- Parent Category: History
- Category: Personal Stories
- Published on Wednesday, 25 October 2006 14:44
Shelly Wahls - Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico.
I was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and lived there until I was in 6th grade. My home was one that claimed to believe in God, but he was not discussed at all or even on a regular basis. My family had the feeling that religion is something that should not be "pushed" on the kids and none of us were baptized as infants. No one in our immediate family went to church, neither set of grandparents went any where. The only family members that I am aware if that attended a church was my mom's brother and his family and I attended the Lutheran Church w/ them once to twice a month when I stayed the night w/ my cousins. I remember when the pastor or Sunday school teacher (it is not clear in my memory which one) told us that if we asked Jesus into our hearts we would go to heaven. I did this at this time. I never gave heaven another thought.
We then moved to a small town, Garnavillo, IA. The circumstances surrounding this move were very different and we were only there long enough for me to attend and graduate high school. My parents then moved back to the Cedar Rapids area. Now I feel that the entire reason that my family moved to Garnavillo must have been so I could be exposed to the Gospel.
While in Garnavillo, the Lord put into my life a good friend in my class who attended a place called the Gospel Hall. I had heard things about this place, but was interested in finding out more for my self. My friend talked openly about his thoughts on creation and salvation. Another girl in my class attended a place called the Evangelical Free Church and I went with her a few times. I thought in my mind that this place was similar to the Lutheran Church. I asked my friend to take me with him to the Gospel Hall. He told me that he couldn't do it, but he told me to ask my boyfriend to take me since he went to the Gospel Hall. We had never really discussed his faith. So when I asked him, he said, "OK."
I started to attend meetings with Jason (my boyfriend) weekly. I even went to meetings on Sunday mornings when I did not have to work. I am not sure how long I attended meetings, but I did go faithfully. I did not have any real worries about my sin until March 16, 1992. I had been out with my boyfriend for his birthday. On the way home I heard a song on the radio. The words were something like this, "Would I see you in Heaven?" I started to cry and think about what a sinner I was and how I would be in Hell if I died. Jason immediately took me home to talk to his dad. Ron read to me from the Bible and prayed with me. I was not saved.
Ron took me up to another believer's house who happened to have a preacher staying at their house. I spoke with the preacher until fairly late into the night. I went home still unsaved. Now I was also convicted that I was too late to receive salvation. I thought there was no hope and that I had missed it. The door was shut to me! So I went on my way, sad that I was not going to be able to receive salvation, but soon it was not on the forefront of my mind.
Later, Jason's mom called and and asked me if I wanted attend Gospel meetings that were starting. I had still been attending the Sunday night meetings with Jason's parents while he was away at college. I readily agreed, but more to make her happy than anything. I did not have the heart to tell her that I was already too late and there was no hope for me.
I went to the meetings. After meeting one night April 2,1992 the preachers Bill Seale and Paul Kember asked me if I wanted to stay after and talk to them. I was not really wanting to, but I figured I would just tell them it was too late for me and go home. Was I ever wrong. We talked for several hours and they explained to me that while I was still hearing the word and open to listening it was not too late for me. We discussed how the Lord Jesus WANTED to die on the cross for sins. I am not sure I had ever grasped that truth. So after much reading praying and discussion I was lead to the saving truth that Jesus Died for MY sins as I read 1 Peter 3:18
"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins the just for the unjust that He might bring us to God."
The Lord reveled at that time that it was all for me. He was the just and I was the undeserving unjust. I was saved right then and there. It was the best thing that has ever happened in my life!
Shelly and her husband, Jason, are now serving as missionaries in Mexico.