My testimony =) So.. here it goes... I was born and baptized Episcopalian. As a child, I remember going to church every Sunday. I was a part of Sunday school on occasion but normally would sit with Mom, Dad, Grandma, Great-Grandma, Uncle Phil and Uncle Enzo (sometimes Uncle Tommy and Uncle Kenny) for service. I remember going downstairs and socializing with the others in the church (big people had coffee and tea and donuts... we kids had juice and donuts =). Thinking about it now brings back great memories because we were pretty well acquainted with others in the church (at least the older members of my family were... and I hung out with the kids). My mom had gotten in home Bible studies for free from the Jehovah's Witnesses too - because her sister-in-law had a testimony and my mom agreed to try it out. She did not believe a lot of what was taught, but was glad overall for the experience. I remember going to the Kingdom Hall some Sundays with my aunt, uncle, and cousin when I was a child. I remember a Witness coming to the house with her children and we would all play together. My mom became kind of despondent with them and continually encouraging her membership into the church. She did not fully agree with their beliefs (she was also very very young at the time... about 23-24 and did not really have a proper background in Christianity except for what she was slightly taught with my other great grandma who was a presbyterian and from the episcopal church.) Anyway... years went by.. my mom got a divorce from my father... she was a single parent trying to make her way and during this time wanted to instill Biblical values into her children (at the time was my brother Kevin and I). After going to different churches and not really feeling called to be at any of them... we stopped a while. After a while I became an obnoxious teenager... but did what I could to help my mom at home with my newborn brother (from her second marriage... and my stepfather was a non-practicing Catholic). They got divorced.. and mom had a hard time taking care of us and working while being able to put food on the table. Mom found a food bank at a local church and called for more info. They did not require us to sit in on any services but she decided it would be the better thing to do since they were helping us. After one service... she was completely moved. It was different than anything she had ever experienced. She came home and told me (maybe to try and get my teenage mind to appreciate it more?? because I was not interested in going to church at that time) "Sarah... the drummer looked like Kurt Cobain!!" .. and I was like.. "drummer??? at church??" This was baffling to me. She said.. its really neat... there arent any pews... they are these cushioned chairs in this big building.. that looks sort of like an office building or warehouse on the outside. Finally after much talking to I decided I'd go. I then after a while joined the youth group. I became very close with the youth pastor and a lot of the people in the group. It really encouraged me and made me and my family stronger. I was saved (i cant exactly remember when.. but I went up with my mom when I was 17) and cried my eyes out. My mom was baptized in the ocean that summer.. (I did not get baptized.. my mom tried to pressure me.. but I wasnt feeling it... and I think it was the spirit telling me my time was to come) Eventually my mom had met a man at church who she had dated for a LONG time and they were finally married in 2003. They moved up to north eastern PA... I along with them. They joined a church, they werent really too fond of because of specific teachings, but it is really the only one in their area and they did not want to stop attending church, but mom till this day says she misses Calvary. I, on the other hand, had slipped away from Gods grasp. I dated someone from right before we moved out of Jersey to about a year into living in PA. He was not saved (I was in and out of church at times I felt compelled but Satans grasp kept gently pursuing me back into the world with this terrible man). There were things that I questioned and pleaded with God about during this time and could not understand.. I was a mess. I was abused physically and emotionally - and I think this is where a lot of my anxiety stems from today. He hated Christians and anything to do with Christianity. He would say hateful things to me... yet I stayed with him for 4 years (in an abusive relationship... many times there are reasons behind why women dont leave... and it is because they are afraid, ashamed, and just plain brainwashed ..) Finally - after long enough.. we broke up. The distance was too much - my parents had a restraining order against him.. etc etc... Just a terrible situation. Going to college and moving down to south eastern PA... made me feel "enlightened" with what I was learning in college in regards to world religions. I felt that Christianity could not be the answer and questioned it almost daily. I bought into the things of this world... and was not happy. I met a beautiful person who would eventually become my husband (we celebrated our one year wedding anniversary on Sunday!!). God had sent me this person and him me for a reason. He works in such marvelous ways. We both clung to eastern beliefs, specifically Buddhism and Hinduism mixed with a sort of Agnosticism at the time. Eventually I had mentioned that I wanted to be a part of a group that helped others. When I went to Calvary Chapel in NJ I worked with the Broken Loaves ministry helping others with the food and clothing drive. It was such a blessing. My husband and I were dating and living together around the time I felt compelled to go back. I did not want to go back to do "bible stuff" but wanted to just join in a ministry that would help others ..."without religion involved". I said " I am not converting or anything... just want to help out" My husband laughed and looked at me like I was crazy. This was the first voice of God pulling me back into His home. I went to a Calvary Chapel near my home and when I went back.. it was like God brought me home. I went to a service (The Pottersfield Ministry was there... they are amazing.. look them up if you have time) and I knew the songs... raised my hands in praise and cried. I could not believe it.... I felt the presence of God with me. I came home and explained it to Matthew. He looked at me.. and was like.. oh no you are going to turn into one of those weirdos who raises their hands and stuff in church arent you? .... haha.... if only he would have known what was coming... He was a member of younglife a while back but never really stuck with church because His parents never really brought Him. He was introduced to Younglife through a friend in High school. After that he kind of walked away from church. Anyway... he came to an outdoor service with me the next week.. hesitant but he came... and he was SINGING the songs. HE KNEW the words to many of the songs without a song sheet. It was amazing. I cried and we then started talking about going back ... etc. Every Weds night at sizzling summer which is an outdoor service they have for bible study starting in June- Aug they have an altar call for people to be saved, rededicate their lives or to be baptized in the outdoor pool. After much talking and praying... on August 13 2008 we both held hands and walked up together in front of the congregation and were baptized and saved. During the time we were planning a wedding... and we had some major things to deal with because we were living together when we were both saved... and both having premarital relations. We both decided on that day.. that we no longer could have relations but were not sure about living with one another. We spoke with one of the pastors about being married... and we did feel convicted by the Spirit that living together was no longer appropriate under our salvation.. but we were living with his parents. We prayed with the pastors about how there was no other choice at that point and that sleeping in separate areas of the house ... as me being the guest (so i slept downstairs in their family room area on the couch) which was a better idea than not having a place for me to live 3 months before our wedding. Anyway... today my husband and I are both happily married, saved, and baptized living with our 3 kitties.. hoping to have children soon that we could have grow and learn in the Word of the Lord .. since it was somewhat broken for us when we were children. Thanks.. this was the longest thing ever... but I cant stop talking!