My father died when I was ten years old. Four years later my mother and stepfather-to-be began taking Bible studies with some Adventists and enrolled me at Harris Junior Academy in Pendleton, Ore., for the ninth and tenth grade.
During spring break of my ninth-grade year I went with the school on a mission trip to Mexico and decided to be baptized when we got back.
After my junior year at Upper Columbia Academy, I decided to be rebellious and did not go back for my senior year. I made a series of bad decisions and choices for some time after that.
About 12 years later, and now living in Tillamook, I received a telephone call from Dan Cole, my pastor from Pendleton. He asked me when I was coming back to church. I did begin thinking about it, but procrastinated.
A little later, however, I told my boyfriend Chris, that we needed to go to church, and the next Sabbath we went for the worship service. Chris has been a Christian all of his life and had been baptized in two different Protestant churches but never developed a personal relationship with Jesus. He was not impressed with going to church on Saturday and did not go with me the next couple of weeks. I did not like going to church by myself, so I invited him again and this time we went to Sabbath school and attended the Young Adult Class. Evelyn Tollerton was the leader and both Chris and I felt accepted. We continued to attend from then on.
We began Bible studies with Carson Tourville, a Bible worker who was assisting Ralph Neidigh, the Tillamook pastor, in preparing for evangelistic meetings in the fall with Ty Gibson of Light Bearers Ministry. We continued studying with Jason Ausmus and the pastor, and attended all of the meetings. Soon we had set a date for baptism and marriage.
It was then that we learned what a loving church family we were joining. Gloria Neidigh and Irene Sayler gave us a bridal brunch/shower one Sunday morning before our wedding. I was surprised at how many people came. It was the first party I can ever remember being given for me.
On Jan. 18, 2003, Chris and I were baptized during the church service and later in the afternoon the church family came together and gave us a church wedding and reception.
We have learned that no matter what happens, the Holy Spirit is there to prompt and woo you to Jesus. We feel as though we have come home. •