Lies, pretense and wishful thinking was my life before God put a number of His saints in my path to bring me to the truth.
I grew up in a loving home in the care of a strict hardworking father, a quiet hardworking mother and two brilliant younger siblings. Home life was very good. As a family, we attended a Pentacostal Church Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays when possible. Church was loud, lively and lots of fun. The pastors preached passionately, the congregation listened attentively, and the singing got your adrenaline pumping. I loved going to church.
There, however, came a time when the fun and excitement was just not enough in and of itself. I wanted to know more about the God we were giving so much attention and praise to. I wanted to have a concrete understanding of the basics that made up my spiritual foundation. I had lots of questions that after all the years of going to church had not been sufficiently answered beyond the standard, “It’s a mystery”. On and off as a young person I would attempt to search the bible for answers but found that I was entirely inadequate to tackle such an important undertaking on my own. I needed a teacher, a true believer, a veteran of the word of God to point me in the right direction and even lead me to a correct understanding of God, Jesus Christ and the gospel.
It was difficult to find such a person in my current local religious community so I altogether shelved my efforts to prove out the things I had been taught to believe and left it on the shelf for almost 20 years. In the meantime, I pursued all that was expected of me. I obtained two post-graduate degrees in Journalism and Law. I became a licensed attorney and worked in mid-sized law firms. I married a wonderful supportive man with whom I have four amazing and talented children. And while much had been accomplished, I knew something was missing. Something had been left undone that was critical to my life. I would come to realize that it was my spiritual foundation that I had neglected so I set out to, once and for all, sure it up.
My family and I bounced from one church to another, trying out different Christian denominations in an effort to land on one that could provide the answers to questions I thought were fundamental to my understanding of who God is, who Jesus Christ is, what the gospel is and other things of the bible. “It’s a mystery” was the mantra, the go to answer everywhere we went. This answer was still not satisfactory for me and would never be. I refused to give up and decided to take the skills I was taught in school to search out the answers for myself.
I was determined, committed, relentless in my pursuit to find the answers to my questions, scouring internet search engines, Youtube videos and good old-fashioned books. I compared what I found by way of outside resources to the bible. Whatever did not line up I discarded and whatever I believed was in harmony with the bible I held on to and put through additional scrutiny. This entire process took a lot of time, was emotionally draining because I found that so much of what I had been taught in church to believe was completely false, imaginary, made up. However, upon discovering correct biblical understanding I was invigorated and energized to keep going, to keep searching, to keep learning.
Much of the biblical understanding that proved credible came from a denomination called the Christadelphians. I had never in my life heard of such a denomination and wondered why. I did a little research about the Christadelphians and was happily surprised at what I found. Their commitment to the study of the word of God, to the understanding of basic but fundamental truths, to the importance of living a life pleasing to God and Jesus Christ was obvious and presented as paramount.
The Christadelphian Youtube channel called Bible Truth and Prophecy (BTP) was a resource I frequently went to for biblical understanding. As a matter of fact, I listened to several talks daily. It featured a vast catalogue of knowledgeable speakers who expounded the fundamental basics and much much more. It catered to the inquiring mind, the new believer and the advanced student. I consumed the lessons of this channel for about a year gravitating to such speakers as Brother Neville Clark, Brother John Martin, Brother HP Mansfield, Brother Bernard Burt, Brother Colin Hollamby and Brother Steve Mansfield to name a few.
Being unable to bear sitting through any more church sermons speaking lies upon lies, we as a family decided to stop going to “church” at which time I introduced the BTP Youtube channel to my husband and kids. From then on, we studied the bible as a family with the featured speakers on the BTP Youtube channel every Sunday. We even listened to BTP bible talks when we were on the road travelling. After every talk, we discussed what we learned, and the kids asked questions. We did this as a family for about two years without being connected with a home ecclesia. It was very important to me that my kids grow up knowing the truth and living the truth because when I came to realize that I had not been brought up believing correctly which led me to live a life predicated on lies, pretense and wishful thinking, it angered and frustrated me.
One day I reached out to BTP via email to obtain notes from a bible talk I finished listening to. A Brother took on the task of finding the notes and making them available for me and others. Upon seeing my interest in the things of the truth and discovering that I had not been baptized into Christ, The brother made arrangements for me to connect with two dedicated sisters at the Treasure Coast Ecclesia which was an ecclesia near me. Sister Connie Bonvechio and Sister Lynne Spozarsky wasted no time in meeting me. We spoke at length and they loaded me up with resources for further study. Each enthusiastically took an active mentoring and teaching role in my journey toward baptism. They were uncompromising when it came to the truth which I loved, respected and appreciated. The site admin also kept in touch making sure I was still on track, inquiring about the spiritual progress of my husband and kids and being available to answer any questions that came up. On December 12, 2021, I was baptized into Christ and now strive to live in the newness of life afforded to me by God through my new master, Jesus Christ.
I thank God and Jesus Christ for everything and everyone who has been so instrumental in bringing me out of darkness into God’s holy light. It is my prayer that my desire to follow Jesus Christ never diminishes, that my thirst to know more about biblical truths does not cease and that I would seize every opportunity to do for others what a few of God’s faithful did for me.
Sister Joanna Evans