I graduated from the Arise program in 2017 and it was the best experience of my life so far. Before Arise I really desired to share my faith, but I wasn’t quite sure how. I was also finding my walk with God challenging and felt I needed something that was missing. The Arise program was brought to my attention and I decided that I wanted to go and learn. At Arise my whole focus and perspective of God and what it meant to not only be Christian, but Adventist, was made clear. It was then I really allowed Jesus to come guide my life for the first time. It was the most wonderful experience I have ever had, accepting Jesus to be my friend and guide.
As Arise was starting to wrap up Matt Parra and others told us about the continued program of Arise for Life, which was six months of bible working. My honest response was a 100% NO! I was scared and just didn’t want to do it. But God had other ideas in mind and after I had some clear convictions, I was making plans to do the program. At the beginning of my bible working experience, I asked God, if it was His will, that I could have three baptisms from my bible working experience. It was not only my desire to have someone else know Jesus and share in my experience, but I really wanted to serve God in some way and help be a change in someone else’s life.
I knocked on one lady’s door into my first six months of bible working. She was willing to study, and we scheduled to start going through the lessons the next week. As we studied she was so eager to learn that she ate up everything like it was the only food she had. She was a Christian but some very challenging experiences from the past, and present difficulties, were causing lots of problems and were breaking her down more than she could handle. She was in need of help and encouragement. During one study we had, she broke down crying as she realized just how much Jesus loved and accepted her. Now every day she could wake up to this new truth and find hope and happiness in her present struggles. It was such a touching experience, the only thing I could think of doing was sitting in awe as well and crying with her in joy.
I continued doorknocking daily and I met another person, a much older man this time. I was certain he wasn’t really interested in studies. As I stood talking with him at his door I decided to ask him anyway if he wanted to study the bible. His response was what I thought to be a half-hearted, “sure”. We set a time for the following week, but I had doubts in my mind about how it would turn out. Sometimes going door to door can be discouraging as not many are interested in studying the bible. As I went back to his house the following week I got to his door and there he was, sitting in his chair, ready to study, and with his Bible open! I was quite shocked as this kind of thing rarely occurs. He had grown up a very strong Christian but due to some difficult family and life experiences, he was questioning God and had been in a very discouraged place for quite a long time. Praise God, we ended up studying the bible for about a year and a half with several different church members coming along as well. I have grown so much in my time of bible working and have learned to love teaching and sharing with others. God heard and answered my prayer to lead someone to Him. I am humbled and so grateful to share that both individuals mentioned above decided to be baptized and recommit their lives to Jesus. John, the gentleman who I studied with is 76 years old. He is very thankful and proud to be called a baptized, Seventh Day Adventist member. We’re on a journey to heaven and I’m grateful to share the Bible truths and things I’ve learned with others on the way.
I’ve grown up Seventh-day Adventist, yet I have to say that it wasn’t till I studied my bible more, and intentionally decided to share my faith, that I could see my own faith grow. The blessing of Jesus’ love has been passed on, to continue being shared with others. I’m excited to see what God will do next.