As an Air Force child I was raised to believe in God and be a patriotic American – the two went hand-in-hand. I had a rich Palestinian heritage – my mother’s parents were raised in Jerusalem, often playing in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus of Palestine was an important part of our heritage. My father had an equally rich Mexican heritage. My grandfather was sent to Argentina as a U.S. ambassador by President Truman, meeting with President Peron and his wife Evita. But more important in our family was our “Mexican Hero,” the martyr Padre Pro, my third cousin, who in 1927 was executed by firing squad after serving communion to his Catholic parishioners against military command during the Mexican-American War. Many books and movies have been made about him. Carrying the “Pro” name meant living up to our ancestry with pride and integrity.
I carried this heritage by being “the good girl,” happily attending church, catechism, confession, and memorizing all my prayers, responses, and hymns. During my First Communion, the Bishop shared the story about the martyr, Padre Pro, not realizing I was related. He was thrilled when my father told him he was our cousin. I was so proud!
At age 8, I became intrigued by my friend’s Children’s Bible Storybook. As I read about young Joseph’s uprightness and integrity, I was enthralled! I begged my mother for a Bible, but in our church only the priest had that privilege. I went another 10 years without ever reading God’s Word. Throughout my teen years in the turbulent 70's, I was content to know that I was being good and not bringing my parents unhappiness. I disdained drugs, alcohol, and the promiscuous lifestyle most kids were choosing. Although being cool was important to me, my standards were high and I wasn’t easily influenced.
At age 17, my father got military orders for Alaska. As our family drove the 3,500 miles from Virginia, a flood waylaid us in a small Canadian town where another stranded family began telling about Jesus, their best friend. God I knew, Jesus of Palestine I knew, but why did I need a Savior? Being a good girl was good enough for God. Wasn’t it? Although I laughingly rejected their words of life, their friendly persistence stirred questions in my heart and the seed of God’s Word was sown.
Despite my desire for righteousness, my lack of knowing God’s Word kept me vulnerable to sin’s entrapments as I matured. I betrayed my own high ideals by dressing immodestly, reading ungodly books and magazines, and, accordingly, lowering my standards of right vs. wrong, along with the changing tide of the times.
In my new high school, friends began sharing Jesus as their personal Savior, not just a figurehead on a cross. If He held the key to life…how could I get Him? I was already being good by the world’s standards. But no matter how “good” I thought I was, I was a sinner and needed a Savior to make me new. Slowly I understood the difference, and wholeheartedly embraced my new-found faith. I knew that, although I had not been searching and didn’t even know I was lost, God had seen my need and preserved me from a life of sin. Not my own rich heritage, but trusting in God’s Word. Not my own goodness, but trusting in His forgiveness. Without Jesus as my firm foundation in life, I have no doubt my own goodness would have crumbled with time and I would have been left on shaky ground!
Since joining The Rock in our founding year, my walk with Jesus has continued to deepen. God has stretched me out of my comfort zones and challenged me to expand into new areas of growth and ministry beyond my expectations! I’m so grateful for His love, mercy, and blessings in my life!
Here are some steps you can take to be
saved and to experience the same fullness of Joy and purpose that I
1. Admit That You Need Jesus.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of
God. (Romans 3:23)
Be Willing To Turn From Your Sins (Repent).
therefore and return that your sins may be wiped away. (Acts 3:19)
3. Believe That Jesus Christ Died For
You On The Cross And Rose From The Grave.
if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart
that God raised Jesus from the dead, you shall be saved.
4. Through Prayer, Invite Jesus
Christ To Come In And Control Your Life (Receive Him as Lord
and Savior). (John 1:12)