A link to the past.....
Here is the news article they did for my testimony while I was in Teen Challenge. "Up From The Pit Of Hell" She was standing under a palm tree after our Sunday service when I first saw her. Tears were slowly rolling down her cheeks... (Sun and Soul talk July 1978). Two weeks ago ( fourteen months later) she again stood under a palm tree at our beach service-- this time to share God's live with the entire beach crowd! Her first words, expressing the deep feelings of her heart were simply,"Wow...God is good!" She paused, struggling for words, and then continued. "When I was here before this place was "the pit of hell." We share Laura's testimony here, as she shared with us, with the prayer that her message will touch the hearts and lives of many like her who are caught in a web of their own weaving, from which they can find no escape. When she was eighteen, Laura married her high school sweet heart, mainly to get away from home. How quickly she found that life with a young military serviceman who was often away from home was a very lonely life. Marriage was not the Utopia she had thought it would be. His military pay was very low, and even though she worked there was hardly enough to live on. Together they joined a church, but while her husband became quite involved, the legalism of the church turned her off completely. For a while she tried, but it seemed that even that the church was pushing them further apart, and one day she simply left Virginia, and started her trip across the country, existing on money she always managed to obtain by writing bad checks. Eventually the law caught up with her but partially, she said, because I let them. I woke up one morning and asked myself 'What am I doing?'" Suddenly she knew that life had to be more than a series of bad checks. She served her first sentence. After that the merry-go-round began over again. By now she had reached California. She became involved with people whose existence meant drugs, or, beer and wine. She joined them in their search for escapism, but for some reason she never became an addict. Her friends also included the gay crowd. While they tried to make a lesbian out of her, this turned her off completely. During her second jail term, she was exposed to so much of this it sickened her. Thinking she had found security she moved in with a man whom she soon discovered was a heroin addict. It was not a good life, but became almost a nightmare when she found herself pregnant. During the months she waited her child to be born, she knew that she could never raise that child. She could not and would not let him grow up in a house where the bathroom was filled with needles and heroin. She placed him in a foster home. In California, she had again become casually involved in a church, but for her something was missing. The church was very helpful to her. The pastor knew of a beautiful Christian couple in another part of the state who could have no children, and soon the wheels for adoption were put into motion. Through a slip -up she learned who the adoptive parents were. For her it was a cause of rejoicing. Now there would be no need for anxious concern about the care of her son. She last saw him two years ago in the court room and rejoiced to hear him talking about "Jesus and airplanes..." He was happy and she knew his future was secured. Her own was not. The day came when she walked away from the apartment and that life. But where? She met another young man who suggested they go together to Hawaii. Why not? "It was the most stupid thing I had done yet. It didn't last three days. I moved out and began walking the streets." She slept days in the parks or wherever she could lie down. At night, to be safe, she walked. She picked up a few minor jobs, but the pay was also low she soon began prostituting. "It was the pit of hell." Knowing she could not go on this way, she finally broke
down and called her father to ask if she could come home. He has his own problems, having recently gone through a divorce, and didn't want her to come. Was there no place for her? Then she remembered that there was a service on the Hilton Hawaiian Village beach on Sunday mornings. She had been on the beach a couple of times, but had not listened. She reached a decision. The next Sunday she would be at that service. She was. She listened. She wept. Feeling too guilty to walk up to a counselor to talk she simply stood there, tears rolling down her cheeks. It was a visitor at our beach service who saw her and before long one of our Cotswolds was with her. He shared God's forgiving love. "No matter what you have done, God's love is great enough to cover..." "God has forgiven you, Laura, now you need to forgive yourself..." The book of James makes it very clear that there are times when we must give physical help as well as spiritual. Laura had no place to live, no job, no money. More than that she needed time to grow in her new Christian faith. A temporary place was found in Honolulu. Counseling continued. We prayed. Miraculously the Lord opened a way. Although Laura was not an addict, Teen Challenge accepted her into their program on Maui --- in their one available opening. Now fourteen months later, this beautiful young woman, giving her testimony at our beach service, bore little resemblance to the person who had wept under the palm tree that first day we saw her. What made the difference? Many things, including the love and concern of many people. But the greatest was the startling truth that dawned on her during the past year-- "I don't know how I missed it before, even when I was in churches, but suddenly I knew that Christianity is a relationship-- a relationship with a person, the Lord Jesus Christ!"