Awakened to True Christianity Through Workmate's Testimony...
Well my story goes something like this… I was pretty much brought up with religion and was taken to church along with my brothers and sisters by my parents every Sunday. I am truly grateful to my mum and dad for a wonderfully loving childhood and upbringing. Of course eventually, like many young people I suppose, I began to find church rather boring. I just had no real connection to God in a personal way at all. In spite of even being an altar boy for a year or two - I would never have called myself a good catholic. Really I was a catholic in name only. As long as I can remember I always believed in God - and I even used to talk to Him quite often, but mainly about things I selfishly needed. I just did not know WHO or WHERE He really was and what He expected from me.
I remember from about the age of 17 going to church on a Sunday evening on my own (without my parents) mainly as this was a much shorter service than the one in the morning. I was perfectly "happy" with my life as I had all the things that most young guys of my age wanted; job, car, some money in my pocket, girlfriend, friends (I still lived with parents – so life was easy). Had anybody asked me at that stage if I would like to become a "born again Christian" I would have run a mile. In reality I had no idea what a born again Christian really was. It just sounded strange and very religious – so I never asked.
I had not long started a new job (1985) when I was first introduced to someone whom I was told was a born again Christian. I immediately thought she would be some kind of "Bible bashing" religious fanatic so I approached her with some caution at first :-). The girl was German (called Katja) and had just moved to Scotland. She was a lovely character and after asking her – it amazed me that she had come to our country primarily as a missionary (to "preach the Gospel" to
I asked myself; what would happen to me when my time came?
us Scots). Surprisingly she never actually preached to me as such and thankfully she didn´t ram the bible down my throat either. She was wiser than that.
She did however make a deep impression on me by the "life" which she seemed to constantly exude. She was genuinely full of natural joy and life and was always so positive about everything. She was also funny and had a nice sense of humour – which I liked. I found myself drawn to want to get to know about what made her so happy/content all the time. I was so ignorant about the Bible (which I had never even seen/read before - so much for my religious upbringing!) – I simply did not have a clue what it was about. Over time Katja passed on many personal testimonies and stories about what God had done in her life. I was very moved by what she told me (of course I did not tell her that). I found myself gradually wanting to know answers for my own life. If one day I must stand before God and give an account of my life (as I was shown from the Bible), I asked myself; what would happen to me when my time came? This caused a lack of peace in me.
Looking back she basically led me (I still did not admit it to her though) to start seeking and ask myself (and others) if God really did exist and if He did, what did I have to do to be right with Him? I began asking her - she explained how her little sister had been healed of a sickness after prayer; she told me how God had answered her prayers and she shared many miraculous testimonies with me that she had seen or experienced.
In spite of thinking I was content with my life – really I was growing tired of the usual day to day things. I began to wonder what the future would bring? There was surely more to life than “going to the pub” and being ever so “macho” by getting drunk at parties, etc. Conviction was growing in me and I started reading the Bible with a more sincere and hungering attitude. Before long I came to the conclusion I had to make a decision – I put aside all unnecessary fears and I decided to make the change in my life – the Bible calls this REPENTANCE. I had read the following scripture which was the final push I needed – as it hit me between the eyes and I knew God was addressing this to me:
...and spoke instantly in a beautiful new language...
(MARK 8:36) - For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
On the 1st Aug 1986 I went on my knees to ask God for the Holy Spirit – my friend Steve (Katja’s fiancée) laid his hands on me (ACTS 8:18), I was baptized by full immersion (MARK 16:16; JOHN 3:5, etc…). I was also filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke instantly in a beautiful new language which the Bible refers to as“other tongues” (ACTS 2:4). This was the best decision that I have ever made. From that point on I really had a relationship with God – the Holy Spirit was leading me into all truth (JOHN 16:13).
It is now more than 26 years since my conversion. It would fill many pages to tell you what I have experienced in that time in the Lord, but all I can say is that I am eternally grateful for Salvation and very grateful to the lovely, happy girl who preached the Word to me (she now lives in Australia and I think and pray often for her and her family. I thank God that she was used by Him to show me ‘The Word of LIFE,' which led me to Christ and Salvation – thanks Katja – I miss you, Steve and family so much).
As time went on, I met my darling wife, Sandra in the church (married June ‘94) and we have been blessed with five healthy children; John (Born June 2001), Jordan (Born July 2003), Anna (Born May 2005), Joel (Born August 2007) & Sam (Born 2009). Sam was actually born in Valencia - Spain where we have lived since June 2008. We have moved here as missionaries to serve the Lord and set up the work here with the Fletcher family. The Lord has given us a vision for the work here - a few have been baptised since arriving and God willing there will be many more. It is such a great thing to “go out” as missionaries... life is a daily challenge in “crises ridden Spain” - work is very difficult to find, but God literally cares daily for our needs in so many ways - we have seen many small miracles of how He provides for us. The kids all speak fluent English, German and now Spanish (mum and dad too for that matter :-)). We live on a small farm with goats, chickens, pigeons, dog, cat, budgies and soon hamsters (I gave in to the pressure for the hamsters :) and a horse for the kids to ride. So in spite of the challenges... we love Spain and we are happy to be following God's command in the truest sense:
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. – (MARK 16:15,16).
Andrew & family – updated February 2013