I was saved at a very young age. When I was five years old, my dad led me through the plan of salvation, and I put my faith in Christ while kneeling by our couch in the small apartment we were staying at while on furlough in the States. I know I was saved then, but when I was around ten years old, again while on furlough, I started to wonder if I really understood what salvation was when I asked Jesus to save me as a child. During a service one evening, while my dad was presenting Japan to a supporting church, and then preaching, I knew I couldn’t stay the way I was without making sure of my salvation. So that night, I repented of my sin and put my faith fully in Jesus.
There are moments in your life that are so profound that they become pivotal to the direction your life takes. I vividly remember one of those moments as a young teenager, about twelve or thirteen years old. I had grown up in Japan as a missionary kid, and had only occasionally experienced what life was like in America. I knew I enjoyed living in the States, and was looking forward to the time that I could enjoy life in America myself. One day, during the morning service of our church in Kawagoe (another part of Japan), I was seriously thinking about what I would do with my life (in the States, of course). But while I was thinking, the Holy Spirit was STRONGLY impressing on my heart that I should stay in Japan. As a missionary.
I knew what that meant, because I had already seen it first-hand. I had seen the tears on my parents’ face as they said goodbye to our family, and the loneliness they felt during the holidays. I had sensed the frustrations they felt with trying to understand the deeply rooted culture in Japan, and trying to work through that to share the Gospel. I knew that if I decided to stay in Japan, that those, and many other difficulties would become my life too. But I also knew that we, as a family, had seen God’s miraculous power all through our lives; in how He provided for us when we had no idea how He would, in protecting us physically, and in directing our family all throughout our lives. But I saw God’s power first-hand not just in our family, but in the people we were serving as well, in how people’s lives were completely changed because God used my family. I knew then that I would rather enjoy the first-hand experiences of seeing God’s amazing power up close and personal, even if it meant letting go of life in the States. So in the middle of the service while dad was preaching (I have no idea what), I changed the direction I would go with my life.
I look back on that decision I made now, and I am SO THANKFUL to God for that decision. Sure, there have been difficulties. But life, no matter where you are, has difficulties. Seeing God work like I get to though, is worth more than anything I could ever have imagined as a young teenager.
Born and reared in a Christian family, I had the opportunity to know the Lord at an early age. As a girl of four, in tears, I asked my dad to show me how I could know that I was going to heaven when I died. Looking back, I really believe that was the night that Jesus came into my heart and saved me. However, not unlike many young people in Christian families, when I became old enough to forget what happened that night, I again began to doubt my eternal future. So as a pre-teen I again trusted Jesus, this time never to forget!
The church I grew up in (Shawnee Baptist Church, Louisville, KY) has an annual youth conference which I attended from the time I was old enough until I was too old, and still do when I have the chance! I believe it was my eighth grade year when I surrendered my life to Jesus, to serve him in whatever capacity He willed.