I will first try to give a bit of background of my life, and how God has lead, from many years before I was even born.
In the later 1800's my Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother were raising a young family in Bermuda. Great Grampa was a man of the Word and studied his Bible diligently, and I am sure, with much prayer. While studying the commandments, he pondered the 4th one and realized that Saturday was the Sabbath. He began keeping it holy and thus became the first, unknowingly, Seventh day Adventist on the Island. He was very strict and my grandmother remembered sitting on a hard chair for most of the Sabbath hours so as not to break the Holy day.
My Grandmother was born in 1889 and grew up and met Johannes (John) Lowe, who had been taken prisoner in the Boer War. He had been sent to a camp on the Island of Bermuda and upon his release was smitten with my gramma. They married and had a family of 11 children, 4 of which were born in Bermuda, the rest were born after Gramma and Grampa immigrated to Nova Scotia, Canada, where the rest of the children were born. All of Gramma's siblings stayed faithful to the church and to God except my Gramma. Grampa died at 48 years of age. Gramma married again and also left the church, although she always believed.
My Dad was Catholic, my mom was an SDA backslider. She did teach us right from wrong and always kept the Sabbath truth before us. I don't ever remember not knowing about the Sabbath.
At the age of 7 or 8 years my Mom's sister, Rita, began going to church and she invited me along. I went!! I remember singing the Rock of Ages on that first Sabbath. When I left the church that day I felt like I could fly. Of course, I couldn't, but the music and experience was wonderful for me. My father found out I had gone and he immediately forbid me to go again. He was a barber and he ran his shop just across the street from where my aunt and I had to board the bus to get to church. We disobeyed Dad's command, and away we went several times.
From that time on, I knew that someday I would be a Seventh day Adventist Christian. Like so many others, I wanted to have fun first! I married, had my family, thought that I was enjoying life. That was until 1981.
In the summertime, we always met with our good friends and we made the trek to the Okanagan Valley, in BC. We spent 2 wonderful weeks each year there, chilling out with friends, having a good time with the kids and having some music and some alcohol. Life was good!! UNTIL, the spring of 1981 when I developed a sense of foreboding that I had never had before. I became fearful! I don't know if it was a dream or what but I had a sense that something was happening and I didn't know what, but, I did know that somewhere in my fearfulness, was God. At about this time, I made a visit to see my elderly mom in Nova Scotia. My mom had returned to church at the age of 58 and never looked back. She was a praying lady! On a Friday afternoon visit with Mom, she asked me if I would go to church with her the next morning and also stay with her and spend Friday evening (Sabbath). I told her no! I had other plans, which were going to the bar with my sister and her boyfriend to celebrate a birthday. How that must have hurt her! She looked me right in the face and told me that she didn't think there was any hope for me. However, Mom did not know what was happening to me, neither did I. I went to the bar with my sis as planned. The once glitter and fun was not there! I looked at the floor and saw cigarette burns all over the filthy carpets and the hardwood dance floor, the smell of cigarettes and stale beer hung sickeningly in the air. I wanted out of there! What was happening to me?
After returning home to Alberta, my husband and I met with our friends and once again went out to a bar and I had the same sickening experience. When we walked out, I told my husband I would never go there again. I haven't!
Soon after these events, it was time to go on our vacation with our friends. We'd gone with them for years. I didn't know how to tell my husband that I was afraid to go and couldn't we go somewhere else this one year. When I meekly suggested this, he was not at all pleased and so off we went to meet our friends. I was terrified that we were going to have an accident. We didn't! I was afraid the mountain that rose immediately behind where our trailer was parked was going to fall, it didn't. I tried very hard to tell my friend that I had this strong feeling that God was wanting to enter my life, but I didn't. I had finally realized that God was calling me. I couldn't bring myself to tell my friend. The vacation ended and we went back home to Alberta.
When we arrived home, my daughter, Patti, who did not vacation with us that year, handed me a small weekly newspaper and pointed out an ad in it. It was a very small ad that simply said that there was a Seventh Day Adventist group meeting at the Lutheran Church in Fernie, BC. I read it and looked at her and asked if she would like to go to church with me. She enthusiastically said YES. I then asked my 10 year son, the baby of our family, if he would like to go and he also was excited to go. The very next Sabbath the 3 of us set off on our 40 mile ride to the church.
There was just a handful of people there, maybe 10. We slipped in quietly, hoping not to be noticed. Fat chance of that!! A lady turned and gave us a sweet smile. We were there for Sabbath School and I was totally lost with it. Didn't understand a thing. When the service ended we went out to get in the car to leave and this huge, tall man followed us out. He had a big smile on his face and he invited us to come the next week. I told him we would! The next Sabbath came and we did not go! During the afternoon, the phone rang and a voice told me that we had been missed at church. I thought, how could that be? I hadn't even given them my name or phone number! The voice invited us to come the next week. We did and that was the beginning of my relationship with Jesus, and with my new friends. Some reading this may wonder who that big dude was and the smiling lady. The smiling lady was Faye Hougaz, wife of the pastor. The very tall man with the big smile was Don Stoyanowski who later became a pastor and evangelist. Pastor Roger Hougaz and Don Stoyanowski offered me Bible studies that I readily accepted. There began my walk with My Lord and my best friend. The pastor and his family became very close friends but were soon moved from the area, and then my studies were conducted by Don and his wife Phylis who drove to my home during some very terrible winter driving conditions. They had a ranch over an hour from where we lived. They loved me and my kids and set Christian principles in my heart that will endure forever. I never hesitate to tell anyone, that we were LOVED into the church. In the summer of 1982, after studying for almost a year, I was baptized, along with my daughter, in a mountain fed river on Don and Phylis' ranch. They even brought a backhoe to the river to make it deep enough to get my daughter and I submerged. That was the best day of my life. The day that I promised to follow my Lord, all the days of my life. There have been many trials along the road since then, but my Saviour has picked me up and carried me through it all.
After reading through this, I feel I must explain how those precious friends found out how to contact me the week after our first visit. God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to behold. I am assuming that I told my mother that the kids and I had gone to church; and she apparently took it upon her precious self to call the Pastor from Nova Scotia, and give him the information.
I pray that this testimony may be a prompting to someone who will read it to give their heart and life to Jesus Christ. I pray that some of them will be part of my family. Amen!