Johana’s Story

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I was born and raised in Colombia, South America and baptized as a baby. I attended Catholic school and did my first communion when I was ten years old. I always believed in God but never really had an interest in establishing a closer relationship with Him. Overall I felt I was a good friend, sister, daughter, student, and I thought God would give me credit for that.

During my mid-teens, I moved to Philadelphia. I was struggling with self-esteem issues and my parents’ divorce. I was adjusting to a new country, city, culture, and language. I was working at a very young age, and taking over responsibilities at home due to the absence of my father. Thankfully, everything wasn’t bad. Unknown to me, God was working in my life!

Alejandra, a Colombian girl with a similar background and struggles, was in my classroom. We became great friends. When we had questions about classes and credits we went to our school counselor, Mrs. Estela. Our conversations included religious beliefs, and one day she invited us to her church meeting. We both worked every Sunday, so couldn’t attend, but Alejandra’s mother did go. Eventually, both Alejandra and her mother trusted the Lord Jesus for salvation, but I didn’t understand much about the Saviour’s love for me.

During my late teenage years I was enjoying everything the world had to offer, yet I felt incomplete, empty, and alone, with no inner peace. I knew something was missing, but I just couldn’t understand what it was. One Friday night, I called Alejandra to invite her to the movies. In return, she said: “I was invited to a Bible study and I promised I will go; would you like to come?” My response was: “No thanks! I will find someone else to go with me to the movies.”

Surprisingly, I did not find anyone to go with me, so I accepted Alejandra’s invitation. The Bible study had already started when we got there. On the white board, in red ink, were the words: ‘The 4 Gospels’. Throughout the discussion, I was very lost because I did not know that the word ‘gospel’ meant good news. After the session, everyone was very welcoming. The food was great and the games were fun. I left with questions that night and went back for answers the following Friday. Those answers brought more questions, until I noticed my need for salvation. My interest started to grow and Friday night Bible study became the place where I wanted to be every week.

John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God”. This verse made all the difference to me. I understood I was created by God, but I was not His child because I had not yet received Him. I realized that although I was good by my own moral standards, I was still a sinner before God (Romans 3:23). One night I understood that He who knew no sin, came into the world and gave Himself as a sacrifice to save me (1 Peter 2:24). His blood cleansed me from all my sin (1 John 1:7). Although I did nothing to deserve it, nor did I earn it with good works, I was given eternal life and a purpose in life. He can do the same for you. Receive him today!

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