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 (Manna 60: Money)
How I Found My Spiritual Family
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How I Found My Spiritual Family

Molica Nol—Pacifica, California, USA

HAPPY ON THE OUTSIDE

I was born on April 16, 1993. My mom was sixteen years old and my dad wasn’t even there for my birth. Soon after, he got put into prison for shooting someone, and my mom wanted to give me up for adoption. Thank God, my grandparents fought for me and became my guardians. It is because of them that I can be here in True Jesus Church and have brothers and sisters in Christ.

Growing up without a father figure was hard for me, and I struggled every day because I didn’t have anyone to look up to. As I got older I started hating my life more and more. I really thought there was no point to life.

When I entered high school, my depression got worse. Every single day I would repeat in my head, “I want to kill myself.” I felt emptiness inside my heart, and I thought that there was nothing that could replace that emptiness or fill it.

I hated my life with a passion because high school was difficult—I felt like no one cared about me, everyone had boyfriends or girlfriends, and I wanted to be cool, but being cool didn’t make me feel better.

During my freshman year I would always sneak out and party to try to find happiness. For that short moment I always felt like I was on cloud nine, but really I was making a fool of myself. And I never felt truly happy.

My partying and depression got worse. I seemed happy on the outside but inside I was dying slowly and darkness clouded my heart. Loving people and trusting them were hard for me. I thought that everyone was out to get me; I was always paranoid about telling anyone anything.

I transferred to a new high school in January 2008. I was worried about it at first because I had to make new friends, but it turned out to be okay—except that everyone that I was friends with was into drugs and alcohol. At the time I thought that it was normal for teenagers to use drugs and drink, so I wasn’t worried that it was wrong.

LOSING HOPE

After a month at the new school, I found out that I would be moving across the country to California after the school year ended to live with my uncle. I saw him maybe twice a year and barely talked to him. I only knew that he was a pastor and traveled a lot. I didn’t see the point of living with someone who’s never home.

Knowing that I was moving for sure made me completely lose hope for everything. I didn’t believe that my life would get any better. I always looked on the negative side because it seemed like everything had gone wrong my whole life and I was never happy.

I got depressed whenever I thought about the move, and when I told my friends that I was moving, none of them believed me. They didn’t care because they thought I was joking.

Everything turned bad for me: my school, my friends, and my family. I was failing in school because I never wanted to go, and I never paid attention in class. My friendships ended because they were people I should never have trusted in the first place. My family was never close like a real family—it was a broken home where everyone was either partying or gambling, and no one was ever around.

By the end of the school year things got so bad that I wanted to kill myself and suffer by hurting and cutting myself as much as I could. I kept telling myself, “I’m nothing, I’m stupid, I’m worthless, and no one cares about me.” I didn’t care about anything or anybody, even the people that loved me. 

As school was about to end, I thought about committing suicide by jumping off a bridge because I thought that was the easiest way to die. But someone made me realize that there’s more to life than waiting for death.

One of my closest friends, who is like a sister to me now, said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” It really taught me that even though I couldn’t start my life over again, I could start new today and make a different ending for myself.

EXPERIENCING GOD

I was ready to start fresh once I moved to California, but I actually felt more sad because I lost most of my friends, and I couldn’t see my family as much as before.

But when my uncle brought me to True Jesus Church, I felt the love of the brother and sisters. Even the members who couldn’t speak English would put in that effort to say Hi or Ni hao whenever they saw me. Never in my life have I met such nice and compassionate people.

I enjoyed going to church and learning about the Bible. I discovered that God is a great God, and His love is manifested in the brothers and sisters in church. Whenever I stepped into church, I felt peace in my heart that I had never known. It’s a feeling I can’t describe.

My life changed completely in the summer of 2008 because I experienced God for the first time in my life. It was the most heartwarming feeling ever.

The National Youth Theological Seminar (NYTS) was held in Northern California and I got the chance to visit a few times. Whenever I visited I would participate in the prayer sessions, and through the longer prayers I realized that I really wanted to change my life and receive the Holy Spirit.

The first time I heard people praying in tongues I thought that they sounded crazy. But I came to understand that the Holy Spirit was a gift from God and that I could be a different person if I received it. I was pursuing the Holy Spirit in all my prayers because I really wanted to stop being unhappy.

After Sabbath service during NYTS, a sister asked me to pray with her and the rest of the students attending NYTS. I replied “no” because I didn’t want to pray for some reason, I just wanted to go home. But it wasn’t time for us to leave, so I ended up praying with them.

When I knelt down I felt peace and joy come back to my heart. I realized that I needed to pour out my heart to God because He listens to our prayers. I was finally ready to let go of my past and tell everything to God because I knew He cared.

As I prayed, I didn’t pray only for myself but also interceded for other people because I knew that I wasn’t suffering as much as they were suffering. I felt a warm breeze, and I could feel the Holy Spirit move in my body. Then slowly I was speaking in tongues and I finally felt God’s love and warmth upon me.

After the prayer ended, tears of joy continued to run down my face. I knew that God understood what I had gone through and had listened to my requests. My heart was finally at the destination it was looking for, and it was a calm heart. It was a feeling I couldn’t describe, but God’s words could:

            Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Rom 5:5)

FINDING MY SPIRITUAL FAMILY

A few days after NYTS ended, the Student Spiritual Convocation (SSC) took place at Garden Grove Church. I was really excited to go because it was my first time attending, and I wanted to spend time with God and pray for my cousin who hadn’t received the Holy Spirit yet.

One night at SSC, it was really hot and the air conditioner was broken, so we had to open all the windows during the evening prayer in the chapel. Afterward I felt really dizzy, and as I was walking back to my seat I could tell that I was about to pass out. So I sat down on the closest pew and tried to breathe correctly.

Someone asked me what was wrong, but I couldn’t hear clearly. Then one of my counselors brought me into the side chapel and laid me down and made sure I had enough water. She started to hum my favorite hymns, and it was the nicest feeling at the moment.

Soon more people came into the room and I could hear them talking, making sure I was okay. Then they began to pray for me, and I felt the room fill with the Holy Spirit. As they finished praying, I was able to get up and go to my room and sleep. I was touched by their love because they took time to pray for me when they could have been doing other things.

I was sad about leaving SSC when it ended. Even though I had only spent a few days with people I had never met before, it felt like I had known them for years. We all bonded as friends and as a spiritual family. This was the family I had been searching for my whole life.

I really learned a lot from the other students at SSC. They taught me how to relax and just be a kid for once. They also taught me how to love because they showed me so much love, and they told me that it’s because of God’s love that they can love.

There was a Bible verse we read during SSC that really touched my heart:

            But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Gal 5:22, 23)

It really moved me because this verse teaches us that if we have the Spirit of God, then we can have all these qualities, which God Himself has. Through SSC, I finally found the path I had been looking for, and I discovered that it’s the path of salvation. I went home with a calm and pure heart, knowing that God is my Savior and is the author and finisher of my faith.

EMBRACED BY GOD

It is through God’s grace and mercy that I was baptized at Pacifica Church a few months after SSC with three other members of my family. I truly believed that True Jesus Church was the only church that could save us. I knew there was only one true God, and He was the God we worshipped and prayed to.

In my prayers during the spiritual convocation before baptism, I made sure that I had repented for all of my sins. As I repented, I felt that the burden that had been weighing down my heart was finally lifted. It felt like I was walking on air. I knew God was listening to my prayers.

When we arrived at the baptismal site, the water was just above freezing and the wind was so cold. My uncle told me I had to be the brave one and enter the water first. As I entered the icy-cold water, I was repeating “hallelujah” in my heart.

My sinful body was submerged in the water in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. As I slowly got out of the water, I felt warm. God had just washed away my sins, and it felt like He was embracing me with His arms.

Since then, my family has noticed that I have changed so much as a person. My biggest weakness has always been anger. I struggled with it every day because the smallest things were enough to get me going. When I got angry I didn’t think before I acted or spoke, so I often hurt people’s feelings without knowing it and yelled or punched things in my way.

But after coming to Christ and receiving baptism, I realized that none of these things would solve my problem. When I am angry or frustrated, instead of acting out right away, I am able to take a step back and think to myself: Is that what a Christian would do?

Living in a house where God is our priority shows me that our family helps us understand what’s wrong and right and whether the choices we make are according to God’s will. I have learned that I need to rely on Him whenever I start to get angry. Knowing that God is there for me and won’t give up on me no matter what is what helps me the most.

Weaknesses can be a way for God to show the grace, understanding, and mercy He has for us. I drew close to God through repenting of my sins and changing the direction of my life. Through His love and mercy I have found my spiritual family and a calm and peaceful heart. Most of all, I know now that God will never leave us hanging when we need Him the most.

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