I had been a Christian for about 6 or 7 months and had made some great friends that were believers. For spring break 3 of them were headed to Florida and asked if I wanted to come along, and so I did. I spent a few days with them and I was also able to spend a few days with my grandpa who lived in Florida close to where we were staying. While I was with my grandpa we went to a place called the Holy Land in Orlando with his church (this will come back into the story here shortly).
During the trip I was having a really rough time. I had recently broken up with my girlfriend of three years, mainly because she didn’t believe in Jesus and she thought I was crazy for believing. I was also struggling to understand much of my walk with Christ, specifically around the Holy Spirit. I didn’t understand who or what the Holy Spirit was or what being baptized in the Holy Spirit or speaking in tongues was. I think I felt inadequate because I had not had a radical experience. I was also questioning whether I was real Christian or even saved because I had not had these experiences. Aside from all of that, I had a great time with my friends and my grandpa.
A couple of weeks after the trip I was still struggling with my new faith in Christ, mainly with the Holy Spirit thing. That Sunday at church I went to this older couple and asked them to pray for me to understand the Holy Spirit and told them some of the questions I had. They prayed for me and tried to answer some of the questions, but the answers just didn’t click for me. Later, in the middle of the service someone called my phone. I didn’t recognize the number and the area code was not local (this will also be important in just a moment). I just silenced the phone, let it go to voicemail, and continued listening to the sermon.
After the service I went back to my apartment and sat down at my desk. I can’t remember if something in the sermon confused me even more, but I was pretty frustrated and confused. I was so frustrated and confused that I had decided all of this Christianity stuff wasn’t real, and I was wasting my time. I don’t know how that is possible with all the things that had happened to me just a few months earlier. I wrote down a list of questions, mainly about the Holy Spirit, that I didn’t have clear answers to and that was my justification for giving up my faith.
Right about that time I remembered that someone had called and left me a voice message during the church service. I pulled out my phone and listened to the message. It was a girl with a thick Indian accent. I don’t remember exactly what the message said, but I went ahead and called her back. When she answered the first thing she said was something along the lines of I don’t find you attractive and I don’t want you to think that is why I am calling you. I thought to myself, well that is an interesting way to start a conversation. She then said, “I don’t know if you are a Christian or not or if you believe in the Holy Spirit, but that is why I am calling you.” And this is all going to sound crazy. She told me that she had seen me two weeks earlier at the Holy Land in Orlando. She said she was standing in front of me with a video camera during the reenactment of Jesus being crucified. The funny thing was I remembered noticing her and could recall exactly what she looked like. I responded back and said, “yeah you were wearing an orange shirt right?”. She told me that when she saw me her heart broke for me and she had no idea why. She said that for the past two weeks she had been crying and praying for me everyday and she really didn’t understand why. She had even asked her church of about 3,000 people to pray for me. She told me that today she was going through a box of pictures and she found some from her trip to the Holy Land. One of the pictures happened to have me in the background. I was wearing a t-shirt with the name of my grandpa’s church on it. She and a friend of hers had looked up the church and driven an hour and a half south to find the church. They went in with the picture they had and started asking around to see if anyone knew how to get in touch with me. Someone recognized me and gave them my grandpa’s number. My grandpa, always being a champion for me, started talking me up to (or may be trying to hook me up with) these girls telling them how great I was and that I was going to be a preacher or something (maybe that is why she made her intentions clear at the beginning of conversation!). Anyways, my grandpa gave them my number and there we sat on the phone.
I don’t remember the exact order of the conversation, but she said something like “I am not sure if you even believe in God, but don’t give up on God because He hasn’t given up on you and neither did I”. I then told her that I had actually just decided to give up on this whole Christianity deal. I told her I had just written down a bunch of questions about the Holy Spirit that I couldn’t get a good answer too and because of that I was giving up (sounds ridiculous, but I know the enemy was at work here). She told me she didn’t think she would be able to answer my questions, but she had a friend with her that might be able to. Her friend was able to give me an explanation to each one of the questions that help me understand and clarify what I was confused about. Then the Indian girl, Jacqui, said to me, “don’t give up on God, because I didn’t give up on you”. Getting the answers to the questions was one thing, but God showing in the form of some girl from India calling me right at the moment I gave up on the faith, that convinced me again that God is real and He is crazy about me! I decided that I can never give up on God again. Because of stories like this I am sold… for life! (Check out Part II)
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