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     ...Until We All Come into the Unity of the Faith ...Ephesians 4:11
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    It was four months  after  reading her letter that I actually spoke to her and heard her full story. It was end of the summer in 2006 that God refreshed my spirit with her testimony .  After receiving her testimony of salvation—letter in the mail, I headed back to the office to call the number included. The goal was to assure that this new believer was going to a bible believing church and  growing in the Lord.  Unfortunately , the phone number was disconnected.

 

    However that did not stop me , I prayed personally and also took her name to my church for corporate prayer.

 

     It was four months later that I was prompted to call again. This time the  call went through and a woman answer the phone. It was Dana, the same lady that had sent me the letter. After establishing  our connection, she asked me if I would like to hear her story. I replied that I would love to hear it. Reason number one, I was interested in God’s goodness working in people lives.  My reason number two was because it was what I did  as reporter.

 

      Again  four months had passed from my initial connection  with Dana via her letter, but she began her story from ten years earlier.

      

Dana’s Story

- submitted by Dana -

 

      I was not brought up in church.  I knew about Jesus because my Grandmom Jesse took me and brother  to church with her.  My parents both thought it was unnecessary to go to church to 'believe' in God.  I met some wonderful Christian people while outside playing one day.  The couple I met was a husband and wife who were The Browns.  

 

      Reverend Sylvanius Brown was the Pastor of Second Baptist Church.  I grew very close to them and they always spoke about the Lord to me.  When I went home and talked to my Mom she basically was very busy and did not have much spiritual knowledge.
I attended Sunday School for a while and left after my favorite Sunday School Teacher relocated.  My parents didn't push the issue.  I was always a big girl and was constantly teased by other kids and so I started believing the negativity about me that the other kids were saying.  
       

 

      When I got into my early teens (13 to be exact) I started to go through puberty.  Boys that teased me years before were now interested.  I did not know that this was wrong, because my parents did not stress that enough in specific terms to me.  
I turned from an A and B student to a D and F student very quickly.  I started experimenting with marijuana and drinking.  I was hanging around with the wrong crowd.  I was also a latch-key kid, as I had my own keys to get in the house after school.  I was home alone for hours before my parents would come home.

  
       I took advantage of my free time.  Cutting classes and not going to school at all were typical days for me.  I became promiscuous at a really young age.  I still had no notice that God loved me and cared for me.  All through my teens I was in total rebellion to God.  I started going to church around the age of 21.  But still no confession of sins and acknowledging needing Jesus.  I foolishly thought I could be 'saved' without confessing my sins.

 

       After college I met this man who said he was a Christian and was constantly praying for our new relationship. We were dating for a while and we got married.  All this time I am thinking I am all right with God. My husband was very abusive and had started running around with other women.  He thought it was a joke.  I kept saying to leave the woman alone but he would not.  At this time I was pregnant with our daughter.  He brought the woman he was with to our apartment and told me he didn't want to be with me anymore.


       This made me very ill and I almost lost the baby.  Thankfully the Lord blessed us with a daughter.  Even after our daughter was born he still was out there and chasing women.  He hit me and also was inappropriately touching our daughter.  I left the house to cause him to wake up,and get right with his family.  He never did.  Unfortunately to this day (the time of this article) he is caught up in some of the same addictions he was in over 11 years ago. 


After I left my husband I filed for divorce and there was a glitch in the papaerwork so the divorce did not go through.  During this time of separation I started dating.  I met a man and started dating him and he was also a believer as he called himself.


      After getting to know him as friends we started being more intimate and we conceived a son.  He was unemployed and living with relatives.  He very rarely contributed to the income for the house.  After a time I learned he was abusing drugs, drinking and was a former gang member.  He was also incarcerated before for a very serious crime.  For nine years we were together and I was going through domestic violence.  I couldn't answer the door, get the mail,  sit near a window or be around other people.  He accused me of cheating all of the time.  


        Last year 2006, I got tired of living the way I was and wanted to go to God.  I had left my children's Dad.  During the nine years I conceived 2 other children.  All this while married to my oldest daughter's father. I left my home in Bridgeton, went to a hotel and stayed there until my money ran out.  I called around to different domestic violence shelters  and they were all full.  I didn't want to go to the one in Vineland because I figured he would find me there.  I knew he was going to catch up to me at the hotel sooner or later.  I finally called the one in Vineland as a last resort.


         The lady on the phone at the shelter said there was space available after we did an intake interview.  My children and I went to the shelter.  It was nicer there than I thought and the people that work there are great.  I was there a total of three months.  Right before we were moving to the new home God gave us, I took my children to a Christian Bookstore.  I found the
Voice of One Magazine.  I took it back to the shelter and read it from cover to cover.  I prayed the prayer of salvation in the magazine.  I asked him to forgive me for living the way I was living.  He did.


         I was still in contact with my children's father but had no intentions of going back to him.  I did not know God was doing His work in his heart also.  Since we have separated he has accepted Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour and is now delivered from cocaine, marijuana, drinking and smoking.  He is no longer physically abusive or controlling.  He has been baptized and has been faithfully attending church.  He is now on his way to a retreat in Missouri.  He is truly a new creature in Christ!  No more swearing, abuse and living wrong.

  
          I believe and know our lives has been touched by the Master.  We are doing it right this time.  We are letting the Lord lead us.  My divorce from my oldest child's father is now in its end stages.  Once that is final Todd my fiancee and I are getting married in Missouri.  I have a ministry of singing and an online Christian Superstore called Pages Of Life.  Todd also sings and plays guitar in church and is now a bold witness for Christ.  The Lord has also blessed us financially.  God is so good to us!  I give God all the glory and all the Praise for all the changes He has made in our lives.  With God all things are possible! AMEN!

 

Reprinted and revised from a 2006 article