Hi, my name is Mariangela! I am a new writer on the blog. My husband and I are missionaries on deputation to go to Colombia, South America.
Like many of us in the group, I grew up in a Christian home. I know, I know. That almost sounds like a testimony “cliche”, but give me a chance if you would.
My family and I attended church and went to Sunday School regularly. In Sunday School, my teachers always tried to make sure they incorporated the plan of salvation into the Bible stories. So at the end of every lesson they would say something like, “If you’d like to be saved, all you need to do is believe in Jesus Christ.” Sounds easy enough, right?
Well on one of those Sunday’s, I thought to myself:
Okay, so I believe in Jesus…
I believe that Jesus is the son of God…
I believe that Jesus IS God…
I must be saved!
And that’s exactly what I told everyone. When asked if I was a believer, I confidently and happily said “Yes!”.
Later down the road however, I started doubting my salvation. I always wondered how everyone else seemed to know when or how they got saved, and I didn’t. I couldn’t point to a time when I actually understood the gospel and made a decision and that BUGGED me. Even as a child, I recall having many sleepless nights because I had some idea that the world was going to end but I wasn’t sure if I was going to heaven or hell.
You would think that that would’ve been enough to send me running for help, right? Wrong. I was SOOO embarrassed to admit to anyone that I didn’t think I was actually saved. I mean, what would they think?? I’ve basically announced to everybody on numerous occassions that I was a believer and now I’d have to recant? Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no.
Interestingly enough, there were several times that I had wanted to talk to somebody. SO. MANY. TIMES. But every single time, I thought that my shame outweighed my need for salvation. Yup- Not very smart.
Fast forward to a few years later. I started going to a Christian College. And on the summer break of my first year my brother asked me if I would like to go on a Missions trip with him and a group of friends. He told me that we would be hiking one of the mountainous islands in the Philippines for two weeks to reach a certain tribe.
“Oooo sounds like an adventure!” I know, spiritual, right? So I decided to go with the group on that trip.
It was a Saturday morning when we arrived on the island. Right away, we were grouped with some folks from a local church to go visiting. I quickly learned though that the church was fairly new, about 2 months old.
So with a few of the church people, off we went to the closest house we could find. As we were about to knock on our first door, the group stopped, turned to me, and said, “You know what? Since you have been a Christian much longer than we have, why don’t you go ahead and do the witnessing?”
“Oh. Uuuumm. Okaaaay.” I said, a little hesitant.
My mind scrambled to come up with a plan. Okay- How about just use the ever-so-reliable Romans Road verses you learned in Sunday school!
A family opened the door and I introduced myself. I don’t quite remember much of what happened after that but I do remember taking them through the Romans Road and after reading each verse, explaining what they meant. Well, what they meant to me at least.
We went through Romans 3:10, 3:23, and 6:23. Then we came to Romans 5:10.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
By this time, I was very focused on what the verses really meant instead of just winging it and trying to explain what I didn’t really even understand myself.
Hold up. So this is saying that while I was sinning, Christ still loved me…so much so that He…He died for me??
I was in shock. I honestly don’t know what happened afterwards, but on that sweet day the gospel became oh so clear to me, and I suddenly realized what “believe” meant.
So “believe” was not just believing that Jesus is God because we all know, even the devil believes that, but he DEFINITELY isn’t spending eternity with us in heaven! I learned that day that “believe” meant fully trusting that when Jesus came and died, He took the ENTIRETY of my sins from me and paid my debt at the cross because I absolutely CANNOT pay for it myself. It means I have been pardoned of my sin, and I am guilty no more!
I was in awe. I remember being…well, just…happy. Like this heavy weight of fear and uncertainty just fell off of my shoulder, never to be felt again. And I have gladly shared of my decision from that day on!
Honestly, I wasn’t sure whether to write about my story or not. At first I thought this would be a good way to let you all know a little bit about this Newbie. But now, really more than that, I’m hoping that maybe, just maybe, someone who “grew up in a Christian home” and is still unsure of the destination of their soul will swallow their pride and do something about it. That they will get to know the sweet Savior who has always loved them and willingly gave His precious life for them.
So to you–yes, you–who are still in fear and doubt, don’t be afraid of what others might say because there is NOTHING that brings greater joy to God’s children than when someone, especially someone they love, puts their trust in Jesus Christ. Don’t let that pride win. Your salvation is too important.