Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Allie's Testimony

To give a little background before I found my Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ; Val(my sister)and my Mom (now dead 8 years) prayed for me for years (sort of reminds me of St Augustine!) So before I actually came to accept Him I into my heart, I had people praying for me.

My husband Raymond and myself found Jesus in a mighty way just about 4 years ago and we have never looked back and never will. He is our Lord and Master and the controller of our lives. We thank Him every day for coming into our lives, for knocking and knocking on the door of our hearts and never giving up until we opened up and let Him in.
I always knew who He was and always "believed" (in my head, not my heart)as I was brought up a Roman Catholic by a Mom and Dad who always went to church, sent me to a Catholic school, I did my First communion, was confirmed but immediately stopped going to church once I had left school. Maybe going only at Christmas time. I was even married in a Catholic church to Lisa's Dad, but the words I spoke and the vows I took did not mean much - they were done because that is what had to be done.
I was divorced from Cecil twice, first time when Lisa was 5 years old and the second time when she was 14. By that time we had our son too, Adam. He was then 3 going on 4.
I did not bring my children up in the way of the Lord. They of course knew about Him and my Mom was the instrument in keeping them in the right path, taking them to Catechism, making sure they did their First Communion and Lisa was also confirmed. She used to be involved in the Youth group of our local church but somewhere along the way she also stopped this and going to church. Adam was not even confirmed as my Mom had died by then and I could not be bothered.
I put God on the back burner but always, always knew that something was missing in my life. I was 31 when we were divorced for the second and final time and went on a totally wrong path, jolling, sleeping with anyone I met, drinking and partying! I was never a "bad" person but was not a good person either. I met Steve and for 3 years was in a disastrous relationship - he was mentally and emotionally abusive to me and hated Lisa and tolerated Adam. Finally I met my wonderful husband Raymond at age 37. He was 4 years younger than me, had been divorced twice and very badly hurt by both wives, he had no children and gladly and wonderfully accepted both Lisa and Adam. Lisa was 18 and Adam was 8. Both of my children accepted him gladly too and after knowing each other just over 1 year we got married. We married at my sister's place with a minister (who a friend told us about) but although we again said our vows, we still did not have God in our marriage. When I was nearly 42 we had Matthew. I was approximately 3 months pregnant when Lisa went over to U.S.A. After I had my beautiful son Matthew, I had to have a major operation, hysterectomy as well as a bowel and bladder repair which had both dropped. Something happened to me during that Op which led to me going into a terrible depression and having to be admitted to a hospital under a Psychiatrist and also 6 sessions of E.C.T. (Electro Convulsive Treatment). I was put on an antidepressant called Aropax (which I am still on after 8 years) due to a clinical imbalance (my body is not able to produce seratonin on it's own) so the pills help my body to do this.
During this time, I started searching for Jesus. Still I did not take the step. Three years after this I took myself off these pills and what a disaster - I went down into a deep hole of depression from which I struggled to get out. I even had to resign my job (where I had been for 8 years) as we could not tell when I would be well enough to go back and they would not wait. No compassion shown to me as many people do not understand depression and think that you can just snap out of it! After a month I was better after going back onto the pills and I was re-employed half days - praise the Lord - I LOVE working half days.
Lisa was a wonderful and compassionate daughter during this time and a tremendous source of comfort and strength both to me and Raymond.
This time the Lord knocked so hard at the door of my heart and I really started searching in earnest. By the November of that year 2000, I started going to the Goodwood Methodist Church through an invitation by my best friend from school days (with whom I had been friends since 13 years of age). Raymond and I bumped into her at a restaurant one Saturday morning and somehow got on to the subject of God. I went with her that Sunday evening to church, loved the worship and Mike Crommelin the minister. I asked Raymond to come with me and 3 weeks later he came (not really wanting to - did not agree with "organized" religions - he had been a Jehovah's witness for 4 years before I met him and had become majorly disillusioned with them). We have not looked back since then. We did the Alpha course in Feb. of 2001 and since then have served on the team in various capacities. I got involved with the children's ministry in our social concerns section and visited at a children's home and was bringing a little coloured girl, Madelyn, every second weekend since she was 7 - she is now 11. (I have taken a break from the social concerns for this year and as Madelyn is reconciled with her Mom and goes to her every second weekend I have stopped taking her home.) I used to visit St Joseph's every second Friday and play with the kids. They are really a blessing from God and helped in my own healing. We were also both Sunday school teachers (I still am but Raymond has taken a break this year – he is visiting other Christian churches in the area as this is what God has been asking him to do)
At Sunday School I am with the 6 year olds and Raymond was with the 16 year olds. We also ran the soup kitchen on Goodwood main road for 2 years and although we are not running it now, (we do it only once a month now), I still make a huge pot of soup every 2nd Saturday, and Raymond does Street Evangelism about twice a month on a Saturday evening, down Voortrekker Road. We also have both done the Emmaus walk - a spiritual walk which is run all around the world. We did it at Manyano centre in Paarl.
Raymond is also involved in the Men’s ministry of our church called ‘Maxi-Men’ which is held every second Monday evening at someone’s house. I also go on the alternative Monday to our Women’s fellowship called JOY (Join Young and Old) at Adele’s place in Monte Vista. Raymond also goes to a Saturday morning men’s fellowship at the Salem church in Bothasig. Raymond is also involved with the Youth Emmaus called Chrylasis and is on the prayer team.
We belong to a cell/bible study group of which Raymond is the facilitator, every Thursday evening. We are currently doing the “Purpose driven Life” by Rick Warren. Wonderful!!
We love going to church and worshipping the Lord and this really is a "happy clappy" church (which in earlier years I scorned and said I would never go to one of those churches!) We praise the Lord in spirit and in truth with clapping of hands and with our bodies and minds. We absolutely love it and love Jesus. Our church is a Holy Spirit filled church and you can feel the love and warmth there. This is my testimony and I know that I know that I know that the Lord has something major planned for me and Raymond to do in the future. We wait upon His calling.
My Matthew (8 years old now) is being brought up as Lisa and Adam should have been, with Jesus very much in his life. You ask him who is the strongest and the biggest and he points straight up and says Jesus and God! If we forget to say grace before meals he reminds us and every film that comes on and has swearing in it, he switches off!
My son Adam (21) is in the U.S.A. at the moment working on the Carnivals and he wonderfully and mightily accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into his heart in March a few weeks before he left to go over. I praise the Lord our God as we have been praying and praying for him!
He is even ‘preaching’ to the other guys over there who do not know Jesus and is playing his Christian CD’s loud even though the others think he is mad! Thank you Jesus!
We now just want to serve God and do whatever He wants us to do in our lives. He has a perfect plan for all of us and we will continue to trust in Him and be His people of Grace.

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