I was Always Happy in My Life, but There is More
My name is Mandy, and I’m originally from Kiel in northern Germany. Over the last few years my husband and I have lived as missionaries in France, Scotland, and, a few months ago, we moved to Australia.
I ‘m happy that I can share my testimony with you and I hope that it will help you to find answers for your own life.
Today I know that if God didn´t exist, I would not be sitting here and writing about how powerfully God changed my life. I would have been embarrassed to preach the Bible and no man could have ever done what God did in my life.
I must say I never really believed in God. I thought that somehow there must be something, but I was honestly never really searching. My mum read Bible stories out to us when we were young and she often told us about Jesus, today I know that in doing so my mum had already planted some seeds of faith. I sometimes went to Sunday school with my older sister, but I never really felt attached to the church.
I was very happy with my life, had a great childhood, great parents, a sister who I love a lot and good friends with whom I can talk about everything. We played a lot of music at home, learned many different handcrafts, played sports and travelled a lot. I had plenty of room to explore and to find my own way. I always felt greatly loved and learned many good principles from my parents like trust, honesty and a lot of optimism.
After I finished school I worked for half a year in a hospital to finance my dream to go to New Zealand for six months. I went there with my best friend and we had an unforgettable time.
Later, I went to university to study sport and French to become a teacher. It was back then at university, for the first time in my life, that I met a Christian who lived according to the Bible. He told me that he took the Bible literally… no sex before marriage, any alcohol; etc, etc…I just couldn’t take him seriously, even though he seemed to be quite happy. At that time I just couldn’t imagine living like he did and I also didn’t see any reason to. My life was just completely different and I enjoyed it 100 percent.
I wasn’t interested at all in any religious groups and considered the Bible to be rather old-fashioned. I was very tolerant towards all kinds of religions and I just thought everybody had their own God and could do whatever they wanted to do. On the other hand I was a very skeptical and logical person and would not have just believed or followed any old philosophy.
For me the Bible was a book with good morals and nice stories, but I never thought that one could take the Bible literally as it was only a book written by different people. I realised later on that I actually didn’t know much about the Bible at all. There were so many things I had no idea about, for example: historical events, Heaven and Hell, speaking in tongues, prophecies about world events, British Israel and much more.
I realised that ‘the true God’ has nothing much to do with religion and unfortunately also nothing to do with many churches today. I like Keith Green’s (Christian musician) saying: “Going to church makes you as much a Christian as going to MacDonald’s makes you a hamburger.” Anyway to cut a long story short, a few years later and shortly before I finished university, I got to know a guy from university called Andreas. He was teaching me and my boyfriend Lars table tennis.
One day he spoke in class about God and also asked me personally whether I believed in God. I found it a bit funny and was very skeptical. He confessed in front of the whole class that he was a Bible believing Christian and that he lived according to the Bible.
I know that many of my friends laughed at him inwardly and I also found the whole situation a bit embarrassing, but on the other side I was curious and wanted to know how he could be so convinced that the Bible was the truth.
I was full of questions and very critical: If God exists why is there so much evil in the world? Don’t tell me you believe that we are descended from Adam and Eve? The Bible is only a book written by people and anyway it’s a bit out of date, isn’t it? So how can you call it God’s Word? I have always heard that the Bible is full of contradictions and inaccurate? How do I know which religion is the right one? Why can there be only one truth? Why does Hell exist? I thought God was good and full of love?
The first thing that surprised me was that Andreas actually had a Bible with him at University which he opened up and used to answer my questions. He came up with a lot of things which I had never heard of before and also never heard in my church...
He also showed me scriptures like the one below; which states that one is not allowed to add anything to, or take anything away from the Bible, and that the Bible is inspired by God and needs to be taken literally.
"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." (REVELATION 22:18-19).
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."(2 PETER 1:20-21).
When Andreas then mentioned several archaeological findings, this puzzled me a bit, as I had never heard about any proof of what I considered to be fairy tales. For instance: Noah's Ark has been found in the Ararat Mountains in Turkey, and the measurements of the ark in Turkey exactly match the measurements given in the Bible. Also, at the place where Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the Red Sea, thousands of human skeletons, horse skeletons and partially golden chariot wheels were found. Moreover he said that God still performs miracles TODAY, in his own life, one of them being healing according to the scriptures below:
"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover" (MARK 16:17-18).
I could not believe that there was supernatural healing and put it down at the best to chance. Andreas also showed us scriptures in the Bible which clearly state that not everybody will go to Heaven, but only those who obey the commandments of the Lord. There are many preachers nowadays who preach big sermons but putting them into practice is definitely the more difficult part. The Bible speaks a lot about
“…being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (JAMES 1:25).
“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (MATTHEW 7:20-23).
Although I did not believe that the Bible was really God's Word, it got me thinking and I started to read the Bible. When Andreas invited us to watch some of the archaeological documentaries about Noah's Ark, the Red Sea crossing, Sodom and Gomorrah and Mount Sinai, Lars and I took him up on his offer. After watching the documentaries I started to realise that there is proof that the Old Testament stories are not fairy tales, but seem to have quite an element of truth in them. Over the next few months Lars and I occasionally went to meetings and met many of other Christians. We still had a lot of questions and read our Bibles and other books about Spirit filled Christians (i.e. Martin Luther, John Calvin, Smith Wigglesworth, and John Bunyan). We still tried to convince Andreas and his friends that the Bible couldn’t be a true book. If it was, it would mean that I would need to change my whole way of living, which I had no intention of doing. Every time I went though, I heard more and more testimonies of people who took the Bible literally and also heard, for the first time in my life, about the phenomenon of speaking in tongues.
Andreas showed me from the Bible that on the day of Pentecost when the disciples received the Holy Ghost, they started speaking in other tongues/new languages. He showed among others the following scriptures, in which God makes it clear that whenever somebody received the Holy Ghost they started speaking in a new tongue/language.
"And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (ACTS 2:4).
"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God." (ACTS 10:44-46).
Andreas told me that this promise of receiving the Holy Spirit applies to everyone today, according to:
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." (ACTS 2:38-39).
When I then heard him and the other people in the church ALL speak in tongues, I really started thinking seriously, “What if they are right?”. Lars decided to go to his Lutheran Pastor and asked his opinion about Pentecostal churches and about ‘speaking in tongues'. His feedback was very positive, though he himself did not believe the Bible literally; he assured Lars that a Pentecostal Church is not a sect or cult. He told Lars that some of his friends were also in a Pentecostal church and they took the Bible literally and still experienced many miracles. Further studies about the mathematics of the Bible left me little doubt that the Bible had not been written by ordinary men, but was indeed inspired by God. Nevertheless I was still skeptical and I wanted to find out independently from any other person’s opinion whether one can really take the Bible literally. The ultimate proof for me would be, if the same miracle, which the disciples witnessed 2000 years ago in receiving the Holy Ghost, by starting to speak in a new language, would happen to me.
So my boyfriend Lars and I decided to put God's Word to the test, we were baptized by full immersion according to ACTS 2:38 and asked God to give us the Holy Ghost according to LUKE 11:13
“…how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
Within minutes we started to speak in a new language that we had never spoken in before. From that moment onwards I knew that God is real and I started to preach to my family and friends and told them about God and the Bible. Lars and I started putting the Bible into practice, we prayed for people when they were unwell and have seen many wonderful healings since. This is still on-going. In 1999 we were married, we have two beautiful children (Josh and David); have lived in three different countries as missionaries and we experience God’s work daily in our lives with signs and wonders.
Although I have to admit that I did not want God to be real, as I enjoyed my life too much, today I am more than thankful that He is real, because God has truly blessed us. His commandments are not there in order to make life difficult for us, as I thought at first , but are the help and direction for receiving real joy and many blessings and most importantly to have eternal life one day. God is a good God, but we choose whom we follow, and I hope that this testimony will help you to start seeking God.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (MATTHEW 7:7-8).