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                                 LYDIA  LAWSON'S TESTIMONY

As most of you know, I grew up in this church. At age five, I remember kneeling by my bed and asking Jesus to come live in my heart. My salvation didn't mean much to me because I knew what was right and wrong. At age twelve, I realized that I needed to seek Christ and obey Him because I wanted to, not because I was scared of hell. I joined the Leadership-In-Training (LIT) program at Joy El Ministries the summer before 8th grade. Although I was involved in it, occasionally my heart wasn't. I loved the program, but I was going through the motions of being a Christian. I knew deep down that I was only half-heartedly pursuing Christ.

God put me through some tough situations. I started to grow bitter toward God for allowing all this pain and suffering in my life when I had done nothing terrible to deserve it. I was so proud, and I couldn't see how God could hurt ME, the "Christian" who followed Him relentlessly. I started to not act "Christian," and I started becoming angry for no reason. I didn't have friends, and I couldn't figure out why! Then, it hit me. Because I wasn't following God whole-heartedly, my life was terrible! I realized how awful I really was, how proud I was and how if I wanted true peace, I had to follow Christ. I needed to make Christianity my own religion and not my parents'. It took a lot for me to reach the point of realizing my own depravity. It didn't get any easier after that, either. I had to take baby-steps to get my life back on track with Christ. I know that the LIT program prepared me for many things. I know that my friends and family have had a huge impact on my life, too. I know they were praying for me, and their examples of how they lived their lives even through the tough times encouraged me. When I was tested, I was prepared for the trial. Although it was difficult, I knew God had a purpose.

I can't say that there was a specific date when I truly started to trust God as my Savior. I know I trust Him
fully now, even though I struggle with it daily. I pray that He will forgive me and help me trust Him even more. I know that Christ is the only way that I can get to Heaven, where I will be able to worship Him. I know that I don't live a perfect life, but that through Christ, I will be made perfect. It is my own relationship now, not just my parents. I love God more than anything, and I want to serve Him in any way I can. I believe that in order to serve Him to my full potential, I need to be baptized and become a part of the local as well as the universal church. I hope that you, as my church and fellow believers in Christ, can and will encourage me in my walk with the Lord; and I hope that I, as your fellow Christian, can do the same for you.


                                       BETHANY  CLARK'S TESTIMONY

Growing up in a Christian family I always knew who God was. I was always expected to go to Sunday School and Church. I have also attended a Christian School all my life. Because God was always a part of my life, I am not sure of the exact time or date when I became a Christian.

By the age often, I realized that I was a sinner, that the
Bible was true, and that I needed to be saved. I also was convinced that Jesus is the only one who can save us. When I asked my parents if I could get baptized they told me I had to wait awhile. During that "while" I learned that patience truly is a virtue! At first I was upset that I had to wait, but now I realize how much it helped me. I grew closer to God and understood more about being a Christian. Most of all, I learned how to trust and rely on Jesus everyday. Now I am happy to be able to finally be baptized and show my love to Him. Please pray for me that I will continue to grow in my faith, trust, and love for Jesus as I grow older, and that I will always show it to others.



                                     ABI  VAN  KAMPEN'S TESTIMONY

I have the typical beginning story of a girl growing up in a Christian home. I don't remember a tune I didn't know about God, I never had a light bulb moment when I first heard the gospel, and there wasn't a specific moment where my life made a 180 degree turn. Because of this, all through my childhood I lived the Christian lifestyle, without much thought to the relationship with Christ which put meaning into this lifestyle. When I was twelve, I believe I was truly converted, yet even still the transformation of Christianity from a ritual to a relationship was an area of continued struggle. As I embarked on the journey called high school, a future in missions was often on my thoughts. Due to this, I journeyed to Malawi, Africa following my 10th grade year. The people I saw on that trip changed my perspective on life, by showing me what it was like to genuinely live for Jesus alone. American culture and prosperity easily breeds lukewarm Christianity. But for these people, Jesus was their greatest treasure, worth sacrificing everything. When deciding where I would attend college, I chose a school which had a reputable nursing program, as well as having the core Christian classes necessary for a potential future in foreign missions. As I learned and grew in my faith throughout my first year at Liberty, one of the issues I thought long and hard about was baptism. Here I was, thinking that I may some day serve my Lord and Savior full time, yet I had not yet publicly pronounced my faith and allegiance to this Savior. Due to this conclusion, I am proud to be baptized today as a symbol of Christ's saving work for me on the cross, and a commitment to Him of my life, wherever that may lead.


                               JOEL  VAN  KAMPEN'S TESTIMONY

I realize now that God had a specific plan for my life, even when I was in elementary school. I find that incredible when I remember who I was before I changed. My principal once said I had the bullying attitude. I am surprised to look back on my life and see what God did. I specifically remember through this time asking God for forgiveness many times. I was scared about what hell was like... I didn't want to go there.

I don't have a specific date in my life that I feel God dramatically changed me. I know God worked significantly in my life through experiences in my
middle school years. God used problems with friends and the death of a friend to draw me to Himself. This time was very trying and I had many "why" questions flying through my head. Nevertheless, God used the answers to these questions to draw me closer to him. The summer following this experience I went to camp, where I rededicated my life to His control.

For years I just gave excuses for not being baptized, but
this past January when we went to Lakeshore, Mississippi I realized all the excuses I gave, I know God did a work in my life, so what was I waiting for?! That made me think long and hard about my priorities and what really matters in this life.

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in
life, in love, in faith and in purity. " 1 Timothy 4:12. These verses have meant a whole lot to me because I am still quite young in years, and in my faith. I am almost 18 years old and most of my life is ahead of me. Getting baptized is another step in my growing in these areas. Your encouragement and support for me would be appreciated as I continue to grow!

                                  Praise God from whom all blessings flow