All posts filed under: Testimonial

Brazilian Amazon Credit: Guto de Lima/Flickr/Creative Commons

From Debutante balls to the Brazilian jungle

The National Post ran a fascinating article on Canadian Ruth Thomson who 50 years ago left her high-class life as a Toronto debutante to serve in the jungles of Brazil as a Wycliffe missionary. Her father was a highly successful Toronto lawyer, and Ruth grew up in a mansion and attended private school. She became so proficient at horse riding that another wealthy family — Pittsburgh’s Mellon family — asked Ruth to ride their horses competitively. As she came of age, her parents expected Ruth to attend Downton Abbey debutante balls where parents signaled to Toronto society their young daughters were ready for dating and marriage. It featured flowing gowns and elbow-length gloves. She recalls having disagreements with her parents in 1959 who wanted her to attend a number of  balls held at private clubs and the major event on that year’s social calendar  — the Governor General’s Ball. She said “I had no patience for any of it. It all seemed so artificial. It wasn’t the life for me.” But despite their wealth, she …

Vickie Williams-Tillman (right) Credit: Baton Rouge Police Department

Vickie Williams-Tillman — a 21st century Good Samaritan in more than one way

Vickie Williams-Tillman, 56, a black Christian woman from Baton Rouge, Louisiana was on her way to the store when she saw a white police officer, Billy Aime, being assaulted by another man. She was also doing what she normally does when driving, Vickie was listening to Gospel music. The police officer had come upon the man sleeping in his vehicle. When Aime saw drug paraphernalia in the car he woke Thomas Bennett, 28. However, after getting out of his car, Bennett quickly gained the advantage. He grabbed Aime’s baton and began beating the police officer on the head. Bennett was also after the police officer’s gun. When Vickie saw the confrontation, she immediately called the police for help. But she did more than that. She got out of her car and jumped on Bennett’s back. This caught Bennett totally off guard, confusing him and hindering him from grabbing the gun. When another police officer showed up a few minutes later, he subdued Bennett with a stun gun. The police charged Bennett with assaulting a police …

Reba McEntire in concert Credit: Alisha Morgan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Country superstar Reba McEntire produces first gospel album

After divorcing her husband of 25 years, Narvel Blackstock, in 2015, country singer Reba McEntire, 61, turned to God and her faith to keep her through this difficult time. Referred to as the “Queen of Country,” Reba is one of America’s great country singers. She is a member of the Country Hall of Fame. In a career that has spanned 42 years, she has released 32 albums and sold over 85 million records world-wide and has 35 chart-topping singles. After seeking God during this dark period of her life, Reba sensed that she needed to release what would be her first Gospel album. Entitled, “Sing it Now: Songs of Faith and Hope,” the two album set features 22 Gospel recordings. Reba wants this album to encourage people to return to God. During the recording of one of the songs, How Great Thou Art, Reba felt the Holy Spirit’s anointing on the music: “When I got through with singing the song, I would go in there with Doug Sisemore, my co-producer, and Todd Tidwell. We would …

Credit: Michael Mazzamuto/Flickr/Creative Commons

But the Lord directs our steps

Twenty years ago, my husband Dean and I were pastoring a satellite church plant in Hong Kong on an island called Discovery Bay. We had gathered a diverse group of people in one of our house churches — a good mix of new and established believers. People were coming to the Lord and being filled with the Holy Spirit. But within this group, there were also some very established missionaries. They had ministered in Hong Kong for several years, and were without a house church so they joined our small group. They were faithful servants of the Lord, but did not believe in the moving of the Holy Spirit. They saw the Holy Spirit as only “the Comforter,” and they often disagreed with the way Dean and I ministered. There is a verse in Ecclesiastes that warns evil times can suddenly fall upon us: 12 Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil …

Learning a lesson on grace at Tim Hortons Credit: buck82/Flickr/Creative Commons

The day God schooled me

I was at a Tim Horton’s drive thru, a popular coffee and doughnut shop in Canada. Our coffee maker died (may it RIP) and I needed my caffeine fix. That’s when I saw a person in a white car in the drive-thru lane beside me. He had his window rolled down and was smoking a cigarette. As a Cystic Fibrosis mama, that is a trigger for me. My daughter was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) at 23 days old. The disease affects the body’s ability to produce sodium chloride, as a result a person’s mucous is very thick. This causes many problems, most seriously lung failure and the struggle to keep a healthy weight as it affects a person’s ability to absorb nutrients. This means hours spent each day ensuring my daughter takes her many medications including the ones given by mask and her nightly tube feedings. I also need to perform physiotherapy on her multiple times in a day to loosen the mucous in her lungs to delay the progression of this terminal disease. In …

Claudia Wells  Credit: Rcarvalloa/Wikipedia

How ‘Back to the Future’ actress Claudia Wells became a Christian

I was recently reading an article on Claudia Wells, 50, at News.com.au. For those not familiar with Claudia, she played the role of Jennifer Parker, Marty McFly’s girlfriend, in one of my favorite movies — Back to the Future. Starring Michael J. Fox, it was a blockbuster release in 1985. Fox played the role of Marty McFly who traveled back to his family’s past in a time machine cleverly disguised as a DeLorean sports car. Towards the end of the article, Claudia answered the question on what she would do if she could really travel back in time in a DeLorean. Claudia said: “I would go back in time to hangout with Jesus. I’d just hold his hand, look  in His eyes and just take Him in and have a good chat.” Claudia Wells is a Christian and if you go to her Facebook page you will see her feed filled with inspirational Biblical quotes. It took a bit of digging but I discovered an interview with Smashing Interviews Magazine on how Claudia became a Christian. She …

Bethany Hamilton surfing off the coast of Santiago, Galicia, Spain. Photo Valdovino.net/Flickr/Creative Commons

God will fulfill His purpose for your life

Despite our setbacks, mistakes, accidents, failures, sins and fears, God fully intends on accomplishing His purposes for our lives. That was the first thing I thought of when I read the powerful testimony of Bethany Hamilton. You may remember her story, Bethany was thirteen years old when a shark attacked her while she surfed in Hawaii in 2003. Though the shark cut off her arm, incredibly Bethany survived. Three weeks later, she conquered her fears and was back surfing. Her strong faith in God helped her through the ordeal and her story would spread around the world because of it. Since then a feature film, Soul Surfer, has been made on Bethany’s triumphal return to surfing. She is now married to Adam Dirks and they have a one year old son. Aside from winning several surfing competitions, she and Adam also placed third during the 2014 filming of The Amazing Race. The World Surf League announced that on May 30, 2016, Bethany, 26, finished third in the World Surf’s League Fiji Women’s Pro. She wasn’t …

Photo: Trey Ratcliff/Flickr/Creative Commons

The first prayer

After I lost my first-born son, Graham, to suicide, I still had my sixteen year old, second born son to care for. I watched my adolescent boy reeling from his own grief as he sat on the couch in the basement for days on end. He had made up his brother’s bed and formed the blankets to look like he was still sleeping in it.  He could not accept that his brother was gone. My perspective on life had tilted dramatically.  I knew that I could no longer “take care of everything.”  I was no longer superwoman. All that I felt I could do was pray for my son. Behind our house there was a two-mile hike up to a huge coulee.  Once you reached the top you just had to sit down and admire the scenery below. Farmers crops and cows grazed at the base of this coulee. Hues of gold, green and geometric patterns stretched out over the wide open land before me. From the rock pile on top of the plateau, I …

Cross overlooking a valley in Lebanon Photo: Paul Saad/Flickr/Creative Commons Insert Photo: Rima Fakih/Wikipedia/US Army

Report: America’s first Muslim Miss USA has converted to Christianity

When Rima Fakih, 30, was crowned Miss USA in 2010, it was generally believed she was the first Muslim woman to ever win the title. Shortly after winning, Fakih acknowledged her Muslim faith stating: “I’d like to say I’m American first, and I am an Arab-American, I am Lebanese-American, and I am Muslim-American.” She was born in Lebanon and raised in a Shia Muslim family, that admittedly had been luke-warm to their Muslim faith and would often observe both Muslim and Christian holidays. The family immigrated to New York in 1993 and continued to observe both Muslim and Christian holidays including even attending church on Easter. But in 2003, her family moved to Dearborn, Michigan and became involved with the large Islamic community in that city. When Fakih started attending the University of Michigan, her father urged her to reconnect with her Muslim roots through the Islamic group at the University. It was here that she began to learn of her Muslim faith including Ramadan — that involves a month of fasting and prayer in …

Women in Iran. Photo: Sebastia Giralt/Flickr/Creative Commons

Middle East Muslim leader puts daughter under house arrest for becoming a Christian

Paul Siniraj is founder of Bibles for the Mideast an organization that smuggles Bibles into Middle Eastern Muslim countries. In a recent report on his website, he told of the remarkable Christian conversion of an unnamed young woman, 16, who is the daughter of one of the rulers of an unnamed Mideast country. The young woman, who Siniraj gave the name Najima, was receiving a higher education at a Western school in that Muslim nation. Najima was eating in the cafeteria, when she noticed paper jammed between the tables. Pulling it out, she discovered it was a Gospel tract. She read it and one of the Bible verses on the tract caught her attention: “For God hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21) Being from a strong Muslim family, Najima faithfully followed all the Muslim traditions, so she tossed the tract into the garbage. But though she got rid of the tract, the Bible verse began …

Jennifer Garner at the opening of The Invention of Lying at the Toronto Film Festival in 2009. Photo: Reza Vaziri/Flickr/Creative Commons

Was actress Jennifer Garner impacted by a miracle?

Actress Jennifer Garner, 43, recently announced that she and her three children are starting to attend church as a direct result of Garner’s starring role in the Christian movie Miracles from Heaven. Garner said they have rarely missed a Sunday since. Jennifer who  separated from her husband Ben Affleck comes from a Christian background and growing up lived for a few years in Calgary, Alberta. Garner made her big break playing a CIA officer in the ABC spy-thriller Alias where she won a Golden Globe and received three Emmy nominations for her performance. She has also shown up on the big screen acting in movies such a Daredevil, Juno, Dallas Buyers Club and recently Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day. Miracles made from Heaven, produced by Affirm Film that lists popular pastor T.D. Jakes as one of its producers, is scheduled for release March 16, 2016. In the movie, Jennifer plays Christy Beam, the real-life mother of a young girl named Annabelle who was miraculously spared serious injury after falling down …

Atlanta on a Sunday Photo: Flickr/richardcawood.com

The God story behind the Hollywood movie ‘Captive’

I remember watching the ads on TV for the movie “Captive,” but had no idea how much God was involved in the Hollywood thriller which hit the theaters September 18, 2015. The movie is based on an incident that took place in Atlanta, Georgia over ten years ago involving murderer Brian Nichols, 33, and his kidnapping of a young widow, Ashley Smith. On March 11 2005, Nichols was on trial for rape in an Atlanta courthouse. During his trial, Nichols overpowered Fulton County Sheriff’s deputy Cynthia Hall, then using her gun was able to escape captivity. In the process, he shot and murdered four people — Judge Rowland Barnes, Sheriff deputy Hoyt Teasley, immigration officer David Wilhelm and court reporter Julie Ann Brandau. In an interview with Dan Woods of Assist News, Ashley told her incredible story of God’s intervention. Ashley grew up in a Christian home, but at the age of 18 made some bad decisions. She started getting into drugs and ended up marrying a man who she watched get stabbed to death …

How forgiveness stopped a riot. Photo: Flickr/scottmontreal

The Compassionate Widow

1968 was a troubled year for race relations in the United States – in particular, April of 1968, when Martin Luther King Jr.’s life was cut short by an assassin’s bullet. In the two weeks following King’s murder, race riots broke out in Washington, DC, Chicago, Baltimore, Kansas City, Detroit, and Wilmington, Delaware. Rioters reached within two blocks of the White House, and President Johnston ordered thousands of federal troops into the streets to restore order. The day of the King funeral, a white bus driver in San Francisco named Martin Whitted picked up four young men in a black ghetto called Hunters Point. Whitted had taken the run for a co-worker who wanted to take the day off to honour King’s memory. He was nearing the end of his run when he was robbed and shot by the youth. Sniper fire prevented the police from getting to Whitted in time, and he was dead by the time he reached the hospital. Hunters Point, a black-dominated ghetto that had gone through riots just two years …

Jerusalem Photo: Flickr/Imke Stahlmann

The Miracle of the Lost Passport

[by Julie Holstein] I am a Canadian believer in Jesus Christ and over the last few years have been experiencing the Holy Spirit drawing me to the land of Israel. A few years back, I went on a tour of the Holy Land and this year, knew I had to return. I was happy to be able to hook up with Marlene, a female pastor evangelist from Regina who had the similar goal to attend the Feast of Tabernacles and to share our faith in Jesus. One day we took a bus to the city of Tiberias, rented a car and toured the Galilee region. My passport, ID and some cash were in a pouch which was fastened around my neck. Upon our return to the Jerusalem, we went through a security check at the bus station. Somehow my pouch either fell off or was stolen from me. When I realized all my identification papers were missing, my two traveling companions and I reported their loss to security and the police. As well we searched …

Cornfield Photo: Don Burkett/Foter/CC BY-NC-ND

Did speaking in tongues save Kathi’s life?

In August 2011, David and Kathi Byker were awakened at 4 am by sounds in their home in Grandville, Michigan. Two men wearing ski masks and dressed in black stood over their bed. Armed with knives, they demanded money. Leaving a cell phone and instructions on how to pay a ransom with David, the intruders kidnapped Kathi (60). With a knife at her neck, the kidnappers duct-taped Kathi’s hands, mouth and eyes and threw her into the back seat of the Byker’s SUV which they stole. As they drove off in the middle of the night, Kathi was terrified about what lay ahead. She believed they would kill her. The two kidnappers eventually met up with a third person — the ringleader. He and one of the kidnappers remained behind to arrange the payment while the third drove off with Kathi in the back seat. Driving with a knife in his hand, he would turn and threaten to stab Kathi if she didn’t stay lying down on the seat. Terrified and not knowing what to …

Florence Nightingale receiving the wounded at Scutari (Crimean War( by Jerry Barrett (1824-1906)

Christian Heroes I — Florence Nightingale

[by Earl Blacklock] Something that has always astounded me is how completely the `world-changing influence of Christian men and women is ignored even as their legacy is celebrated. Ask the average person to give a summary of the impact of Christians on history, and you are more likely to hear their 10th hand rendition of real and imagined offenses during the Crusades and the Inquisition rather than how our modern society is indebted to the groundbreaking work of these Christians. One of the most influential of these Christian pioneers was a young woman, born to privilege, who created a profession that touches every life. Nurses around the world universally credit Florence Nightingale as the woman who made their profession one of honour. She  introduced virtually all of the protocols and standards that are now understood by even a first year student nurse.

How God loved and chased down an atheist lesbian university professor

[by Dean Smith] If there was anyone I would have written off as an impossible case for conversion, it was Dr Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. She was a left-winger, lesbian, atheist and an English professor at Syracuse University. In my world, three strikes and you are out. But thankfully, a reformed Syracuse Presbyterian pastor and his wife, Ken and Floy Smith, had more faith than I did. In her testimonial, “My Train Wreck Conversion,” on Christianity Today, Rosaria tells how God chased her down. One of my favorite lines from her article is: “As a leftist lesbian professor, I despised Christians. Then somehow I became one.”

Conceived through rape, Valerie won the 2014 nomination for Miss Pennsylvania Photo: Valerie Gatto

2014 Miss USA contestant conceived through rape

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; “(Psalms 139:14a NASV) When God inspired  King David to write this verse, there was no asterisk or conditions attached. God said each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made. It doesn’t matter what our family life was like. It doesn’t matter if you were born out-of-wedlock or conceived by rape, your circumstances do not decide your value. All of us are full of potential. Therefore, it should not surprise us that the 2014 Miss Pennsylvania winner, Valerie Gatto, told the world she was conceived as a result of her mother’s rape. Ms Gatto, 24, will be participating in the Miss USA competition to be held on Sunday, June 8, 2014.

Jesus' appearance caused Kirsten Powers to finally accept the Christian faith. Image screen trap of Kirsten Powers Foxnews: youtube

The Kirsten Powers story: Jesus still does Damascus road interventions

In an account reminiscent of the Apostle Paul’s Damascus road experience, Foxnews Democrat commentator Kirsten Powers tells of her life-changing encounter with Jesus in an interview with Christianity Today. Powers, who worked for the Clinton administration from 1992 to 1998, said her religious views “wavered between atheism and agnosticism.” Politics was her religion and liberalism her theology. But that all changed in 2006 on a trip to Taiwan. Kirsten said, “I woke up in what felt like a strange cross between a dream and reality. Jesus came to me and said, ‘Here I am.’”

Miss Kay renews her vows with husband Phil on Duck Dynasty Photo: A&E Youtube channel

Miss Kay shares about the dark days before Duck Dynasty

Miss Kay is best known for her role as the family matriarch in the popular Duck Dynasty show  — the top reality TV program in the U.S. She along with her her husband Phil Robertson started ‘Duck Commander’ — a duck call manufacturer —  which became the basis for the show. Most of the men in the family sport full facial beards and come with a redneck edge. Through the show we see a strong sense of family and faith displayed by all members of the Robertson clan. But there is a dark side to their remarkable story.

Top Porn star finds Christ

In 2010, Maxim rated Jenna Presley one of the world’s top ten porn stars.  Jenna’s (whose real name is Brittni Ruiz) had been involved in pornography for seven years. In November 2012, she turned her life over to God and left the porn industry. In her testimony posted on Youtube, Brittni said, “Thank you, Jesus! I found Him, I’m home!” By age 15 Brittni was dancing topless in Mexican bars. Her life quickly spiralled downward