All my life, I was brought up in church. I heard preaching from God’s Word every Sunday and Wednesday. My parents loved me very much, and faithfully taught me from the Bible. I learned that Salvation means to turn my back on sin and trust completely in Jesus Christ. I learned that Hell would be my eternal destiny if I did not choose to give my life to God. All these things and more were taught to me, and I soaked it all in during my growing-up years.
My name is Saritha Manohar, and this is my story. I was born and raised in a church going family in India and we attended church every week. There I heard interesting Bible stories at Sunday school and VBS. As a teenager I attended different churches and used to participate in youth camps, retreats and VBS. I was taught that, in order to go to Heaven, one must “be saved,” so at the age of 15, I even got baptized to please my parents. But sadly, I did not understand Bible salvation.
Originally, my family and I are from Albania, a country in Europe. During the time my parents were growing up, there was religious anarchy, and the nation was predominantly split into two denominations, Catholic and Muslim. Catholics didn’t associate with Muslims, and Muslims didn’t associate with Catholics. If you were anything other than Catholic or Muslim, neither would associate with you! My parents were more than lost when it came to what and who God was, so they decided to just believe there was a God, but not follow a particular religion.
My name is Alyssa Hall, and this is my story. I was what most would call a “good girl.” I was raised by godly parents who sought ways to teach me about God and what He could do in my life. They made an effort to have me in church every single service and to be involved in activities at church that would put me around other Christian young people.
I grew up in a small town, the second child to two typical, middle class parents. My dad was a civil engineer, and my mom volunteered in various capacities along with being a stay-at-home mother. Both of my parents were very religious, and were consistent in taking their children to church and teaching them about God and the Bible. They even sacrificed financially so that all of their children could attend a private, Christian school.
My name is Rachel Custer, and this is my story. Since before I was born, my father has been an independent Baptist preacher. I went to church with my family every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and all special services. My brothers and I were always involved in the church activities, and we even lived next to the church building.
If you are like many people in our world today, when you hear about church and religion, you might think immediately of all the hypocrites and showmanship that is often associated with these. Many people have no time for ‘religious’ things, because after all, it’s all just a farce! Or, is it? I have to confess that for the first eleven years of my life, I was nothing but a religious hypocrite.
The Lord had been working on me little by little for quite some time; small things, like what would I do after I graduated, what should I become, where should I go? When I would ask my mom she would say, “Pray about it.” But every time I prayed, there seemed to be a small voice saying, “the Lord will not give you direction for your future if you are not saved.” I pushed that voice away because at the time it was just easier to ignore it, but I still had doubts.
Being born to Baptist parents, raised in a Baptist church, attending a Baptist school, and running with a Baptist circle of friends, left quite a Baptist impression on my life. An old saying says, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” I am thankful that this was not the case with me. I loved my Baptist community and was very blessed to be placed in my Baptist family.
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