b Lydia Wilson
correct password is required for changes to be saved.
I grew up in a Christian home. I was born after my parents had wanted children for five years, so I believe God orchestrated my age too. My Dad and Mum have been faithful role models and taught me about God from an early age. I feel very privileged to have had such an opportunity. When I was younger, Mum says my Sunday School teacher (who was also my auntie) had voiced concern about me not understanding how to get to Heaven. I said that we just had to be a good person. I thought I was one. I had been told Jesus loves me, so I thought the deal was sealed: I was going to Heaven. Around about that time found out just how desperately wicked my heart really was. I distinctly remember lying to my parents in the passage about something to do with using the toilet. Dad knew. He told me not to lie to him and that if I was I needed to admit it. I felt so guilty, so ashamed and never wanted to tell a lie ever again. I learnt what stealing was and not to disobey my parents in similar ways. It was very naughty for me to go somewhere I had been told not to. I was told that the effluent sump on the farm was dangerous with stories to show why. My Dad used to read me Bible stories in bed at night. When I was about three he explained that Jesus died for all the bad things I had done. He told me that I only needed to believe in him and he would take me to Heaven when I died. I asked Jesus into my heart then. I didn't really know what to do after this and spent a lot of time recommitting to Jesus. I remember wanting to be baptized when our pastor preached on baptism. After I had started school, at about eight years old, Mum took me to the doctor. She had realized that I was falling over a lot and having trouble running. I was diagnosed with a sort of disability, called Friedreich's Ataxia. My younger sister was soon found to have it too and three of us four girls carried a copy of the FA gene. I was very sad and found it hard to adjust to this new worldview. I could no longer look at awkwardly disabled people and mock them in my mind. Clearly this was wrong and now I found myself -literally- in their shoes. At about 12 I began reading my Bible regularly. I was baptized that year in our river. It was very special and marked a responsibility in my commitment to Christ. I knew that nothing would get miraculously better in my Christian faith without me stepping out in obedience to God. Early in 2011 (I was 15) God was taking me on a spiritual journey. I guess that's when I actually got honest with myself and realized I needed to follow him. My youth group was doing a series of Julian Batchelor's DVD studies at the time. They were very good and the Lord opened my heart to a lot of truths about sharing the gospel. At the same time I had a conversation with an atheist and got myself into an argument with atheism, which wasn't altogether wise or pleasant. I knew that God would take me through it from the beginning, but I found it a very hard time. I hit rock bottom and realized some fundamental truths about life. Most importantly I learnt to trust God and search his Word. I remember realizing how I needed to be careful when actually praying for something; prayer had very real results. "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." -Isaiah 43:2 I prayed to God not to let my heart be hardened or my eyes blinded, but to keep me for himself and display his power in me. He told me to ask him in faith for the answers I needed, and he gave them to me. "Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it-the LORD is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known." -Jeremiah 33:2&3 God used the studies and the testing to draw me closer to him and shape me for his purposes. When I came out of this time and regained my trust in God and Jesus resurrection I had an extreme thirst for his Word, for training. "He prepares my hands for war, my fingers for battle." (Ps 144) There was no more procrastinating. If Jesus was to be Lord at all, he had to be Lord of all. "Whoever continues sinning has never seen him or known him." (1 John 3:6) I had the attitude "Do not underestimate what I will do." I knew it was a revolting crime for me to withhold the gospel from those who needed it most. They were perishing for lack of it while I claimed to be saved, a soldier of the Lord. If I received mercy from God, what right in the world did I have to not tell others? I studied evangelism personally, and began praying for people everywhere to hear the gospel. I was keen to learn how to share my faith in everyday situations, but also reluctant. There is a fear which goes with evangelism, because it is a new skill, and a spiritual battle over God's glory. I eventually broke through that fear with brute determination to obey Jesus command (Mark 16:15). The first lady I talked to was at Wellington airport. She was so shaken when she saw the gospel on video that she was crying, and she wanted to take a photo of me. I was praying for her to understand the whole time. I asked her if she had ever met a Christian before and she said, "Yes, they're everywhere." Those words will stay with me always. After this encounter I was so liberated, excited and on fire for evangelism like never before. I felt a lot closer to God, and the fear of evangelising was definitely a lot less. I also had a long internal struggle over the reality of Hell. It hurts so much it?s easier to ignore. I started listening to teaching such as Hell's Best Kept Secret, going to Bible studies and doing evangelism. Since I have been putting these things into practice, I have seen lost people around me believing in Jesus getting together with groups of believers. It is by no means a bed of roses, and I have found others who are living a holy life. I know Jesus a whole lot better than I did before. He does speak life into dry bones when we ask in faith. At the moment my town has several fellowships. Our church will continue growing if the Lord wills. It has often been small. I hope that more of the people there will be interested in practical evangelism training God will open up people's hearts to become his labourers. "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." Matthew 9:38 Also, the young people's church I fellowship with is looking to make disciples. Small group Bible studies and accountability to mature believers are possibilities. There a number of other Bible-believing churches in our town which my family go to for different things. I hope to see more people radically follow Jesus and become disciple-making disciples so that we will fulfil "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to all of Creation." (Mark 16:15) www.livingwaters.com God bless you all,