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According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a testimony is:
2 a: firsthand authentication of a fact : EVIDENCE b: an outward sign c: a solemn declaration usually made orally by a witness under oath in response to interrogation by a lawyer or authorized public official
3 a: an open acknowledgment b: a public profession of religious experience
What Lighthouse Ministries has done for me...
Hi, I am a student at Lighthouse Christian Academy and January will be my second full year of being at Lighthouse. I want to share with you what the Lord has brought me out of and what the wonderful staff here has done for me. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, in a beautiful home in Bel-Air. My father was never home because he was an Anesthesiologist and always being called to the hospitals. My mother was the one who quit her jobs to stay home and raise my older brother [name redacted] and me. My father ended up divorcing my mom, and moved out. From then on, the responsibility of not only playing a mother's role, but also that of a father, which no mother should have to go through. From prekindergarten on, there was never a year that went by, my mom didn't have to come to school and bail me out of trouble. She took on the responsibility of being a "room mom" for every year of elementary school, and eventually being president of the P.T.A. Throughout elementary school, the kids I would hang around with were always anxious to know about what the older kids were always doing. Because I was raised in a decent home, I would outwardly deny wanting to know about things like smoking, drugs, and drinking ... but inwardly I wanted to know.
Around 6th grade arguments with my mom became more and more common in our house, and I would constantly just walk out and leave for a few hours. I stopped doing any of my homework-my mom seeing this and not wanting me to fail out of school, would call around to kids in the class, get the assignment, do it, and give it to me on the way to school to turn in. This continued all the way through 8th grade. In the middle of 8th grade, because of the influence of the kids around me and my own inward rebellion I ended up, going into the faculty parking lot and keying a car of one of the teachers. Within the same day my mom took me out of that school, and I ended up attending a small, Christian school. Unlike my mom or I had expected, the kids there were mostly from broken or poor families and some from city gangs. I was exposed to things I had never heard of.
There I ended up getting involved in dangerous relationships with guys, gangs, drugs, and drinking, partying, and complete rebellion. I had been threatened with my life and the life of my family many times for wanting to break off relationships with people. Weeks would go by without speaking to my mother. I would do all in my power to avoid her and home altogether. My mom was so overwhelmed with having to pay my brother's college tuition, my school tuition, and trying to satisfy my material desires. In my mind I had everything any girl could want - my own cell phone, home phone line, computer, internet, designer clothes, purses, shoes, jewelry, "friends", boyfriends, drugs, alcohol, and money. At the end of the summer of 9th grade, my mom felt my life being so threatened that she was willing to spend more money to give me the opportunity to go to an equestrian boarding school in Canada with my best friend. I agreed with my mom to go on the basis that she wouldn't be there and also the opportunity of living on my own. I moved on August 28th, 2003, to Vancouver Island.
Instead of attempting to live the safer life my mother had intended, I just continued in my sin and found myself digging a deeper and deeper pit of misery. My mom insisted that I stay in Canada for winter break, but of course I manipulated and convinced her to take me home, promising her that I would behave myself and not get in trouble. My mom always wants to see the best in people, so she believed me and brought me back - wanting so badly to see a change. While I was back in L.A., I was hardly home, always strung and high, and completely destroying my body physically. From all the drugs I was taking and never eating, my weight dropped to around 96 pounds. I never was really "there", and my mom says that she always wondered where her daughter was ... even at times when I was home.
She was so distressed and perplexed as to what I was doing to myself and why, and realized that I was past the point to where she could step in and help. My mother looked past my half-alive body and saw deep, down, in me, the daughter she used to know and love. On January 9, I flew back to Canada along with my friend. Both of us, wanting to go back home and continue our lives there, became so desperate that we decided to attempt suicide if our parents wouldn't take us back. So on January 12, we bought some chemicals and pills and sought to overdose ourselves. Before very long, some other girls who were living with us went and told our supervisors and eventually the dean of the school. She called both of us into the office and told us that this was "completely unacceptable behavior that will not be tolerated at this school." She told us that we either went to a psychiatric ward in the hospital for a few days, or we go home, and come back as completely different people. Of course our first thought was that our plan worked, but instead we shattered the hearts of both our moms. I was isolated for the night and I had a plane scheduled the next morning. I got on the plane, looking forward to being back where I had no responsibility and everything was provided for me.
Well, when landed back in California, my mom was there waiting for me outside the gate. She had brought her good family friend and took us to a restaurant inside the airport for a snack. She took me up to the top level of the parking lot where the rest of my whole family was waiting for my arrival. Everyone came up individually and gave me a hug and told me how much they loved me. This was completely bizarre seeing as I had treated my family like trash for the past year or so. I don't really remember much of what anyone said but I remember some deep voice saying my name, I turned around to see who was talking to me and saw a big van with the door open for me to get in. I did, and my mom kept on sticking her head in the van and telling me she loved me but I couldn't even look at her. (She later told me that she had to get an escort because she wasn't emotionally strong enough to take me) That night I was taken to (another ministry). Upon my arrival, everything I had and knew was stripped from me. That was when life came up and slapped me in the face. For the first time in years, the thought crossed my mind that maybe there was something more that life had to offer. After about a month I accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour and I got saved. My attitude and actions hindered my growth and change. Also, my mom came every month to see me, and because of that I felt as if I was only in some camp, "doing my time". As time progressed, many uncontrollable circumstances took place, which forced the ministry to close. Even though the people whose heart and life was the ministry realized that it was all part of God's divine plan for their lives, and it was just another piece added to life's puzzle. My mother, realizing that I was no where near ready to go home, and realizing it would be too difficult for me to live back at home, sent me to where I currently am - Lighthouse Christian Academy in Jay, Florida.
Being all the way across the states from my family has shown me how much I really took advantage of my mom coming to see me, and how much they have done in my life. Here, I've let go of much of my past that before I had refused to. There is no point in turning back when you have been brought so far. Through the work of the Lord, I've realized that there is so much more to life then all the popularity, drugs, or whatever else the world can offer. I now have a purpose to live and a desire to live my life fully for the One who created me - my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. In May of 2006, I plan to be part of the graduating class of Lighthouse Christian Academy, and in the fall of 2006, I plan to attend Pensacola Christian College with a major in youth ministry and a minor in music. The Lord has laid on my heart to give back to others what He has given me. Had it not been for this ministry and the dedication of the staff members here, and the power of God, I honestly don't think that I would be alive. The staff here has never given up on me, and is always willing to give me chance after chance, just Iike God.
Parent- you aren't alone. God has promised to go with us through any trial that may come our way in life. Do not give up on yourself, or on your child. The Lord still works miracles - even today.
Child- is the life you are living worth it? Really...think about it. Do you want to continue to break apart your family, destroy yourself and others around you? You not only affect yourself, but you affect your family, your friends, but most of all, your God. Consider these verses that have shown me comfort, the truth of life, and the love and power of God:
James 4:14- "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
Philippians 3:13-15 - "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Colossians 3:1,2 - "If ye then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your Affection on things above, not on the things on the earth."
Mark 8:34-36 - "And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will save his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
John 3:16-18 - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name on the only begotten Son of God."
II Corinthians 5:17 - "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new."
Isaiah 43:18 - "Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old."