Monday, June 21, 2010

Searching for my testimony

It's hard to believe that I'll be in Colombia in just 42 days.

We had our third team meeting last week where we talked about some administrative things such as finishing the service application and getting vaccinations. We also talked about the importance of preparing a testimony.

What's my story?
I've been thinking about this a lot because I have no idea what to say! One of the prompts for preparing our testimony was "How did you know that you needed a Savior?" Well -- I guess I didn't know. I grew up Roman Catholic. I was baptized as a baby. In fact, growing up, I didn't know that there was an option to not believe in Jesus. No Catholic grade school teacher every really gives you that choice.

And, I've never hit rock bottom. I get the impression that people who talk about "being saved," really were saved, like literally. The were saved from themselves, from their circumstances and I do believe that prayer and the acceptance of Jesus into their hearts changed their life. But let me be really honest here,  I haven't had a life-saving event (and for that, I feel extremely grateful and blessed). So I'm mostly confused by the question "How did you know you needed a Savior?"

Maybe I need to think about it in terms of "Why do I continue to see Jesus as my Savior?" That's a much more lengthy answer.

Part I
I'll admit that just two years ago, I questioned the whole Jesus thing. I was in the midst of spiritual crisis. I thought that I had been duped by the Catholic church and so I questioned everything I was ever taught. I really started reading up on other religions and talking with people of different faiths and began to wonder if I had it all wrong. I even considered converting to Judaism. I call this my exploratory phase. Looking back on it, I don't regret this time. I was doing my due diligence to ensure that I was making a well-educated choice about which faith to follow.

While all this was going on,  I began praying to God to guide me, to point me in the right direction. Meanwhile, a woman from my current church (whom I had only met once or twice), was continually reaching out to me -- but not in a pushy way -- just reaching out to make a connection. I began to wonder if it was a sign from God.

Finding Christianity in Spain
About a year into my spiritual crisis, my husband and I decided to go to Barcelona. While we were there, we went to La Sagrada Familia.  I can't say it any better than the Sagrada Familia website: 

Christian symbology is to be found in all Gaudí's work, but the most evident example of its application is the church, which tells the life of Jesus and the history of the faith.

To that end the church has been built over the years according to Gaudí's original idea, which expresses the Catholic faith in the architecture: Jesus and the faithful, represented by Mary, the apostles and the saints. That can be seen in the eighteen bell towers, which symbolise Jesus, the Virgin, the four evangelists and the twelve apostles; on the three facades, which represent the human life of Jesus (from birth to death), and in the interior, which suggests the celestial Jerusalem, where a set of columns, dedicated to Christian cities and continents, represent the apostles.
Though representative of the Catholic faith, I was so moved by the images in the architecture and by the faith it must take to create a work of art like that. I was also compelled by the story of Jesus' life as told by the architecture. It was like I was getting it for the first time. There was nothing new, no images that I was unfamiliar with, but seeing it there, on the grand scale, it just sunk it.

I remember coming back from Spain and calling my mom and saying, "It's over. I decided that I'm going to be Christian." And that was my baby step back into recommitting to Christianity.

Part II to come soon!

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