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My Journey Home: How Did God Get Me Here?

posted on November 04, 2011, under Member by

by Joan Smith

Joan Smith, right, preparing for baptism by Pastor Dave Swinyar, serves the Ocala Church in communication and developed an interactive web site with hopes of making members' lives easier. "I hope their smiling faces on the pages will lead someone else to our church, just as it was their faces on the web site that invited me in when I was searching for truth." (Photo: Sam Minosh)

My journey started a little more than a year ago. Life seemed fine the way it was; yet, God obviously had different plans.

I had settled spiritually into New Age after years of searching different denominations and facing disappointment in teachings and people. It seemed being alone with God and my books was enough.

For years, a friend tried getting me to church. I didn’t want to hear of it, but God kept working on my heart. Lying in bed one morning, I prayed, “If You want me to change course, then You have to show me the way. Just show me the truth, and I will follow wherever You lead.”

God started to do just that in a peculiar way. He began waking me each day at 3:00 A.M. It was perfect—no distractions just learning at the computer. I thought at the time He was validating my beliefs in New Age.

One day, I heard a speaker say the Garden of Eden wasn’t real. I knew this was untrue. Here, my journey took a new path as I began searching on my own instead of waiting for direction.

While sitting at the computer one morning, I typed, “What is truth?” in the search box. A list of comments about truth appeared, and two words caught my eye—Amazing Facts. I had watched this program some 15 years earlier and thought it interesting. I went to their web site and, day after day, listened to sermons.

Soon, Amazing Facts led me to 3ABN (Three Angels Broadcasting Network). Then, my search led me to other ministry sites. I couldn’t satisfy my thirst.

After months of studying, I knew I had found the truth. I started observing the Sabbath at home, but Doug Batchelor and Ken Cox kept telling viewers to become involved with a church.

The day I chose to visit Ocala Seventh-day Adventist Church, my true journey began. When my husband dropped me off, he said he’d wait for 10 minutes in case I decided not to stay. I told him, “Don’t worry, I’m staying.”

As I walked through the doors, I was greeted by warm, smiling faces. I explained I was new and was given a welcome packet. Heading for the sanctuary door, frightened to death of unfamiliar surroundings, I approached a gentleman who greeted me. I explained it was my first time to visit the church.

Jay Dewitt took my hand, said, “Come with me,” and led me to his wife, Joan, which caused us both to chuckle that we shared the same first name. Jay whispered in his wife’s ear, “She is new.” From that day, they have taken me under their wings and guided me through my journey.

When I recall that first Sabbath, tears fill my eyes. If I hadn’t been treated so kindly, I may not have returned. I’m a testimony that a simple smile or friendly gesture to a new face can literally save a person’s spiritual life.

After studying God’s truths for several months with Pastor Dave Swinyar, I was baptized December 10, 2010. The church members, surely a chosen generation of people, have accepted me so warmly.

Now, I pray for God to show me how I can be an active part of this body of Christ. My desire is to serve God with love, compassion, and grace.

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