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Hey guys! As mentioned last week, Testimony Tuesday is back and I am so happy to have Yajaira with us today! Thanks for continuing to follow this awesome blog series and I hope you keep coming back. Would you like to share your story? I would love to have you!

~Mandi

My testimony can be summed up with 4 words: “The Lord pursued me.”

I come from a predominantly Catholic family. We attended church on sporadic Sundays, for baby Christenings, and Easter. However, my mother had a trusted friend who was (and still is) a Born-again Christian. Her name is Lucia. Since I was about 5 years old, this woman would pick me and my sister up on Sundays and take us to her church. Now, this was no easy task. She had her own family and children to take, but always found the time, and the love to pick us up no matter how busy or difficult things got. Her daughter, Yrene, became a very good friend of mine throughout the years.

After a couple of years, that family moved away and my visits to their church stopped. In 1983, when I was 8 years old, my parents bought a house and we also moved – TO THE SAME TOWN WHERE LUCIA HAD MOVED! My visits to their church commenced once again.

At the same time, my mother needed an afterschool babysitter for us but she was not familiar with the neighbors or our new town. On the first day of school, she is standing at the bus stop and she strikes up a conversation with another mother, who in turn, agreed to pick us up after school and refused to take any money from my mother. During my afterschool days with this family, there was something familiar and friendly, joyful, and loving about this family. I soon learned that they were born-again Christians as well.

Throughout the years, my visits to Christian churches helped me to learn the truth about God’s love, what Jesus’ sacrifice really meant for me, and that He will soon return.

Fast forward to my 15th birthday. My parents were now divorced, I had a dicey step mother, and I was depressed. I was sad for my family, and especially my younger sister and brother. That Saturday my father was having a party at the house. However, our family friend, Lucia, had invited me to a special service at her church and I was prepared to go. That evening, as soon as the service started my tears began to stream down my face. I could not stop crying. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders and completely helpless. I cried the entire service. At the end they had an altar call. I don’t even remember how I got to the front, but I was there and I was being prayed over and being anointed with oil. I don’t even know how to explain it, but almost instantaneously, I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. I had an inexplicable peace come over me. The tears stopped and they were replaced with a smile. I couldn’t stop smiling. I went home that night, walking into a home that I had left feeling depressed; now I entered it with peace and joy and no worries. I felt brand new.

About a year later, Lucia and her family moved out of the country and I lost my ride to church. My father would not allow me to attend this different kind of church on my own. I wrote a letter to God telling him that due to my circumstances I was unable to serve him, but that when I had my own family, I promised to serve him.

Two years later I went to college and it was too easy to forget all that I had learned about the love that God had for me. I allowed college life to change my beliefs and my daily actions. Many of my God-less decisions were to my detriment. I barely graduated in-tact. I did manage to run into a couple of students who did serve the Lord whole-heartedly and were not afraid to share his word with me (the theme of Him pursuing me continued).

At my first job, the woman who cleaned the bathrooms befriended me. I enjoyed talking to her and one day she handed me a track. I immediately ran back to my desk and pushed aside any feelings of remorse for being so far away from God. I did not want to change my worldly ways and I decided I wasn’t ready to go back to Him.

In 2000 I got pregnant out of wed-lock and moved in with my boyfriend. We had a beautiful baby boy named Brandon Emmanuel. He was my morning and evening star and my daily song. At 30 days, he died due to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). That day, as I’m sitting on a rocking chair, crying my heart and soul out, I recalled that letter that I wrote to God so long ago – the letter promising Him that when I had my family, I would serve Him.

I made it through the funeral and the following Sunday I made my way back to Lucia’s church – and never stopped attending. In this state of raw pain, it was the balm of Jesus that allowed me to wake up in the mornings without attempting to jump off a bridge. He covered my pain with His love.

In my pursuit for answers as to “WHY MY SON!” the Lord led me to the testimony of a pastor that had also lost his son. He wrote a parable that explained that when a Shepard needs to lead his sheep up a mountain, the sheep are reluctant to follow him. However, when the Shepard reaches into the flock and takes a young lamb under each of his arms and begins to climb the mountain, the sheep begin to follow.

That was my answer. The Lord did exactly what He needed to do to get me to follow Him. He had pursued me my entire life. By losing my son, I gained eternal salvation; my husband also accepted the Lord; so did my brother and his wife; and my sister realized that salvation is found only in Jesus Christ and walked away from her Islamic religion. So, the life of one little baby, brought 5 people to the Lord, plus a new generation (my children and those of my siblings – 6 in all.

In reality, I haven’t lost anything. Jesus Christ gives me the promise that I will see my son again.

No matter how far I managed to get away from God, His love is so great, that HE put a plan in place to bring me to Salvation. My family and I have been blessed astronomically since coming to the Lord, and He continues to give us abundantly.

~YAJAIRA

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