A Little Sinner Receiving Christ
Hello, my name is Elsie. I grew up in a Christian home. I received the Lord when I was 8 years old. It was at a young people’s meeting. I remember there was a brother sharing the gospel. I was only 8, and it was a high school meeting. There were a lot of my cousins’ high school friends that would come to these meetings, and I enjoyed hanging out with them. My uncle was talking about receiving the Lord and about how we are all sinners. You know how when we are little we give little lies or do things we aren’t supposed to do. I remember thinking – oh, I need the Lord. So I prayed to receive the Lord at that time.
Impact of Corporate Times of Pursuing
Later, when I was in 6th grade, I got baptized after attending that year’s Summer School of Truth (SST), a Christian summer camp for junior high and high school students. I always looked forward to go to the SST as a kid. My older cousins and my sister would talk about how it was a good time and how they enjoyed the speaking of the brothers and the singing. I had been looking forward to my turn to go. Until 9th grade I went to the SST. I thought the summer of my sophomore year in high school was pretty neat because they gathered everyone from the Midwest. There were at least 300 young people. It was encouraging because I had never seen so many young people gathered together in one place. Everyone was enjoying, singing and then there would be some sharing.
It might have been around my junior year in high school, in 2005, that I went to my first semi-annual training with a group of young people that lived near our home. The semi-annual training is held in Anaheim, CA, and thousands of brothers and sisters from all over the world travel to join this one-week training. This particular training was on 1&2 Thessalonians and the Song of Songs. I remember being impressed with the banner song that said, “Come, Lord Jesus.” The speaking struck with me, that we should desire the Lord’s coming back. We sang and prayed not for the Lord’s coming back, saying “Come, Lord Jesus,” but also praying, “Come into me now. I want to receive You more, receive Your life.” During that training, there would be morning study times with the young people, in groups of ten. We would get into the outlines and spoken messages and help one another to understand and enjoy the word together. It was cool. Even though I never really liked speaking in small groups, listening and sharing with others does help make the word stick with you.
Encouraging Shepherding Through Troubles
In high school, a lot of my companions stopped meeting with the church for different reasons. I felt alone. Thankfully, after that semi-annual training in Anaheim, I got to know the young people that I had traveled with. I joined myself to them. I would go meet with them pretty often, particularly on Fridays. I think that saved me through my high school years. This afforded me healthy friendships.
In college, there was some turmoil among the churches in the Midwest. Because of everything that was happening, a part of me started to question, for I did not fully understand what was going on. I considered, “How do I know if this way that the church was taking was the right way?” If it wasn’t, then I wouldn’t have to go this way anymore. I don’t remember if I prayed that the Lord would make it real to me. But a sister that I personally knew would come to the campus where I was going for school. She introduced me to two sisters who were going to be on the same campus. I wondered why they wanted to meet with me. How would I know if they were on the right way? After what had happened, I was questioning who they were or what their intentions were. But these two sisters were consistent and persistent to ask to meet together each week. Then I started to really like being with them, I thought they were cool. But when it was time to read the Bible together and get into the word, I was not very open. Many times I would bring my friends to my appointments with them. I’d meet with the sisters, always hoping to just hang out and not have to get into the word.
Eventually, the two sisters were able to get me to read the Bible or other Christian books that they brought with them. Although in the beginning I was not too open to it, I remember that after each time of reading together, I would walk away happy and feeling refreshed. Every week was a struggle, but slowly I was enjoying reading the word and Christian books again. I think they knew there were times that I didn’t want to be there, but they would still be there with me faithfully, week after week. I really appreciated their care.
During my last year in college, I found out that a freshman sister was coming to the same college. It was an encouragement. She was ready to go to everything with the saints and in the Christians on Campus club. Because of her, I was able to become more involved with the club. It was during this year that I started joining the students who were meeting for group Bible studies every week. It was great to be with other students pursuing the Lord. I didn’t feel so alone anymore.
When I graduated, life became a lot different. On campus, I would see the saints all the time. But when I finished school and started working, I didn’t see the saints that often anymore. I would miss them. So I tried to fill my time. I signed up for a class at a community college. Halfway through the class, I regretted it. Having an evening class after a full day of work was tiring. I realized that what I really needed was to be with the saints more, and to practically learn what the church life was.
Passing On the Same Encouragement
I was serving with the young people in my locality during that time, and I felt like I had nothing to share with these young people. After that experience, I felt that I needed to know the Lord more. I wanted to serve the Lord. I realized that this was my purpose in life. I thought, how could I take care of the young people in their pursuit of the Lord, if I myself did not know the Lord? This helped me take a more serious step in pursuing and knowing the Lord in a more personal way, as well as learning more of the Bible. By His grace, I attended a two-year Bible school and now I am serving the Lord full-time on the campus where I went to college. It’s my turn now to try to encourage the young sisters to read and get into the word with me. By His mercy, I pray that I would go on pursuing the Lord and knowing Him by spending more time in His word and with the church.