Cristina’s road to Jesus began about eleven years ago when she came in contact with the people of Il Faro, our church. She had enrolled her son to attend the Push The Rock summer basketball camp. She was very interested in the testimonies the basketball coaches gave during the camp. The lives of the church members intrigued her. “All that time,” she said, “we watched the people of Il Faro and appreciated what you were doing and what kind of people you were.”
Then the unthinkable happened. Her husband, who had a good job and was a hard worker, had a stroke. But the Lord had good plans through it all. He ended up in a hospital room in the bed next to a relative of one of the believers in our church. At this point, both husband and wife were more open to the gospel. When her husband left the hospital they began to meet with a couple from the church. They also started to attend our Sunday services. Yet, they still wondered. There were so many questions, so many doubts. Was this church a cult? Was it out to brainwash them?
Slowly they began to participate regularly in all of our church activities. For all intents and purposes they appeared to be believers. We all rejoiced! It took them seven years to trust us enough to join us. However, the husband eventually lost interest and drifted away. Cristina as well, but she kept in touch with us as her job schedule permitted. But in spite of the many Bible studies she had with different members of the church, the many conversations, face-to-face and through WhatsApp, a black cloud of doubt and frustration hung over her. And it just intensified. She would say “I wish I could pray like you pray.” Or, “I wish I could believe the verses you share with one another, and share them with the same conviction.”
The church loved Cristina, reached out to her, tried to encourage her, answered her questions, and counseled her to surrender to God. Susan spent months of Bible studies with her, praying that God would open her eyes with the truth. But all to no avail. During most studies with Susan she would end up weeping. Something was wrong! She simply could not understand what we were saying.
Then during our Sunday service, this past Sept 2, God broke through. During the service she broke down under the weight of her frustration and lack of peace. When someone said she did not have the Holy Spirit, she said it was like a slap in the face. And she realized she was like the Pharisees. Pretending to be a Christian, trying to be a Christian, when she was not.
That evening, after the service, she talked with one of the missionary ladies, and surrendered her life to God. What a difference Christ made in her life. As soon as she went home she told her husband, expecting him to laugh in her face. Instead he cried. She called her son and daughter and shared with them. They want to hear more of what happened. She shared with her friends, and they thought she was crazy. What a joy to see her radiant with the love and peace of Christ, and know for certain she is forgiven. Her hunger for knowing Scripture has increased by leaps and bounds.
Will you pray for Cristina as she grows and witnesses to her friends? The battle will be fierce, but greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.