My testimony as to what God has done for me is straight forward & simple. I, first praise & thank the LORD for me not having a significant happening within my life that made me turn toward the LORD.
My story begins with my grandparents, which served much as parents in my life. My grandparents allowed my mother to continue to stay with them after my birth. As my mother tells it my grandmother helped teach her what needed to be done for me as a baby. As I grow older, I remember sleeping with my grandmother many nights & seeing her get down on her hands & knees on the side of the bed and say prayers. Now my story with my grandfather is a little different. At age 58, he was diagnosed with enphasema & given a short time to live (months). This happened to have been months before I was born. He quit smoking immediately & retired from the post office. So he to was around the house along with my grandmother when she was not working.
As a young child I attended church with my grandmother & aunt (really cousin). I learned about Jesus through bible stories in Sunday school & kids church. At some age (I do not remember, but I was young 6-8) kids church was over early & we listened to the Reverend William Collins preach about being thankful to the LORD for what we have. Rev Collins preached with so much passion & heartfelt joy, that I was drawn to here more of him. The next Sunday, I asked if could not go to kid’s church & stay & listen to Rev Collins. My grandmother said yes, but told me that I had to behave. From that day until I left the church I was in the adult church. This became the background for my learning of GODLY ways & SATAN ways.
As I grow older, I spent countless hours with my grandfather. He did not speak of Christ or GOD, but he taught me some basic lessons that are from Christ. Look at all situations with an open mind toward learning and be kind & loving toward all regardless of what they may have done. He also taught me not to look for immediate gratification, but to have patience.
As the almost teen years came up, I walked away from the church because of the inconsistencies of the adults. Rev Collins served as a substitute teacher at my elementary school once and I saw him seeming to be too close to another teacher at the school. He drove a very nice Cadillac, while most of the members of the church drove ‘hoopties’ (vehicles that got you there, but they did not look very good). I could not understand what the preacher was doing, I could not understand other members drinking & carrying on. I felt that, ‘that was not the place for me, so I would stay away just as my mother & uncle & cousins do.
During this time, I was staying with my grandparents & I continued to see my grandmother on her hands & knees nightly praying & I listened to her prayers. She prayed for her children including me, neighbors, other family members & situations that various people were in. My grandfather died when I was 13 & an older male cousin died when I was 15. The deaths of these 2 men took the positive male role models from my life. There were many things that were happening around me in the neighborhood; drugs, lots of sex, drinking, killings & other non-GODLY things. I was shot at and a gun was pulled on me. This environment was not what I wanted to be a part of, but it was what was around me.
I went to college & attended church sporadically. I knew that I should attend more, but I was unwilling. Upon graduating & moving to Janesville, I attended services at several churches in Beloit, but the bible was not opened in any of the services, the pastors just referred to various verses. I decided not to attend any church.
I was patient in finding a mate to share my life with, that is when Sandra Thomas with whom I had known since high school and I really started talking about life and what we both wanted out of it. God had put this wonderful person in my life for a reason, it just took several years for me to realize the blessing that was always there. Sandra & Brittany moved here & after several trials & tribulations & after about 4 years, we were married.
We did not attend church, but Sandra decided that she would look for a church for our family to attend. This was something that Sandra told me we really needed to do. She found a church in Beloit, we attended for several months, but I did not really like the theatrics of the pastor. I told Sandra that we should attend another church & as luck would have it Brittany attended the youth group at the Randolph Park Church of the Nazarene with a friend. She started going on and on about this church and we started to attend as a family on Sundays. During this time, we made friends with the Yantornis’ and started talking to the Pastor. When the Pastor was leaving, Brant came by our house with the Pastor to tell us and encourage us not to leave. We continued attending, I began to become more involved and enjoyed attending, since the pastor read from the bible & I had opportunity to ask myself questions regarding the passages. We attended the Nazarene church for twelve years, but decided to leave based on Christopher being the only child within the church and not wanting to be there. We have been attending the Janesville Wesleyan since 2006 and have continued to grow in the LORD.