My Journey from Being a Catholic Believer to a Spirit Filled Christian
Raised in the Catholic Church
I was raised a Roman Catholic. We went to church most Sundays and kept all the Catholic traditions. I had my “first holy communion” when I was in grade 3, which meant that we could partake in eating the holy bread (waver) in church which represented the body of Christ. Actually it not only represented the body of Christ, through prayer the priest “made it into the actual body of Christ”.
When I was about 13 years old I had my “confirmation” which was meant to be the time to receive the Holy Spirit. I was well prepared for this big event after attending several days of prayer, talks, group work concerning this theme. Expecting at least a little bit of manifestation when the priest laid hands on me and prayed, I left quite disappointed as nothing really happened. Anyway, they said we had received the Holy Spirit from this day on. I continued going to church as I believed there is a God and I had a bad conscience if I didn’t go. However, the rituals in church did not make much sense to me, when to stand up, when to sit down, going to the confession box and telling my sins, of course not all of them, to the priest who then would give me the remission of sins.
At some stage a new youth pastor came into our church and he introduced some new things like youth mass where we had guitar music and singing, youth groups, prayer meetings and more. There was a group of highly motivated teenagers and young adults who met for prayer meetings and singing choruses which drew my attention as I did believe in God and wanted to get to know Him.
You can talk to God directly and read His Word
During this time a girl told me that I could talk directly to God and that He could give me answers through the Bible. I was very astonished but she continued saying that she would often pray and ask God for answers and then open the bible and God would show her exactly what she needed. Well, this was enough motivation for me to buy my own bible. Roman Catholics usually don’t have a bible or think they don’t need one as the priest would tell them anyway what’s right and wrong. At first I felt ashamed going to the shop and asking for a bible but I wanted to find out about this prayer and answer issue and I ended up with my Catholic bible in my room reading and praying nearly every day. I thought if I don’t have time for God, He won’t have time for me. This went on for about a year I think and God definitely led my way and held my hand.
“Draw nigh unto God, and he will draw nigh to you…” (JAMES 4:8)
Through reading the Word of God He was able to change my thinking and to work on my soul.
“For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (HEBREWS 4:12)
I still went to the Catholic Church, seeking for God, but at some stage I had to leave in the middle of the ceremony as everything seemed very hypocritical to me. I could not help it. I asked God often to show me the right way and He did. Although there was not really an alternative to the Catholic Church in the area where I grew up.
Receiving the Holy Spirit
When I started my studies I lived away from home for most of the week. I joined a Catholic prayer group once a week where we met for short prayer and a big breakfast afterwards. One day someone whom I knew back from school, turned up. He started preaching about the Holy Spirit and baptism and our group leader became very aggressive; so much so that he nearly punched him. I just listened to this conversation and did not know what to think about it. When Michael, my old school acquaintance, left, I ran after him and could not help asking him to pray for me as I always believed in prayer. He joyfully said he would do this and invited me to a Pentecostal meeting. First I denied as I was always very cautious but after a few invitations I agreed to go there with my boy friend who was eager to find out for himself as well.
We ended up joining a Christian meeting in a living room. I certainly was not a person who could be easily convinced of something new and I was very skeptical. However what was most impressive at this evening was the singing; it was very powerful and full of joy - and everybody joined in wholeheartedly. Something I never experienced in the Catholic Church. Anyway, we had a lot of questions and they were all answered with the Scriptures. I could see, these people really knew their bible and the Word of God was the foundation of their lives.
When I was back at home I still had a lot of worries that this was a sect and I asked the Lord for an answer. When I opened my bible at a random page I read the following scripture:
“But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy (which in the German bible is translated with ‘sect’)
so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.” (ACTS 24:14) So here was my answer directly from God. It was not a sect; it was a group who worships the God of the bible.
The next thing I wanted to see as proof was the speaking in tongues. So we went to a meeting where these gifts were operated and I heard my schoolmate speaking in a new language which I never heard him do before. Everything went very smooth and orderly, there was no crazy screaming or rolling on the floor. In my heart I knew it was from God. Also I think the assembly group prayed a lot for us to get saved. I know I was drawn to the meetings a few times when my feeling told me differently. Not too long and I got baptized under water in a lake and buried my old life. Afterwards we went to pray for the Holy Spirit. And this time I can say I really received the Holy Spirit as the Scripture says:
“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) I started speaking in a new language through the Holy Ghost and this was my uttermost proof that the Word of God is real. Nobody would be able to ever take this from me.
My Journey as a Spirit-filled Christian
This was my journey from a Catholic believer to a Spirit-filled Christian and I praise God that He led me this way.
“Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (MATTHEW 7:7)
That's how I got converted in 1990 to the God of the Bible and a lot has happened since. I moved from Germany to Australia as a calling of God, got married and have 3 beautiful kids. Life has never been boring since. The path has not always been easy and at times I was extremely desperate and lonely and could not see any light at the end of the tunnel, a few times I hit rock bottom and thought it would be better to die than to live.
But one thing I know, there is ALWAYS a place to go: down on my knees to pray to God; and He was always faithful and lifted me up again and showed me His light and peace and most of all God gave me new strength to go on. If everything fails, HE never will!
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” (ECCLESIASTES 3:1)
There is a purpose for every life and I am so glad I found the narrow way.