The greatest joy in the life of a church plant is when someone trusts in Jesus Christ as their Savior! We are encouraged in our faith when we hear salvation testimonies. Church Extension Ministries recently asked our prayer supporters to share their testimonies. Four people replied with their stories to share with you.
Breaking Up the Hard Clay: Testimony from Jean Soyke
Jean Soyke attends Faith Bible Fellowship Church in York, Pennsylvania. Here is her testimony:
“The mid-Atlantic region is known for its rich layers of clay deposits. While this may be the potter’s dream, it is quite different for those of us who enjoy gardening. Breaking up a hard, dry layer of clay is like digging through concrete and requires long, hard work to make the soil productive. This is very much the same as how the Lord worked in my heart to bring me to Himself.
I grew up in a nominally Christian home, where my parents professed to believe in God but did not attend church regularly. When I was in the third grade, one of friends at school invited me to a Good News Club (sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship) at her home on Wednesdays after school. While I had heard about Jesus before, I remember clearly that this was the first time I learned about who He was and why He came. I remember going through the pages of the Wordless Book with our club leader and praying to “invite Jesus into my heart.” However, without support or encouragement in my home, the seed was not able to fully sprout.
As I grew older, God continued to work the clay of my heart to make it more fertile soil. When I was in middle school, I went with a church group to see a Billy Graham movie, The Restless Ones. Once again, I was presented with a clear presentation of the gospel, and I went forward at the end of the movie to “rededicate” my life to Christ. My newfound enthusiasm soon waned, however, as I entered high school and became absorbed with being a teenager.
At age 16, I got my first job in a downtown clothing store. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but on Saturdays there regularly seemed to a street preacher nearby as I waited for the bus home. I had become a bit more cynical by this time and wasn’t interested in what he had to say, but God continued to work the clay in my heart with reminders of the gospel as I stood there, part of the captive audience.
It wasn’t until I was 21 when God finally broke through, and all the gospel presentations I had heard through the years bore fruit. I’d just graduated from college and was living in North Carolina. I’d just gotten a teaching job in Maryland and was headed back from apartment hunting in the area. The next thing I knew, I was sitting in the emergency room of a hospital in Annapolis, having just caused an accident with two other cars. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured, but it certainly was a place I didn’t want to be. If you’ve ever been an ER, you know that you spend a lot of time waiting. All I could do was sit and think.
I was 300 miles away from my home in one direction and 300 miles away from parents in the other, my car was totaled, and I knew absolutely no one in the area. I thought I was so cool and independent and that I could run my own life, but this was something bigger than I was—something I couldn’t control. I realized at that moment that everything I had done in my life up to that point was all for myself—that I was selfish and prideful, which made me a sinner, separated from God. I remembered all the gospel presentations I had heard, and I knew then the answer was Jesus—not just to get me out of the mess I’d made, but also to cleanse me of my sin and change my life. It was in the ER that day that I trusted Jesus as the One Who took the punishment for my sins and committed my life to Him 100%.
It always helps for me to go back and remember all the ways that God spoke to me over the years through gospel presentations. Even though it may seem that no one is listening, or if you never see any fruit, God is always faithful to His Word. You never know who or what He will use in His process of breaking up the clay in someone else’s heart and bringing that person to Himself.”
Salvation from Sexual Sin: Testimony from Steve Cook
God not only gives us eternal life in heaven with Him, but God saves us from the struggle with sin in the here and now. Here is a testimony from Steve Cook from Ephrata Bible Fellowship Church:
“I remember praying with my mom to receive salvation, that’s all, (my mom had to fill me in on the details), but I do not remember ever doubting that I was saved. I did get totally entangled in sexual fantasies which led to other sexual sins which (as the Bible promises) did a lot of damage to me as a person.
But God who has promised to bring me to perfection, had me on a leash and kept yanking me back from the edge of totally destroying myself.
Whereas I once was a slave to sexual sin, God has brought me to a place of freedom to say no to sexual temptation. Part of the long road to freedom from the power of sexual sin was when the Spirit opened my eyes to see the path that sexual sin was taking me down. That was one milestone. Another was when His Spirit opened my eyes to Jesus’ desire to be a part of my battle. He made this clear to me from Revelation 3:20, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
While I was struggling on the inside, other people saw someone who knew all the right things to say. I prayed a lot and sincerely, but would not share my struggle with anyone else. But God changed me here, too. Currently I am committed to a group of men who are on the same journey.
I think about the song Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound and I wonder, why me did God save me? I don’t have that answer, but I do know His salvation and freedom is all about God’s grace.”
Love from My Neighbor: Testimony from Barb Anrico
Sharing the gospel can be as simple (and powerful!) as talking with your neighbor. Here is Barb Anrico’s salvation testimony:
“I came to know the Lord almost 40 years ago. I met my neighbor down the street through my husband who was postmaster. My neighbor’s name was Cherene and her husband at the time was pastor of Zionsville Bible Fellowship Church. Cherene and I were both pregnant with our second child. During one of our conversations, Cherene shared the gospel message with me and I accepted the Lord. After that her husband led my husband to the Lord!”
Explaining the Gospel to Myself: Salvation Testimony of Duane Moyer
Duane Moyer, member of Grace Bible Fellowship Church in Quakertown and director of BFC Board of Missions, shares how he came to know the Lord as his Savior:
“I was raised in a Christian home – a missionary’s home no less. I grew up knowing all of the basics of the Gospel in a Vacation Bible School kind of way. My mom told me that I prayed to receive Jesus when I was three or four years old. I have no memory of that, but she claimed that I experienced a radical change of behavior. It could be…
If you had asked me whether I was “saved,” I would have pointed back to my mom’s testimony of what had happened back then. Of course, I knew all the right answers to just about any theological question and I held to Christ’s promise that “whoever comes to me, I will in no wise cast out.” I laid claim to him, but I’m not sure that I acknowledged his claim on me. In other words, I had no assurance that our reciprocal claims were mutually acknowledged, especially when I thought about all the things that were going on in my heart and mind where nobody else could see.
Oddly, I met Jesus in a real and memorable way as I was introducing someone else to him. The person I was leading to Christ actually led me to Christ. Here’s how it happened.
I was a teenager and I was helping in a Good News Club. After the lesson the teacher asked if anyone wanted to give their hearts to Jesus and a 10-year old boy raised his hand. The teacher told him, “Go with Duane and he will tell you what to do.” It was as I was explaining the Gospel to that child that it all snapped into focus for me. What I was telling him to do was what I myself needed to do; do it on my own, independently of what my parents believed and taught, and without my mother’s coaching. It dawned on me that, though there was an initial introduction to Jesus which may or may not have happened when I was four years old, the Christian life itself was a life of discipleship, a journey, a pilgrimage.
“Giving my heart to Jesus” was not the final chapter of the story. It was only the beginning, and a disciple of Jesus would be giving his heart to Jesus in new ways for the rest of his life. As I explained this to that 10-year old child, I realized that I was explaining it to myself. You might say we led each other to Christ. How cool is that?”
Share Your Testimony
We are thankful to Jean, Steve, Barb, and Duane for sharing their testimonies. Do you have a salvation testimony you would like to share? We would love to hear it! Email Office@ChurchPlantingBFC.org.