Consecrated (Leila) is my mother, and so, if you read her testimony below, you will understand and know a little bit better on my background. I have asked her permission to share some personal detail. You will understand why as you read on.
My brother and I were both born in Lebanon. Due to the civil war, my parents immigrated to Canada when I had just turned 7. And so, I can say that I have been raised in Montreal. You now know how my mother was brought to salvation. My father was brought up Roman Catholic, much like the Christian majority of Lebanon. He wasn't saved when my parents married. Though I attended a catholic school in Lebanon, when we came to Canada, my parents took us to a Protestant Church. In fact, it was an excellent church, even though we were there for one year. The church was a French King James Bible Believing church. It was somewhat confusing to me, since I was not aware of Christian denominations, being of a young age. Catholic churches are big and fancy looking in Lebanon. I thought that churches in Canada were just poor and that is why my church was small and remarkably different.
That year, my father (though I'm not certain of his salvation, and am in no position to judge, only God knows), and my brother got saved and were baptized in that small French church. That was even more confusing to me. I had always thought that only babies get baptized, and it was odd looking to me to see my brother, and my dad, a grown man, getting baptized. I inquired my mother when we got home. And so, at the age of 7, sitting in our living room in that first house in Canada, my mother explained to me salvation and the difference of baptism. I don't remember what really did it. All I know, is she told me that I was a sinner, and that Jesus loved me.
I went upstairs to my bedroom, and tears started rolling down my cheeks unctrolabely, and I could not understand why. I ran back downstairs, shouting to my mother that I was a sinner, and still in absolute hysteria. What was confusing is that I could not understand why I was crying so much, that's when mom shouted with joy telling me I had just gotten saved, and pretty soon, I knew it well too! We then kneeled and prayed in that same spot where she told me the gospel, and I asked Jesus christ to come in my heart and to forgive me all my sins. A few months later, I got baptized.
2Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. (one of my favorite verses)
Here's where it gets harder for me to go on. I believe that when we get saved, we ought to bear fruit, there's a difference in us, our heart is on fire for the Lord. We are a new creature. My father did not bear any fruit, and had no joy in the Lord, neither in the church. The family was starting to deteriorate. It went from bad, to really ugly. That is a part of my life that I look forward to never remembering in Heaven, but for now I will use it for God's own glory.
I know that the Lord equipped my brother and I in getting saved at a young age. I will speak for myself, but I KNOW that had not been for my salvation, I would not have been able to get through everything that my brother, mother and I went through. My parents finally separated the summer I turned 12, my brother had just turned 14. That was the lousiest summer of my life. My salvation also kept me from having "regrets", since I was somewhat wild and wanted to only hang out with friends, I always had a voice in the back of my head convicting me and warning me. I could never figure it out why or what that was. Now I know that it was the Holy Spirit in me. It was God the Father that kept me and sheltered me underneath His precious wings.
My father moved back to Lebanon. Two years later, both my brother and I went down to visit him for the summer. My dad begged us not to leave and to stay with him. We both did not want to, but my brother took the fall for me. He decided to stay, in order to let me go. But even then, my dad kept begging me, to the point, I really thought I would never escape. Though I had not been walking with the Lord, because I was very ignorant and did not really know Him or know much about Him, I started crying to Him. I had done all the begging I could with my dad, but he would not hear. So I begged and argued with the Lord while holding my Bible tight every night. The only trouble, is that I thought I found God through the Catholic church....Nevertheless, not only did He hear, but He made sure I got back, without even having missed my first day of school.
It was nice coming back, but it hadn't hit me that my brother was staying there. It had not hit my mother either.....When I told my mother all that the Lord had done for me, and that I basically almost converted to "idol" worshiping (saint this and that), she screamed and said, you did what????? She explained to me through the Bible all the differences. But it wasn't till a few months later, when my mom and I went to NYC for Christmas to visit my aunt. For New Year's, I wanted to see the ball drop and stay out on the streets and party with all the wackos. My mother dragged me by the ears and took me to church. Who spends New Year's in NYC at a church? That evening, the Pastor preached the message of my life! He kept on crying out, and saying, look at all those people on the streets (where I wanted to be), what if Jesus were to come back tonight, where would he find you, in the streets, or in God's house on your knees in prayer. That did it for me! I walked up to the Pastor and spoke to Him. I also prayed with my mother again, and re-dedicated my life to the Lord! That was at 14, seven years after my salvation. My problem at the time was whether or not I wanted the world or the Lord, this following passage really put it in perspective for me, and is still a constant reminder to me that I ought not to be ashamed of my salvation and of my Master.
Mar 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Mar 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. Mar 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mar 8:37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Mar 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
My growth with the Lord is attributed to His Timing, His goodness and His Mercy. Since it was now "my mother and I", God provided a family for us through the church.
When I needed a family, He provided. The church was my everything and the people were my family. Sadly, three years ago, many problems arose in the church, and mom and I knew the Lord was calling us out of there. That was hard, but I'm so thankful we listened to His calling. That led to Bible Baptist Church, which I am very grateful to be a part of.
Moreover, things got better during the first year of the church, and my brother was able to visit my mother and I two years ago for the first time in six years of separation.
Psa 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
I cannot imagine my life without the Lord, it would be void, empty and meaningless. Jesus Christ rescued me. He rescued me of pershing in my sins, two thousand years ago when he bore my sins on the cross of Calvary. He saved my soul, I have nothing to fear, and I will shout it to the millions that Jesus Christ is the Saviour! He lifted my head up high from the ground, and now my eyes look up to Heaven, constantly waiting for my blessed King Jesus' return.
Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.