What's Your Awesome-God Story? Reader Response Special feature

Name: Yambanso (God is my emotional healer)

Location: Malawi

A 4th year medical student, I'm Yambanso, a 21 year old Christian lady from Lilongwe, Malawi. My story began in 2006 when I got my first boyfriend, also a Christian. The relationship was full of disagreements, but we loved each other and managed to stay together. Then, a few months after it started, he called it quits. I didn't take it too well and since my faith was shaky, I decided to get things right with God, which gave me peace.

Awhile later, my boyfriend wanted to get back together, but told Him that, while I loved him, we both had to sort our issues with God and let Him unite us if He wants us together. Then he stopped talking to me, and this is when the real battle started in me. I missed him so much and felt I loved him more than before, despite what was happening in our relationship.

I cried to God for peace and that He would remove this burden on me. At first it didn't work. I was so troubled at heart and about to give up when a Christian friend reminded me instead of being bitter, I should pray for my ex-boyfriend. So that's exactly what I did. Peace flooded in and all the bitterness and anger left as the Lord helped and touched me.

As days went by, my boyfriend came and apologized, promising he was ready to change. We began praying together and ended up back together. At this point, my heart was intent on obeying God. You would think this would make the relationship stronger. Instead, things only got harder. He was not at the same place and accused me of being too extreme in my faith. Finally, after much turmoil and fighting, I decided to call it quits.

After this, I went through an emotional breakdown, and my studies really suffered. Also, my ex-boyfriend was verbally abusive, accusing me of being a person with no vision and no stand of my own, always driven by any wind that blows by. I had to see him every day in class, where he treated me badly. It was a hell of a time for me, lasting 3 months.

Just a week ago, the Lord began to grant me the peace joy and confidence once again. I tell you this has been a greatest miracle for me. God is the greatest healer in the world and He can do it for anyone. There is nothing too big nor too small that He can't handle. He is my God and I love Him so much now, and I know no matter what happened He has the best plans for my life. All I have to do is trust Him.

Name: Leshia (God cares about the small things)

Location: Alabama, US

leshiaMany years ago I sold a flute that was special to me to a pawn shop. I got the flute in the 5th grade after taking a difficult lengthy music test where I got 100 out of 100 correct. The music teacher talked with my parents about me getting into band and playing a musical instrument. One of my 5th grade teachers, Ms. Kelly, sold my parents a used flute just so I could be in the band. Well now you see how special this flute was to me. Every "blue moon" I would think about the flute and how I could have played it at church as part of our praise and worship on Sundays and Wednesdays.

A couple of weeks ago, one of our media technicians asked me, "Do you play the flute?" It was like someone knocked the wind out of me because no one knew about the flute I sold all those years ago! The technician had some musical instruments that had been given to him and wanted to know if I could use it! What an Ephesians 3:20 moment: "Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all we could ask or think according to the power that works in us." God had taken a hidden desire and manifested it before my very eyes! He is concerned about the very small things for my good and for His glory!

Name: L. (God is my true Father)

Location: Hawaii, US

I was raised by my grandfather until he got diagnosed with a terminal illness when I was 7, so he took me to my parents. During the year I lived with my parents, my father molested me, but I never told anyone, including my mom or grandpa. My mom ended up separating from my father soon afterwards because of infidelity, and we went back home to be near grandpa. Grandpa passed away not too long after that.

As the only real "father figure" I'd had in my life, I missed my grandfather so much that I saw visions of him and dreamed about him. I longed to have him back in my life. I loved him with all my heart and didn't want to live life without him! Ever since, I've had a void in my life, and I couldn't quite relate to or completely trust an invisible God as my father.

But recently, when I was in the most dire of situations in my married life, I called out to God for His help in finding our first single-family home. I reminded God that my real father is incarcerated and undependable, my grandfather is gone, I have no inheritance, and no rich uncle to call on. I needed God my father to invest in me and to make a way for me.

Living in less than ideal circumstances, I waited for His answer for a long time. I didn't want to buy anything without His blessing and assurance that it was the right time. I came to the point of full surrender to God, just bearing my cross everyday, crying out to Him. After two years, He spoke to me and told me to start looking for a house. I asked Him for every detail of my search for a house, the finances, the loans, the realtor, etc.

My Father God was with me every step of the way! When I first got the house, I wept! It was a tangible display of what my Father can provide for me…a shelter and place of refuge, symbolizing what He is to me in my heart! I'm still learning this Father-daughter relationship, but I know that I have never been the same again after acquiring the house, and the process it took. He was attentive to my needs in a way I'd never known before. No matter what, I know that God is my everything! He is not only my Father, He is my life!

Name: Mimi (God is faithful during and after a bad relationship)

Location: UK

As a student, I was always worried about how I was going to pay my school fees. My parents didn't have money and so we were always in debt. Life was stressful and it seems everything was going against me. Awhile later, a friend introduced me to this guy and we started dating. I fell so much in love with him. He was also a Christian so we decided not to ever have sex. That lasted a month.

When we met, I had no idea he was rich. Later he told me he was going to pay my fees and all other expenses, and he offered me a job, since he had his own business. The friend who introduced us told me that he's a very generous person-he'd been paying his mortgage for him-so I should listen to him. I resigned from my job, but immediately after I started working for him, he became very demanding. My life started revolving around him and he became very controlling, demanding to know how I would be using my wages. Life became so bad. Six months in the relationship, I asked him for money to pay my school fees and he got really mad. I managed to get a loan to pay my fees, but he even began telling me when I could go to school. During all of this, I wasn't praying at all. I was a struggling Christian.

One day I decided to pray to God about what is happening in my life and he answered me. He led me to some online ministries, one on which I found this website (Julie's). Through these contacts I managed to break-up with my boyfriend. I called him one day and told him he is messing me up, so I don't want to see him again, and that was the end.

Now am very happy. I can't even stop praising God for the life I have now. Sometimes I find myself just praising Go
d in the middle of the night. I have a new job and am very happy. I was single for almost a year and now am dating a lovely person from my past and God is showing me how to go about everything concerning the relationship. I am doing very well in my studies and the future looks very bright.

Thank you Jesus for turning my life around.

Name: Robert (a first experience in my ministry)

Location: Born Niue (S. Pacific island) lives in New Zealand

Note: Robert currently serves the Lord as a full time missionary for OAC (Open Air Campaigners)

fiji_deaf_girlsIn my recent ministry trip to Fiji, I was preaching nine times at a church family camp that was held at a Christian camp outside Suva city (capital of Fiji). The camp was organized and sponsored by one of the Brethren Gospel Chapel in Suva, and there were about 40 people attending. More than half of them are deaf, but the church provided two very capable sign language interpreters during my preaching. On the second to the last day of camp, two young deaf girls (pictured) responded to the invitation to trust Christ Jesus as their LORD and Savior for the first time, and four more young deaf people responded for recommitment of their lives to Christ. It was a very moving experience for all of them because they were crying as they prayed and ask GOD for forgiveness and invited Jesus Christ into their lives. Even the interpreter was in tears as she explained to them what I was saying while we counseled them. Praise the LORD. The church that organized the camp is committed to disciple these young people. It was my first time leading deaf people to the LORD using sign language interpreters.

Name: Japheth–20 (God has great plans!)

Location: "The Great east African country of Kenya"

japhethNow the Lord has been soo good to me that I can't tell it all. For now, I am a student in Daystar University studying communications.

What I can say at least for now is that God has been faithful to me and I kinda feel that He never lets us go, NEVER. He has guided, provided and protected me through life, and he has been my light-the real deal. First of all, He's given me good health because it has been a number of years back since I got sick, He's given me caring parents and friends, He's kept me from evil–though we are not all pure in our ways but it takes God's grace to help us walk right. Most importantly, I thank God for working things out for me; if it wasn't for Him, for sure, I would not be in such an expensive university studying; but somehow my parents who are not rich nor learned have been able to keep me in school ONLY by God's grace. I think we should always be grateful for everything that happens in our lives since God is in control; He has a purpose for our lives and will fulfill all our desires according to His riches in glory. So trust Him, love Him and believe in Him. Lastly, "Cast all your anxieties to HIM for he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

Name: Karine (God is faithful)

Location: The Congo (originally) and South Africa

karineI'm 21 years old and have lived in South Africa 17 years with my family. My father, being a medical doctor, contracted TB on duty and unfortunately passed away in 1993, leaving my mother and 3 siblings. God never failed us as a "Father to the fatherless" and his provision always came. In 1999, my mother also passed away from unknown causes, so the pastor of our church took the four of us in. After my oldest sister got married to a wonderful man, we all went to live with her. In all this, God remained faithful. I completed high school and began studying at one of the top universities in South Africa and, even though I was unable to get a scholarship, God still didn't fail me. This year I'm completing my bachelor of accounting.

This year proved to be the most challenging one of my life when my youngest sister died suddenly of kidney failure in March at age 17 yrs, full of hopes and dreams.

Glory be to God of all comfort who holds us through our pain! Out of my pain, God has given me purpose. I now lead a group of young people my late sister's age in a dance and drama group called Judah. God's been so faithful to us. The group is continuously growing. Through everything, God held me and continues to do so. Today we have about 35 kids who we help with bible study, counseling and any other way we can. I always praise God because I lost one sister but he gave me 34 more sisters and brothers too! One thing I know, God never fails. There is always greater purpose behind the tragedies.

Name: Trevor Freeman (God is my rescuer)

Location: India

trevor_hope_homeEditors Note: Trevor was once an abandoned child who was rescued by the ministry of Hopegivers (www.Hopegivers.org ) and after growing up in one of our Hope Homes, he went on to administrate a church, Hope Home (pictured), and school for the ministry. We love Trevor and all the pastors like him in India who are sacrificing their lives every day for the gospel, and investing in the once-unwanted children!!

trevor_familyIt gives me great joy to tell you what God has done for me and my family. I think this is how he worked…He took me from A SLAVE TO A FREE-MAN (my name). He took me from being a "left-over" and forgotten child, to a son of God. I want to share a few of the miracles I have seen:

Rescued from a train accident

At around 3pm, I opened my eyes I saw the whole train compartment come upwards. All the luggage and people were falling on me. I tried to get up, but the dust was too much. I couldn't see or do anything but I wound up sitting on the top of the train compartment in a very comfortable position. I didn't know how I got there because the place where I was supposed to be sleeping was totally buried underground and I was covered with dust and blood of others. A man took me down and put my near the road side, and an old lady came and wiped off my dirty face, which was a welcomed mother's touch at that moment. I opened my eyes to thank her, but she was already gone. In my train compartment, around 42 people died. I was the only person unhurt and fit to praise my God. This life is His life.

Rescued from attacks

I was to preach in a church Sunday morning in a remote village in Bihar, India. So I left Saturday by scooter so as to arrive on time. It was midnight when I reached the village and I could hear some fast passing sounds. I discovered they were poisonous arrows that cause instant death upon contact. Praise the Lord not even one arrow hit me.

In the place were I am based right now, I was attacked by mob of 300 anti-Christians at one time. But it was the will of My God that I should live.

Rescued from being forsaken

Humiliated and forsaken by near and dear ones, I found myself left alone. I asked God, with fasting and prayer, "How can I live?" As God fed Elijah by sending a crow to feed him, so God did for me. One day I got an e
mail from total strangers telling me that God told them to send me a gift for my urgent needs! I praise God for all his blessings.

Name: Jana (God showed me how to forgive)

Location: Kansas City, US

I help select Bible studies for my church's women's group and last year I found one by R.T. Kendall called "The Total Forgiveness Experience." I recommended it to the group and ended up facilitating it.

Back track six or seven years…a Christian friend and neighbor hurt me in a variety of ways, so finally I refused to have anything more to do with her. She and her family eventually moved further away, so I didn't have to see her as often, but when I did, my actions let her know I was no longer interested in being her friend.

Now back to January, 2007. As fate would have it, I showed up to our first meeting for the forgiveness study I was facilitating, and who should be there but the woman who had hurt me so deeply a few years prior! I remember wondering what in the world God was doing to me?

For the first few weeks, I sat across the table from this woman, rarely meeting her eyes, and led the group of ladies through the forgiveness book. I began to feel like such a hypocrite! God began telling me it was time to reach out.

And as I worked through the book, God worked through my heart. I learned that forgiveness isn't about what another person does to me; it's about my own heart and my relationship with God. I've been forgiven for so much…how can I neglect God's command to forgive those who sin against me (Col. 3:13, among others)? (Editors insert: We have also sinned against God far more than any person could ever sin against us, and He is asking us to follow His lead). Hardest of all, though, was the realization of how much I had sinned against this person in the way I had treated her and in the way I had refused to forgive her. I knew that, when I did eventually talk with her, it would be ME needing to ask HER for forgiveness. Ouch. God sure has a way of turning the tables on us when we wallow in self-righteousness!

We did have that meeting over coffee, which lasted more than three hours. We cried together and prayed together and I was able to ask for and receive her forgiveness. We learned that there were three sides to our story: my perception, her perception, and God's truth as He looked into our hearts and motives. She is now a close friend. When we run into each other around town, instead of passing by with a curt "hello," we now stop and talk like close friends, immediately getting beyond pleasantries. What a gift God has given me! He is so faithful.

God has so much more work in forgiveness for me to do. I'm now facilitating my third group of women through this study on a topic that is under-taught, under-practiced and under-appreciated in the average Christian life. I think He'll keep sending me groups until He's sure I've learned to live life in true total forgiveness.

Name: Annie Teresa (God taught me grace for myself and others)

Location: Kenya

annie_teresaWhen I accepted Jesus Christ back in December 2005, I discovered that I had lots of bad habits to change, and I began judging myself as a bad person. I tried being perfect so that God wouldn't be too disappointed with me, but failed miserably, which made me more depressed. Sadly, I found myself judging not only me, but also others. What a surprise to eventually find myself back in my old habits!

Through this, Jesus did one of the most amazing things for me. He showed me his mercy and gave me understanding through his Holy Spirit, to understand that I don't have to be picture perfect for Him to love me. He helped me appreciate and understand my daily trials and that he is always ready to help me each step of the way.

None of us, including me, are too bad for Jesus. He already knew what we would do before I we were born, yet continued to create us and count us worthy of His sacrifice, so that we would share in His Love. Jesus reminded me that all-no matter how bad our sins or what religion we profess-are created in God's image, and He loves us. He died for us all and when he said on the cross that He was thirsty (John 19:28), He meant that He thirsted for us all to come to him and accept him. All of this opened my heart more considerably, and through God, I was able to understand the sin struggles of humanity and not to judge them.

Name: Terry (God redeemed my life from sinful choices)

Location: Colorado, US

Twice in my life I let myself get in situations through a common element: my own (pick one) pride, covetousness, sin. As a result, everything would soon be lost.

Despite my best efforts and every tactic my mind could think of, the abyss was inches in front of me and I was sliding towards it fast. There was only time left for one quick prayer, "Help me, God."

And suddenly everything was okay. Everything…like nothing had occurred.
I believe God waited to help me until I was absolutely sure I understood it was He who saved me.

I asked forgiveness and repented, but if I'd been humbly walking with God these situations never would have happened. I can only hope the lessons don't have to be repeated.

Lastly, I am thankful for the daily miracle of almost 33 years with my wife Sandi, as well as the wonderful relationship with our kids and ten grandchildren. It was a joy to teach my eight year old grandson recently, who's never heard Biblical principles applied to common, everyday daily life. What a wonderful chance to make God real to him, and to increase his thirst to know more.

Name: Arun (God provided for me)

Location: India

God answered my prayers. I wanted to change my job and I began praying and trying for it. To my surprise, God gave me a great job in another country. Now I started my new job, and I'm looking forward to fulfilling God's purpose for me.

Name: Marcia (God set me free from the prison of fear)

Location: Georgia, US

marciaThe biggest stumbling block in my journey to a life of victory…was me. It was really a lack of trust and belief in God, but I didn't realize it until recently when the Holy Spirit showed me a visual imagery of myself, standing in a self-constructed cage. From inside this cage, watching others pass by, I felt safe and free from any risk of being hurt. But I also noticed the people walking by wore freedom and joy on their faces-something I didn't have. But how could that be? I love God, I really do. So what did these people know or have that I didn't?

Looking out, I wanted to be one of those people, but what about the uncertainty, the risk, the unknown? I cried because I had no idea how to get from my cage to a place of freedom and trust in God. Holding His hand out to me, God said, "Marcia, this cage you have created is a cage of fear. You think it is protecting you, but it is actually robbing you of so many things I want to give you. Take my hand and make a choice to trust me. It's never my intent to hurt you, but only to heal and bless so that you may walk in the fullness of my love. Forgive the things, people, and situations of your past. Trust me…"

I finally stepped out and took His hand, and at that moment, something in my spirit broke. Since that day, God has shown me a whole new world of trust and freedom that I never knew existed. At this very moment I have $1.75 in the bank. That used to freak me out completely, and I would be stresse
d for the whole day. Now, I see it as a blessing, because I get to see the hands of God move in my life. For the first time in a long time, I have true peace because I am choosing to trust God!

Name: Crystal (Jesus personally comforted me)

Location: New York

crystalA few months ago, I was at a low point in my life and I got down on my knees, praying to God let me know He is there, that he loves me, and that He forgives me for all the stupid things I've done in the past. After praying, I went to bed and fell asleep. I had the most wonderful dream that night. I dreamt that I was standing by an old car I once owned and as I looked down, I saw a pendant of Jesus so I picked it up. I could see some dirt on the bottom of the pendant so I rubbed it off and the number 7 appeared. A man was standing next to me and asked me what I found and I said, "I found Jesus."

I turned to look at the man and realized at that time it was JESUS! I could feel my heart so full, it was bursting (I never understood that expression before). Never in my life had I felt the strong love of Jesus like in that dream. I have carried Him within my heart ever since. I have learned so much and I know God has a plan for me. I still am not quite sure what it is and I hope He enlightens me soon. Also, I worry that too many people nowadays are walking away from our Lord. I want to do what I can to change all of that.

Name: Regina (Reggie–God is my protector)

Location: Kenya

reginaI'm single and love singing and sharing the love of Jesus with my family, friends, and whomever I meet. My favorite verse is Lamentations 3:23.
Once, I discovered my job was being advertised in the paper! It was my greatest test, but I just had to have faith, according to Hebrews 11, and believe God for a miracle. He can do anything for you, just like how he did for me, because I'm still working in the same place, but now as an assistant and my boss is great-she's a believer.

No matter what situation you're in, God is very faithful and I have learned to trust in Jesus and live for him everyday, because Jesus is still the same.
Cheers and I love u all and may you all be truly blessed. Especially thanks to Mama, Dad, Sally, and my siblings Maria, Ben & Sue in California, Kelscy, Eric & Cate, Shila &Maria-I owe all to Jesus as you read my story. My email is [email protected] Praise God and I give him all the glory and honor for this chance of getting my story used. I hope it will inspire you as we walk in this journey of faith together. May you be richly blessed and may God's mercy and favor and goodness follow you.

Name: Julie (God reassured me about my dad)

Location: Minnesota

spencerThis just recently happened. A few weeks ago I received a call to get down to the nursing home where my dad (pictured) had been living for the past couple of months because he was not doing very well. During the hour drive over, I kept praying that God would give me some kind of sign that, when my dad left this earth, he would be with Him. After that, I wasn't thinking about anything in particular when the words came into my mind: "Be still and know that I am God." That gave me an adrenaline rush and I prayed, thank you God!

After that, I sat next to my dad at the nursing home, listening to him breathe slowly in and out in his sleep. Looking down at my feet, I rehearsed silently in my mind what I was going to say to him. I thought, "Dad, God is with you."

I no sooner thought those words when I heard my dad say, "I know." I looked up at him ready to ask, "How did you know what I was thinking?" But he was still totally out of it. Then I thought about my prayer and how God spoke to me with the verse, and how He reassured me that He already had it worked out, and had answered my prayer. My dad died that weekend and, although it was very sad, I know where he is…God was gracious enough to give me that peace!

Name: Alison (God's plans are better than my plans!)

Location: Australia

alisonNote from Julie: A while back Alison, a single mother of three, explained to me that she failed to get a graduate position she really desired, even after praying about it. She was a little discouraged but after praying some more, she decided to trust Him and surrendered this desire to God, accepting whatever His will was for her life. Here is her follow up to this situation that she sent today (Oct. 11):

"Well, I've come to the conclusion that God has a sense of humor where I'm concerned. After giving it over to God, I was feeling very much at peace with my plans for study next year (instead of the graduate position).

Then on Tuesday when I got home, there was a message for me to ring the hospital's graduate program coordinator. I knew they were looking to fill a position in another town, so I thought it might be about that.

I was very wrong. They offered me one of the graduate positions I originally missed out on at my local hospital! I was in shock, to say the least—and I didn't accept it straight away because I was already set on more studying next year! Anyhow, I rang her back later and accepted the position, and it got even better. The coordinator told me that when I finish my graduate year and start my post study after that, I can apply to the hospital for a scholarship to support me while I study and work!

How awesome is that? And that information came after I'd said yes to the offer! I immediately thought of what you told me, that a "no" from God is a "yes" to something better, and that if He had allowed me to get the position the first time around, I wouldn't have had this experience with Him that has helped my faith grow so much. I've been virtually singing His praises from the rooftops since Tuesday!

I feel this has been a turning point in my faith. While I've never doubted Him or His will for me, this was the first experience I'd had of being forced to accept that His will wasn't what I wanted—only to find out that when I did fully surrender it all to Him, it turned out His will is what I wanted, only better! It's also taught me more about being obedient and that, by giving over my desires and obeying Him, He will grant me the desires of my heart. So glad I have beautiful friends to share with, and such a testimony to share with the people around me who don't know God.

 

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