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God is so good. We don't often even realize the blessings that we have in our lives. It is wonderful to share with others the testimony of Jesus Christ and what it means to us to be Christians. There is no greater tool to help others grow in the Faith or help those still searching to come to Christ than sharing how He has changed your life, forever.

This section of Youth4Him is for sharing that Faith with the world. Praise God for these special gifts. Share yours!

No More Doubts  
God Came Knocking My Journey To God
God's Purpose Truly Saved
A Reason to Live Sticking to It
Letters to God Choose Life
What Kept Me Going Travis's Story
God is Awesome Thank You Jesus
No More Acting From There to Here
You Can Get Through It A Tough Life
No Matter What Finding My Own
Death to New Life Taking the First Step
Choosing to Escape God Pulls Us Through
If We Believe, We Shall See Christ is Boring? No Way!
Turning From Sin Growing Up Christian

No More Doubts
Laura Kirsop

I used to doubt my salvation almost every time I heard a message about salvation.  Thinking about eternity made me a little queasy.  I would say to myself "What's wrong with you Laura? You're saved!  Don't you asking Christ to save you?"  I would push the doubts away then and try to console myself, still felling a little empty.  It was torturous!  Nagging questions like "did I just pray a prayer just for a ticket to heaven and not really mean it?" and "did I really understand what I was doing?" would keep coming up.

It was any normal school day at my Christian school in the eighth grade that I slid into my chair in Algebra just before the bell rang. Little did I know that that day was going to radically change the way I thought about my salvation. My teacher always started class with a devotional.  This time, he told us about a time in his life where he really doubted his salvation, and of course, I listened.  Then a statement he said really turned on the light for me just like it had for him.  I couldn't quote it word for word but it was something like this: "Who or what are you trusting right NOW for salvation."  I realized right then that I didn't have to worry about what I did and said years ago in my prayer.  I was trusting Christ, and I always had been since that day years before when I was saved.  I realized there was nothing to doubt.  Christ saved me. It would be foolish to doubt Christ.  After all, it was nothing I did to earn salvation, it was Christ.  I've never doubted since.

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My Journey to God
Aaron J. Keyes

"God is not real, he is just the name given to good things. Neither is Satan, that is the name given to bad things." If you asked me what my beliefs about religion were just 3 years ago, that would have been my response. I was so good at explaining it too. You couldn't convince me that there was an actual spirit somewhere who had any kind of control over anything. Not to mention that he created the earth and everything else in the universe. Ridiculous!

I am not sure when my journey began, I can tell when it came to a climax, though. No one ever really shared the gospel with me directly. Actually, the first time I really heard anything about it was through Youth Revolution. I was asked by a friend to video tape and edit some of the services that they did. I was more than happy to help. I would hear the songs and the words and start adding things up. This was not my turning point... just a slow beginning. I was involved with them for a little while.

That summer was when I would be transformed completely. In the blink of an eye I would see the truth of God. It was July 15, 2001. It was a wonderful summer day. At this point Brittany had been living with me and my mother for two years. Her fourth birthday was just 2 weeks away, July 28. We were taking care of her because she was placed in my mother's custody by the Department of Social Services. They determined that her real mother (my cousin) and her boyfriend were not able to care for her. My mother fought with a passion to help Brittany. She would notice bruises and marks on her that just didn't seem right. So, she went to the hospital with my cousin's mother and the doctors were in agreement that Brittany had been abused. Not by her mother, but by her mother's boyfriend. They immediately removed her from the home.

She was placed with us. A true blessing and I didn't even know it. So, that day we had a babysitter come over to entertain Brittany. She took her swimming and to the park. She had a wonderful day thanks to her babysitter. Brittany loved the pool. She was a little skittish about it at first, but she got used to it.

The day was coming to an end. Brittany's babysitter had gone home and the excitement of the day was wearing us all a little tired. As bedtime approached Brittany asked me for some Oreo cookies. After some protest about eating right before bed, I caved in and gave her some. She was off to bed now. I went into the living room to watch the much-anticipated Dinosaur special on the Discovery Channel. It was 8:20 when I got up for a drink and some fresh air.

I went to the back porch overlooking the pool where Brittany had so much fun that day. I gazed at the stars and stretched my arms. I looked to my right, down at the pool and saw something unusual. "Probably nothing," I thought. But, upon closer inspection I realized it was Brittany - floating in the water. The moment I saw her was when I was changed. It was immediate and it was final. I saw in my mind a picture of the Dixon family who started Youth Revolution. I knew I was to go to them as soon as I could. I screamed at the top of my lungs for my mother to call 911. I jumped over the first gate and down to the pool deck and jumped over that gate and into the pool. I swam to her and put her over my shoulder. I carried her to the pool deck and laid her on her back and listened for breath sounds, but there were none. I began to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and compressions on her chest. I would turn her on her side a few times so that water could escape. Nothing was working. Suddenly a police officer ran around the corner and began helping me. She asked me to continue what I was doing and offered support.

Soon the ambulance would arrive. I left the scene and went in the house. I found a quiet spot to pray. I asked God for clear understanding and peace. It was granted immediately... even before I asked. I again saw the image of the Dixons in my mind. There was chaos in the house and in the street. I had an overwhelming sense of peace. I traveled in the passenger seat of the ambulance and my mother followed. I was in a state of shock as I rode in the ambulance. I could hear sounds that meant nothing. I remember the driver sounding the siren, but there were no cars in front of us. This was to mask the sounds form the back as the paramedics were working on her.

We arrived at the hospital and I was ushered to a waiting room as doctors frantically worked on Brittany. I left the waiting room and around the corner I saw my step-father walking down the hallway. I ran to him and hugged him. "She's dead, she's dead." I cried. He was in unbelief. Then I called Kathy Dixon to let her know that I would be coming over tonight. I didn't ask, I just told her what was going on.

I noticed a priest in the hallway. He asked me if I wanted to go in and say goodbye to Brittany. It was all so surreal. I agreed. We went in and I noticed her lying in the bed with blankets up to her chest. She looked so peaceful. I looked at her and threw my body over her and wept. I remember the priest's gentle touch as I lay there. Brittany was in my arms and I was in the arms of God.

When I returned to the hallway I saw Brittany's grandmother (my aunt). She was a wreck. And then I saw Brittany's mom. They were placed in a room. I had to go in. Her mom jumped up and hugged me. I invited her in to say good bye.

This is a day that will remain in my mind forever. I will never forget Brittany. I will never forget her smile and her laugh, her hugs and of course, her dancing.

God used this event to lead me into his presence. There is no other way I could have gotten through it all. I would not be the person I am today. I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I thank God for what He did through that tragedy.

Open your heart and let Him in.

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God Came Knocking
Makalah

I was saved on October 22,2002. It was on a night's service when we had revival and our song leader asked me to come and pray, but at first I had said 'NO". After I had thought about it I thought that this could be my last night to go and that I would go to Hell. So I stood up and went to the alter and prayed and prayed and prayed untill I couldn't pray anymore! Finally I asked God to forgive me of all my sins and that I would obey his every word. The next thing I knew God came into my heart and said, "Makalah you are saved," so I raised up and turned to my mom and told her then she told me to tell my grandma and I told her. As soon as I had told her she started shouting because she was happy that I had finally gotten saved.

Every time I feel God knock at my heart and tell me to stand to thank Him for saving me I do and I'm very happy that He would give His life for a poor sinner like me! Thank you God!

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God's Purpose
Rebecca, 14

I don't no what this will mean to some people, but I pray that is touches at least one persons heart. I've grown up in a Christian home, and my dad is a pastor. I always looked at the bad things happening to people and I thought, that's so sad at least it will never happen to me or my family. And really nothing terrible ever did, until the summer before 7th grade:

Just after school started, my family went to take my sister to college in Florida. While we were there we got a call that my cousin had overdosed and killed herself. I thought this couldn't be happening to us, we're a godly Christian family, but it had happened. I thought, well at least things can't get worse but then, that February I got up to get ready for school, but then I realized something was wrong, that's when my parents told me that my grandpa had suffered a massive hear attack, so we left for Indiana (we lived in n.c), on our way there we got the word that he had passed away. Now, something inside of what I’m trying to say is that I didn't know if my grandpa was saved, and I used to blame myself for that, because that summer at the wilds in Brevard, nc, I had decided to tell my grandpa about Jesus, but I chickened out and never did. I blamed myself, but I realized it's my fault for not witnessing, so whenever you feel the urge, witness. That next summer at the wilds, I shared this with my counselor, and she told me (in case any of you are going through the same thing), that even though I hadn't told him, I couldn't blame myself for the rest of my life, that I needed to just learn from my mistake and do better, so I did. But any way, at the funeral I thought, well things still can't get worse, and for a while I thought I was right...

That June, the week after I got back from the wilds, my grandma came to visit form Indiana, and while she was here, she found out she had cancer, and that October she passed away.

I was thinking why had god put my family through all this, why would this happen to our Christian family, but then I realized, it may help bring my other non-Christian family member to god. It was at that point that I didn't really understand god and his plans. But then I realized, I’d always heard it before, but I never understood it until then, that god always has a purpose for everything, so if you’re going through something he's always there with a plan. Now I’m closer to him then ever, and I just hope this will help some one going through the same thing to trust god always, and don't blame him for anything. He has a purpose for it, even if you don't understand it.

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Truly Saved
Autumn

I was 14 when I truly got saved. When I first got saved I was not thinking what it was when you get saved. But the day I got saved I had this feeling come over me and I started to cry. Then I finely got up with my mom and she walked up with me and I got saved. It was November the 27th. Well I got saved and I didn't really under stand what it was so it was just a thing to me. See I never went to church or heard about God until I got put with a pair of foster parents that went to church and ever one in there family believed in Christ and where saved. So I just thought it was I thing to do. So I got saved and then slipped away from God and then finally one night I was like that is enough I can't take it so I went back up to the alter and ask God to forgive me that is when I truly got saved and ever since I went up God has done a whole bunch of things for me that I never thought He could do. And I thank him for it.

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Sticking to It
Nicole, 15

I haven't had a easy life. my grandma introduced me to or told me about God when I was in the 4th grade...I didn't know God even existed until then. Since I was about 9 years old our family has been through hell, and its only gotten worse. My brother was 13 years old when he began smoking, since then he's done every drug you could imagine, drank, and has tried committing suicide a numerous amount of times. I'm *so* worried about my mom until it isn't funny. She's put up with so much...and there's much more to come. My brother is about to go back to jail, and it's tearing our family to pieces. Through all of this, I guess its a little bit easy for someone to lose their faith...I use to think that we did something wrong or that God wasn't on our side, that he had abandoned us for some reason, but it wasn't until I went to IMPACT this last week that I realized I was wrong. IMPACT taught me to have faith and never give up hope. Since I've left IMPACT my faith and love for God has been restored. I'm *so* scared Jim going to lose it again...but I pray each day and night that it sticks with me..that I will overcome temptation and stick with Christ...He is my Savior after all, right? RIGHT! So right now I'm trying to stay strong for my family and myself...I'm praying for God to give us the strength and nourish us with His love...I want to serve Him in any way shape or form that I can...I love Jesus as my personal love and Savior...Amen

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Reason to Live
Steven, 16

I guess I'll just start by telling you a little about myself, my name is Steven I'm from VA and I'm 16. This is the first time I've ever shared my testimony so just stay with me. I've grown up going to church and I usually went every Sunday unless I was sick or something. The thing is I thought that church was boring and I couldn't wait to leave on Sundays. I started going to more church "stuff" but I never really got the whole point of it. Well, about a year ago I hit what I considered to be an all time low. My grades in school weren't doing so good and I started thinking about what is going to happen to me after high school. I realized that my family couldn't afford to send me to college and with my grades I wasn't likely to get any scholarships. That's when I started thinking about killing myself. I guess that the future just scared me thinking about where am I going to be in a few years. Then one night when I was home alone I decided I was going to cut my throat. I came as close as putting the knife to my throat, and just then it was like I heard someone say stop! don't do this you have better things to do. Well, obviously the story doesn't end here and thank God it doesn't. Really that was the best thing I could have heard because I started getting more involved in church. The things I had heard about God started making sense, and before I knew it I had given my life to God.

I started helping with things at church and last summer I went to Impact Virginia a week long mission trip and the Youth Evangelism Conference. After that I realized that I wanted to help bring more people to know God like I did. The only thing was I wasn't sure exactly how to do it. Then about a month a ago the youth leader at my church started taking some of us to this church that one of his friends went to. Lets just say that it was exactly what I was looking for, this church wasn't boring it was exciting and there were more people my age there. It was the kind of church I wanted to go to. Then one of my friends asked me if I wanted to help him start a Christian youth web site. I realized that this is what I had been looking for this is my way to share God with other people. I've recently started telling people about God in chat rooms and found that I could also use this to share God. Well, the web site isn't going just yet but I hope it will be soon and I hope it will help others find God. Ever since then my grades in school have been much better and I have just felt happier than usual. I had finally found some purpose in my life and it just felt so good that I had to share it. I've learned what the better things were that I have to do and now I'm doing them with Gods help. With God I can do anything I want, he hasn't let me down yet. I hope my testimony will help anyone who reads it.

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Letters to God
Suzanna

I have always written. Poetry and prose have always been a big part of my life, ever since I was old enough to read. When I came to know Christ, I wanted to know how I could best serve God. I couldn't stand up and preach great sermons, go out into the wilderness and bring entire tribes to the Lord, or any of that cool stuff you read other Christians doing. One day, I was writing a poem, and it came to me. I could do what I could do best, what God had blessed me with: writing. I had the biggest "duh moment" in my entire life; it was pathetic. Ever since then, I have written poems I knew God would like for me to write, and trying to write fantasy stories that honored God has been exciting and fun. My world of writing has become an adventure, instead of the "job" it had become when I had my "duh moment." So, don't for one moment think you have nothing to offer God. He chose you before you were born, and He gave you an ability that you can use to bring glory to His kingdom. Sometimes it isn't the great, cool, amazing stuff we hear about in Sunday school class, but doing anything for God is amazing, because we have that priviledge.

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Choose Life
Alyshia

Well for as long as I can remember I have known about God and believed in him, or so I thought. I was one of those "lukewarm" christians and well that's actually worse than being not at all. I had gone to Creation Fest and I would get all fired up for Christ then go back home and be the same as I was before I went. Then there was this one week in school. It was right after my friend Holli had broken up with her boyfriend Travis. And I started to hang out with Travis more and more and we got to be like best friends. Well everyone said I was ditching them to hang out with Travis because I liked him and honestly I didn't that way. Well all my friends (at least that's what I thought) were mad at me. And I was talking to my friend on the internet and he said well have fun being hated by everyone. That was it for me and I went into my room with a steak knife and tried to slit my wrists. Thankfully the knife was dull and the cuts weren't that deep. That night I was crying in my room thinking of what I had just done and I opened up my bible. It felt like God was calling me to read Deuteronomy 30:19-20 which says.... "I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life... loving the Lord your God, obeying him and holding fast to him; for that means life to you." Ever since that night I rededicated my life to Christ and have been reading the bible more and more and I am just falling in love with him more and more.

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What Kept Me Going
Rachel, 13

My name is Rachel and I am 13 years old. I have a wonderful Christian family. My father is a pastor and preaches Sunday nights at a local church.

Everyone would think I have had a great life, but my close friends know the truth. My family has been having financial problems and as for me, major spiritual ones.

My life was perfect (or so I thought) throughout my elementary years. I had the highest average in my grade, no major enemies, and was the student council president. However, everything was about to change.

The first year of middle school was the worst year of my life. Not even a month had gone by before I started thinking about ways to kill myself. I knew that I would never do that, but I needed a way out. I started to go to youth group around Christmas time. Every single time I went, God used my youth pastor to minister to me. I always seemed to have a different problem, but no matter what every time I went my youth pastor told me exactly what I needed to know.

The next year I went back to school determined that my year would be different. I was going to be popular, above everyone. No one was ever going to sexual harass me anymore or call me a hoe. Well, I achieved my goal to be popular, but it only brought more anguish. More than ever I had guys trying to 'do stuff' with me and I fell for one of them. I became too close to him and he started to totally control my life. My grades dropped. I was always depressed and kept my feelings locked up inside. I felt that no one cared that I was suffering.

One day I snapped, just broke down. I saw my allergy pills lying on my shelf in my room. The thought came to me that if I took those pills I would get attention from the people around me. I took the pills and because I did I ended up in the hospital for 6 hours while I got my stomach pumped and a nightmare that haunts me at night. After that people paid more attention to me, but I know now that it wasn't worth it.

I decided that what I really need is God. I rededicated my life to him and ever since then I have seen his hand on my life. I went to a recent youth retreat of about 50 people and was told by two of the service leaders that they felt like that retreat had been just for me. I was voted the second most person touched by God and my life has taken a major turn for the best. I no longer live in fear of that guy from school even though he still tries to control and do things with me. Every time I feel like I have fallen in a ditch I remind myself that God is in control and if I wasn't going to be used to do something special to help him then why would he have worked so hard to help me to get back on my feet? I KNOW God has something special for me! He is shining his joy through me to reach others. Every time I praise the Name of Jesus I get an uncontrollable peace, joy, and happiness in my body that spreads to the people around me. They have told me themselves about this joy.

Praise God for his mercy and his power and his love and definitely his joy. That is what keeps me going. What about you?

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Travis's Story
Tracy

Ah Camp! The best week of my life was going great! Me and some of my best friends were at a Christian camp in Carlinville, Illinois. The services were very life changing, but one was different from the rest.

My friends and I were praising God, pouring out all our energy, and singing our hearts out. The band was the best! We loved listening to their music, and their lead singer Travis was amazing. But I had yet to know how amazing he was. He told us his life story. When he was three, he and his brother were abandoned by his mother. She had given them to their grandmother, who warned Travis's mother that once she gave them up, she could never get them back. "Fine, okay. Take them," she had said. Travis couldn't understand why his mother didn't want him and his baby brother.

He and his brother grew up and were best friends. One day, Travis lost his brother. His uncle and aunts came over and became drunk. Travis's little brother was very young at the time and didn't know how to swim. He started running as fast as he could towards a lake behind the house. He fell face first in 18 inches of water. Travis tried to help his brother, but his aunts and uncles held him back. Travis screamed, "Somebody help him!" but they just laughed. They were so drunk they thought it was funny. Travis watched his brother kick his legs in the water until they stopped. Travis's brother had drowned.

Travis started to do drugs as a teen and developed a pain in his heel. He went to the doctor and told him his problem. The doctor told Travis that he had cancer. Travis was only thirteen. The doctor said that he will lose his leg, he could die, and he may never walk again. A few days later, Travis came back with a question. He asked, "will I ever be able to run, kick a soccer ball, or be like the other kids again?" The doctor said, "Face it, Travis! You'll never be like the other kids. You'll always be different."

Everyone in the room seemed to think that the cancer had just gotten better, and Travis didn't have to lose his leg. Then Travis said, "Well check this out." He lifted up the leg of his pants. He had a mechanical leg that reminded me of Luke Skywalker's hand. Everyone gasped. "That's not the best part. Check this out," Travis said. He jumped, ran, and everything that a normal person could do. Everyone cheered and clapped. God had saved Travis's life. Travis's story changed my life, and since then, I have been so close to God.

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God is Awesome
Kristen, 17

My name is Kristen and I live in California. I am 16 years old almost 17. I have been in Church for as long as I can remember. My Aunt and Uncle were the ones that got me and my family involved with the whole Church thing, they aren't only my relatives but they are the Pastors of my Church. Well anyways, to get to the sharing. God has been so so great to me and my family. My relationship with God was off and on, kinda like the yo-yo effect as my Pastor calls it but no matter how far away from God I got He never stopped loving me or performing miracles in my life. When I was about 11 years old my 4 year old was ran over by a car. I honestly didn't expect her to life because the car went right over her spine and slid down her arm. She came out of the accident with out a broken bone in her body. I prayed for her right a long with my parents and my wonderful Church family. After that I knew that God could do awesome things. Well I got back into Church and my relationship with God was cool until I got into 8th grade and then it declined from there. It got really bad when I became a freshman in high school. I got into drinking alcohol and cussing. But one thing is true God never turned His back on me. Praise God for that because if He did I don't think I would be here today to be able to tell you guys this. Well God gave me a wake up call and now I'm a Junior in high school and I have a relationship with God and I am really happy and on fire for Christ.

Before I let you go I just wanted to add some things here that God has been good to me in: Well our Church was in a little building and we had a vision that we would build a bigger building and be able to house more people. Well the whole congregation prayed and God made away that we would be able to build our new building. To this day we are now in it and our Church is on fire for God!! Well my Youth Group had our little cliques and umm we all really didn't get a long. We actually didn't even have a name, we were just known as the youth group, lol. Well God came through for us. We are now known as USE ME YOUTH MINISTRIES and just in case you're wondering what that stands for it is Unified Servants Equally Ministering Everywhere. We no longer have our little groups and we are now all together and on fire for God. Oh yeah and my cousin is the youth pastor. Lol. Well anyways we now put on human videos and dramas for Christ. And last but certainly not the least my family has recently been going through a financial struggle and we haven't been able to pay some of our bills and keep food in the cabinets. Well just last night (Wednesday) in our Church service my Mom was handed a box of food (well it came earlier in the week) and a large check to help pay our bills. It didn't get them all paid but my Faith is in God and I know they will get paid. I could do nothing but cry. I am really thankful for that and Praise the Lord for it too. The Lord truly is an Amazing God.

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Thank You Jesus
Jessica, 15

I had just turned 14 years old,it was March 18,2001,when i accept the gift of Jesus Christ.It was a Sunday Morning and i was sitting in the church and people of all ages were getting baptized. I started to feel this wonderful feeling in my heart and i heard this voice say come to me child,then all of a sudden i started to cry no one knew it,but i went home and told my mom and she was so happy. I'm kind of a shy person so i had them schedule me a baptism on a day that none of the church was going to be there,but the pastor.The date was March 22,2001.i have to say that will be a day that i will never forget as long as i live on this earth. I came to Jesus broken hearted and turned my life over to him.in the year of 2000 my father had passed away and friends at all.One night I heard God speak to me and he put this idea in my head of transferring to a christian school.so i talked to my mom about it and we came up with the money for me to go there.We went for my interview and took my entrance exam. I was accepted.On Wednesday October 31,2001 i transferred to Beth Haven Christian School. I realized right then that this school is where i needed to be all along.

Now,it's been a year and a half since i started this new school. I have to say i have had a lot of great experiences here. I thank God every night for helping me to get the strength to come to this place.This school has helped me to grow spiritually.God knew that if i went to this school that i would learn more about him and become a better christian.As of right now i have to say thank you for everything God.

I can honestly say that God is my truth,my light,and my way,without him i am nothing.He is so wonderful in so many ways.He has blessed me in numerous ways and i thank him for that.if there was no God then i would just be a sinner lost in this world of blackness and confusion,but by his stripes i have been healed and gave the eternal life to,thank you Jesus. I just hope that other teens can see how wonder Jesus is and how at peace their hearts will be when they except the gift of eternal life from Jesus. I know that God is reading this right and smiling saying that's my child.God Bless you All.

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No More Acting
Jamie

I grew up in a Christian home, i have been going to Christian churches ever since i can remember. My family could never find the right church to go to and kept switching churches and searching for a new one. I never really paid attention in Church when i was little i would just draw little pictures on the back of the church bulletin or on a paper i had found. My dad would always read to me out of the bible every night before i went to sleep. By the time i was 10 i had been read to the whole bible (an illustrated kids version) at least 6 times. I thought being a christian and getting to heaven was all about reading the bible, going to church every Sunday.. or almost every sunday, and saying that Jesus was my father. I now know that being a Christian is more then that. We get to share the love and grace of God to others to bring them close to know our father! When we go to heaven we will praise and worship our creator forever...unlike the child hood memories i had of heaven being like eating cake all day and driving a nice car. I am now going to tell you how i made the changing point in my life from those 2 very different things and the thing i went through.

Like i said i had always read my bible or had it read to me. Over the years that sort of got put aside. I went to church but i never read my bible! Lets skip ahead to my 5th grade year! In 5th grade i had totally put aside God in my life i was very judgmental of everyone even my parents and siblings i would cuss at school and hide other things like that from my parents that i would do with my friends. My parents finally got the hint that i was doing those bad things when they got a phone call from my principal saying i had wrote the f* word about a girl on a tree at the school. In 6th grade i got suspended for dumping a bottle of spit on a girls head. As you can tell i was not the nicest person in the world! I started to feel terrible about all those bad things i had been doing and created an eating disorder and became anorexic. I started to feel all the pressure of the world and pressure to look perfect be perfect and skinny. I already was skinny but i saw myself as HUGE!!!!! (i was smaller then all my friends.) After about 4 months of that i came to realize that i did not want to live the unhappy life i was living! I wanted to be the happy cheerful girl i was when i was a little girl. I realized that what i was missing in my life now that made me so happy back then was Jesus Christ! I started to pay attention in class and day by day i slowly started to eat more! I was feeling great! That summer i went to a church camp ( oh by the way when i was going into 6th grade some people from one of my old churches in a neighboring town formed a new church in the town i life in) well that summer i went to a church camp and found out that i need to do more then just go to church. I needed to develop a relationship with Jesus! I started to read my bible and really get into and pay attention in church. I started going to youth group. I went to many different youth services and places like those with my youth group. I found out that i have a gift of leadership! I am now in the Leadership group for my Youth Group and have a very close relationship with God which i know will keep growing deeper and deeper!

It wasn't always easy to make the choices i knew i needed to make to go forward on the path i am walking on now and yes i did sometimes choose wrong. But Jesus forgives our sins and he died so that you and me could repent and be set free of our sins! i am still in awe of how amazing God is and how much he loves me i can not even comprehend... he loves us all so much!

If you have found yourself stuck and feeling depressed and down all the time and don't know why,well let me tell you that Jesus is the ONLY way out of sin and hurt! He forgave my past, wiped it away and gave me a clean slate he can also do the same for you....all you have to do is cry out to him.. he is waiting with his arms wide open ready to embrace you! Just ask and he will Forgive! No matter how bad your past sins are there is NOTHING he wont forgive you from!

I pray that everyone who reads this will be touched and convicted and come to know my Father... Jesus Christ

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From There to Here
Anonymous

I grew up in the church. I have a strong Christian family.

When I was 7 years old I went forward in a Vacation Bible School and got "Saved" and was baptized a few weeks later.

I lived the next few years of my life living like any little boy would. I was active, I was happy, but something was always missing.
I homeschooled my 6th grade year. I remember going back to school for 7th grade. The first day was enough to make me contemplate suicide.

I was ridiculed for my last name. I was insulted for the way I looked. I was insulted for not cussing.

It was this that became a breaking point. I turned from God.

I discovered the easiest way to get people in the popular crowd to except me and be my "friends" was to live like them. I started cussing. I started listening to not so great music. I started missing church and disrespecting my parents and other adults.

When 8th grade rolled around, all changed. I was suddenly into Internet Pornography. I became addicted to it. It was my crutch. If someone made fun of me, I would think about the porn I would get to see that afternoon.

I soon feel deeper and deeper into my depression. No one knew. I could put on a face for the people at church, for my parents. I knew all the secrets for erasing things off my computer. I could hide from them but I COULDN'T HIDE FROM GOD!

Halfway through my freshman year of high school, God hit me hard. I was singing with a Christian group, I was active in my church, but I was not a Christian.

One of my best friends, a really strong Christian, was online one day. He sang with me in the group so I knew him well. I found myself pouring my heart out to him.

He finally convinced me to tell my parents. That day I told my mother, and we set up ways to keep me from looking at porn. DOn't get me wrong, I have looked at it many times after that, and up until very recently have even looked at it after I became a Christian. Scientist tell us the same part of the brain that becomes addicted to heroin is the same part that is addicted to pornography. And it is just as hard to shake as heroin.

Things changed. Porn was becoming less and less what I always wanted. But something, that same something from when I was 7 years old, was still missing. PRAISE GOD IT ISN'T ANYMORE!

June 2, 2002 rolled around. I was suppose to leave for youth camp a month from then, and then on a mission trip. I was sitting in the orchestra. The pastor was speaking on baptism. He talked about being baptized physically, and always how we are baptized by fire when we are saved. Our sins are purged away from us.

I had been struggling with coming to Christ for the past three months because I believed I was a Christian. On that day, I gave up. I gave in. I got saved.

I went to youth camp, I was blessed. I went on the mission trip. The mission trip started on my birthday, AND HOW AMAZING IT WAS TO START ANOTHER YEAR OF MY LIFE A CHANGED SOUL!

If I hadn't been saved, I would have never been used as I was on the mission trip.

I came back home. I still struggle with doubt sometimes. I still struggle with porn and lust.

But I have something to fall onto when I can't handle it all. When the world gets me down I have God.

I went back to school, and was immediately marked by atheist and agnostics and others. Most of these people are my friends. I have enjoyed debating things with them, but the day I see them come to Christ(If it comes) will be a happy day.

I'm in band, and our drum major(who happens to be two years older than me), was a really strong Christian. We had Bible studies before the football games every Friday night. I feel deeply in love with this girl of God. She just recently found out about my feelings and I wait to see what happens.

I realize it didn't take long for God to put people like her and other Christians in my life to support me. When I got saved, my best friend, started to think about his own salvation, and came to Christ. We are both porn addicts saved from the grasp! PRAISE GOD I GOT A FRIEND WHO IS WITH ME STILL!

I know life gets me down. I know my friends fail me. But I always have God. I always have the knowledge that I went from there to here only through his help.

PRAISE GOD, I'M FORGIVEN!

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You Can Get Through It
Danielle, 16

My testimony is long and strange, but I'm gonna share it anyway. Here goes nothing, I have grown up in church all my life. My parents are Christians, my older sister and 2 little siblings are Christians. I got baptized when I was 6 years old. The reason: not what you would think, it was because my friend Rachel had done it. I felt cool, and I told everybody at school I was a Christian, which really wasn't that big of a deal because growing up in a small town, every body is Baptist or Catholic. Anywho, I moved to the "City" the summer before 6th grade. Man Oh Man was that year crappy! I got mixed in with the wrong people because the "preps" didn't accept me because I was a tom-boy, and I hadn't grown-up with them.

The next year was my girly year, I made friends with what I thought were better people, but they weren't. 8th grade, I made the friends that I still have today, or at least most of them. The two friends that I've had since the 6th grade that have "group-hopped" with me are Natalia and Ashley.

My 8th grade year was a pain in the butt. My best friend from the small town was killed in a car wreck, and I started to realize that life is short, and I wasn't living like I needed to. Sure I went to church camp every summer, but it did nothing, I came back and fell in the trap. The guys that i "dated" in middle school were all Christians, but for some reason, I wasn't really concerned. Then when Blaine died, I was snapped into reality, I prayed and prayed and prayed, because Blaine wasn't a Christian, and I wanted so bad for God to send me a sign that Blaine was in Heaven with Him. And he did, and I was shocked!!

Then High school came, Freshman year was a change. I found out about mid 1st semester that I had ADHD, and I started on medication, I can't tell you what a change that made! I went to church camp summer after Freshman year and solved some issues I had with an ex-boyfriend (one of my best friends, we'd known each other since 1st grade). Jeremy (that's his name) and I are now better friends than ever, I tell him all my boy problems and he tells me his girl problems. This year, (my sophomore year) has been pretty good. I'm in Debate, and that takes up a lot of my time, I even had to give up some Ministries to clear time for it. And you may be thinking, Oh My Larry! How could you give a ministry for a class? I'll tell you, I prayed. That's all, and now the ministries are up and running again. But even though it sounds like my life is going good, it's not. As usual the gosh darn Devil and his punks have to try and bring me down.

Here's what's going on. I was at a Tournament, and I met this REALLY cool guy named Nic. He's so cute and I talk to him all the time. I spent that whole weekend talking to him, and the whole week after, I couldn't stop smiling. Then, the next Sunday, I found out, that he's not a Christian. I spent 4 nights crying and praying myself to sleep. I have NEVER felt this strongly about somebody. I've talked to all my Christian and Non-Christian friends about it, and what I should do. Should I date him or not? All of them told me to go for it, but I still wasn't sure, so I talked to Jeremy. He was a big help, I know I don't have to date him, and I'm not right now. Nic has told me other things about him that aren't what I would look for in somebody to date. He doesn't do drugs or anything, just isn't the "purest" person in the world.

As debaters, we both tend to argue a point until it's like beating a dead horse, but when we talk about religion, it's on an argument. It's a discussion, he tells his views and I tell mine. We may not agree, but we don't yell. I got to tell him that I think he's an answered prayer, and he accepted that, but not without question. You Remember my friend Ashley that I mentioned earlier, well I baptized her the summer before 9th grade. A few weeks later, she lost her virginity, I forgave her, but she kept right on. A couple of weeks ago, she told me that she had a miscarriage, she just kept right on doing things. Yeah it hurts, but I forgive her because I know, that if I pray about it, it will be taken care of.

I guess what I'm trying to say in all of this, is that no matter what happens in your life, you can always get through it. And I know, I know, we all ALWAYS hear that we just need to pray about it. And for the longest time, I didn't believe that it could help. But if you listen to ANYBODY, please please please listen to me. I am 16 and a sophomore in Highschool, and if I can experience things like this in as little time as I've spent on this earth, you sure as heck can to.

It doesn't even have to be a long prayer. Simply, God, I know you know what is on my heart, please take the pain (or whatever it might be) away, please fill that spot with You. Do with me what You want, and let me be open to that change. I love You. Thank You for everything, and just bless my life with Your Grace. Amen. That's all, real easy huh? Just don't give up on anybody. Plant the seed, and let God water that garden. Keep rockin, smiling, and praying, and if you have ANY questions or prayer requests, feel free to write me a e-mail. Tell me what you go through, and I'll listen and maybe even tell you what I think.

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A Tough Life
Jason, 12

When i was about 8 years old i decided to ask jesus into my life. My parents were divorced since i was 5 they divorced and so i have had tough life. The lord since then has given my an AWESOME Understanding of his word and i even would like to be a pastor some day.

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No Matter What
Anonymous, 15

When I was younger I grew up in church I knew Jesus was there. I was very involved and at that time I wasn't understanding everything. I had so many mixed feelings, but at one point my life was going in circles didn't know which way to turn. By the time I was about ten, still in children's church our pastor asked us if we wanted to be saved and i didn't know what to say so i would always back away.

That's when things went downward...school, relationships with friends, just everything you could possibly imagine and at that point I was still going to church and time went i was still struggling and i thought i would be okay on to youth church i would get to youth on Wednesday night sitting there like a bump on a log giggled laughed made in front of the people who wanted to know Jesus wanted to walk the walk and get closer to him and i went through so many youth pastors by the age of fourteen school was going horrible failing always in trouble didn't have anyone to talk to didn't have that best friend to cheer me up set me back on track and then one day some people walked into our youth group and said we are your new youth pastors and i was like great here we go again new pastors same old boring crap.

I began to listen one day to the sermon and he was talking about you want to get to know him better you have to give everything to him and at that time i didn't know what to do and then in July of last year came along a youth trip and one night my youth pastors wife came to me and said are you alright do you want to talk and i backed away about ten minutes later i just went to her and we stood outside and let everything out told her my whole life practically and then school came around it went bad failing about to drop out i got a phone call one night and my youth pastor asked me to move in so i did about a month down the road sitting in bed listening to my music and she came in to say good night and i was like hold on and i told her i want to give everything to him i want my life to be so much better i don't want to feel bad and depressed i want to walk and talk at the same time and that was the best night of my life!

I have fallen back a couple time i have repented and asked for forgiveness and he has given it to me he has made me a better person he is the best you could ever had and what i am getting to is that if you really want to get to know him better and you have lived a hard life or not even that you just haven't gave it all up to him you need to go to him tonight or next time you are at church go to your pastor and tell him since that i have became best friends with my youth pastors they are not at that church anymore neither am i because god has called us to another church and he'll do that and you know what my life has changed and i just am blessed in so many ways that there are to many words to describe what jesus has done for me and what he can do for you just always remember jesus loves you no matter what through good times or bad!

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Finding My Own
Autumn Church, 15

I was basically born into a christian family. So I have been around Christians all of my life. I'm only 15 and most people think 15 is still a "child" age. But, I could be out in the world doing anything and getting in trouble with the law, but I'm not because about 2 years ago I "really" gave my life over to God. And ever since that day I have strived to not play a "game" with christianity, I've stayed in my bible and in prayer with God. What I'm trying to say is, that even though I have been raised in a Christian home my whole life I still had to find my own Salvation and not try to get to Heaven on Momma and Daddy's back. Just because we live with Christian parents or guardians doesn't mean we are going to Heaven. We have to find our own salvation. And you can only have that through Jesus Christ.

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From Death...New Life
Trace

The day was Thursday, the date May 31, 2000. My mom's birthday! Last day of school, and everyone including me was thrilled. Being only 7th graders at the time my friends and I didn't attend the last day of school. It was required anyway's. Well, this day my best friends had been at school and some terrible rumors were going around about one of our other friends missing.

I remember the day perfectly...the sun shone high and the wind blew, as always. However, this day my life and the lives of my friends changed forever. We checked out these rumors about our friend, and to come to find out it was true. She had been on her way to Youth Group when she never came home. Police, friends and family all went out to search for her.

For two days no one heard or saw from her. Until June 2nd the terrible news came that some one had found our friend. The news should have been all but sad, but it wasn't. She was dead from a hit to the back of head. My friends and I were shocked to hear this. This couldn't happen to our small town where everyone got along and not to her she was a loving person who was kind to all and loved God.

The truth hit like the rain on the day of her funeral. Come to find out that an adult had murder her when he was suppose to take her to her Youth Group? Why? No one knows. I began keeping to myself and fell far from God, until the same month we heard of her death I had a dream. I saw my friend, but she was different, for she was in Heaven. Along with my grandma's best friend who was like a dad to my mom and her brother and sister and a grandpa to me and my siblings. Always there with us. My mom had a trouble accepting his death, but my dream has helped her.

In my dream I saw the floor of Heaven, I know. Jesus and Mary stood on one side of a pair of hands and all I could see where a pair of hands. No face, no body, for I wasn't allowed to see this. My friend was laughing and running. When I woke up, I was shaking. My mom and dad confronted me as I told them. They be lived me and so have my friends. Before this dream I was lost in my friends death. I was turning away from God no matter how much my parents pushed me to stay a believer. I was lucky, for God heard the sounds of my cries and my tears hitting each time I thought of her. He held me up when I wanted to fall!! He would not let me fall he would not give up. And I love him so dearly for holding me. He is with us no matter are problems, even if we are to stubborn to ask him for help he finds ways to come to us. Wear would I be with out him? One thing is for sure, I wouldn't be living my christian life and I wouldn't be typing this...

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Taking the First Step
Meagan

When I was 9, all my friends that were Christians were all talking about being "saved", and I had no clue what it meant, but I wanted to be like them. So, at vacation bible school that summer, I told our teacher that I was ready. I said the prayer and I was baptized. But the thing is, I didn't even know what it meant.

So, for a VERY long time, I went on being just like everyone else. I was afraid to talk about God- it was embarrassing for me. And I kept listening to the bad music and using bad language. Nobody would have ever been able to tell that I was a Christian, and I didn't care.

Well, when I turned twelve, I went to a Church Camp with one of my best friends, and the last night we were there we went to a service. That service was the first time I had ever cried, and I knew that God was trying to send me some kind of sign, but I didn't know what it was yet. But that wasn't enough for me. After that I kept pushing God away because I was SO scared. I was terrified at the thought of not going to Heaven, but I was also still embarrassed.

At my church camp, this past summer, I finally told someone what I was feeling. I told them about the way my heart feels like it was gonna bust open every time there's an altar call, and how scared I was. After that, I knew there was a numerous amount of people praying for me, and that God had finally gotten through to me. But of course, that STILL wasn't enough. Finally, a few weeks later, on July 22, 2001, I knew it was my time. I don't even remember anything after that first step I took, but one thing I do remember is how I felt like my heart had finally opened up, and a load was taken off my back.

Since then, God has done so much for me in my life. He's given me so many miracles and allowed me to witness to many of my friends. My advice for anyone that may not be saved is PLEASE don't wait as long as I did. You don't know when the day is that it might matter a lot more than it does now. I love you all, God bless you.

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Choosing to Escape
James, 15

God has been so good to me but why I kept turning my back on him, I do not know. I wanted to do right and live holy according to His Word but everyday seemed to get harder and harder.

I knew that I needed to get back on the straight and narrow track that I should be on but temptation kept getting the best of me . I Corinthians 10:13 states that ".......but with the temptation also make a way to escape.....". My problem was that I wouldn't choose the escape. Even though I would keep yielding to these temptations I know God was still there for me. I felt like David when he said in Psalms 51:10-11 " Create in me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence: and take not thy holy spirit from me."

I wanted Jesus' spirit to abide with me but for some reason my adoration to yield to that temptation increased. I was a young minister striving to do my best for the Lord but I had an issue that I could not deal with. This issue was in my mind. One thing I always remembered though was that God was with me and that he'll never leave my side. I have to learn to help myself to become better, rather than struggle waiting for God to do something that I should be doing.

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God Pulls Us Through
Krissy, 18

I have two grown and married sisters. One lives 3 streets away from me with her 3 daughters and son. The other lives in CA. with her two boys and boyfriend. She divorced a few years ago. I have been an only child all my life because my one sister was already moved out and the other one moved out when I was about 4 years old. There have been times I have really wished I had a sibling, but I am so used to being by myself and have such a quiet and gentle spirit that I really have always liked it that way. My family thought mom and dad were crazy for having me at their "age", they were suppose to know "better" and having a baby would only make their life worse than the pits. My grandparents wouldn't even see me until I was two. My dad's mom grew to love me a ton and she died when I was 3 1/2 so I never really got to know her, just from what my parents have said she was a wonderful person and I can't wait to meet her in heaven. I've always been taught and fed as much as I wanted to learn. I was reading just before I was 4 and I used to memorize scripture when I was very little. Mom had these tapes of scripture and I listened to them so much I knew every scripture on it. One I can remember was the one about put on the full armor of God and resist the devil and he will flee from you, those always stuck with me hehe :-) Mom and I would sing all those Bible songs and she would put verses to them. When it came time to put me in school they moved my neighborhood school into another one farther away. It had 5 kindergarten classes. The teacher told Mom I'd happier if I were in a private school. There was no time for them to work with me and I'd be totally bored because I was so much more advanced in my skills at ages 4 and 5 then most kids were. Mom didn't have a lot of money at the time, and she had to work to pay for me. A baby was not something my parents thought about. Mom almost lost me several times, they thought that if I did live I would be blind, mental or have some kind of slow problem, but as it turned out I was a completely healthy baby with absolutely nothing wrong. The Doctors couldn't believe it because all this time they had told my mom all these problems I was going to have which were not true. Mom just said she's a miracle from heaven. She told God like Hannah in the Bible did, that if He gave me to her she'd give me back to Him and she'd do it right this time. She wouldn't let the world steal me away. She would guard me. She prayed I'd be a girl and bless them because it would be very hard on my dad to have a boy and to do all the male activities with. My dad was starting to get really bad knees, and they got worse over time. He had a motorcycle and stuff when he was younger. He crashed on the motorcycle once and didn't die, praise God. I know God was totally with him. He played football and basketball in college, activities that caused him to fall down a lot, so he got bad arthritis in both knees and in 1998 he had to have them replaced with artificial knees because the pain just got so excruciating and so bad. Mom asked the teacher what else, could she do for me, she had never heard about homeschooling. The teacher was young and she told mom who to call about homeschooling. So mom got in contact with Jim Farthing who is the President of the homeschool and got it all started, and he got her in contact with many other people which was great. I'm very pleased that Jim Farthing is going to be the Master of Ceremonies at my graduation, I've known him since I was 5 years old. Mom loved the idea of teaching me, she had already taught me so much. So that was her goal, to give me the best education and she would be able to devote all of her time to me because I was her only child. After I was about 3 years old, she quit work, so she could stay home with me all the time, and my dad started working at the Post Office.

Mom found Central Community Church when I was 4 years old, going on 5, and it was like brand new at the time. She loved Pastor Ray and all of his sermons, so we started going there. Mom had been teaching Sunday School every Sunday for over 11 years and Dad was usher and greeter. I have grown up in a Christian home and been raised Christian all my life. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was 6 years old. Mom used to watch preachers on TV all the time, and one time I was watching it with her. I told her I wanted Jesus to be the Lord of my life and mom made sure I understood everything. I was so excited and so ready to follow Him.. I wanted to know more about Jesus all the time, and I was reading lots of Bible stories at a very young age. I loved every second of reading them. My mom's side of the family and some of dad's didn't think I could really read at that young of an age. They thought I memorized all the stories so I could tell them word for word. Than the homeschooling was worse, people in my family thought I was going to be warped, stunted, unsocialized, unable to talk to anyone, and totally dysfunctional. They wouldn't come to homeschool gatherings, or believe any of my achievements that I was getting along the way. I don't drive yet and that is of my own choice, driving can be really scary at times especially with the way people race around here in our town hehe But people in my family are sure it's because I'm homeschooled, they think no one waits until they are 18 to drive. I told them there was no big rush, my parents have always been more than willing and happy to drive me where I need to go and I told them I would start driving when I felt ready to.

I got baptized in March of 1996, it was a wonderful experience and I will never forget it. I could just feel the Holy Spirit all around me, and I wanted to shout praise to God, because it was just this awesome presence of God I can't even explain it, but just knowing that I was following what Jesus did.. I was singing my heart out the whole night, it was totally awesome! I'm really glad I waited until I was 13 to get baptism because it really meant a lot to me, and I understood what it was all about. My real fire for God didn't happen until June of 1998. The whole summer of 1998 I didn't know if I'd even get through, but I realized how fast life can be gone, and that we need to be ready for we don't know the day that God will call us home. My mom's mother had many health problems and she started blaming God for everything. Mom was praying her through all kinds of things but she still didn't see why God would give her this way of life. She lost almost all of her sight. She accepted Christ when she was young and in her later years she didn't want to talk about Heaven or God. She would just change the subject. I could tell she wasn't right with God. I knew when I went to her house things were wrong. Every time I brought up anything about God and His love, and how amazing He is, she would start nagging on me that I'm just the Christian girl and need to find other things to occupy my mind and thoughts besides God. I told her no, the only thing that will ever occupy my mind and my thoughts is God, He is the only thing I need in life.. If I were to lose everything else in my life it doesn't matter because I have God and He IS my everything. Everything I need or could ever want is in Him. Things of this world are of no value and will pass away one day, we can search this world for something and try to fill our hearts with things in this world, but nothing can fill that hole in our hearts except God, and I don't want my mind consumed with worldly things. She wasn't interested and just kept going to other subjects, so I didn't say anything else. I prayed for braveness to ask her if she died now where did she think she'd be for eternity? She was upset and said that she couldn't think of one reason to live. That statement sent the biggest hurt through me. She could not think of "one reason" and I could think of 100 in a minute. I mean I have a love for singing praise to God, and just knowing that God created me to glorify His name.. those reasons alone are such a joy to me. Just living for Him is reason enough to live. My grandma couldn't even think I was worth living to see grow up. I told God I was bringing my Bible to her the next day and show her the scriptures and steps to being saved, so that I knew in my heart she was right with God. The next day was Sunday, it was Father's Day of 1998, and we always went over to her house on Sunday afternoon. At 5 A.M. Sun. morning they called and said she was dead. She had given up before she went to bed. I didn't know a person could die so fast when they give up their will to live. I cried so much because I didn't get the chance to show her God's Word and make sure she knew. We went to church that Sunday and we all cried. The rest of our family thought we were weird that we loved God more than Grandma. My Grandpa still won't talk to mom to this day because she went to church instead of going to grandma's house.

I almost gave up on everything blaming myself that I didn't think to go share the talk with grandma on Saturday or a few days before. Many say she's in heaven, I don't know for sure and I can't judge, only God knows her heart. It helps, but deep inside I don't think she truly loved God. She knew about Him and His son but she wanted life her way. I blamed myself but I put it behind me and told God that I would do whatever He wanted, to show others that He loves them. To not be lazy and think I have tomorrow to do what needs done "today" while it's still called today.

After Grandma died on June 21st, I kept wondering if she was in heaven, and struggling with that. I felt like she wasn't. All my online friends said she was to make me feel better. Most felt that if she accepted the Lord at any time in her life she's there. Then on August 19, just barely two months later, my cousin Wendy who was 20 got up and walked up her basement stairs without turning on the light. She made it to the top and somehow missed a step and fell the flight down hitting her head on the wall at the bottom causing extreme brain damage. They put her on a breather and kept the swelling down. My Uncle was told that she most likely wouldn't be "right" again. He gave them 3 days to see if she was brain dead. 3 days to do what only God could do but he wouldn't pray for God's will and ask God to heal her and make her well. Friday the pressure was better and it looked like things were going well. My Uncle still wouldn't let our Pastor come pray. He was hiring and firing Doctors. He kept saying she was not going to live the rest of her life on a breather. That next Saturday, my Uncle said on Monday they were running a brain scan to see how many brain waves she had. This was to be done on Mon. and mom and I prayed to God to give us a chance to talk to him on Sun. and show him God does miracles. To put his faith and trust in God and let us pull down Heaven and make her well. Sunday after church we went to see her. My Aunt's sister was there and my Aunt and Uncle had gone home. They had done the test Sun. morning and decided to pull the plug. They left her body there so we could say goodbye. I was so upset that they could just say they were done, they kept saying they didn't want a kid who was gonna be a vegetable for the rest of their lives. I couldn't believe someone could say that about their own child, I started crying really hard and mom had to calm me down. Dad went first. He came out crying saying, "He'd been there on the day she was born and now he's there on the day she died." Mom and I went together. We prayed and told God thanks for letting us have her in our life. She looked like she would open her eyes and say "let's go." Again I felt the pain of Sunday, just two months before my grandma had died, and now this.. someone not much older than I was in my own family dying and I just felt so helpless. I got really upset, and I was hurt. This time I was not dealing with it being God's will that she die and not live. I didn't understand about how everything is in God's will and He lets things happen for a purpose. I couldn't believe that about the God I love and serve. That He didn't want her here and that He took her. How did any of them know when they didn't even ask Him to heal her. I was very angry. I couldn't eat or sleep. I cried and thought if God could let that happen to her and she be pulled into eternity in less than a heartbeat, He could do that to me. I thought surely He was going to let me fall and I would not be able to tell Mom to pray for me. I had so many thoughts going through my brain. I made mom promise me if I fall and can't talk, she would call every Pastor and person she knows to pray.

Wendy's funeral was country music and a youth pastor from the church that Wendy played soccer with did the speaking. No one ever said when or if she accepted the Lord. I wanted to know if she was in heaven, I was so upset by everything that was going on. They believed she was, I just couldn't get a peace in my heart about it. Then right after that someone from our church died and I didn't have to go to their funeral but I wanted to see how a Christian's funeral was. It was the best of all but still not what I wanted and I still felt God was going to take me. That was like the worst summer of my life, I mean one death right after another was happening, and all I could say was "why God why, why am I going through all this". I was so frustrated, I was 15 years old and I had so many things going through my brain at once. It was all confusing me. I told mom that if something ever happened to me and God took me home, I wanted a tape of me singing played at my funeral. Singing has always been such a joy to me. I want them all to know that they will see me again if they accept the Lord as their Savior as I have done. That He will fill them with the joy and peace and the bright shining smile that He has given me. The everlasting joy and all consuming fire that only God can fill our hearts with! To live and serve Him for the rest of their lives. I made a tape of me singing to have played, and I gave it to mom just so she'd always have it. I would want them to know that God can transform anyone's lives, all they have to do is accept Him, and let Him fill their hearts, because He is the only one that can.

In the middle of all this I was fighting God and I was not doing well at all. I didn't want anything to do with life, and it felt like everything was closing in on me all at once. I started wondering why I was born, I didn't know where I was going.. I just knew I was in tons of pain. Mom told me to read 5 chapters of Psalms and one of Proverbs everyday. I took notes on each verse and wrote what my thoughts were. Some I didn't know because I just didn't understand it so I just wrote what I was thinking that day, or wrote my thoughts and frustrations out to God. It's always helped me to write or type my feelings out, that's just always been my way of getting things out and it's the easiest for me. After I got started in reading Psalms, I saw the pain David had. I saw he cried and wept and soaked his couch. I saw the torment he felt with God and the questions why, why is all this happening, where are you God in all of this? Just like I had, those same questions. It was like every chapter I read, David was saying something that was just how I was feeling at the time, and I was so into reading it. I got this great pursue in me to find the will of God. The Bible says we are to know the Will of God and I want to know it. I questioned God and fought Him on how He would not let my grandma live and my cousin live and if not them, then why let me live? I felt such fire in me. It was like I had to tell everyone I knew to get right with God now, for you don't know the very next minute you could be standing face to face with God, NOT able to say one word. No time to ask for forgiveness or to say I'm sorry. I had this fire to tell everyone I knew that we don't know what could happen tomorrow, and we don't know when Jesus will come back but it could be any minute. I wanted God to just use me to be an example through my love for the Lord, and just prayed that they would see I'm living for Him and nothing else. That they would see God's amazing love in me. I absolutely love that song "Amazing Love", it just always touches me, it's like one of my absolute favorite praise songs. I was consumed about telling people and I made a lot of the online friends I had upset and they left my friendship. At that time, I honestly didn't care. I didn't want friends, for I was sure I wasn't going to be here. I just felt I needed to tell everyone to get ready. I felt I was the next one something was gonna happen to and I was going to die. I felt they were better off at not having to deal with my death. I was in a lot of depression. It was only by the love of God that my family ever got through Christmas of that year. It was the saddest Christmas ever, and I'll never forget mom just crying in her chair because we always went to grandma's for Christmas, and it was so weird and so different not going to grandma's house. My Dad (and I didn't know this at the time) was thinking all the time I would be gone from him. That he would be going to my funeral and he hurt, he was crying. Both my parents were hurting. Mom was trying to be strong for all 3 of us, and I know she prayed all day and stayed up late at night praying when I was asleep because she knew I was in so much emotional pain and stress, and wondering why is all this happening at once. I was writing sad poems and telling everyone goodbye, at that point I felt like I wasn't even worth enough to be alive. I read the book of Mark next and discussed some of it with some of my online groups that I'm on. Slowly God was pulling me through it all. When Spring of 1999 came around, things started looking better. I lost the fear of falling and being taken. I felt such a need to write and encourage and help others.

God had sent new people online and new E-mail lists to be on. They were so encouraged by my fire that was so nonstop. Than the shooting at Columbine happened. Kids were so scared and I was there to encourage them. I told them not to be afraid because the Lord is always with us and He will protect us. God has given me a huge ministry online, I've literally gotten e-mail from people saying they were gonna go cut themselves, or take a whole bottle of pills, and something told them to get online, then they saw my E-mail and they read something I had sent about God's love and how we need to remember that we are special and loved unconditionally by God. It touched this one girl so much, she said that it got her thinking about God and how wonderful God is to us and it kept her from killing herself. She was planning on killing herself that night. She wrote me saying I just wanna thank you for saving my life, I can't even begin to tell you the countless times I've gotten e-mail like that and it's truly amazing. I told the Lord that if He let me have a ministry so that I could help others and bless others and pursue His Call that I would always seek to show His love in the way that I live. It's something I've always been able to freely share my thoughts online, and God has used me so much through E-mail, and chatting and instant messaging. I've never been a real outgoing person but God has used me in awesome ways, just by my love for the Lord and the quietness that I have in my spirit. A quiet reflection of Jesus' love.

I know that God brought me out of the wilderness and close to His heart. I know it will take a life time to know His will. I'm much closer to Him than I ever thought I could be when I thought He'd just take me without my being ready. I am ready now. I know if He calls my name, I'm gone, and no one can call me back, no one can hold me back, and if He calls me I am so ready to be out of this world and home, nothing would keep me here. I love to think about heaven and how wonderful it will be! It gets me so excited, and I can't wait when there will be no more pain and tears. We'll all be able to just praise God forevermore! I'm at peace and I know who holds tomorrow, though I'm not promised the hours in it.

God blessed me with many thoughts of encouragement to go with this fire that consumes me. I wanted so much to get it to those who need it. I just didn't know how. Some owners found me on E-mail lists I was on and they could tell I really had a genuine love for the Lord, and wrote and asked me to join their list. I can't thank God enough for all that He has used me for, stuff I don't even know and won't know what all God has used me in until I get to heaven. I can't repay His love enough. I still get down at times and I have my stressful times. There are times I feel like I'm never gonna get through the day, and I just wanna throw my hands up and scream. Other days I feel like I'm soaring on the clouds. I know one thing.. no one in this world can take away my smile and the joy that God has put in my heart! That's when I see we all need each other while we are walking this ground, before we trade our crosses for crowns. I know there's a purpose in these shadow lands, between the crowns of gold and the nail scared hands. He's watching with angels, He's ready to fly. Call on His name He's there. He's the answer to any of our needs, He's just waiting for a prayer.

This last Christmas I was invited to go to California to go to my sister's second wedding, only to get my plane ticket refunded the same day she said I could come. My sister Dawn got upset over a music video she had given me for Christmas because she wanted me to go give it to my other sisters kids who tear up things, she wanted me to just go give it to them, I hadn't even gotten to watch it, and I told her well if you didn't want me to have it, then why did you ever send it to me in the first place. She got very upset and said I was selfish, and not Christian, and a whole bunch of very unkind things that were so hurtful. I cried for days not understanding why it had happened. Mom kept reminding me that God had a reason for it, but I had felt like everything was always taken away from me and I never got to do anything I wanted to do. It seems throughout my life someone in our family has always gotten my hopes up and then they take it away. I had been planning for a few months to go to California, it had always been my dream to see the beach, and go there, and then it was all just taken away from me because Dawn decided she didn't want me there. That really hurt, and I cried a lot not understanding how that could happen. Our family has just been really weird all my life, and I've never really felt like I ever fit in with my grandparents, or two grown sisters, they've always not really liked me, and I think they just never really thought I should have been here. I've just never fit in, and always felt like the leftovers. It caused a lot of emotional problems in my life. I know God allowed it to happen for a reason and I just have to trust Him.

This year has been totally awesome, it's probably the best year of my life. The excitement and anticipation of my graduation has been really cool, and getting all the plans together for it. Oh yeah, another thing I forgot to mention.. this last September on Labor Day weekend I got to go to Nebraska and visit my best friend Sarah. Her church was having a youth retreat and I really wanted to go, and it was totally a God thing. My parents had just driven me up to Omaha the weekend before so I could go to the Plus One concert with her, and she told me that she was going on a retreat at her church and it was gonna be really awesome. She had never been to a retreat and neither had I. I knew God wanted me to go, so I talked to my parents that following week, and they said I could go. I am so thankful to God that they were so understanding and willing to drive me back up to Nebraska 5 days later cause I had to be there by Friday afternoon to go on the retreat. I was nervous about asking my parents cause I didn't know if mom would be up to all the driving again, it's like a 5 hour drive, but I knew if it was in God's will it would happen. That weekend at retreat was so amazing, it was the most awesome thing I have ever experienced myself, and it really changed me to feel God's power like that.. I had told Sarah about all the problems in my past, and how I had never had real true friends, and how a lot of people who said they were my friends had said I was fat and ugly. The ones who I thought were my friends always dumped me for better friends so she knew all this stuff cause her and I had talked all summer of last year. That Saturday night at retreat I broke down sobbing and bawling and just crying out to God about all my past, and I guess I cried 2 hours. We were the last ones out of the room we were in. I didn't really know what was going on. I knew Sarah was praying in tongues and interceding for me because I didn't really know what to say or how to do anything, but I knew I cried and sobbed like I had never before, and it was such a release. It was so good to know that a true friend was right there beside me, and understanding the pain I was going through because she has been through a lot of the same things I did of just not fitting in. Sarah said that like 60 people came up and were praying for me, and I was crying so hard. I didn't even realize so many had prayed for me, it was like I was so out of it.. I was just so into the spirit it was amazing. Anyway, this youth leader came up to me and Sarah and I was still crying really hard. The youth leader was like did you know it's past Midnight, it's 12:30, and Sarah's like oh my gosh, I had no idea it was that late. It was just so amazing that we had been there that long, and it didn't even seem like it. We were both crying out to God. The youth leader said that we were the last ones in there, it was just me and Sarah in the room, and it was just wonderful spending time with God. I was crying so hard that I literally lost my voice and couldn't speak the next day which was Sunday, we were going home Sunday afternoon. I had to whisper the whole next day, because my voice was just gone. When I finally stopped crying and Sarah got me calmed down I had to have like 2 of the youth leaders help me walk, my feet were asleep and arms and everything. It was a weird feeling, but I could feel so much of God's power around me, and I felt so much better when I let all of that go. It was an amazing experience, and I will never forget it.

Anyway, God has just brought me through a lot, and I praise Him for all of it. He truly is the air I breathe, and God has protected and saved me from so many things. There have been so many times we have been inches away from getting into car wrecks and other things that should have happened, but I know God's protection is with me. He's let me live 18 years which I just praise Him for! I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to be homeschooled. It has been so incredibly awesome, and I loved it.. I think that if I had gone to public schools with all the stress and the big emotions that I have.. that I really could have gotten into some wrong stuff, went the wrong way, and just not stayed on the path and kept the quiet humble spirit that God has given me. God had other plans for me, and I just am so truly thankful with all of my heart that I was homeschooled, that my parents gave me the chance to be educated at home and raised with godly morals. I mean it gave me so many advantages because I was always able to work at my own pace and so many things were so interesting to me as I was growing up. I didn't have to rush through things, and didn't have to worry about all the homework. If I got all my workbooks done by Noon, then I could have the rest of the day to just sing and Praise God and do other things. It's really been a big blessing in my life, and I don't think I would be the person I am today had it been any other way.

I know that God is with me, I know He walks beside me everyday, leading me and guiding me.. and I know that my life is forever in His hands! I stand amazed in all of His glory, that He would die for me. May God bless you!

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If We Believe, We Shall See
Kristen, 16

My name is Kristen, I'm from Connecticut, and I'm sixteen. My relationship with God has always been one based on a strong and mighty ruler who loves you and will forgive sin, but if you don't ask for forgiveness then he will smite you down and condemn you to hell. Gives you a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside doesn't it? So I pretty much grew up as a kid being scared out of my pants of this "God" guy... whoever he was.

I grew up in a Roman Catholic church who was very strict and very set upon its ways. Things were explained as...you could pray to God for something you wanted... but not something material... and the way my brothers and I saw it was, " What's the point of praying for something we won't get?" We were also like 7 years old and didn't understand very much. So I grew up very bored in the church, because everything was written in this old book that's centuries old... and was about people, " who talked funny."

Fast forward to my middle school years, which I think are the hardest for any one. Kids seem to be most cruel and unforgiving at that point. If you're not the same, then you don't belong anywhere. And that's where I was. I wasn't like everyone, I liked being different. It was hard, until a friend of mine asked me to come along to her youth group at a different church than mine. My parents were none too happy about it, but from my past experiences with church they didn't think anything would happen with it so it wasn't a big deal all together. So, I go along to this youth group where kids from all different social groups are accepted for who they are and not how they are in school. And they tell me about God. About how he's a friend to all of us. He's better than any best friend that we could ever possibly imagine. How he loves us no matter what we do or how many times we may stray from the beaten path that so many had taken. Everything became clear. It was my escape for the week. Every Wednesday or Sunday we would meet in this church and they would help us with everything we might be having problems with. And our youth pastor was amazing. He listened to everything you had to say. And not just pretended to listen, he really truly listened. I was meeting this amazing God who I feared for so long.

So I started going to Bible camps over the summers, nothing big. People started telling me about "accepting Christ into my life." Accepting him? Wasn't just believing enough? Well, I learned very quickly from those who had "accepted" him that it was just a spiritual high. I had no clue what that meant so I just kept on with my life. My eighth-grade school year and freshman year were the hardest for me. My best friend died, and I started drifting from my youth group, and stopped having so much faith in God. I started questioning him, things like " If God loves me, why did he take my friend away? Why did he put me through this pain?" And I still can't answer it, but it started to wake me up to how I needed God. But I still wasn't through the woods yet. In those two years I lost so many friends to my changing attitude. I turned very violent, angry at the world. I hated everyone, no matter who they were or how much good they tried to do in me. I started getting depressed. Badly depressed. There were nights I took ten, fifteen Tylenol PM for no reason what-so -ever, aside from trying to get over the insomnia that was starting to plague my life. For eight months I was on Tylenol PM, trying to get more than 2 hours of sleep. I was losing a race against myself and against time, and I couldn't find a reason why.

I decided to go away to another Bible camp that summer. A different one to any I had ever been to. And I found my problems. And I found an answer. It was the one that had been right in front of my face the entire time. God. By pushing him out of my life I was letting all the pain in. I was letting it get to me. That summer I let God into my life, I accepted Christ. And I finally understood this "Spiritual High" thing. It was amazing! Those who have accepted him know what I'm talking about. You feel so high up... like you're flying and nothing can bring you down. You're happy.. but in my case I was crying so hard... just bawling. But I was happy. And everything that had gone wrong... wasn't wrong anymore.

I went back to school my sophomore year a new person. I got some help for my depression, which still plagues me at times but nothing as bad as it once was. I was happier and being different was OK. Because I knew what everyone else thought of me didn't matter because I had something that they didn't. The power of the Lord.

I started dating a guy who made me happier than I had ever been. Every perception I had of myself, were still not what they should have been. And every time I would talk down about myself he would be like" No, you're not. You're wonderful. " And you'd be amazed, after hearing that for 4 months, you start believing it. After we broke up, God did me this wonderful favor and kept this guy in my life. He's now my best friend a year later. And I don't know what I would do without him. He's got God flowing through him, he listens to me, and helps me so much. I can't ever repay him. But more so I can't ever repay God for bringing him to me. All I can do is keep believing and keep preaching his word and truth. I've never been closer to God, I've never believed so much, I take his word for all it is, and he helps me. A very wise friend once told a camper of his who didn't believe in God, who said " When I see it I'll believe it." And his response to that was "He says that if he believe we shall see."

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Turning From Sin
KD, Webmaster, Youth4Him

"I came to Christ when I was 9 or 10 years old at Vacation Bible School. Unfortunately at that time, I was in what I know now to be a "lukewarm" environment at home, going to church on the occasional Sunday, mostly for Easter and Christmas. In 8th grade, I went on a youth group float trip and God changed my life. I remember during a nighttime service washing the feet of my fellow youth group members, just as Christians had done years ago as a sign of love and devotion. Tears flowed, and my heart was forever changed. I spent the rest of my high school years active in church and youth group and choir, all of which kept me focused, despite my still less than desirable home life. My relationship with Christ faltered a bit in college and early work years, and worldly things became more important than praising and studying what God had for me. I embraced sin and made mistakes I will forever regret. Through the love of my family and my God, I have rededicated my life to Christ, and have started this ministry, my first opportunity to use what God has given me to praise and serve Him in a very real way. Praise God for His never-ending Love Isaiah 43:2"

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Christ is Boring? NO WAY!
Samantha, 21

My life changed the summer before my freshman year of college. My friend had told me about this camp called Harvey Cedars in New Jersey. Although I was born a Catholic, but didn't practice the faith very much, I was still a bit intimidated. You see-it was a bible camp. I have always believed that Jesus Christ was my Savior, yet never developed a personal relationship with Him. I had no idea what that meant, but I did hear some of my Christian friends talking about it. Anyway, I decided to go because my friend was going to be away for most of the summer with her church and she was also leaving for college. I on the other hand, had nothing to do the entire summer and was going to be going to a local university.
So there I was one Monday morning boarding a bus for the New Jersey shore. The best week of my life was about to begin. The food at the camp was absolutely disgusting but the people sure were nice! I shared a room with seven other girls plus my camp counselor who had just graduated college. At first I was tagging along with my friend who had introduced me to the idea of going away for a week, but as time went on, I was hanging out with other people, and establishing new friendships. Although we had some free time (really means beach time), most of the days and nights were spent working in groups and listening to the world famous minister, Kent Fishel. Before we would hear the message each day, there was a praise and worship portion. I learned and loved so many of the songs that when we arrived home, my counselor made me a tape.

Sometimes during the end of the week, Kent asked anyone who would like to accept Christ in his or her lives to stand. And I did. When I sat back down after the congregation prayed for all of the "newcomers" my pastor put his hand on my shoulder. It was very comforting to know that people cared about the decisions I made. I remember when I got home, my best friend who did not attend cried for me-out of happiness. But I did encounter some people who just didn't understand. For instance, when I told my mom on the phone while I was at camp, she said "We'll talk about it when you get home." She always thought Christians were cultic. Now though, after a brush with death and disease, she has come to know Christ. When I got home, two of my friends who were not close to God at all were far from accepting. One night, we got into a very big disagreement about it, and I told them they could think whatever they wanted, but it wasn't going to change. Although I'm not friendly with one of the girls presently, I still am very close with the other, and she accepts me. My boyfriend (friend that is a boy) noticed a serious change in me. I stopped swearing and was always listening to my worship tape. On the other hand, he spewed off vulgarities and listened to dirty music. Needless to say, our friendship ended at the beginning of my freshman year of college probably because he didn't understand it and failed to ask.

Although I did encounter some rough spots because of my Christianity, I did become a stronger person. During my first year of college, some of my friends and I went to a fraternity party. I don't drink, smoke, or do any kinds of drugs now or even then, but I just wanted to experience what it was like. While I was there, one drunken fraternity brother was trying to pick me up. When I turned him down, he turned around and said, "I'm sorry you're a Christian." With that, I turned around, smiled, and said "Yea sorry for you." My friend, who is also a Christian, was there with me and she was so shocked and proud of me at the same time because she had been a Christian for a far longer amount of time and was never able to respond like that. I had not meant it to be nasty or anything, it was just that he shouldn't have felt sorry for me; he was more sorry for himself because he knew that he wouldn't be able to "get" with me. Many years have passed since I have accepted Christ. When I came home from Harvey Cedars I was on fire for Christ (figuratively). However, there have been times I have slipped and grown away from God. Once you accept Christ into your life, you can never separate yourself from Him. You are bound to Him and Him to you. Right now I am in my senior year of college and am still growing closer to God. It's important to go to church to hear the Word, so that you can live by Christ's example. It's important to pray for forgiveness, thankfulness, and for things that you need. It's important to read the Bible on your own time. But most of all, it's important to live the life. You can't sit there and claim you're a Christian and then go out and drink excessively, do drugs, smoke, or have premarital sex. Besides it being bad for you, it's not what Jesus would do. People think that Christians are the most boring people in the world because they can't do anything bad. However, I know more Christians that are a lot happier than non-Christians and have a lot more fun too. I'm not hooked to my Bible all the time; I set aside a certain amount of time for that. I go out and do things with my friends. I laugh. I have fun. And it's all because of HIM!

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Growing Up Christian
Willis, 24

I would call myself a pretty atypical teenager. I didn't really party too much, never drank under the legal age, I didn't have premarital sex (and in fact, I'm still a virgin and staying pure for the woman I will someday marry), never did any drugs and basically found myself surrounded by a healthy and moral group of Christian friends. We had other friends that were Mormon and Jewish and we all treated each other the same. It was interesting to grow up with a diverse group of close friends because everyone injected spirited discussions with tidbits from their own spirituality. I began to see how my relationship to the Lord really started to become important.

I came to know the Lord at a very young age. When I was young, My grandma and grandpa made it quite clear how important Jesus Christ was. In my family, we praised God with our talent of voice and instruments. I began to realize that the lessons I learned as a kid and the relationships I had with other Christians was really important. God said, "where two or more are gathered in my name, there I will be." This really hit home when I started attending summer camp in high school. I had given my heart and soul to God at a young age, but I rededicated myself to him when I was older and able to understand the importance of having God in my life. I asked him to come into my heart and be with me always. I know when I die, I'm headed straight for heaven. I'm comfortable that my family will join me there, too! God offers such a safe and secure feeling to anyone willing to let them accept him as their personal Lord and Savior! I really reflected on that and began to realize that no mistake I make in life is too big for God to take from me and give me peace in its place.

I've made mistakes in life and I've had to deal with the mistakes other people have made, too! We learn by our mistakes, though, and I feel rather blessed with the life I lead. It is in this growing and this time of maturity that I've found God and his word to be the most clear to me. To be able to give him all my problems and sin and feel clean and fresh and able to go on with life without feeling guilt or remorse is the most spectacular feeling that anyone could hope for. I appreciate so much of what God has done for me and my friends and family. I can't imagine what life would have been like without knowing who God was from such a young age. I look forward to the day when I can praise him with thousands of other Christians up in Heaven. There is nothing more peaceful for me than to hear the voices of the Lord's people singing and praising his name. I hope to some day see you in heaven, and I hope you find encouragement in God's grace and other Christians as I have.

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