I grew up in an Italian, Catholic family where I was the oldest of four children. My parents faithfully took us to church every Sunday, and enrolled us all in the Catholic school. In the nine years I spent there, the nuns taught me that if I didn’t make it to Heaven at first, there was always purgatory, and I could go there to get rid of my sins. With that thought in mind, I had no fear, so I continued on in life.
In 1977, I headed off for college. While in my freshman year, I met Tracey who invited me to go along with her to a meeting at the student coffee house. The meeting was held by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. At this meeting there were students praying and reading their Bibles. I remember them asking me to pray, and so I did. Because I attended this meeting, two girls kept coming to my dorm room to visit. They wanted me to go to more of their meetings. I wasn’t interested in any more meetings, but they did stir enough interest in me for me to go out and buy a Bible for myself. Once I had the Bible, I started highlighting some verses, and kept reading over the same ones, trying to understand what the Bible was saying. From that point on, the Bible was just another book on the shelf. “I went on living my life the way I thought was the best way.” I went on living my life the way I thought was the best way.
Upon graduating from college, I was concerned about what I was going to do with my life. I moved around, living in Baltimore, Maryland, and in Pottsville, Hazleton, and Allentown, all in Pennsylvania. During this time of my life, I started praying and reading over those highlighted verses. In November, 1983, I was working for a finance company in Hazleton. The janitor where I worked also was employed at PP&L, the local electric utility. He told me that he would try to get me a job with the electric company. This would be a miracle, as far as I was concerned. However, after several months he got me a job. I picked up my bags and moved to the Allentown area. This was a happy move because now I got to live near Jim Hall, whom I had recently started dating.
In August of 1984, Jim and I got engaged. This was a very exciting time in our lives. We were very busy making plans for our January wedding. Little did I know, but God was very busy in my life at the same time. One day at work, a group of ladies wanted to get together and read their Bibles in the conference room over our break room. I was interested in being involved, because I wanted to know what the Bible said. Well, our first lunch break came, and we all gathered around the conference table. Every lady took a turn to read out of Genesis, the first book in the Bible. “It didn’t take long before we had a lot of questions about what we were reading.” It didn’t take long before we had a lot of questions about what we were reading. One of the ladies decided to invite Joe Niedosik into our study group, since he knew the Bible. Joe gladly joined the group, and taught us the Word of God. The Bible began to come alive as he taught the scriptures. I began to understand where we came from, why we’re here and where we are going, if we don’t accept Christ, and the entire Word of God, as truth. At this point the group dwindled down to two ladies. For even though they believed some of the Bible, they just could not accept that it was all true. For me, it was different. I was excited that someone was willing to tell me what the Bible said. As the Bible was taught, it was so real and true to me. I learned that the Lord Jesus Christ had paid for all my sins, and I didn’t have to work my way to Heaven. But I still didn’t understand how I could get to Heaven.What would make the difference between me and the other people He died for? I needed to find an answer to this question.
At the end of September, Joe was going to start a Bible study with my friend, Mona. I had asked her if it would be okay if I came over too. It was fine with her, so I showed up. I explained to Joe that I believed everything about the Bible was true, but I needed to know if I was going to Heaven. He then shared with me, from the Bible, God’s plan of salvation. (Note: “saved,” “salvation,” and “born again” are Biblical concepts referring to the forgiveness of sins by God and the rescue of a person from the power and penalty of that sin. This is God’s requirement for everlasting life). Two verses really affected me: Isaiah, chapter 64, verse 6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags,” and Romans, chapter 3, verse 12 “…there is none that doeth good, no not one.” This time, when I went home, the weight of my sin was upon my shoulders.
I went back to the little apartment room where I lived. I bowed my head to pray and, for the first time in my life, I saw myself as God saw me. “It was like the Lord took a big flashlight and shined it into my soul.” It was like the Lord took a big flashlight and shined it into my soul. He gave me a glimpse of all the wickedness and pride in my life. I confessed to God that everything in my life was wrong. I was 100 percent guilty. Now that God, in His mercy, showed me this, I was able to call out to Him for His free gift of salvation. The Bible says, in Ephesians, chapter 2, verses 8 and 9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God not of works, lest any man should boast.” In Romans, chapter 10, verse 13, it says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.“
I asked Him to come into my heart and life, and to help me live a life pleasing to Him. I saw that there was no way I could even live for Him, if He didn’t take over for me. After seeing myself as God saw me, I wanted to turn from all my wrong ways of thinking and living. At that time, God gave me a new life with new desires, just like He said He would in Second Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” I went from a life of knowing about God, to truly knowing personally the God of this universe. I now have a real purpose for living.
It has been over 13 years since the Lord saved me, and I have never regretted one minute of it. It truly is the most rewarding and fulfilling life anyone could ever want, now and in eternity.
Only the very God who created you can give you this life. I challenge you to ask Him for it too!
“The Lord is…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Second Peter, chapter 3, verse 9.