(By: Leah Nyabango)

Maybe you feel like you are unwanted. Maybe you feel like you don't fit. Maybe you feel like an outcast. Maybe you would rather just die!  

I grew up feeling all these things ... and I want to give you some incredible hope! You are uniquely made and God has plans for you that are going to impact the lives of others for eternal purposes, if you'll let Him. Please take the time to read my testimony, if you feel you have no purpose for living any longer ... or wonder why you were even born. Allow me to share how God took a tormented girl who hated life and finally had her eyes opened to see something God had placed inside me that no one else but He could see. God has potential inside you that is waiting to blossom forth like a flower in the springtime!  I am telling you the honest truth.

During some of my time in infant school I hung around with one girl in my class. It was just me and her. She wasn't very nice. I didn't really want to be a friend of hers, but I don't think I had much choice. She would force me to play games with her, go where she went, and do what she did. Anytime she wanted to do something or go somewhere, I had to follow. I had no say at all. I didn't like being around her because she didn't have a good attitude towards me. There was one particular game the two of us always played which I really hated. The game was to sit opposite, not too far apart, and roll a ball back and forth to each other. We would play this almost every day and I hated it. I hated being around her and I hated her. The few days I would spend without her were the best. I was free. Much to my delight, one day she left.

I was a very quiet child. Even the first day I attended infant school, and all the kids were asking me questions, I wouldn't say a word. If I did, I would be very timid. I was so shy I wouldn't say "boo" to a goose. 

There was a time during break time when I was spat at in the face by another girl in my class. For whatever reason, I don't know, but I do remember her begging my forgiveness later on because I was very angry at her. Its not a very nice memory to have but like I said before, some things you just don't forget.

I, along with the rest of my family, moved from Zimbabwe to London in December 1989. I was six years old, and as far as I know we moved for the education. 

I spent my first few years of education at St Anthony's infant school in Forest Gate, East London.  

Some memories of my years as an infant in St Anthony's are quite sharp. Just like with everyone else I'm sure, there are some past events in life that stay present in your memory and you remember them like they were yesterday. They don't go away! (Though if you forgive those who hurt you, the sharpness of the pain dulls dramatically, I eventually discovered).

I even remember our class standing in a line waiting to go to the main hall. Someone was always picked to count the number of us standing in the line. I remember one girl walking up the line counting the number of us standing there. She would be gentle as she counted everyone else but when she counted me she would be aggressive. People didn't like me! I guess I was an easy target.

We finally entered primary school (still St. Anthony's) and the treatment towards me didn't get much better. There would be some people, during class time, on the same table as me who would always go under the table and tie the shoelaces of both my shoes together. So I wouldn't have one bow on each shoe, I would have one big bow in the middle. The aim of this was for me to trip and fall when I got up to walk. They would look suspicious and go under the table. But when I asked what was happening under the table they would assure me nothing was going on and would tell me to get on with my work. That I did, but I knew exactly what they were up to. I just pretended I didn't know.

Some of the time I never understood what work we had to do. I asked people around me to fill me in but no one would help me. There were even times when people would actually tell me I was doing the work wrong, but they would never tell me what it was that I was doing wrong. This left me confused and wondering. I wasn't one to speak out to the teacher either.

I was told by one girl to come to school in boys trousers the very next day. I nodded my head yes to her, knowing it was impossible for me to come to school in boys trousers the next day. She knew that too, I'm sure. She probably dreamed about it, knowing that if I did, I would be greatly humiliated. This was probably her aim, to embarrass me.

There was a time during primary school when I had short hair. I was asked, 'Are you a boy?' I replied 'No.' The response to that was, 'Then why is your hair short?' That was one of the many remarks and comments shot at me because my hair was short. I was very embarrassed by that. People would look at me and laugh. They didn't like me. I didn't do anything or say anything to give people a reason to hate me, they just did. 

I was never a loner. I had friends, or just people I hung around with. Although they didn't treat me as badly as other people, they weren't exactly the kind of friends anyone would want to have if anyone was in my shoes.   

Maybe you, like me, have been verbally bullied. Maybe you have been physically bullied. I was made fun of because of my short hair. It may not have been at its best back then but Jesus says to us in Matthew 10:29-30:

'Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will.  But the very hairs on your head are all numbered.'

You are so precious to God that you are constantly on His mind day and night. He even goes so far as to count every single hair on your head. When you grieve, He grieves! People will be horrible, but when you turn your back on God because of the doings of others, He grieves even more. The one thing God wants the most from you is for you to love Him back. To Him you are very precious indeed! The Bible says in Psalms 139:17: 

'How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake I am still with You.'

Did you hear that? God's thoughts toward you are more in number than the sand! Do you know how many grains of sand are on one beach alone? It's impossible to count them all because they are countless, probably millions or maybe even billions. But God's thoughts are more in number than that!!! 

Two years prior to us moving to London, my mother died. I was four years old when she passed away. Seventeen years later I still feel pain from time to time to accept the fact that she's dead. I used to question why she had to leave so soon and why she couldn't stay, but I've come to realize each of our lives are in God's hand.  He gives life and He determines when each life is over. When we lose a loved one, it can almost shatter us, but the sooner we can come to peace that this life is very short compared to eternity, and that it is only really selfishness (or sometimes guilt) that prolongs our hurt after a loved one has passed, the better off we are. If someone loses a parent, so many years don't have to go by for you to move on. Life really does go on. I guess if someone is without God in their life it will be much harder. Even with God in your life it isn't always easy to let go of the past with whatever happened, but if you do have God in your life, it is easier to move on.  Forgiveness is always crucial in getting free from the past. Forgiving God, usually, when a loved one passes. And asking His forgiveness for being upset at Him for taking that loved one.  

During my younger years I always thought that bad things always happen to me and that is why my mother died. I was always scared that my father would go too. I forced myself not to think about it too much or else it might just come true and I'd be left with no parent at all. I was young and many thoughts ran through my head at that time. God's enemy (Satan) plays many tricks on unsuspecting people, especially those like me back then, who didn't know God or what God says about Satan in the New Testament Bible. (Of course, I didn't realize back then either just how much influence the devil can have on a person's thinking, especially unsuspecting young people. He'll feed you with more lies to believe than a tall oak tree has branches).

Because I hated life back then, I always wished I was dead. I always thought of not having to wake up to life everyday because I just didn't want to.

For a six-year-old kid who just moved to a different country from the one she was born in, and having lost her mother two years prior, it wasn't easy. I remember being embarrassed at the fact that I didn't have a mother because everyone else had theirs. I absolutely hated Mother's Day! Even when I was at home around my other cousins I still hated it. There even came a time in my later years when I wished I had died instead of my mother. I hated myself very much and was very negative about everything and thought everything about me was negative. 

Even after I gave my life to Jesus years later, I still struggled with hating myself and hating living. I always asked God why he allowed me to be born in the first place. I would even ask Him to take my soul. I knew it was wrong to think like that but because I had been thinking like that for a long time, it wasn't easy to just stop. Even when I realized I had to stop thinking like that, I couldn't. I even told someone about my problem and they did give me words of encouragement, but nothing changed.

Then one day I was reading the book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament of the Bible, and as I was talking to God about all these feelings I was having, I came across the words: 

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.'  -- Jeremiah 1:5

As I read those words...I physically felt something in me had dropped. It felt like something dark in me had now gone away. From that moment on, I never had those feelings again. I've since come to realize God wasn't just speaking to Jeremiah and just me. Every person ever born ... or ever to be born ... and that includes you -- God has a special purpose in mind for them on earth.  

Maybe you've lost a parent or maybe even two. I want to let you know that God is a Father to the fatherless. He is a parent to the parentless. The Bible says:

God watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow.    -- Psalms 67:5

Jesus said:  'Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.'  -- Matthew 23:9

Not only is God your Father. He is your perfect father. God does no wrong. He is patient, just, forgiving, encouraging, comforting, and a lot more. The Bible says: 

'To us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'  -- Isaiah 9:6

He is a perfect Father forevermore. I was struggling with the fact that my mother was no longer with us. But when I realized that a relationship with God is far more important than my family and even dead relatives, it was easier to begin to let go of the past. It's not easy losing a parent, and for me it's probably the hardest thing I've had to deal with in my life. I know that God is all we need. My family is still important but a relationship with God is the most important thing. The more you draw closer to him, the more you realize that nothing and no one else can give you the peace, joy and abundance of life we all need other than God himself. 

Maybe you, like I did in the past, hate yourself and wish you were dead. You have to know that you are here for a reason. The Bible says:  

"For I know the thoughts (or plans) that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."  -- Jeremiah 29:11

If you think you're no good and want out, you have to know that if God didn't want you on this planet, he wouldn't have made you! He knew you even before you were conceived. God made you so that you could be in communion with him and so that you could spend eternity with him. If you're worthy enough to spend eternity with God, there's no reason why you should feel unimportant at all. The Bible says:

'For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mothers womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; . . . '  -- Psalms 139:14-18 

God rejoiced on the day you were born, no matter any "supposed imperfections" or "physical defects" that other people might be able to see or hear, because even before you were thought of in your parent's minds -- or indeed even if you weren't -- He was expecting you. He made you with a plan and a purpose. You are not here by accident, God willed you to be here!!!

During my time in school I've had quite a few names thrown at me but the name I've had to endure almost all my life is 'B.O.' This started in primary school. I and some other girls was playing basketball in the playground one day when suddenly someone started saying 'What's that smell' and running away from everybody. Because everybody back then were followers, they too started running away. I - wondering what was going on because nothing was actually smelling - started asking people why they're running away. Someone had to be blamed for the make-believe smell. I guess because I didn't run away just like everyone else, whoever smelt the 'smell' started blaming me. Whether this whole thing was fixed, I don't know. All I know is it happened. 

The name "B.O." was then my new name. People constantly made rude remarks, jokes and even songs about the 'fact' that I 'smelled.' The name eventually stuck and has never left since. I guess you could liken it to being put into prison for something you didn't do. You're being punished for something that you just aren't! 

It's amazing what people will believe, especially when they can see (or smell) the evidence for themselves. 

Even the 'friends' I had at the time were joining in with everyone else and making fun of me. There was a certain girl especially in my class who wouldn't let it go. Almost every day she - and anyone else she could get to join her - was constantly picking on me about it. 

People talk and these things spread and soon enough I had people from other classes asking me if I used deodorant. 

One day I was walking home with another girl who was also being picked on by some, and she was asking me why they say I smell when I don't. I told her that I really didn't have a clue.    

There was also a time when the class was doing P.E. (Physical Education) in the playground. I was standing near the girl who started this whole thing and she leaned over to me, sniffed me and said to me, 'You smell nice today; is that perfume?' I answered 'Yes' knowing that I hadn't put on any special perfume that day. It was all in her head, as with everyone else (or maybe she was smelling the Holy Spirit!) 

This continued on into secondary school (St. Angela's). Most of the girls that went to St. Anthony's primary school moved onto St. Angela's secondary school which is just five minutes away. 

After P.E. in the changing rooms, people would laugh and make jokes about deodorant, talking to each other and making sure the whole room heard their conversation, which was directed at me.  

There was one time in an art lesson when we were made to stand beside each other in a straight line. People got out of the line to go and stand elsewhere when they realized they were standing next to me. When one person did it, then the rest decided to do the same. 

There was also a time in a textiles lesson when I was doing my work and a girl walked up behind me with a deodorant can in her hand and started spraying my armpits from behind ... thinking I didn't notice what she did.

People would say things all the time no matter where I was, not directly to me, but aimed at me.

What I would say to all the people whoever said I smelled, or even believed it, "That smell you've been smelling all these years isn't me. It's your character! Because someone with a character that stinks isn't interested in building people up. They bring people down." 

I felt the need to say that because of the simple fact that it's true.

I used to hang around some certain girls. During class time they would often try to sit away from me and at the same time try and make me unaware of their actions. I remember overhearing one of them say, 'Why do I always have to sit next to her?' ... seeing as she was the only one unfortunate enough to always be the one who ends up sitting next to me.

There was a time during the lunch break when they sent another girl in our class to tell me that I smell. They thought I was unaware of the fact that it was they who sent her. The girl came up to me in the playground (of course my 'friends' were elsewhere watching) and told me she was sent by some people to tell me that I smelled and should do something about it. This same girl who was sent to tell me this also told me that when she's around me she doesn't smell anything, and that she doesn't know what people are talking about.

Finally when school finished it died down, but not completely. By now this rumor reached my family.

If you've been through, or are going through something like this ... or maybe worse, people will turn their backs on you, and be cruel and evil to you, but the Lord is full of compassion. The Bible says:

'But you, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in mercy and truth. 

Jesus says: 'The thief (the devil) does not come except to steal, to kill, and to destroy. But I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.'  -- John 10:10

Satan wants you to be miserable, especially if he realizes there is something deep inside you that wants to please God. He'll throw anything in your life to keep you down, and as far away from God as he can get you. His ultimate purpose is to get you to either hate God, and/or get you to believe anything but what the Bible says is true and Truth. Secondly, your parents or parental authority -- he wants you hating them, and he'll use them to help cause it to happen, sadly, if they aren't walking solidly with God. Thirdly, yourself -- he'll try to get you to hate living, period, and tempt you to take your life.

Jesus, on the other hand, wants you to have the best of life. He is patiently waiting for you to allow him to give you the peace and joy that you need. He wants to give you life abundantly, though you'll have to wage spiritual warfare against the devil regularly to keep it in this life.   

Even if your family's falling apart, or if you're depressed, or if you're suicidal, or if you're at a dead end, if you're unhappy, or if your life is upside down . . . only Jesus has the power to turn your life around. If you truly surrender your life to Him, He will not hesitate to wipe your slate clean and give you a fresh start. It's your sins (unrighteousness, meaning: improper conduct toward God and others) that keep  you away from God but the Bible says that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (See: 1 John 1:9). That's a promise, by the way!

Even once you have given your life to Jesus (if you choose to do so, and be wise and please do so!) the tricks and temptations of Satan don't stop. At times it is hard, but if you have made Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior ... you then have the Grace of God which helps us through anything in life, no matter what trials God allows to come our way. I wouldn't be telling you all the truth if I said that trials will never come. Jesus promised His followers they would come.

Trials build character in us. Without trials, no Godly character would be formed in us. If I had never hated the people so much that hurt me growing up and had to forgive them since I've become a born again believer ... I may never have come to fully realize just how difficult it must have been for God the Father to sacrifice His Son on the Cross so He could forgive everyone who has hurt Him ... who has sinned against Him and others.  

Would you like someone to call you "B.O." (Body Odor)? Think of how much it must hurt God when we use His name as a swear word. It must hurt much worse than calling him "The big Body Odor in the sky." 

God said we will have troubles in this life. (See: Act 14:22)  Trouble will happen and we cannot avoid it. It is better to go through life's struggles knowing that you can turn to God anytime of the day or night as opposed to going through pain alone. People will tend to turn their backs on you but God will never leave you or forsake you. (See: Hebrews 13:5-6)  And he'll also give you a Church family to help you along the way, even if you are in a remote land and it's only one or two friends.

[Staff note: Many people having gone through great pain and suffering after they have become Christians can greatly struggle with Hebrews 13:5-6, because it is sometimes very easy to believe God has either left them and/or forsaken them. We encourage you to click on the following two links when you are done reading this testimony, for some insight on this issue of Hebrews 13:5-6, if you believe God has forsaken you, or someone you know is struggling with God.]

 “Feel” Like God Has Let You Down? 

In The Desert Of “Feeling” Forsaken By God? 

Testimony continued:  

I wrote a poem when I was in secondary school and it was about love. I actually wrote the poem to be able to love, or so I thought, at the time. I must have looked around me and realized that there was no one I could call a real friend, because the first line of the poem is Love is the only good friend to me.

It's very easy to replace the word love with the word God in the poem. And also the things I write about describe God's very nature. I John 4:8 says: God is Love.  

People take love for granted. People who claim there is no God would never claim there is no such thing as love, yet what they don't realize is that if there was no God ... there would be no love either.   

I want to say something here, and then I'll get back to my testimony. There are some people in the "Church" (and out of it as well, of course) who know about God but don't know Him on a personal level. The "Church" won't Save you from your sins. Only the innocent, pure, shed blood of Jesus Christ will Save you from your sins ... and your obedience to New Testament commands as the Holy Spirit helps you. If you don't know God personally, you really aren't spiritually born again, as Jesus talks about in John Chapter 3, and you need to seriously seek God about whether you are truly even Saved -- meaning that you will spend eternity in Heaven with God. Don't let the devil deceive you, and don't deceive yourself. Scripture states that the demons know about God, and tremble, because they know that judgment has already been set for them, and it's just a matter of time before it will be fully executed. (See:  James 2:19; Matthew 8:29) Remember ... there is a universe of difference (heaven and hell difference!) between being "religious" and obeying New Testament Biblical Truth. Obeying New Testament Truth is obeying Jesus Christ. Obeying Jesus Christ is obeying God the Father and God The Holy Spirit. The "religious" folks of Jesus' day crucified Him because they believed the devil's lie ... that Jesus was a false Messiah (the One who will save people from their sins). The demons Jesus confronted in Matthew 8:29 never called Him the false Messiah, did they?

We have a lot of "religious" people in our day as well. Learn as quickly as possible to discern who truly is a bonafied disciple of Jesus Christ and a follower of all the Truth of God's Word, not just portions of it to try to blend in with the true disciples. God calls these "spiritual terrorists" wolves in sheep's clothing -- disciples of the devil and haven't figured it out yet as many of the Pharisee's and the Sadducees hadn't figured it out either ... until they died.]  

When I wrote this poem, I didn't know God personally. At the time, I didn't even know about Him! I was around 14 years old and I was still in spiritual darkness. I must have written this poem about God without my realizing at the time that it was about God.


Love is the only good friend to me, Love has always been true to me; Love has never been negative, 'Cause I love love and I know it likes me

Love has always been on my side, It stands by me through good and bad times; When I feel I can't go on any longer, Love has been there to make me feel stronger

Through sad times. Through happy times. Through tension and ease, Love has never stopped loving me

When a day's been very tough, Love's been there to cheer me up. It has always taken an interest in me;   It'll always be there through thick and thin - 'Cause I love love and I know it likes me

It has never wanted me for a little while. Love has wanted me all the time - It has never taken me for granted - Love has made me feel really wanted 

Everyday now I wake up knowing Love is there to keep me going     It has never intended to upset me 'Cause I love love and I know it likes me

Without love I couldn't go on. So thank you love, you've made me feel strong. Wherever I am, whatever I do, Love will always be here with me too

It's been there forever and now I see I love love and I know it likes me. There'll always be a place in my heart for love Because without love I wouldn't be able to go on

It has always been there to comfort me - It has always been my friend - It's the only thing on earth I know will never end

The poem speaks for itself. It's simple but effective. God wants you to know His nature and He has done so in this poem. Maybe you have a false image, or no image of God at all. God wants to challenge the way you see Him. Maybe you've been hurt in the past and you might hold a grudge against God. You might be angry or bitter at Him. God is inviting you to come to Him as you are with all your past hurts. He doesn't want you bitter or angry. (That's what the devil wants for you!) God wants to relieve you of all the burdens that bitterness and anger can place on a person. And He can, and will . . . but you have to let Him. You have to ask Him for His help (He's a true gentleman) -- He never forces Himself on anyone. Be patient with Him also, as He's been patient with us humans for a long, long time. God's timing and ways of working in our lives are not always the way we might hope or expect, I'm sure you may realize.

Jesus says: 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.' -- Revelation 3:20

During my time in the world, or without God in my life, I always knew that God existed. I just didn't give Him much thought. I wasn't born in a Christian household and none of my family took God seriously. I guess they didn't give Him much thought either! I didn't know any better. I didn't know that you could actually have an intimate relationship with God ... which is what He desires with each of us.

St. Angela's also has a Sixth Form centre and I stayed on from secondary school to do my further education at the Sixth Form. During my college years I became more aware of God's existence. Reason being, that while doing work, or just sitting at my desk in the bedroom, every time I realized I lost something, I would always find it without even having to thoroughly search for it. It was as if my eyes were directed to where that thing was. I always thanked God every time that happened. I always knew it was Divine intervention. I was still ignorant of the fact that I could have a relationship with Him, however.

I remember a time I was standing on the curb, waiting to cross the main road to get home. For no reason at all, and just out of the blue for the sake of it, I took a few small steps away from the curb. A few moments later a red car was abnormally speeding down the road. The car, in its excessive speed, slightly turned from the road to the sidewalk allowing the tires to screech along the curb where my feet were previously. The car then crashed into a then double Decker 25 bus, but only the bonnet (hood) of the car was damaged. 

I also remember a time when I was sitting on my bed, saying in my head that I wouldn't allow what other people thought of me to get me down. I wasn't talking to myself; I was talking to God, because I knew He could hear me. I never prayed or involved God in any part of my life; I just knew He was there. I didn't know anything about accepting Jesus as a Savoir, or Him being Lord of my life (seeking to constantly strive to do God's will in accordance with New Testament guidelines instead of my own selfish will all the time, is what making Him "Lord" means, or allowing Him to be "Lord of one's life").  

Because He is omnipresent, I always knew He was always watching me. 

There came a time when I thought that maybe I should do something "God-like." I couldn't just ignore Him completely, so at one point I started listening to a Gospel song every night before I went to bed. That stopped as time passed on.

For all of you reading this who don't personally know Him: God hasn't changed. He still intervenes in peoples' lives today. Jesus isn't an old ancient Biblical figure. He is very much alive and working today, right now, as you read this. He is changing and has changed the lives of millions of people around the globe. He still performs miracles big and small. He still heals, and restores. He still brings light to darkness. He is the light. Your life is dark without him. You will never know peace until you know Jesus. You will never be a light bearer until you have Jesus in your life. His words will never be a light to your path until you surrender your life (which is surrendering your sinful, selfish, stubborn, unbelieving the Truth of the New Testament, prideful will) to Him. Following Jesus isn't boring, though trials will come, as will times of great joy. It's the most exciting thing you could ever do with your life on earth, once you've crossed over the line from spiritual darkness to spiritual light (and don't let bitterness and resentment toward God seep very deep into your soul for very long when you get tested). Testimonies that truly glorify Jesus Christ and Biblical Truth are never written with the Holy Spirit's blessing without first passing a test(s).  

Tests to one degree or another are always painful ...  but they are more valuable to us than all the earthly wealth, the Bible tells us!

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love, though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  -- 1 Peter 1:6-9.  

Some people don't realize this above scripture was written to Christian believers (disciples of Jesus Christ, in other words) at the time ... not unbelievers. Nothing has changed.

Part 2

Finally there came a time when I decided to take God seriously. I wouldn't say I decided it was time. It felt more like it was time for me to come further. It's like God was saying 'Come on now, that's it; come to Me. There you go.' Maybe the thought just crossed my mind, I don't know. If that was the case, it was a very strong thought because I realized at the time that I should be doing a lot more with and for God. 

This happened at the beginning of my second year at Sixth Form, around mid- September, 2002. At the time, the only Church I went to was a Catholic Church called St. Anthony's, which is only three minutes away from the college. And the only time I went there was with the whole sixth form on occasions, such as Easter, Christmas, and the like. I never went to Church on Sundays or any other day of the week. 

I didn't really know what I should do from this moment on and it's not as if I could go to anyone about it because everyone around me wasn't on the same page as me. They were still in the world (spiritual darkness, is what the Bible means when I say "in the world"), so they wouldn't understand. 

I did only what I knew to do. I started planning appointments with God. So I decided that for 10 or 15 minutes every morning before I started college, I would go to St. Anthony's Church. I wouldn't know exactly what it is I would do within that 10 or 15 minutes -- all I knew is that I was going. 

The Sixth Form had a service in the Church to mark the beginning of the new term and terms ahead. Usually I was bored because the services were boring, but this time I was attentive because I wanted to know more about God from anyone who could tell me anything about Him. I guess I was looking for direction and thought that maybe St. Anthony's would be my home Church.

Every September the Sixth Form has various things planned for the year ahead, such as groups people can join and stuff like that. I looked through the booklet with all the names and descriptions of the groups to see if anything would interest me. One of them was a liturgy group that was supposed to be held at lunch times on Wednesdays. The description of the group included something like: You will discuss topics related to the Bible and everyday life. It is a chance to meet others and make new friends in the Sixth Form. Join, and expect to be left refreshed after every meeting. That sounded good enough to me because it had something to do with God. So the following week, I went along to join the group which was held in the small Chapel, which was located on the second floor of the Sixth Form building.  

On my way to the chapel I met Gertrude, who was also with a group of other people I didn't know. Gertrude and another girl called Stella held a Bible study every lunch time in one of the classrooms. This group was previously started by a girl named Ivy. The classroom where it was held happened to be on the same floor as the chapel. Gertrude told me all about the Bible study and invited me to come that very lunchtime. 

It seemed interesting so I went there instead of the Chapel. I asked her if she went to the liturgy group and she looked at me as if she didn't know what I was talking about. I liked the group and kept going for the rest of the time I was at that Sixth Form. The meetings were very helpful because we learned a lot, and I also enjoyed them very much, we had a good old laugh! We would get taught the Word of God (Bible) and also have discussions. We would also meet every Friday in the chapel after lessons for prayer and teaching of the Word of God.  

Gertrude went to a church called PIWC (Pentecost International Worship Centre). Through her, God led me to the place where, at the time, He wanted me to be. And it was PIWC.  

Gertrude eventually invited me and another girl called Charlene to a service one Sunday. So we went. Charlene arrived at the bus station later than arranged. I began to panic because I thought we would be too late. I didn't really want to miss a thing. We met Gertrude halfway and we all went together. We got there in the end and the atmosphere was unlike what we expected. We were pleasantly surprised. We had never seen anyone praying the way they did. They were actually praying out loud and some people were speaking in tongues. Charlene and I looked at each other ... wondering what was going on. They were also praising God in ways we've never seen before. They were lively, happy, joyful, and active. We both loved the service and were greeted by members of the Church very warmly. They were genuinely happy to see us. 

During the service we were both given a Welcome Pack, which is given to newcomers who are asked to stand, and are given a round of applause. In the Welcome Pack, amongst other things, was a card which we were asked to fill in. On the card was one-line sentences with tick boxes at the end of them, which were: I am just visiting the church: I want to know more about Jesus: I want to receive Jesus as my Savoir; and: I want to become a member of the Church. 

I ticked the member box and gave the card to one of the elders or deacons of the church. From that Sunday on I went to PIWC almost every Sunday, Thursday for bible study, and Friday for prayer meeting.

One Friday was an all night prayer meeting which I attended. In a room upstairs away from the main hall, Ivy - who held the bible study before Gertrude and Stella at the Sixth Form and who was the one who invited Gertrude to PIWC - was being taught about water baptism by an elder of the church (who goes by the name of Chris Dampare). I joined them because I wanted to know what was being taught. There was always a part of me that had a thirst to know more of God and get closer to Him. During the teaching, Gertrude also joined us. 

At the end, Ivy mentioned to the elder a fact that I hadn't yet said "the sinners' prayer" or as other's might call it, "the prayer of salvation." I had never heard of "the prayer of salvation" before. I didn't even know a prayer had to be said to be forgiven of my sins. I just assumed doing Christian things automatically forgave them!   

He asked me if I was ready and I honestly not having a clue what these people were talking about at all . . . said, "Yes I am."  

So - the four of us held hands together and he told me to repeat everything he said. He led me through the prayer of salvation, but of course at the time I was kind of confused as to exactly what it was that I was doing. Afterwards, it was suggested that I read the Gospel of John, which is recommended to anyone who has just given their life to Jesus.

The first time I understood that you had to confess with your own mouth and believe to the depths of your own being Jesus' death and resurrection for the sins of the world -- for my own personal sins to be forgiven (hence the personal "prayer of salvation") -- I said it straight away. Whatever had to be done, I did it -- no questions asked.  

Here is where the Bible says we must do this, in case you aren't aware:

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, for with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.  -- Romans 10:9-10

Some people do the confession part of this prayer and believe and deceive themselves into thinking that is all that is necessary to be "Saved" from their sins. Obeying God after that is far more important than mere confessing. God makes this perfectly clear by the words of Jesus Himself in Matthew 7:21: 

Not everyone who says to Me,'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

If you would like to talk to me, my email is:  leahsimages@outlook.com

Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW! Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake. 

To get to know God, to be at peace with God, to have your sins forgiven, to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity, to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help you understand the importance of being reconciled to God. What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one. Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life, because in Christ, it is impossible to put a value on the worth of your soul in light of eternity.


JESUS DID IT! and...


Remember:  All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity.
(Matthew 6:19-21 is our assurance)