ANGELINA My name is Angelina, I am 25 years old. I was born and raised in Guyana, South America. My father left when I was a few years old, I was raised along with my older sister by my mom. I was raised as a Hindu the first few years of my life. I don't have a lot of memories of my childhood, but I believe the Lord has allowed me to remember one particular incident.

After my dad left us, it was hard for my mom to raise two girls on her own, so we ended up moving in with my grandmother and my 7 aunts and uncle.

When I was 5 years old, my sister and I were sleeping in the living room of my grandmother's house and we were awaken by one my aunt just seconds before men shot and broke into the window of the living room. She barely grabbed us in seconds and dragged both of us under my grandmother's bed with both of her hands over each of our mouth in order that we wouldn't scream.

The men were there for hours shooting at different areas of the house and also shot my uncle and were beating my grandmother in order that she would tell them where my mom, my sister and I were. They all came there with one intention and they made it know that it was to kill my mom and her two girls.

My first experience of God's mercy towards me was at that moment when my aunt had me and my sister under the bed and the men had large flash lights and kept flashing them under the bed. They must have done that about 5-6 times and in those moments it was like the Lord had blinded their eyes from seeing the 3 of us there. I never understood how it was possible that they couldn't see us but it wasn't until the Lord opened my eyes to His glorious truth that I was able to see that it was His very Hands that protected me then and throughout my life.

At the age of 7, my step father came into my life and he was a radical Muslim. A teacher of the Quran, he taught at a mosque about 10 minutes from where I lived in Guyana. So my sister (who was 2 years older than me) and I would attend his teachings in the afternoon. We were also taught to pray 5 times a day and observe Ramadan every year, which I always despised doing because we had to fast from food for a month. I would always wake up before the sunrise with everyone and pretend I'm observing the fast and then throughout the day I would eat and it would just be a normal time for me. Only everyone thought I was fasting.

Around that same age I found out my father (who when he left us in Guyana moved to New York) had murdered a woman he was living with. From the stories I heard he was an alcoholic and did every drug you could think about and one night he ended up stabbing the woman to death. The fact that he murdered someone didn't matter much to me because I knew at that age what he was capable of because of the stories I heard from neighbors about how abusive he was towards my mom and us. One of his alcoholic moments he dangled me head first from our upstairs and just dropped me.

The amount of times he attempted to kill my mom was no surprise about what he did to that lady. The only thing that affected me about him was the fact that he abandoned his family and walked away as if we didn't exist and even wrote my mom a horrible letter about hoping we would all die. I later found out that it was his brother who had planned the attack at my grandmother's house in hopes of killing my mom and her kids so that my dad wouldn't have anything to worry about. My dad later stated that he was not aware of this and had no knowledge of his brother planning such a thing and I believed him. You will find out later why I trusted this murderer.

A few years later my grandfather, who I was very close with died right in front of my house, then I ended up getting sexual abused by 2 men who were close with my family. I was very angry at the world, at God, at everyone I came in contact with. My life was a mess from childhood nothing seemed to make sense anymore. At the age of 12, my sister committed suicide and I thought then that my life was over. All I had left was her and now she was gone, I was mad at her, how could she leave me alone in this horrible place? What has my life come to?

Now it was surely only time before I do something like that too. After she died, I emotionally shut down. I wanted nothing to do with anyone. I couldn't be there, in school there were too many memories of her, at my house all my thoughts were about her. My step dad decided that it was time for us to leave that place. So my mom sold everything we had and we moved to Florida when I was 13. When I came to the States and started school I always considered myself to be a good person.

In Guyana, women are taught not to have sex before marriage and it's considered shameful for the family if anything like that happens. Majority of the women are given into arrange marriage (how my parents got married). When I started seeing all the vulgarity in school, I knew I wasn't brought up that way. However, even though I was outwardly not displaying those actions my heart was in complete rebellion against the Living God. As Jeremiah 17:9 states that my heart was desperately wicked. I obeyed my mom up until I was 18 and when I got my own car I began rebelling against her.

I started partying and going to the clubs every weekend. Sometimes even on weekdays. It was a routine for me; I also began drinking a lot. I hated my mom because she was always so worried about me. She would stay up on the couch and wait for me to get home and when she would call me I would turn my off my phone or just hand up on her. I hated her because she got in the way of me and my sins. Alcohol became a very big part of my life; I would get so drunk that sometimes in the morning I wouldn't even remember how I got home.

Along with the alcohol accompanied by fornication I tried everything to fill the void in my life. There was so much pain in my heart and I felt that when I got drunk and looked for comfort in men that pain would go away. But the next day it was still there….It never left…it was always there! Around that time my dad got in contact with me from prison, he started writing me letters stating that how the Lord has saved him a year after he went to prison. His letters were so beautiful, the way he talked about his relationship with Christ and the peace he had being in prison. I was so mad because I just couldn't understand how God could forgive a murderer and most of all I couldn't understand why he had so much peace and confidence in the God of the Bible.

How does a man stab someone and kill her and then a year later says he's going to heaven and God has forgiven him and Jesus loves him? How does Jesus love someone like him? Does God know what he did? He's a murderer! Not only that but he abandon his two children when they were babies and never looked back at what has happened to them. When my sister died I suffered so much and he wasn't even there, how can God forgive someone like that?

After a year passed by I realized that I was jealous of his relationship with his God. I wanted that peace; I wanted someone to love me the way he described Jesus loving him. I decided at the age of 19 that I should visit him. I wanted to give him a piece of my mind and share with him all of my pain throughout my life and watch him suffer and be sorry for what he has done. Boy did things not go that way. When I got there (I was with his brother and his family) we started talking and I just told him what was on my mind. The only thing he was left to say was the Lord is Sovereign and He predestined for all of this to happen. He said all things are working out for his good and for the Lord's purpose. Where do I fit in that picture?

He also stated that all those things in the past happened and now the Lord is glorified through his life and he made a commitment with the Lord to pray for my salvation every day and that he was confident that as God has shown him mercy HE would also show me mercy. WOW! I was so angry that I stormed out of there and said I never wanted to see him again. For the next few years he was still writing me letters but not once did I respond. How could I respond? In my mind until he states that he wishes he could go back and change everything and until he is really really sorry maybe then I will forgive him.

Time went by until the age of 22; I lived next to an old lady who always talked about Jesus. She was always inviting me to church, but I would insist that I am a Muslim and I will not change my religion. I always thought Christians are always trying to change people. She kept insisting for months until I finally decided that if I went once she will stop asking me. It was a Pentecostal church, so after visiting the first time I was impressed. Everyone was so happy, and there I was miserable as ever trying to drown my pain in any and everything. I went home that night and told my mom I had become a Christian. Unfortunately, I had no idea what that meant. For a year I continued going to that church. I continued my normal lifestyle, clubs on weekends, drinking, lying, fornicating, disobedient to my mom etc. Whenever I was in the church I would go up to the altar and cry for God to forgive me because I knew what I was doing wasn't right. But I thought that I had to stop doing these things and then God will forgive me. After walking out of the doors of that church, my sins followed me everywhere I went. I continued my wicked lifestyle and turned to God when I wanted something from him.

I suffered from depression and began thinking of taking my own life; the problem was I didn't know how I would do it. I was afraid of stabbing myself because of the pain I would feel. I even thought about hanging myself but I thought that would be painful too. A few months before my 23rd birthday, I met a youth pastor who began pursuing me with the gospel. But I informed him that I was already a Christian, when he asked for my testimony I had no idea what that was. I thought you just say you believe in Jesus and you're a Christian. I began staying away from him because all he talked about was Jesus. He then sent me a video called "the shocking youth message" by Paul Washer and everyday he would text me and asked if I watched the video. I was so annoyed by him, I even thought about lying to him and saying I watched the video however he told me he would question me about it after. So lying was out of the window, no way around this guy I had to watch it!

A week after my birthday on a Friday afternoon I got home from work around 3 o' clock and planned out my weekend with some friends about going clubbing. When I got home my mom was very upset at me because my room was a mess, so I knew I had to clean it if I wanted to go anywhere. It was at that moment that I remembered the video and decided to clean my room and listen to it at the same time, that way I wouldn't have to waste my time listening to it. About 5 minutes after listening I couldn't clean anymore. I was captivated by the things Paul Washer was saying. It seemed as if he knew me my whole life and everything he was saying was directed towards my life. I sat on my computer chair and watch the whole hour video and cried all the way through. I then called the youth pastor and told him what had happened and I needed to be saved that I was not a Christian and I asked him to send me more videos. He sent me an email of 10 sermons on "The Attributes of God" by A.W Pink.

Still in the midst of Friday afternoon, I knew there was no way I could go anywhere anymore after hearing what I just heard. So I cancelled all of my plans and stayed home and started listening to those sermons. I grabbed a notebook and kept pausing through the sermons. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Who is this God? This cannot be the God of the Bible! I was at a church for a year and no one has ever taught me about His character. All I knew was that He was love and He accepted me regardless of my lifestyle.

I knew nothing of repenting and turning away from my sins and trusting in the finish work of Christ, I just thought I would have to stop doing the things I was doing and then He would accept me. I stayed up all night crying while listening to the sermons knowing that if God did not save me I would go to hell. After listening to one sermon at a time I would sit by my bedside and pour my heart out to the Lord.

Great fear fell upon me, the terrors of hell, and the justice of God was now all I could think about. Then amazingly enough the great love that God has towards sinners who come as they are and trust in the work of His Son. All of this continued on all day Saturday and Sunday where I just stayed in my room and continued listening to the rest of the sermons and cried out for mercy.

Monday morning when I woke up, John 3:3 and 1 Peter 1:3 became a reality in my life. God had caused me to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of His Son. That weekend, as Ezekiel 36:26 states HE gave me new heart, and a new spirit He gave to me. HE removed the heart of stone from my flesh and gave me a heart of flesh. I was now capable to discerning spiritual things and able to respond and obey my Heavenly Father and my Loving Savior. That was the last week in March of 2009, and ever since His grace has continually sustained me. He has saved me from the wrath of God, from the destruction of myself, from an eternity of misery. I love HIM and I'm grateful for His great love towards me and seeking to grow in loving Him more more every day and waiting patiently for that day when I will see my Glorious Savior face to face.

May God grant you His peace 
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