mom were coming over to help a lot, I tried to learn to do things on my own as well such as—doing the laundry, how to get in my electric wheelchair and walk the dogs, and how to slide on and off of the wheelchair without falling. It was rough, but I had to accept the fact that at that moment, I was in a wheelchair and paralyzed from the waist down. The Lord and His favor were so good because a physical therapist, named Gary, was sent to my house who was determined to try to help me walk again. Gary was Catholic who believed in the Lord but never has seen a miracle before, so God was setting up something pretty incredible. Gary was special because I had another physical therapist come before and say that I wasn't going to walk again and it wasn't worth trying. But Gary wanted to try and he had a lot of compassion on me—thank God.

When Gary came over, Roxy didn't want anyone to take her mommy away again so she would get up on her hind legs and try to push Gary away from me. God bless Gary—he had the patience of a saint with Roxy and worked with her till she trusted him. Roxy would circle the wheelchair and get anxious when Gary would work with me because, in her mind, I was supposed to be in the wheelchair at all times. If anyone tried to stand me up, I'd flop right back into the wheelchair because I had no use of my legs and my upper body was so weak from what I had been through for over five months. Gary worked with me on building up my upper body and moving my legs. Well, it was about a little over a year and I still couldn't stand up and still very sick and weak. I couldn't do a lot and I felt very useless and worthless because people had to do most everything for me, which is a very humbling and embarrassing feeling—Praise God I had the help, but it's a very humbling and embarrassing feeling, when you can't do many simple tasks for yourself like doing your hair, showering, going to the bathroom, and getting food. I was determined over that year to learn how to do some things for myself. It was now May of 2014, and on a particular day, the Lord told me to go to church, which was an odyssey because just getting ready to go to church was exhausting for me and an ordeal for my husband to take me in a wheelchair. That morning though, the Lord told me to go, so I got myself dressed which is something as that point I could do on my own.

Chris wheeled me into the church in which everybody already knew that I was parlayed from the waist down. Well, they decided that day for everyone to stand up and walk down to the altar meanwhile, I was feeling that the joke was on me—it was something about an exercise in faith. So now, I'm being wheeled in this line while everybody else can stand up and walk. I began to say to myself…"Oh yeah—simple for them—I'm in a wheelchair my legs don't work." So I get to the pastors and they said to me…"Amanda, Do you want to try to stand now?" I call this my "get out of the boat moment". Was I going to stay in the boat, stay in the wheelchair where it felt safe or was I going to have the faith that when I got out of the boat, that the Lord was going to meet me, and I was going to walk? Well, I was so desperate at this point and sometimes the Lord gets us good and desperate to increase our incredible faith to do what man deems impossible, and I said "yes", I want to try to stand, so they started praying as the congregation watched. Then I began to brace myself by putting my hands on the handles of the wheelchair and in my heart I said…"Lord I need you to meet me—I'm taking a step out in faith—I need you to meet me and as I began to push, I began to stand as my legs were trembling. They were holding me—not completely, but just balancing me and then they asked… "Do you want to try to walk now?" I can taste it—now the miracles happening—now the Lord is present—now I want it and I said "yes" and one by one, I walked up those steps with their help and walked across that stage fighting for every step with my legs trembling—my body sweating from working so hard, but the Lord was touching my legs and I was walking for the first time in over a year! I was walking and you could have heard a pin drop in the congregation—they were stunned because they all knew my condition—people began crying and praising the Lord. The pastors got on the microphone and said that this is what happens when someone takes a step of faith and truly trusts that the Lord is going to meet them—This is what faith in action does!

Remember Gary had no clue what took place at church and he comes on Monday for physical therapy. When he came, I was sitting in the wheelchair and I told him that I had something to tell him. I said over the weekend, I went to church and I was prayed over and I miraculously got up from my wheelchair and I'm able to walk. With that, he threw a walker in front of me and said…“Show me!” I stood up with that walker and walked 10 feet unassisted and sat down. Gary was so stunned and proceeded to say…“In my whole career, I have never seen a miracle this!” Mary was dumbfounded too! All of a sudden, Gary had a revelation… “How am  I going to explain this to the insurance companies—How am I going to explain to them that you couldn't walk on Friday and now you can walk?” Gary then had a great idea…“I know what I'm going to do!—I will write it’s an “Act of God” in the reports!” It was a complete act of God and because God does nothing halfway—the insurance accompany accepted his report and told him to continue doing physical therapy with me until I could completely walk on my own. Praise God! Gary was with me another six months or more and I was able to walk with a walker quite a way. The Lord touched me and I continued to get better. During this time, there was a wonderful woman named Barbara Nelson Stone. The Lord brought her into my life eight years prior and she had been in the prophetic ministry for over thirty years. As I was getting better, God was also increasing me in prophetic gifts. From the time that I was a child, I had dreams about heaven—I would see angels in my doorway—and I would talk with my mother about events coming before they happened. As a child, it’s hard to know how to harness this gift God put in me. So over time, I got better and I became less introverted with my relationship with the Lord. Barbara prayed for my boldness to begin to pray out loud because I was shy and this poses a problem if the Lord is going to use you as a mouthpiece and vessel. I'll never forget that I was getting better in my health, my faith and relationship with the Lord was growing a lot as well—everything was growing together.

It was 2015 going into 2016, and I anointed our property and I said a prayer telling God that all the wildlife can come and live here and be blessed. Well, let me tell you—be careful about what you pray for because life and death are in the power of the tongue. The Lord taught me a very funny lesson about this through what happened within 24 hours of my prayer—I kid you not because my mom and my husband both witnessed it—hundreds of birds showed up, sixteen deer, about eight vultures, numerous forest critters all within 24 hours. I hid behind the couch while I was on the phone with my mother because it was like the attack of the birds. I told Barbara what was happening and she suspected, that the gift the Lord put inside of me from a little girl was beginning to flourish, so she prayed about it and the Lord put on her heart to mentor me.  During her mentoring, she taught me invaluable lessons and I began to prophesy and seeking the Lord continually because the Lord would give me dreams about events to come before they happened. As my soul prospered, so did my health! "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." (3 John 1:2) As the Lord was continuing to prepare me, I began to prophesy in church and putting prophecies out from the Lord on Facebook that have come to pass such as the Spain attack, the earthquake in Iran, and a word shared a day before the election of President Trump. The Lord sees the beginning from the end and He shows His children what is to come so others can prepare and come to Him.

At the same time that I was getting better—the Lord started sending many animals to our property that has a pond—Ducks of all different kinds, geese, deer—you name it—they were coming! The Lord told me to begin to feed them, so that’s what I did. God gives seed to the sower—so I began taking my own money and sowing into the feed to bless God's creation, and the more I did—the stronger my legs got because I began to have to walk the property by getting outside to do manual labor. Then, the Lord sent me a Muscovy duck, named Jake, who ended up on my property. Jake was too domesticated to be wild, so he probably lived on a farm and illegally released. My husband, Chris, built a patent on our property for him, and then God sent other rescue ducks and a chicken named Jingles. Bald eagles began showing up too. The Lord kept on sending so many animals and I would faithfully feed and take care of them including a beautiful African Collared-Dove, who I named Grace and has become well-known on the broadcasts.

I encourage you to be faithful in the little things, and the Lord will give you bigger things to do. God honors our faithfulness in simple tasks because if the Lord can't see you can't do a simple task every day consistently how they expect you to fulfill the demands of a bigger task the same thing in your job the same thing in life be faithful in the little things those simple tests are important doing it consistently is important God does honor that so I'm going to encourage you to keep being consistent in the little things bless all of God's creation bless God wants all of his creation blessed people and animals he wants you to bless all of them he wants you to show his love to all of them he wants you to sew into all of them and if you are faithful in that God will give you bigger things God will honor you before men, God will make you an effectiveness so we are vessels we are instruments we cannot be played unless our Creator plays us like a like a saxophone or a violin or a guitar somebody's got to pick that up and play that instrument to make beautiful sounds to make beautiful music it's the same thing with our Creator we are the vessels he operates through us he is Almighty he is everything we are dust without him and to be an effective vessel for the Lord you have to know that you are a vessel you are simply a humble vessel that God has chosen to operate through you and whatever gift or task he's given you so please do the simple things every day read your Bible consistently every day your spirit and soul need the nourishment of God's Word as much as your body needs good food to run properly to be healthy simple tests read God's Word every day do it every day consistently I encourage you to do that because it will transform you from the inside out and I will tell you the Lord has completely restored me.

The Lord restored me from my head to my feet and inside out! I still fight some pain, but I am the strongest I have been in a long time. God will restore, but the thing about restoration is the old has to be torn down first and everything in my life in a way got torn down but, it has been built back up so much more beautiful and stronger than it was before. Are there some days that I get frustrated? Yes, but I have an open line of communication with the Lord and I tell Him how I feel— I tell him if I'm upset—I tell him if I don't like something but I continue to praise Him through it anyway. God wants an open relationship with us. He wants us to speak to Him—to walk with Him—to activate His Word speaking it out loud because the Word of God is a sword and whatever trial you're going through, you can swing like heck with that sword—resist the devil and he shall flee from you! It has been difficult looking back on these 16 years, but I know He gives and restores to us what the locusts and cankerworm have eaten. Yes, the years that have been taken—the Lord restores. He has restored everything to me—including my physical appearance. I am in the best shape that I've been in a long time, and that's because of the Lord and His grace and I continued to walk things out with the Lord with fear and trembling— dedicated to persevering even in the face of an impossible situation. I stared the mountain of the challenge down because through faith, my God moves mountains. Your deep grounded faith brings forth deep roots and will bring forth the most amazing miraculous events in your life.  Today, I am a walking testimony—a living letter read by all men as to the power of Almighty God and what He can do for one—He can do for another. Keep fighting and persevering in the Lord. Do not give up faith—do not give up hope! The joy of the Lord is your strength. Sing praises to the Lord and speak God's Word and watch those mountains move in your life. God bless you all!                                                                  

ARK OF GRACE MINISTRIES

"And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."  (Mark 16:15 NKJV)      

Amanda Grace is the founder of Ark of Grace LLC and Animal Sanctuary. She gives all glory and praise to the Lord for all He has done! Amanda Grace ministers to people around the world and helps animals of all kinds, including those with disabilities who need a place to call home. She also takes care of her husband, Chris, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in January of 2019. He is a walking miracle! 

 Ark of Grace Ministries YouTube Channel  

Ark of Grace Ministries Blog Spot (Bible Study Notes & Amanda's Prophetic Words)

Ark of Grace Ministry Site

If God puts on your heart to give toward Ark of Grace Ministries LLC, and the Animal Sanctuary you may do so through PayPal—Information can be found on her YouTube channel. 

Scriptures to Encourage & Build Your Faith:

"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses."  (1 Timothy 6:12)

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”  (Psalm 23:4)

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  (Jeremiah 29:11)

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

"Everything is possible for one who believes."  (Mark 9:23)  

"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."  (Proverbs 18:21)

"Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." (3 John 1:2) 

"I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come."  (Isaiah 46:10) 

"But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams."  (1 Samuel 15:22)

 "Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets."  (Amos 3:7) 

"Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness."  (2 Corinthians 9:10) 

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."  (James 4:7)

"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much,"  (Luke 16:10)

"And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you."  (Joel 2:25) 

"Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."  (Matthew 17:20)

"...for the joy of the LORD is your strength."  (Nehemiah 8:10)


 


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15Dec

Corey Burns, thought he knew God even though, he was very far from Him. In college, he was caught up with the atheist crowd, learned a bunch of spirit science, “alien” secrets, masonic knowledge, drank, smoked, chased women and lived what he thought was a “good” life. Then, one day Corey learned from a terrorizing experience, that all he thought he knew was a lie.

Corey Burns

"I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth--Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord. Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust, And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies."  (Psalm 40: 1-4)

Before I really knew Christ, I thought we had a special thing going on. Yes, I know I got caught up with that atheist crowd when I was in college, learned a bunch of spirit science, “alien” secrets, masonic knowledge, drank, smoked, chased women and frankly lived what I thought was a “good” life. In my mind, God would never judge me, or see me as unrighteous—after all, I didn’t kill anyone, and I took things day-by-day helping and loving people where I could. We’re friends, God and I. Yes, I believed that I loved my neighbors even though sometimes—I’ll get blisteringly angry with them and maybe—even hold a grudge or two for a few years, or ten. Yet, in my heart, the Creator God, the true one, the one who actually made everything, we had a good thing going on. How straight up deceived of the devil I was! Oh, and definitely don’t talk to me about Jesus, you can ask my mother about that. I give thanks to God for passionate born-again—blood-washed—redeemed-seekers because, I wouldn’t be giving this testimony if it wasn’t for all of their prayers. 

My mother was praying for me for over a year, and I believed she had slipped off the deep end. I would listen about Jesus for a bit, but this was hardcore! She would continue to send e-mails and call me on the phone, but her messages began to get me thinking about this whole hell and Jesus business. One day, my mom and I had a war-of-words, and we didn’t speak to each other for several weeks which, really didn’t sit well with me since she is my mother. During that time, I was laying on the floor of my apartment—arms stretched out—thinking about my mother, and I’m not exactly sure what internal conversation was going on at that moment, but I said in my heart, “If she wants to talk about Jesus well—that is what we’ll talk about because—she is my mom, I love her, and I want more than anything else to talk with her while we can”.

I grew up in a family that was not well-to-do, and we suffered a lot. I didn't really have a background in faith or religion. I knew that this Jesus guy existed, I knew you should go to church, read the Bible, and try to be right with the Lord, but I choose to live my life the way I wanted to live and do the things that made me feel good. I had a lot of issues, but I was able to overcome them by developing a craft of photography which is something, that I love very much and make a good living out of it.

One night, after a very long day—I felt like getting some pot to relax. I went to the first weed shop and they didn't have what I was looking for—I went to the second weed shop and they were closed—then, I went to the third weed shop and for some reason, I wanted to get out of there as quick as possible! There was just something inside of me that said..."Get out of here! You don't need to be here!", but as stubborn in my way as I am—I filled out the paperwork even though signing it felt dirty. After buying my joint, I went home feeling some sense of victory.

Once home, I put on some YouTube videos and sat down to meditate as I would usually do while smoking my joint. All of a sudden in a blink of an eye, I had a vision and immediately I knew where I was—I knew this place was not a good place, I knew that I had somehow messed up badly. I always thought I was a good person and showed a lot of mercy to people especially to those I knew and cared about. I started begging for my life—begging; begging; begging like I have never begged before. Demons answered my begging with the most maniacal talking. They were saying...“Yeah, Corey you were a good man, yeah you were there, yeah you did call your grandma, yeah hum; hum." It was a gang of 3 or 4 of them, and they were each trading off in being extremely cynical. As I continued to plead—I mentally went through my life history, and I told myself…“but I loved people” and then, came a phrase that brought on so much terror—a deep in your bone type of terror as it came to mind, that I enjoyed the atheist crowd, learning about spirit science and “alien” secrets, Masonic knowledge, drinking, smoking pot, chasing women, and turning my back on people because I thought that I was better than them. As I looked back upon my life, there was a lot of shame! I can’t even describe into words when you go through your life and you actually see the moments, the times, places, spaces that you inhabited where you just didn’t have any kindness for people. Eternity is a timeless situation, and it felt like I went through a million things—a million arguments and all of them were maniacally shut down. It was to my understanding that I would be in my own terrorizing box of hell forever. I messed up and I understood when the punishments began, these creatures were going to cause indescribable pain upon me, and that’s what I was begging for them not to do. There’s a tremendous knowing in hell. I knew they were going to get me and it was going to be a party for them. They began to say “This is going to be so fun, it’s going to be beautiful; beautiful”. I knew they were talking about my suffering. I felt so sorry that I grieved God and that I didn’t have a relationship with Him. I used to make fun of Jesus. Yes, faith & religion were at the bottom of my list. I would go to church, so I could take pictures as a photographer and make some money, but I didn’t go to give glory to the King and Creator of everything. Very shamefully, I didn’t give any thought to this until now when it seemed like it was too late. I wanted to do what I wanted to do—I wanted to do what I wanted to feel. In this terrifying place—I came to know this all very well. While I was begging, I even noticed that there are no tears to cry because there’s no water in hell. I felt I was completely drained and there was absolutely no hope. I ran out of every excuse and argument that I made and finally in a child whimpering voice I said…“Doesn’t God love me?" Then, this voice rose up and I believed it to be the voice of Satan himself because it was bellowing and encompassed my entire being! Satan's voice resonated and said…“I am your god now and you will worship me!” It was such a sickening voice that it made me nauseous and then, something welled up in me with a serious boldness and I said…“You’re not God, You’re not Father God, Father God is Father God & Jesus Christ is the Savior who died on the cross and shed His blood & the Holy Spirit has defended me on no less than 3 occasions!” Then, all of a sudden, I was out of that place! I would have never known to say any of these things, so this surprised me. I immediately went to the front door of my apartment and sat down outside to pray to God “Father please forgive me! I have sinned and I want to give you and your son Jesus all the glory—I give my life to you!"

I know that I was shown my own little box in hell and if I really died—I would have spent eternity there without any chance of getting out because I didn't know Christ as my Savior. I don’t want to be in that horrible place ever again and I don't want you to find yourself there either. The rules in the Bible are there and very clear. You need to be of sober mind because you never know when the time will come that your life is over. You can’t be going around and doing anything you want to do and think that there won't be any consequences. Because of what I have experienced, I feel that I have a responsibility to warn others and share about Jesus—I want to do everything I can to give glory to Jesus Christ. I got washed in His blood and got baptized. I went to church not too long ago before this terrifying experience, and they offered me the body (bread) for communion and the wine for His blood and I turned away in a prideful way. There are many things that I’m not proud of in my life, but I want to share this testimony with you and encourage you to be on the straight and narrow. Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are working for you all the time. How would you feel if you’re working for someone day in and day out and you have no respect for them? I would feel pretty bad if I’m working for someone all day and everyday and I got no respect. My life has been saved on 3 separate occasions, and I never told Him thank you. I was so blinded and would make fun of people that were trying to talk about Jesus to others. It is only through Jesus that we get to go to heaven. A relationship with Him is one that you have to work at every day out of love for Him. This is not just a Sunday type of thing—this is a whole life type of thing because when they say everlasting glory in heaven, it is everlasting glory in heaven. It’s real and awesome, but few people will go there because this world tells us that it’s all right to live with sin. Sin is not only an activity—it's a living creature that's absolutely detestable to God. He has a zero tolerance policy on sin. If we continue to sin we are harboring these creatures giving them a safe haven, so they can in turn effect others and lead many others astray. I am so fortunate that God showed me the vision of hell because of my stubbornness; I would’ve never turned from my ways. It’s shameful that it took this extremely dark experience to turn to Jesus because we live in a country where there are churches everywhere telling about Him. My prayer is that you repent for your sins.

I want to help people see and know that Jesus is the only way to heaven. I encourage you to give your life to Christ and read the Bible. It’s a very narrow path. 

Some Scriptures to Encourage You:  

"She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins."  (Matthew 1:21)

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."  (Acts 4:12)

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people..."                           (1 Timothy 2:5-6)


Corey's Testimony on YouTube 

Non-believer has a brief taste of his personal prison cell in hell, finally turns to Jesus and is saved.



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24Aug

My life consisted of nonstop run-ins with the law, getting arrested, fighting, abusing my body with drugs and drinking, and even witnessing friends around me die that were living the same life that I was living. All along my stepfather never gave up on me...he kept bringing up this one name...Jesus...Yet, I continued to shrug him off.


Christopher J. Maskey

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  (Matthew 11:28)


These are the words that were spoken by Jesus Christ—Yeshua Hamashiach—who has changed my life and this is my testimony.

Many of you know me from preaching the Word of God, and from helping lead others so they come to a place of accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. But, my life wasn’t always like this—my daily thoughts and motives weren’t always this way.

I grew up in a small town about an hour north of New York City, named Cold Spring. It was a quiet little town, where I would end up spending the majority of my time alongside, my mother & stepfather. My biological father and mother split up shortly after I was born, and my mother married my stepfather when I was around 5 years old. My father had problems with drugs and alcohol and when I was 6 years old we had received the phone call that he was found dead in his apartment from an apparent  suicide. As a child, my mother wouldn’t tell me the truth of his death—she would just tell me that he was really sick. Even so, as a young child, it affected my life and was always in the back of my mind that my father was gone. 

My mother was my best friend. She was the best mother any kid could ask for—on top of having a great stepfather, who was always supportive and there for me—it kind of took away some of the pain, I was experiencing with losing my father at a young age. As a kid, they both decided it would be best that I attended a Catholic school where I also took part in all of the required sacraments and was an altar boy. At this time, my mother & stepfather, were truly seeking the Lord in their lives, and became disappointed because they just weren’t finding what they were looking for inside the Catholic church. They eventually gave their lives to Jesus Christ and both became born- again Christians. 

The majority of my childhood, I remembered my mother & stepfather reading their Bibles, going to church, and both living their entire lives for Jesus Christ in all that they did. They did all they could to lead by example, and to teach me the truth about the Word of God and Jesus Christ. As a child, I believed in Jesus Christ—but the temptations of being a teenager, and getting involved in the things of the world took precedence in my life. 

During my senior year of high school, my life took a turn for the worse when my mother got the phone call that changed our lives forever. She found out that she had cancer and needed to be immediately rushed in for radiation treatment. While most of the kids were enjoying their final year in high school, and planning on where they were going to college—my mind was occupied day and night with the health of my mother and what my life was going to be like without her if she died. I noticed my mother and stepfather always were praying, and instead of me joining them—I hid behind drinking and using drugs to take away the pain of what I was feeling. At 17 years old, I was borderline an alcoholic and stared to experiment with drugs to escape from reality. I remember my mother would always keep a positive outlook, and her faith in Jesus Christ was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Standing before these doctors who were showing her the cancer that was growing in her—she continuously, remained strong and trusted in her faith in Jesus to get her through it.

As the months went by, my mother went through numerous surgeries, radiation treatments, and she was now but a shell of the person she once was because of it. The cancer had literally destroyed her body—but it couldn’t touch her spirit. My senior year came and went, and eventually my mother’s cancer had gone into remission right before I was to start my freshman year of college. I went to a local college about 20 minutes away and was able to still come home and visit my mother and stepfather often to check up on her. Everything seemed to be getting back to normal—my mom’s health was improving, and my new life as a college student had just started. Shortly into my sophomore year—the cancer had come back, and as it did—I continued to seek comfort in drinking and using drugs. Coming home and seeing my mother smile knowing that she was struggling was tough to see, but one thing her and my stepfather always had was their faith in Jesus Christ. It was during my sophomore year, that I came out to visit my mother, and she had the difficult task of finally telling me the truth about my father—he didn’t die because he was sick, but that he indeed killed himself. My life was crushed, all the years of believing he was just sick now, I had to face the fact that he committed suicide—I truly wasn’t prepared mentally to walk around with this news. My mother and stepfather always would talk about the power of having Jesus Christ in their lives, but I ignored what they told me and tried to seek comfort in the things of this world.

Halfway through my junior year of college, the cancer was now fully attacking my mother’s body and was more aggressive than ever. I decided to drop out of school and move back home, so I could take care of her, and spend every day with her while she was fighting for her life. Shortly after, she was asked to come into Sloan Kettering’s cancer center in Manhattan for a last effort surgery to remove the cancer that was inside of her mouth and throat, but just an hour into the surgery the doctor’s called us down to let us know that the cancer had spread throughout my mother’s body and they knew there was nothing they could do. My life came crashing down at that point, and reality set in that soon—I was going to be losing my mother. We walked back up into the recovery room to see her sitting up smiling, and asking how she did—I didn’t have the heart to tell her the news the doctor told me, so I just hugged her and told her how much we all loved her. Throughout her entire battle with cancer my mother had her Bible right next to her. I couldn’t understand where she was getting this courage and comfort from just reading a book—she was staring at death and yet she wasn’t afraid at all.

A couple weeks later my mother finally passed away. I was now a 21 year old college dropout, no job, no money, medical bills coming in, and I just lost my best friend in the whole entire world. It was just me and my stepdad living together in our little home, and I remember how he used to tell me about Jesus, and how I needed to fully ask Him into my life, but—I still wasn’t ready. I was very angry inside—angry that my father killed himself, angry that God would take my mother away from me, depressed and at that point—I really didn’t care much about living anymore.

The drinking had fully taken over my life—drugs were taking over as well, and I began to seek ways to take out my frustrations in life, and I found it in the form of music. I had always been interested in hip hop music; it was my life for the majority of my childhood and as a young adult. The sound was very aggressive, angry, and the songs were full of violence which was exactly fitting for the way that I was living. I began going to the studio week after week, getting high on drugs, and creating my own songs. I was going on the radio performing, doing shows, sleeping with different woman every week—the life of a rock star as many would call it. The pain and anger in my songs was something that really made me stand out from the majority of the other artists, and I was quickly making a name for myself in the New York music scene. I had opened up for some of the most popular artists in the industry and it seemed as if my time was coming to be next. It seemed on the surface that I was happy, but inside I was full of pain. As the years went by, I had lost sight of who I was—the drugs and alcohol had fully taken control of me, and when I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t recognize the person I was looking at. I never once faced any of my problems. I buried them deep down inside—hidden behind a wall of drugs & alcohol, but I found out quickly that just because they are hidden, doesn’t mean they go away. My life consisted of nonstop run-ins with the law, getting arrested, fighting, abusing my body with drugs and drinking, and even witnessing friends around me die that were living the same life that I was living. All along my stepfather never gave up on me, and kept bringing up this one name—Jesus. Yet, I continued to shrug him off. 

I maintained this lifestyle for over 6 years, and with no sign of any future or reason to continue living in my mind. Until the day that Jesus Christ finally got hold of me. I was coming down off of a 2 day binge just sitting in my room, and at my lowest point in life. Staring at a picture of my mother—depressed and upset at the thought of how disappointed she would be of the person I had become. I sat back on my bed and then it happened—I overheard in the other room my stepfather listening to a message from a preacher on the television. I walked closer to the door, and I felt something leading me to listen to what was being said. It was as if the preacher was talking to a whole congregation of people, but the message was directed towards just me. He started talking about sin, and how Jesus Christ died to take away our sins to give us a new life—A NEW LIFE??? That’s what I NEED! 

He then started talking about the devil and how Satan wants us to keep seeking drugs, keep seeking alcohol and women. It was like everything I was hearing was about MY life. How could this be??? Then the preacher said the one scripture that forever changed my life. He quoted from the book of Matthew when Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are wary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Rest??? Nobody needed rest more than I did at that very moment. Rest from running away from my father’s past, rest from the pain of losing my mother, rest from the anger inside of me, rest from all the drugs and drinking that ruined my life—I was mentally and physically exhausted, and now this man is telling me that Jesus Christ can give me rest??? I wanted to stop, I wanted to change, but I was so scared because I didn’t know how—and, I didn’t think I was strong enough to leave behind my old life and fully trust in HIM. But I knew that I wasn’t going to last much longer if I continued, and it was at that point I fell down to my knees, and called out to Jesus Christ—with tears in my eyes I said, “I just can’t do it anymore—I was ready—I needed rest—I needed a new life—I NEEDED JESUS!!”

I can still remember the prayer I made. I said to Him that He could have my life, but I just ask that you find me someone that I can marry and have a child with to start over and have new life together. I remember asking for Him to bless me with a good job so I can provide for my family. And, I remember just laying down everything—fully giving my life to Jesus Christ that day. I felt like a new person, I felt like for the first time in years the weight of the world was taken off of my shoulders, and I just wanted to live every day from there on out for Jesus.

As I sit here and tell you my testimony, it’s hard for me to believe that it’s been almost 9 years already. Since then the Lord has completely blessed me with a new life, a happy life, a lot more abundant life than I could ever imagine. Shortly after I called out to Jesus Christ and asked Him into my life, He introduced me to an amazing woman, who eventually would become my wife. We’ve been together now for over 8 years, and have been blessed with a beautiful baby boy, and a 2nd child that is on the way in November. I was also blessed to land a great job shortly after meeting my wife, and I’ve been there for over 8 years as well. Literally, everything I asked for when I gave my life to Jesus Christ the Lord has blessed me with, and more! I look back at where my life was, and where He’s brought me from and I can’t help but praise the name of my Lord & savior Jesus Christ—Yeshua Hamashiach—for saving me. My change was not overnight—little by little He’s been removing my old ways of living and replacing them with His righteousness, changing me into His image, and He’s still working inside of me every single day.

For years now, I have been completely free from the hold of alcohol and drugs in my life, free from feeling the pain and anger that was inside of me, and replaced with His everlasting love. All along the answer to my problems was right in front of me—the same thing that my mother used in fighting her battle with cancer—the same thing my stepfather used to get through the tough times of losing my mother, and—the same thing I needed in MY life—Trusting in Jesus Christ and asking Him into my life.


Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”


Jesus Christ died not just so you and I can have eternal life, but He also died so we can experience true life on earth, the type of lives that our Heavenly Father wants us all to live! All we have to do is trust in Him and seek Him to give it to us—and it will be.


2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”


I urge anyone out there who may be reading and listening to my testimonial video below, to call on the name Jesus Christ. You don’t have to keep struggling—there is a way to obtain a new life. And it’s not by going out and trying to conquer your problems on your own. COME AS YOU ARE! The bible says “Come! Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” If He could change my life—He can change yours for it was nothing that I did, it was all in Jesus Christ. I was just willing to take that small leap of faith and call out to Him, admitting I’m a sinner, acknowledging that He died for my sins and was raised 3 days later, and then finally asking HIM to take over my life—HE hasn’t left my side since. If you are struggling in life, please don’t wait another day. NONE of us are promised another hour in this life. Jesus is the one and only way to eternal life—He’s the only way to bring about the changes we all are seeking in our lives on earth. I come to you as someone who was once in your position, and I plead with you to stop fighting these battles on your own, stop running—JESUS is waiting with open arms for you to come home—your new life is right before your eyes, and the power is all in the name of Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross! Don’t wait another day.

The Maskey Family

New Addition to the Family

Link to Purchase Christopher's book, “It Shall Be Given”   


Christopher's Video Testimony:  "Last Call to Calvary"  &  YouTube Channel


Christopher's New Christian Rap Songs:  






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02Dec

Today, I find myself getting slightly grieved with conversations from those who have no idea about the lifestyle or mentality of the LGBT community. I find this grievance to come about, because of the lack of knowledge of this lifestyle. I take it personal, because years ago...I too was part of this community and here is my story.

                       Tiara Moore

"For nothing is impossible with God."  (Luke 1:37)

As a young girl, I found myself to be different, not because of any skill or creative ability, but because at a tender age of 5 I started to have a strong attraction to women. Most people argue that this is not possible...but that's not true, and perhaps...it's the reason that there's hardly any awareness for children struggling with their sexuality at such a tender age. In kindergarten, I used to tell my best friend that I was a boy. I was not abused nor mistreated in my home, as a matter of fact, both parents were in the medical field and married; not to mention a big part of my life. I lacked nothing. My mother used to pray with my eldest brother and I...she taught us about Jesus, and how to hear the voice of God. As a child, I paid attention to the wise words of my mother, but there was always a voice that I would hear. I now know that this voice was Satan.

This voice tormented me, and would say that, I was going to hell. In my innocence...I took this as, that  I was "going downstairs". I ran upstairs to tell my mother, while she was on the phone, and she turned to me and said...“Well, go downstairs”. She didn’t know what I meant, and I didn’t know how to express it, so I never said another word about "going downstairs". Fast forward to my preteen years...I began to flirt with the imagination of being with a woman, from having crushes on older women to telling myself what to dream about. I fantasied about being intimate with women, placing myself as the masculine figure. I then, joined online chat rooms, and started having relationships over the phone with women until high school, when my dreams became a reality. This is when, I entered my first relationship with a woman, that took my innocence. From years of that relationship...I entered into another relationship with a woman. This relationship was my longest, and it changed the woman I was, and I ended up in the darkest place of my life. 

Although, I was indulged in a perverse lifestyle, I still considered myself to be a good girl, but this relationship took me down a spiral. Hurts, infidelity, down to stealing finances, I dealt with it all...right down to the fact that suicide had become a pleasant option. I would try to listen to songs that would keep me depressed, and for some reason Marvin Sapp's song---He Saw the Best in Me, came on an R&B station. It blew my mind because gospel hardly played on this station especially in the late hours, but God was speaking to me through this song. At that moment, my identity was broken and enough was enough.

I remember taking a shower and saying 3 words that changed my life forever; I said,  “God, I’m tired”. I went on to say, "take it away", and I introduced myself to God as if, He never knew me. I told Him everything down to my favorite color. That was a Saturday and then, that Sunday...I gave my life to the Lord. I hardly got any sleep, and I showed up to service right at the very end...when the doors of the church were being opened. I thought I was arriving on time, but I guess you can say that I did arrive on time. Since then, God has restored my natural affection towards men, and not once have I backslid with a woman or looked back to desire that lifestyle. God set me free and changed my fragrance! I am happily courting and planning marriage in the soon future. I am here to say with confidence, that JESUS will and can set you free! He died for the homosexuals just like any other sin---He loves you, and He will make you brand new!

Tiara's Testimony on YouTube has reached many around the world! 








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27Oct

Connie, grew up in a dysfunctional home with an abusive alcoholic father. His actions, left her with emotional scars which caused her to believe lies about herself.


Connie Tresedder
Contagious Life & Purpose---Author, Coach, Trainer & Speaker

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth."  (Psalm 139:14-15)

The third born of three and only daughter in my family, I am an out-going, funny, joy-filled lover of people. I love to teach and interact with others. I have taught at the college level for over 20 years; taught junior church at my local congregation for about 15 years; and a youth group for high school and college age students. I currently lead a women’s group which encourages us to find and move forward into our God-given passions and purpose. What most people don’t know is that I suffered from low self-esteem for much of my life. People who know me now would be shocked to hear me say this. By listening and watching me speak, most would think I’ve never had a problem with confidence. Just the opposite is actually the truth.

This is because I grew up in a dysfunctional home where my father was an alcoholic. When he wouldn’t come home after work, we knew he was at the local bar drinking. My mother, two brothers and I would spend the evening with a knot in our stomachs. We never knew when he would come through the door but we knew it wasn’t going to be pleasant when he did. I went to bed scared many nights. My father never physically abused me, but those of you that have suffered verbal/emotional abuse know that this leaves scars as well. My father would become physical sometimes with my brothers and mom. I don’t remember ever sleeping through the night if I went to bed when my father was still at the bar. He was loud, angry, and cussing when he would return home. Often he would make my brothers get up and out of bed. I would lie in my own bed listening, worried for my brothers. He usually just opened the door of my room and swore at me as I pretended to be asleep. Besides speaking words to me that I cannot imagine uttering as a parent, my father never seemed to have any use for me. I did not feel valued by him in the least.

These types of nights weren’t the only thing that caused me to be nervous as a kid growing up. I felt the need to keep all of this from my friends. It is not an easy secret to hide when you live in a small town. What would my friends think if they knew? I was convinced their parents would put an end to our friendship if they knew what went on inside my home. I felt ashamed for having a father who drank and acted the way he did. I was in elementary school when I realized the way my dad treated us was not “normal” compared to what I witnessed at my friend’s homes.

I will be forever grateful for one of these homes I was invited to for a neighborhood Christian kid’s club. I attended every day for a week when I was in 5th grade. The gospel was shared with us through stories each day. I remember on the last day having the opportunity to invite Jesus into my heart. I had never heard the “Good News” before. Though I had been baptized in a Lutheran church as a baby, we had never attended church since moving to Michigan when I was six years old. Little did I know that day when I raised my hand while all heads were bowed, and prayed the prayer of salvation, that my life would be changed from that moment on. But, that is exactly what happened.

The challenges in my life did not magically disappear but everything felt different. I knew I was not alone. I knew there was someone to help me get through the challenges. I knew there was hope for my future. I asked my mom to buy me a Bible and she got me a teen version of the Living Bible. This was so easy to understand and had devotional type readings throughout. I devoured the Word like someone receiving water in the desert. Looking back at my life I see so many answers to my first prayers. God had a specific plan for my life and he has been so faithful leading me along my life’s journey. Each chapter has built upon the last. In this season, I am being used as a Christian life coach and speaker to bless others. As God would have it, I end up being blessed as well. It is exhilarating teaching and encouraging others to step into their purpose for this season in their life. I am so humbled when God uses me to help someone identify and move past what has them “stuck” in one area or another. This includes facilitating inner healing for past wounds at times, or helping someone re-wire their brain so that worrisome, negative thoughts don’t hold them back. I am discovering God puts us in community with others so that we can all keep moving forward in His plan for us.

Back in 5th grade, the same family that invited me to the Christian kid’s club, started bringing me with them to church. It was a Bible teaching, evangelical church where I soaked up truths about God like a sponge. Though I strayed somewhat in high school, I still read my Bible every night. I know now that Jesus never left me, but just patiently waited for me to turn back towards him, which I did when I found promises in His Word that I couldn’t deny. I remember thinking, "Why am I making choices that go against God's Word when...I could be living for Him completely, and receiving ALL the blessings He promises?" I had no mentor or adult helping me come to this conclusion, but I’m convinced people somewhere were praying for me. John 14, is what He used to get my attention. The whole chapter is full of promises, but my teenage heart really soared at the truth of verse 13, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son”. Truthfully, this verse still makes my heart soar. I now know the power the Comforter promised in this chapter. I know how to listen, be taught by, and receive the peace offered by God’s Spirit. I understand that God intends to do life together with us and that his plan is above and beyond anything we can imagine.

When I was a young college student God started the process of supernatural inner healing for my childhood wounds. I came to the revelation that the way my father treated me was more about him than me. I understood that my father was broken inside and probably full of self-loathing.  Though I don’t know what events or circumstances played a part in my father’s brokenness, God taught me that hurt people, hurt others. God cultivated a compassion in my heart for my father and I was able to forgive him. When I look back now, I realize this is nothing short of a miracle for God to give me so much grace to act maturely at this young age. This was such a blessing because the last three years of my father’s life we became closer than we had ever been. I had finished my undergraduate degree and got married a few years before my father was diagnosed with cancer. He stopped drinking and underwent surgery and treatments. The next three years, was a roller-coaster of emotions. He would respond well to a treatment, and we would all be filled with hope only to have the treatment stop responding several months down the road. Up and down we went, but I am so grateful for the time I and my husband had to spend with him and my mother. We enjoyed time together doing fun things like playing cards, going to movies, and eating good food. My dad was fun! Who knew? He absolutely loved my husband, and I felt like my father was proud of the woman I was becoming. I cherish the memories from this season and am so thankful I chose forgiveness over bitterness.

How could I not forgive my father when my heavenly Father forgives every one of my sins beginning back in 5th grade? I knew full well that Jesus had paid the price for not just my sins but my father’s sins, as well. I am confident that my father is in heaven because he was able to receive this great gift. This isn’t to say I haven’t had to deal with some issues throughout my life. I explain in my upcoming e-book, how all our experiences throughout life make us believe things. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the things we believe are lies!  The tricky thing is, when we believe a lie, we don’t realize it’s a lie because we believe it! I love helping people uncover these lies and receive healing like I did myself. When my own father didn’t value me, I believed the lie that no one else would. Why would anyone find value in what I taught or shared? How convenient it would have been for satan if I had continued to believe this. He could have stolen my calling, my voice, and my purpose, but that wasn’t my story. Healing and re-wiring our brains is a continual process, and I am ever so grateful to God for allowing me to be a part of people's spiritual growth and healing.   

CONTAGIOUS LIFE AND PURPOSE     

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11Aug

Dana Repetti, grew up in a dysfunctional home filled with hate, fear, alcohol, abuse, and witchcraft. Her childhood caused her to have overwhelming fear, and she became a people-pleaser with a very low self-esteem. At the age of seventeen, Dana had her first abortion. Through it all though, Dana, has learned about the beauty of God's love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. She is now helping others to do the same and has written a wonderful personalized devotional called "Being Immersed in the Father's Love".

Dana RepettiDana Repetti

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  (Psalms 27:13)

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 8:1)

I grew up in a very dysfunctional home. I was a very depressed child and full of fear. My perspective on life and how I processed life was through a very negative lens and filter. Even though I was saved at the tender age of twelve, there were a whole host of strongholds that I would have to take captive to the obedience of Christ throughout my lifetime.

When I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, my mom prayed that the memory of what I had endured as a child would be wiped clean. That all I would remember was from Salvation onward. I must confess I only have glimpses of my childhood.

What I do remember is that my dad was a very angry man. He was very scary to me when he got upset. Growing up in my house there was a saying, “Children were to be seen and not heard!” and I never felt as if my opinion mattered, or that I had a voice. My self-esteem was very low. I really did not know how to think for myself. I was very much a people pleaser. As long as I did everything right, I was a good girl, but if I did something wrong or that appeared wrong, I would pay the consequence. As a little girl, it felt as if it was the end of the world. I always wanted to do everything right. This perception would carry on well into my thirties. It would take a very long time to find my voice and for God to bring me into what His thoughts were towards me and what His word says about me.

My mom was a very depressed mother and wife. I always had the feeling that she hated me. When I would look into her eyes, they appeared very dark and I saw such hatred. It felt as if she wanted to kill me. I’m sure that was not the case, but it was how I felt during those years of my life. I hated going to sleep for fear that in the middle of the night; something or someone would come in my room and hurt me. I would sleep with the covers up to my neck; face the door so I would be able to protect myself, still totally frightened. It felt as if I never slept. This went on from the age of five, until I was twelve.

My mother dabbled in the occult. She would have séances, levitate, have premonitions, consult palm readers, psychics, read tarot cards and play the Ouija board. There was a lot of demonic activity in our home to say the least. She also was an alcoholic and was suicidal. I would come home from school and find her at the bottom of the basement stairs blacked out, not knowing if she was dead or alive. I remember being afraid all the time not knowing what the next day would bring.

My parents would argue and fight, which seemed like all the time to me. It was very intense and very loud. There were so many sayings in my family growing up like; we’re loud, we’re Italian, that’s how we talk, if the truth hurts, each followed by very negative, outspoken comments. No! All of which consisted of arguing and verbal abuse, yet while not understanding that as a child and living through it. I thought that was normal. There was one time my father came home from work and found my mother sitting on the floor in the corner of their bedroom, in the dark with a scotch glass in her hand. She was drunk and they began to argue. This argument must have been so intense because it is etched into my memory. My mom threw the full scotch glass at my father. I ran to my room like so many other times and would pray that God would make it stop, that they would not get divorced. I was always so frightened and living on the edge. I did not realize at the time that I was a depressed little girl as well.

I was raised as a Catholic while growing up and went to a Catholic school. Very often before heading to school, my mom would play a song from Helen Reddy, “I am woman”, and she proceeded to tell my sister and I, never to forget that we were women. There was one day my mom was so angry, I can’t remember why, but she told me she hated me and to go, get out of the house and go off to school. I remember feeling devastated. My fears of her hating me were becoming true. I was so broken that I hated the day I was born. I remember saying to God, “why, why was I born into this family. I wish I had never been born.” Sad I know. Around this time in my life, I was in a store and I saw a keychain with a witch on it. So I purchased it and I gave it to my mother and said, “This is who you are to me” and sang her a song called Witchy Woman. After I told her again saying, “This is who you are to me!” She said,”I know.” and proceeded to hang it on the knob of the kitchen cabinet. So there it stayed.

As I stated earlier, I don’t have a lot of memory of my childhood, but I remember feeling very dirty whenever my dad would hug me. As a little girl, I remember finding Playboy magazine’s under his bed on his side. For some reason, I always was able to relate to someone who was sexually abused. I only have glimpses of certain things and questions as to why I would feel so hated during those years. Before my dad passed away in 2010, I felt impressed by God to speak to my dad and released him from any torment he might be going through, from guilt of the past. I was so nervous, but I knew it was something I had to do. My dad had leukemia and meningitis to the point that it affected his brain. In the past, if I would have brought this up, he would have been on the defense and reacted angrily. Instead, he allowed me to share all my questions and concerns. I told him that God wanted me to come to him so he could be released of anything that may have taken place in the past that if anything did occur, I had forgiven him. It was the most loving and freeing time I had ever had with my dad. He had no such memories. I am sharing this to show the goodness God has to tend to the issues of our hearts. He took care of my father’s heart as well as mine. I watched God be faithful to His word in Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” My dad went to be with the Lord two weeks after my visit. Gods timing and ways are perfect. I have learned to trust and obey Him even when it’s scary.

At the age of ten, I was about to make my first communion. I always loved God. He placed within me a heart that loved Him and always wanted to help people despite what I was living through. The night before I was to make my first communion, I prayed that God would allow me to die in a car accident. I thought if I died on my communion day, then I would go straight to heaven and would not have to go to purgatory. My understanding was that people had to pray you out of purgatory; after all...my mother was a drunk and she hated me, while my dad only went to church on Christmas and Easter. In my mind, I would be stuck in purgatory forever and never make it to heaven. I prayed and prayed and was so disappointed when it did not happen.

Two years later, I am now twelve years old. My mom made the decision that she is going to take her life. She said that she had such a sense of peace in making this decision, and we were all better off without her. That day, God interrupted with His divine appointment. She was in a store that morning and she ran into a cousin of hers that just moved into the area we were living. Being polite, my mom invited her over for a cup of coffee. Her cousin had given her heart to the Lord and was a born-again Christian. She began to share with my mother about how much Jesus loved and cared for her and how He died to take away her sins and redeem her life. The whole time her cousin was talking, she thought she was crazy, while she knew the plan she had in her head to take her life. As her cousin was leaving, she said to my mom, “Marge, Jesus loves you. He truly does. Just give Him a try, ask Him into your heart and to forgive you your sins.”

That evening, my mother could not get out of her mind what her cousin shared with her earlier that day. She cried out to the Lord and said, “Ok Jesus, if you’re real like Alice says you’re real, I ask that you forgive me of all my sins and come live in my heart.” She began to feel a hand go over her mouth trying to suffocate her. During this struggle, she kept hearing her cousin’s voice in her mind saying, “say Jesus is Lord!” She began to scream in her head, “Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord!” At the end of the struggle, she saw in her mind’s eye a vision of Jesus with His arms wide open saying, “Marge, come to me. You’re my child.” The next day, my mom poured out all the alcohol we had in our house (we had a fully stocked bar) and threw away her cigarettes as well. My father thought my mother had a nervous breakdown and he was very angry. After all, that was a lot of money to throw down the drain. My mom’s old man (spirit) died that night and she became a new creation. The power of sin and death over my mother was destroyed that evening, through the blood of Jesus Christ. My mom went to her cousin’s house the next morning, banging on the door saying, “What did you do to me?” Her cousin began having bible studies with her, praying and taking her to church. One night after my mom got home from church, my father put my mother up against the wall and said, “It’s Jesus or me!” my mom said, “It’s Jesus” and he let go of her. So now we are going to check out this church my mother is going to, making sure she is not involved in a cult. My dad would say,”I was born a Catholic, I will die a Catholic.”

In July of 1974, a Friday evening, we visited the church my mother was attending on Tuesday’s and Friday’s. I was amazed by the love, joy and peace these people had. I wanted what these people had. I asked my mother if I could go to the altar and receive Jesus in my heart. At first, she said “no”, nervous of what my father might do. My father would not think twice about hitting someone if he felt like they were bothering him or his family. He grew up fighting people his whole life. I asked again and this time my mom said “yes.” As I went up, a young man asked me if I wanted to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I responded yes!

Well, my dad was furious. He went up to the altar to grab me away from these crazy people and when he went to grab me, I immediately got filled with the Holy Spirit and he fell. My father tried again twice to get me and each time he kept falling down. He would look around, but there was nobody there. God was trying to get his attention, and that He did. My father gave his heart to the Lord that evening as well. God is amazing.

The Lord answered my prayer that evening. When I was ten, I wanted to die and go to heaven, fearful of being in purgatory. Two years later, my old man (spirit) died when I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I was forgiven, redeemed and had the promise of eternal life. I no longer worried about not making it to heaven.

I continued to live in joy and happiness like I never experienced before. Things were so much more hopeful and peaceful. I would attend church every time the doors were opened. I was involved in Sunday school and went on to eventually teach the two-to-four year olds who attended. I was also, involved in a youth group and helped with VBS. Life was good.

Then at the magical age of fifteen, this young man liked me. I was so flattered. He was four years older than me and on the worship team. He asked me out to the church’s Valentine’s dinner. The only problem was, I wasn’t allowed to date until the age of sixteen and I was only fifteen and a half. So I did what any teenager would do; I pleaded my cause. What magically happens in six months? After all, I will be sixteen! He’s on the worship team! I wore them down and they gave in. This would be the beginning of compromise entering my life. Slowly he became my everything. I lived to please him. In April of 1980, in my senior year of high school and at the age of seventeen, I became pregnant. I was full of fear and wanted to marry him and have the baby. We were both terrified of what my parents might do. He said my parents would kill us. So the spirit of fear drove us to make the horrible decision to have an abortion. I truly wanted to be married and have this baby. While we drove up to the abortion clinic, there were people with signs outside and one especially, stood out to me, “Mommy, don’t kill your baby”. I was sick. I wanted to die. I wanted to run from this place and I really wanted to be married and have the baby, but fear had the loudest say. This so far, was the most horrifying experience of my life. I came out of that room so sick and hatred immediately filled my heart. I would not be the same person for many years. I still wanted to die. I struggled with thoughts of suicide. The only thing that kept me was the fear of going to hell. I went into a severe depression, where guilt and condemnation were always present within me. My father told my boyfriend that he was to stay away from me, that he did not know why his daughter was so depressed. This caused more hatred to fill my heart towards my parents. I told them I hated them for breaking us up. In my mind, the only way to make what we did right was to eventually be married. This is how my seventeen-year-old mind was processing everything at the time. The enemy had me believing so many lies. I felt as if I could never be forgiven. I murdered my baby.

I continued to spiral downward. I told no one of what I did. The only people who knew were my ex-boyfriend and me. I lived with shame, guilt, condemnation, self-hatred and offense towards my ex-boyfriend for a very long time. This secret seemed to be with me every moment of every day. It was my constant companion, a continual reminder of what a failure I was and that I didn’t deserve to be forgiven. The enemy had gained access of my thought life and I believed every lie he spoke. My heart became so calloused and hardened. I began to run from my thoughts by living for whatever gave me pleasure at the time. I wanted to fit in to this new world I was about to experience. The world of sinfulness. I began to drink, party, do drugs, go clubbing and do whatever I wanted to do. I hated myself. I wanted to hide from anything that had to do with the Lord. This continued for about seven years. The only problem was that God never stopped pursuing me. I couldn’t hide. I had a praying mom and I was continually convicted by the choices I was making. Psalms 139:7-8 & 11-12 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8.) If I make my bed in Sheol, behold You are there 11.) If I say, “surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me” 12.) even the darkness will not be dark to You, the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You.”

I had no rest or peace. My parents were always praying for me. The Lord truly leaves the ninety-nine and goes after the one. At this time in my life, even this disturbed me. My parents would make me go to church and of course, God was always pursuing me, but I would choose to resist. There was a visiting evangelist this one Sunday and after he spoke, he had an altar call. Of course this altar call was for me, but I would not go forward, so he came to me. He said, “Jesus forgives you, now forgive yourself.” I thought if you only knew the extent of my sin, my secret, you would not be saying this to me. I murdered my baby; this is the most unforgivable sin in my mind. I could not receive what this man was speaking to me at this time in my life. My secret had me bound and truth could not enter in.

I grew tired of dating and the life I was living and I decided to pray to God, not believing He would want to even listen to me, but I prayed. I said, “Lord I am tired of dating. If you can hear me, let the next person I meet be the one I marry. I don’t care how long it takes or what he looks like, it can even be ten years from now, just let him be the one. Please, I’m tired.” The very next week, a client who went to the hair salon I worked at, asked if I wanted to go to a Fourth of July party. He was nice to talk to, but definitely not my type. I thought well, God totally did not hear my prayer but I had nothing else to do, so I went. In my rebellion I thought, my parents never like who I bring home...let me bring someone home they truly would not like. After all, I didn’t even like himHe was nice as a friend, but in no way was he boyfriend material. He was extremely wild. The stories I heard scared me. We began seeing each other more and more and before I knew it, we were dating. Then when I brought him home, my parent’s loved him! I said you have to be kidding me; I don’t even ‘like him - like him’. They said, “There is something in his eyes, he seems genuine.” About a month into our relationship, we slept together and I got pregnant. I told him I was pregnant and that I was having an abortion. I had already made plans and my girlfriend would be taking me. He said, “Are you sure that’s what you want to do?” I said, “yes” and I have already made the arrangements!” I did not even care what he thought. I told him, “I already had an abortion from my first boyfriend, and I am not ready to be a mom!” My heart was so cold, calloused, hard and selfish. My secret was out. He was the only one I had ever told about my first abortion. I went on to have that abortion and we never spoke of it again until...well, I will get to that a little later in my story.

Things began to get serious between my boyfriend and me. He wanted to get married. We were living a partying lifestyle, drinking, smoking pot, snorting cocaine. It was crazy to say the least. All of this while knowing what God wanted. Even though I was living like this in my mind, I could not marry anyone who did not receive Jesus as their Savior. Crazy I know, so I took him to church to see what he would do. I knew in my mind if he did not believe the same way I did, I could never marry him. He was the type of person that would never do something he didn’t want to do. So I knew if he were to receive Jesus as his savior, it would be because he truly wanted to. Well, you will never believe this, that traveling evangelist was at my church again and had an altar call for Salvation. I turned to my boyfriend and said, “Would you like to leave”. He said, “No, I want to check this out. I want to go up front.” I went with him and he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. The evangelist said to him, “Is this your wife?” and he said, “No”. The evangelist nodded his head and said, “someday!”. John drove home that evening and said this was better than any high that he ever had. God had answered my prayer that one night when I said I was tired of dating. John and I have been married for 32 years. We have three children and four grandchildren at this current time.

I would love to say that we immediately served the Lord after John received Christ, but that was not the case. We continued living a compromised lifestyle. Got engaged, got married and four months into the marriage, I was pregnant with our first daughter. We discussed living right before the Lord, now that we would be parents. We had a friend that would come by every Saturday and bring over cocaine. This was my husband’s drug of choice. This one Saturday evening he was over, I went into the bathroom and began to pray. I said, “Lord, we promised to stop this and live for you. Please show up. Let us never do this again. Deliver us.” I started praying in tongues in the bathroom. The gifts of God are truly irrevocable. I went out into the living room where they were waiting for me and I was filled with words of knowledge. Our friend could not open his hand to put the cocaine out on the table. He was flipping out as God was speaking through me. He kept saying, “Man, I can’t open my hand.” John was getting very angry saying, “Put it out!” and his friend kept saying, “I can’t”. Then John told me to “SHUT UP”. Filled with the Spirit, I remember saying, “Satan would love for me to shut up, but I am going to speak what the Spirit tells me to speak”. I continued to speak whatever the Spirit had me speak. At the end of this encounter, John’s friend opened his hand to put the cocaine out and it was all melted. John got delivered that night and we have never touched any drug again after that evening, nor returned to a compromised lifestyle. His friend came to church with us the next day, as he was blown away at the events that took place that evening.

Our journey with God began after that evening. I had asked God to forgive me of my sins, but forgiving me was a lot more difficult. Now would begin a process of many strongholds breaking off my life and my mind being transformed, renewed through the word of God and confession of my sins. I no longer kept what I was struggling with a secret. When we moved to Pennsylvania and got involved in a church, around the age of twenty-eight, we were asked to become youth leaders. My conscious would not let me be free to do ministry with the guilt I carried around of having two abortions. I confessed to my pastor what I had done. He led me in prayer and gave me the scripture in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I read it and thought it was good. It wasn’t until I meditated on what it truly said, that I was set free from the guilt of my sin. It said, “ALL”, unrighteousness, not some. The word ALL jumped off the page. All means all, not some. I began to reason in my mind. If God can forgive and cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness, how can I not forgive myself? Am I greater than God? No, of course not. So I prayed and said to the Lord, “Jesus thank you for forgiving me of ALL unrighteousness. No matter how big the sin, I choose to forgive me! Enable me to love and serve you all the days of my life. I did not deserve this grace and mercy, but I receive it in full measure. I Love you with all my being and I am eternally grateful to you.” It is the truth of God’s Word that sets us free from our own reasoning and the lies of the enemy. God is truth and there is no lie found in Him.

At around the age of thirty-six, John and I went through a program called Cleansing Stream and that was the first time we ever spoke of the abortion we had when we only dated for a month. God brought much healing into our lives at this time.

James 1:2-4  “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3.) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4.) And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

I have lived through many trials throughout my lifetime. There would be too many to write about in this testimony. From 2008-2015 John and I walked through a very difficult season in our lives. During this time, I chose to rise up in my Spirit man and declare the goodness of God in the land of the living, regardless of the circumstances or outcome. John and I lost our home of twenty-five years due to the economy affecting his business. I was in a car accident in 2012, with no health insurance and during that time, lost four family members to cancer and illness. Out of this, God would have me write a personalized devotional, “Being Immersed in the Father’s Love” in obedience to the Lord’s directive. This is His heartbeat to all His Children. It is a personalized devotional that Immerses you into His kind intentions towards you through His word, no matter what the circumstances. Whether you know the Lord for one day, one hundred years, or not at all, this devotional will touch your life in an intimate way. He is a good, good Father! He orders our steps. The good steps and the hard steps. Receive His love, His truth, and His promises. May every lie be broken and cast down in Jesus name! Amen!   

 


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Description of Dana's Ministry in Her Own Words:

"Come and be immersed in the overwhelming love of God the Father. Encounter His desire and the kind intentions that He has for you through the personalizing of scripture presented in this devotional. Picture a waterfall of God's promises washing over you and fully immersing you through the faithfulness of what He has promised to you in His word. Where negative mind-sets and perspectives will be washed away and replaced with great worth and value. Experience how you will be enabled to have victory in your life even while encountering difficult trials and circumstances. Your trust and faith will increase as you engage with Him. He is desiring you and is willing to give you all that He has promised. Come and encounter the goodness of God the Father and allow Him to lavish His love upon you. All you need to do is be willing to receive what He is providing. He is trustworthy and will not disappoint! Come and be immersed!"      

~Dana Repetti






 




 


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22May

When Kathy was younger, she didn't know God. She was empty, divorced, and a single mom. Kathy's emptiness turned into fulfillment when her life became the Lord's. To her, that's the best decision she has ever made besides marrying her husband Scott.



"Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You."  (Psalms 63:3)




I was raised in a home where my mother and my oldest sister took us to a Lutheran church. I was there for 16 years. I was baptized and confirmed, but I was confused about the true way of salvation. When I went back many years later and looked in the notebooks my father had saved for me, I found the notation, “What is it really like to know God?”


I went on in ignorance, got married when I was 21, and had a son, then my twin girls when I was 30. At that time, I remember thinking to myself that “this is what life is all about.” But, I was also in a marriage that had been split up seven or eight times because of an unfaithful relationship. I began to realize what a mess my life was in. I went to counseling with my minister, and all he had to offer me was a psychology book. Even though I was not saved at the time, I thought it was really odd that a minister would not offer me anything from the Bible, the Word of God. (Note: “salvation”, “saved” and “born again” are biblical terms referring to the forgiveness of sins by God and the rescue of a person from their power and penalty of that sin. This is God’s requirement for everlasting life.)


At the time, I just turned to go my own way. My marriage was broken, and I had no one in my life. I got into the nightclub scene. I loved to dance, and it got so that rock and roll was all I had to uplift me. At the same time, it was my downfall. I went on like this for nearly two years. But my life was empty. Oh, I loved my children, and I got up every day and went out and worked hard to provide a home for them. But it got to a point where I would get up in the morning and look in the mirror and I couldn’t stand myself because I knew something was missing. Something was terribly wrong. About that time, my friend at work started attending an independent Baptist church she had attended as a child. She had just built a house and was trying to fill her life with material things. She began asking me if I’d like to attend church with her, and I didn’t respond at first. But then, the Lord brought another lady to work with me temporarily because she had been injured and couldn’t do her regular job. She began to preach the Word of God to me. Everyone around us abandoned the area when she started witnessing and preaching. I couldn’t leave because this was my job area, but I really would not have wanted to leave. Something drew me to what this woman had to say. She told me in no uncertain terms, that I was a sinner and needed to get saved. She opened her Bible and began to read from the book of John, chapter three, verse 16. I just listened and thought to myself, “Something is clicking here.” While I didn’t really understand everything, it was enough of a nudge for me to seek out my friend and ask her if I could take her up on her offer to take me to church with her.


I got my two year old twins ready that next Sunday morning, and my 10 year old son and we were off for church. I went for two weeks and listened to everything that was being said. The Saturday night before the third Sunday, the Lord opened up my heart and let me see myself for what I was—a sinner destined for hell if I didn’t get saved. I had no peace that night. I knew I had to get alone with God and deal with this. I had read enough of the Bible, the books of John and Romans, to know what I had to do. That Saturday night, May 14th, 1981, I got down on my knees and acknowledged that I was a sinner and asked the Lord to come into my heart and change my life.


The next day I couldn’t wait to get to church. Even though my children were there with me, I felt like there was no one around me. I was convinced that those who were there could see my sin because the message so pointed at me. During the invitation for people to come forward and get to know Christ as their personal Savior, I literally ran up the aisle. I was weeping as I told the usher that the Lord had come into my heart the night before, and I said that I so wanted my family to be saved also. The Lord was so good to me, and I praise Him for that.


I continued living in Baltimore. About 1983, things began to change at Western Electric, where I had worked for 17 years. I felt I was being pulled in the wrong direction, and I prayed to God to remove me from that atmosphere. Little did I know that I would be moved to another state.


I was offered a job at the Western Electric plant in Allentown, PA. It was a big decision for me. I went to my ex-husband to see if that door might still be open for me. After talking to him, I knew that chapter of my life was closed, and I jumped right into finding a new life in Pennsylvania.


My sister lived with me in Allentown for a couple of years until she retired in 1988 and moved back to Baltimore. I was pretty lonely after that. I worked with both men and women at Western Electric, and I had a number of men come up to me and ask me out. But, I had promised myself that I would not get involved with an ungodly man.


So, I began to pray to God. I told God I didn’t know if I even had a right to ask Him for a husband, but that I was lonely and I would like to have a man that would lead and guide and direct my children. I asked for a man that reads the Bible and a man that would want to sit and have family devotions and share God’s Word with his family. I asked for a man with whom I could have a spiritual relationship, as well as good fellowship.


I believe God gave me that man when He brought Scott Wilson into my life. Our marriage has not been without problems. We all have problems. But we can always get down on our hands and knees and ask God for guidance and direction. For me, sometimes, that has meant I’ve had to go to my husband and ask him to forgive me for trying to lead the family. After being a single mother making all decisions for so long, I found that sometimes I have a tendency to be independent.


At those time, I find it a comfort to turn to the Bible and read the book of Ephesians, chapter five, verses 21 to 25, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” That helps me remember what a true Christian home is like under Christ. I find if I submit myself first unto the Lord, then unto my husband, most times everything just falls in place. That’s the advice I would give to any young woman just starting out in her married life.


Kathy and her husband Scott (Very cute in matching colors)

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