Josephine learned that she didn’t have to clean herself up to go to God and put her faith in Jesus, that his sacrifice on the cross would make her clean. She decided to get baptized to publicly proclaim her faith. Check out her story:
My name is Josephine Oli. I grew up in Cameroon (Central Africa). I came to the US a few years ago for the pursuit of happiness (a better life, great opportunities). Immigrating to the US was one of the biggest challenges I had to face in my life. Leaving my family and friends behind to a new life, new culture, a new language was very difficult. I wasn’t sure how my new life would turn out for me.
God wasn’t a priority in my life while growing up. My family was Catholic but we never practiced. My parents used to take us to church on Sundays and on Christmas if they had time. They wanted to make sure we knew that there was a God. We didn’t pray at home, but you could tell that my parents were God-fearing people. They always did what was right and were kind to people. Their faith was based on obedience.
Because of my parents acknowledgement that there is a God, I also believed in God but didn’t know I could have a relationship with Jesus. My faith was similar to my parents’ faith.
Years later, I got my visa to come to US and I didn’t know anyone in the States, but God opened doors for me and I found a family who was willing to welcome me. They were a Christian family too. At that point there was no doubt in my heart that God was taking care of me already. And I knew that everything would be fine.
My new family and I started going to church almost every Sunday and my love for God began to grow stronger. I never prayed before like these people were praying. I didn’t know you could just talk to God like you are talking to a friend. This was so new to me, and I started getting curious and wanted to learn how to talk to God too. This family helped me understand that Christ died on the cross for me and explained that if I wanted to have a relationship with him, I should pray and ask him into my heart. And I did.
For years we went to the same church, even though I had moved out of their home. I didn’t miss a service. I learned how to talk to and to have a relationship with Jesus, and it was so cool.
Later on, my new family decided to go to a different church and I stopped going as well. Afterwards, I kind of lost my way, I made a lot of mistakes, I stopped praying like I used to, and my love for God was growing cold. I started facing a lot of difficulties in my life and I didn’t know what to do.
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” – Deuteronomy 31: 8
One day a friend of mine invited me to her church for a prayer night so we went and that night I realized that something was missing in my life. I needed Jesus in my life, I needed to find a way to get back to him. So I decided to find my way back to Christ. I visited different churches but couldn’t find what I was looking for. But I kept praying and asking God to guide and lead me to a church I would call my home church, my family in Christ, where I will grow spiritually, and that’s when I came across Grace Community Church.
I started coming to Grace, and before I knew it, I was taking classes and decided to get involved with the Tech team. I love to sing but I cannot sing. So I joined the technical team so I could worship as they practiced and as I supported them by advancing the song slides.
That’s how I met Beth for the first time. I cannot explain it, but since that day my heart just felt in love with her. I am kind of a reserved person – I would not open up easily until I’m close to you but for some reason I realized it was different with Beth. I could open up easily and share with her my feelings, when my heart was heavy, or when something was going on in my life. She’s been a blessing in my life. I knew in my heart this is the church God wanted me to be apart of because he was exceeding my hearts desires and I love it.
It’s been a little over a year since I found my way back to God. I see his blessing everyday, he has answered my prayers by giving me a wonderful man in my life and we are expecting our first babies together. God has been putting in my heart for some time now to get baptized but I refused to listened to him because I thought I was not ready, I thought I was too dirty to go to him so I wanted to clean myself up first. Then I heard Pastor Mitchel’s message reminding us that God does not expect us to come to him when we are clean. He wants us to come to him the way we are, filthy and dirty so he himself can wash us clean with the precious blood of his son Jesus Christ because only he can do that. That’s is why without hesitation, today I want to declare openly to my family in Christ and to the world that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and I love him.