Hey guys! Welcome back, hope all is well! It’s Alyssa & today I am going to be sharing my testimony with you. My story of salvation. How I came to know Jesus.
When we were younger, my brother and I fought pretty regularly. It didn’t matter where we were, or who we were with, if we found the slightest thing wrong with the other, it was going to be known. Easter morning of April 2011, my brother and I of course got into an argument. In the middle of our bickering, our mom said, “That’s it, we’re going to go to church!”. I immediately tell my mom how church is for weird people and how I wasn’t “one of them”. In that moment, my mom made church feel like a punishment, but shortly after attending weekly services, I was overwhelmed with the absolute blessing and gift Jesus is. A few months later in July, I asked Jesus into my heart one night after Bible Camp. (others may know it as VBS) I remember thinking that I didn’t ask the right way, so I actually did it like 7 times that night.
My parents both grew up with religion, my father was raised Catholic and my mother was raised in a Church of Christ. They got married pretty young and money was tight, so they would pick up extra shifts in the weekends-usually on Sunday’s. When my brother & I were born, they continued to work extra and between working a lot & raising two kiddos, free time was close to nonexistent. I always knew of God & this thing called prayer, but that was basically the extent of my knowledge of Christianity. The people I was surrounded with my first 9 years of life weren’t very religious, so going to church was one of my first true exposures to Jesus.
I wasn’t baptized until I was a bit older, about 13 years old. For those of you who don’t know, baptism is someone publicly saying that they “said yes to Jesus”. I was baptized by a brother of a good friend of my parents, who years later, became the head pastor of one of my church’s campuses. My public declaration of choosing Jesus was in the pool of the local YMCA, somewhere so common but holds so much meaning to me. Earlier the year before, I began to volunteer in the Children’s ministry area of my church, a ministry that I am still a part of to this day.
In the fall of that next year, I went on my first missions trip to inner city Philadelphia. Only being in 8th grade, I have never really been exposed to homelessness before. This trip had truly changed my eyes to see how abundantly blessed I am. My team went out into the streets and handed out food & hope to the homeless in downtown Philly. I even got the opportunity to have a conversation with an ex college football player who made a few bad choices and ended up on the streets! That truly showed me that anyone can end up homeless- no matter how old, what they look like, or their background. Homelessness is REAL and as heartbreaking as it is, very common in the cities around us. Many people think that all of the homeless are drug addicts or alcoholics, but in reality, they’re our teachers, business owners, neighbors, local athletes, mothers, fathers, and children. Being 13 and getting this eyeopening view of the world I live in has forever changed my views on those around me and the things in front of me.
That year, I was part of a team that started an after school Bible study club. We met every Wednesday after school, ate snacks, played crazy games, and shared the good news of Jesus with about 50 middle school students weekly. Being a part of this ministry strengthened my faith and helped me gain confidence in who I am in Christ and taught me how to effectively share my faith with my peers.
Fast forward two summers later, I felt really led to go on another missions trip. The whole summer I was praying for God to open a door for me so that I can spread His name. Late summer, I was at a conference called Momentum. This is an amazing high school conference that truly leaves an impact on every student. At one of the sessions, there was a promo video for a trip called Operation Barnabas. In the video, there were 2 main ministries that the trip was focused on. Homeless ministry & children’s ministry- two areas that I have connections to, & that I have such a passion for. I went to an information meeting about OB, and as soon as I entered the room, I got the chills and I knew this was the opportunity that I had been praying for. When I told my mom that I wanted to apply for the trip, she told me “absolutely not”, and I got very discouraged. She told me there was no way I could travel across the country by myself, be gone for a month of my summer, or raise the funds to go. So, instead of turning to complaining, I turned to prayer. I prayed constantly for God to change the mind of my mother, and for her eyes to be opened to the real reason why I wanted to go on Operation Barnabas.
I’ll save for another post about my Operation Barnabas journey- fundraising, traveling across the country by myself, the ministry I was blessed enough to be a part of, how God revealed His beautiful calling for my life, and SO.MUCH.MORE!!
This is a Bible verse that truly was my prayer a few summers ago: “Here I am, send me” Isaiah 6:8
Leave a comment below telling us when you “Said Yes to Jesus”!
All for the glory of Jesus,
The first picture is me at 3 in the morning starting my journey to Los Angeles! The second is my family’s first Christmas at our church and the last is the latest picture taken last year! I think it is SO COOL to see myself grow up in the church!