October 1, 2014

God Became a True Friend

My parents were both raised in Christian homes and saved in their teenage years. However, they were not always the best examples as parents when it came to spiritual leadership. At times they were serving God, and then at other times they went their own ways. Regardless of how they were living, though, they always encouraged their children to participate in church activities and be a part of the family of God. They knew we needed that stability and truth in our lives, even when they themselves were far from it.

Thankfully, my godly grandparents saw to it that my siblings and I were taken to the Apostolic Faith Sunday school from our earliest years. I can clearly remember the classes and teachers, the wonderful object lessons that were taught, and the sweet Spirit of God that was present there. I found it very easy to believe the Bible stories and accept the Gospel message, and I had a deep desire to be a part of it.

When I was just nine years old, I began to realize that I needed to act on the Sunday school lessons I was hearing. At that time, Jesus revealed Himself to me in a real and personal way. As I was picturing Him dying on the Cross for my sin, I felt the love, compassion, and mercy that flowed from Him, and it broke my heart. He saved me in our church in Eureka on the first Friday of April, 1966. Later, I was sanctified, and when I was fourteen, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit at a youth camp in Medford, Oregon.

During my early teen years, my parents divorced. It was hard enough being a teenager in the 1970s, and being from a broken home made life that much more difficult. However, God became a true Friend to me during that time. He built up my faith through the hardships I faced, and helped me through school and those formidable teen years. The pastor’s wife and my family members who were in the church also mentored and supported me. The Christian fellowship was a blessing!

When I was in my late teens, the Eureka church began a project to construct a larger building. A young man from Medford, Oregon, named Mark Jones volunteered to come and help. Within a few months, we noticed each other and began dating. Then in September 1976, we were married. He had been raised in the Medford Apostolic Faith Church by wonderful Christian parents, and received salvation as a child. I have found it a blessing to have this faithful, godly man by my side.

Early in our marriage we faced challenges as many couples do. My husband was self-employed in the construction trade, which meant there were sometimes months between pay checks, and finances were often very tight. We lived frugally and carefully in those early years, and God always provided for us.

In 1979 we welcomed our first child, Neil, with great joy. Then, as we planned for more children, we faced some obstacles. In two subsequent pregnancies, I lost the babies at four months along. This was a sad time for us, yet we had confidence that God was in control. We began to look into international adoption. We were delighted when, in June of 1985, a little girl named Melisa was born in Bogota, Colombia, and assigned to us. The adoption process took nine months from the first letter we sent to Colombia until we went to get our daughter. Just days after we left that country to return home with her, a devastating volcanic eruption took place there. In the aftermath, militant rebels bombed the American Embassy and the courthouse, killing dozens of judges and lawyers. We were thankful that God’s timing had been so perfect in our lives that we were not in danger while there.

God has helped my husband and me throughout our marriage and in raising our children. Today, they and their spouses know and love God, and are teaching our grandchildren about the love of God. Most of my immediate family is in the Gospel as well, and both of my parents returned to the Lord before they passed away. I know the value of Christian fellowship and count it a blessing to be surrounded by family and friends who love the Lord. God has blessed my life, and I’ve never regretted the choice to serve Him.

apostolic faith magazine