I am not from a Christian background, but God blessed us with a Christian witness in our family when I was growing up, Great Aunt Jean. She would often mention things from the Bible and gave my sister and I a Good News Bibles when we were young; the verse she wrote in mine reads ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Acts 16 verse 31).
Fast forward to my early twenties when I came to Derby to study Business Studies at the University. It was a 4-year degree course and in the third year I did an industrial placement working for Midland Bank, now HSBC. I was 25 years old; my work placement was going from bad to worse and I was feeling depressed. One cold February evening I was walking home from work and I heard someone singing loudly behind me. I turned around and said to this man “Why are you so happy?” He replied, “I’m praising the Lord, he makes me so happy”. “Oh, right” I said. He asked me “Do you believe in God?” “Yes” I replied. “Are you a Christian?” he asked. “I’m not sure, what is a Christian? He explained its someone who believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. He was bold enough to ask for my telephone number, I remember thinking, “If he is Godly then he is a good man”. I had crossed paths with a Nigerian Evangelist!
He called me that night and we talked on the phone; he was interested in my life and before I knew it, I mentioned my troubles at work. He rang me every night for a few days and talked to me about Jesus and one verse he quoted was from John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave us his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have ever lasting life.” The gospel was going in!
At that time, I had taken some sick leave and it was during this time that he brought round some Christian literature, a Christian tape, and a tract. He said, “read this tract and if you believe pray the confession prayer”. The tract was called ‘Somebody Cares’ and was about a verse from 1 Peter ‘Cast all your cares on me because I care for you”. As I read the tract, Jesus talked to me so tenderly and powerfully that tears welled up inside. He said, “I love you Amanda; I care for you and am concerned about your progress and well-being. Accept my invitation and I will come into your life and will be with you and give you a new start.” I realised that I was lost and on the wrong path. Something supernatural happened, a light switched on and I believed Jesus had died on the cross for my sins. It all became so personal.
I gave my life to Jesus that February night in 1998, Jesus became my Lord and Saviour. That same night Saibe rang and asked me “Do you believe?” I said, “Yes, I believe”. He said “Hallelujah! A host of angels are rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents.” He promptly visited the flat, we held hands and Saibe prayed, and the Holy Spirit came into my heart. I knew instantly that I was different: peace, joy and love flowed into my inner being, I had changed internally and spiritually.
God worked straight away, I lost my job and moved back to live with my parents. Saibe said “You must find a good Bible believing church.” His words rang in my ears and he followed up with a phone call to check on my progress. I found a Baptist church and they were starting a discipleship course, so I joined and made friends. At the discipleship class I was taught that I needed to be baptised as a believer. I was a tender shoot, so new at being a Christian, yet God spoke so clearly to me ‘You believe!”. I was baptised on August 30th, 1998. Part of my Baptism song was: “Lord I come to you, let my heart be changed, renewed, flowing from the grace that I’ve found in you!”
I can testify to this day that God is so gracious and faithful that my life has flowed with God’s grace. He has kept me safe and on the right track, even when I have made mistakes God is so merciful and kind. My heart’s desire is to continually live for him until he calls me home, to love him even more and to pray for people to also see their need of a loving Saviour. I always say it was the best decision of my life to follow Jesus. I pray it might be true of you too! Thank you for reading my story and God bless you.