My spiritual journey began when I became friends with a girl named Laurie. Laurie was my age. She wasn’t pretty, or fashionable, or rich, or fancy. She had a nice family and lived in a simple home. But Laurie had something that I desperately wanted and knew I didn’t have. She had joy and peace no matter what the circumstances. She was beautiful in my eyes. She always prayed to God like He was her personal friend. She read the Bible like it was God’s personal book to her. She went to church like it was her second home. I asked her one-day what makes her so joyful and peaceful. She said, “Jesus, God’s Son, loved me so much He died for me. He arose from the dead after three days and now lives in my heart. He is a part of me. He is my friend, my joy-giver. “That day, I also accepted Jesus as my personal friend that day. He lives in my heart. I know He is God, my joy-giver. When I pray now, I talk to Him. He listens. I listen as He responds to me. When I read my Bible, He gives me thoughts on what I have read and how to live my life. When I go to church, He uses other people to meet my needs and uses me to meet their needs. I am joyful. I have a peace that no one can take away from me no matter what the circumstances. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

I grew up going to church. When I was old enough, my parents said I should be baptized. That was fine with me until I was asked how I became a Christian. Specifically, the church members wanted to know if I had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I did not. So I made up a story about yielding my life to Jesus. Then I started living a lie. I could talk like a Christian, but I knew that I wasn’t one. Later, I started doing some things that I knew were wrong. If I had continued, I would have ended up in jail or dead.
Finally, I really recognized my own sin. I was in rebellion against the God who made me. At home in my own room, I was in tears over the mess I had made in my life. I did a “u” turn in life. Instead of going my own way, I told God that I wanted to go his way. I truly yielded my life to Jesus Christ. It was at this moment that I felt released from the backpack of sin that I had carried around. I had a peace that defies understanding. Now, I also had a purpose for life. I was baptized, but this time it was a witness to those there that I had died to my old life of sin and now had new life in Jesus Christ. Previously, I knew I should read the Bible, but didn’t. Now I have a hunger for God’s Word. Before, I avoided any conversation about Jesus Christ, but now am eager to tell others how he has changed my life.
Life used to be something to be endured, but now it is a great adventure with Jesus Christ. “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

As a team, we have been intimate allies with one purpose of advancing God’s Kingdom.