MY STORY

 

I was born in Tucson, Arizona USA. I was raised by two loving parents who divorced when I was 5 years old. I spent the weeks with my Mom and the weekends with my Dad. I would not say I had a Christian upbringing as such. I knew what Christmas and Easter were about and I had attended a few different church services growing up that had no real effect on me.

During my high school years I got into partying. I managed to keep up my grades and received my diploma with honors. I also was a cheerleader for a year. I looked the part, I guess you would say, but I would go out and party and get so drunk and smoke so much marijuana that I would pass out and not remember a thing. But I just thought it was normal, nothing wrong with it.

Right after high school I went to university on an academic scholarship. I would not have been able to afford it otherwise. I went to Northern Arizona University, about 4 hours away from Tucson. There I began studying Interior Design, but disliked the gossip so much by the girls in my classes that I changed majors to Parks and Recreation. I was going to be a ranger and live somewhere in the woods with a gun.J With my last name, Gaynor, I was going to be Ranger Gaynor. I had it all planned out. Become a ranger, have a boyfriend, have one child when I was 30, buy a house and a boat and that was me. I am laughing now at the thought of it. I was all of 19 years old. Well, something happened that disrupted everything.

That disrupted my whole life.

 

On December 7, 2000 I was in what could have been a fatal accident. My room mate and I decided to go out for coffee one winter’s night and study for our upcoming exams.  On the drive to the café, my room mate drove her truck over black ice. The truck began to spin out of control and then flipped into the air twice and crashed into the ditch on the side of the road. I had not been wearing a seatbelt, and as we began to spin out of control I felt a peace….a calm. I felt as though I was suspended in air and nothing was going to happen to me. When the truck landed back on its wheels the roof was caved in between our heads. My room mate knocked her head against the steering wheel and suffered a concussion.  The police and ambulance arrived very quickly and as they came I stepped out of the truck without a scratch or a bruise on me.

Something happened to me that night, not physically, but something happened in my heart. I knew something had kept me from getting hurt. I knew there had to be more than just living my life and then dying. There was something more to this life and I needed to find out what it was.

Besides studying full time and working full time, I began my search. I began to search different religions. I briefly studied Buddism, got interested in Native American Shamanism, and read a little of a Bible my Aunty Mary Grace sent me before disagreeing with the first couple of pages and giving it away to a used book shop. I also bought some tarot cards and spell books from the local bookshop in town and started using them. I knew something more was out there, I just didn’t know what. Funnily enough, I use to lie in a field at the university at night and talk to the moon.

After a while my search in different religions was going nowhere, my questions were not getting answered and the moon never talked back to me, so I gave up. Because I could not find the answers to my questions that, by this time, were burning in my soul, I decided to ignore them and drown them out.

My Dad’s motto in life was “As long as you are happy”. So I tried everything I could think of to be happy and have “good times”. I started partying more, having different relationships with guys, different hairstyles, piercing, taking classes that I enjoyed that did not pertain to my major, seeking thrills like skydiving and bungee-jumping. Towards the end of my “having good times”, I not only still had the questions, I also had an overwhelming emptiness, and no real purpose in my life.  So, in my desperation I decided to go against my convictions of only taking “natural” drugs and tried to get a hold of synthetic drugs. With no avail in getting stronger and heavier drugs, my frustration increased.  The partying I was doing and my lack of motivation started to have an effect on my studies and my grades began to slip.

I had always been a studious person and based my self-worth upon getting good grades. When I began to fail my classes, I felt that I had no self-worth, no purpose in life, and finally…. no reason to live. I ended up going to see my school advisor. After talking to her for a brief time, I completely broke down and started crying uncontrollably. I told her that someone else should be there at the university, I had no purpose for being there and more than that, I had no purpose for being alive. She tried to console me the best she could and suggested time off from my studies. I told her that it was impossible because I was on a scholarship. My advisor told me just to find out for sure, so I called and was surprised to find out I was allowed six months leave and could resume my studies on my scholarship afterwards.

This seemed to be a light through the tunnel and I decided to do some travelling, but deep in my heart I knew that I was taking a spiritual journey and was determined to find the answers to my questions.

Where was I going to go? The world seemed to be my oyster. In a previous class at NAU, I had sat next to a classmate who told me that if I ever got to go anywhere outside of the country, that I should go to New Zealand. He told me it was the most beautiful place he had ever been. Now with the opportunity to travel I remembered his suggestion and found out where New Zealand was on the world map. I didn’t even know where it was. It was a toss-up between Brazil and New Zealand. Because I could not speak Portuguese I figured I might as well go to NZ.

I found out about “WWOOF”ing, Willing Workers On Organic Farms. At a small fee you were sent a book with a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of farms around NZ. Upon arriving in the country you could call the numbers, find out if they have work for you, and go to the farm and work in exchange of food and shelter. It was perfect, considering I did not have much money. I decided to sell all of my belongings, buy a backpack (with camping gear), and a plane ticket and head off to NZ. So that’s what I did.

On February 18, 2002 I landed in NZ with my “WWOOFF” book, $500 USD, my backpack and the unquenchable questions in my heart. I know this sounds ridiculously naive, but I actually thought when I got off of the plane I was going to see straw huts and Maoris in grass skirts, like the traveling brochures advertised.  To my utter disappointment I found myself in Auckland listening to MCHammer in a bus, going to a backpackers in the middle of the city centre. I never liked big cities and looked forward to leaving. After 2 days in Auckland I got on a “Kiwi Experience Bus” that took people sightseeing to the tip of the North Island. I got dropped off in a town called Kerikeri where I had called and arranged to work at an organic nursery. From there I hitch hiked my way to another place and then again to a spiritual retreat in Taupo. I had never heard of a “Spiritual Retreat” and was not expecting to work there, but it was the only thing available at the time. The retreat catered for people who, like me, were searching. It was a place filled with different philosophic and religious books. It also had different meditation areas.  At the Retreat I had a very real dream.

I was in the top of a closet and I was hiding a little blond girl. I was telling her to be quiet and “shhhhhing” her with my finger to my lips (as you do with little children). When I woke up I knew my dream was significant and as I pondered the dream I knew in my heart that the little girl was me. I had suppressed events that happened to me in the deepest darkest part of my memory. I had the day off so I took the opportunity to be alone and ponder things. As I did, I saw in my mind as it were my heart with a door on the outside of it. The door opened and all these “black blobs” (blobs of black vapor I guess you could say) began to come out of my heart. One big one got stuck coming out and remained in the doorway of my heart and would not move.

In the next few days I decided to travel with a woman I met at the retreat to another one in the Corromandel. At this retreat, I had a similar vivid dream and I knew there was something to it. This dream pertained to my guy friends in high school. When I woke up I knew in my heart that the dream had something to do with being taken advantage of. I had been tampered with as a child. I also used to black out so much in high school, anything could have happened without me knowing it.  I decided to go for a walk. I know this is going to sound crazy, but this is what happened. I lay down and told the black blob (that had something to do with being taken advantage of) still in the doorway of my heart to leave. That it had no more power over me. And I saw it. I actually saw this black vapour thing leave my body and fizzle into the air.

Next, I ended up in AUCKLAND! A place I never wanted to be again. Soon, after my experience at the second spiritual retreat I called another place situated in the Corromandel from my WWOOF book. Although the owners lived in the Corromandel they had bought a plot of land in Auckland and were going to grow garlic. I travelled to Auckland with them where we stayed with an Indian family. One evening, I was watching TV when the news reported the death of the Queen Mother. Well, to my surprise I started crying! I did not understand why I was crying! I had nothing to do with the Queen Mother. Even in America I was never interested in Governmental issues and had never followed the events pertaining to the Commonwealth. And there I was crying! So I decided to take a walk and try to figure things out. My walk, down a busy street, ended beside a cemetery. I decided to walk in and have a look at the gravestones. While, I was walking and looking, I knew in my heart what was wrong. I had lost my Grandmother when I was about 5 years old. She was so very dear to me. She always spoiled me with hugs, kisses, gifts, and food. She died of cancers riddled in her body. I remember Dad telling me. He was very close to her. He told me in the living room of his house and then left straight away to another part of the house, because he could not contain his grief. I remember standing there, paralysed with numbness. I didn’t know how to grieve and never let her go. Standing there in front of those tombstones, I realized what I had to do. It was another thing in my heart to release. I performed my own little funeral ceremony and said good-bye to my Grandmother.

I know these things sound strange, but I think, through my own experiences, that people get so busy with everyday busyness and pressures of this life that they don’t realized all the things that are built up and are building up in their hearts.

For the first time my heart was empty. Nothing was cluttered inside of it. It was as though my heart was like an attic. Everything had been cleared out and it was sitting there empty.

Soon after the Queen Mother experience, I was coming up to my 21st birthday. I had heard of Waiheke Island having festivals, so I decided to spend my birthday not working for anyone and find a festival to celebrate it. I told the owner I was resigning as a garlic grower and I was going to go to Waiheke Island with my $40 and bag of muesli. Humorously, I had $40 left and two weeks left in the country. $20 was needed for the plane tax to leave the country, which left me with $20, just enough to buy a round trip ferry ticket to the island and back. How I was going to live off my bag of muesli I have no idea. What was I thinking? My plan at the time was to camp out and live off my muesli. When I got off the ferry I walked to a beach and set up my tent. A man saw me and sent his wife down to invite me to stay with them and their two daughters. They were very kind and gave me a wonderful queen-sized bed to sleep on. During my stay with them I used their phone to call my best friend in America. We had been friends since we met in preschool at 5 years old. She was going to pick me up at the airport. We both at that time considered ourselves atheists. During our conversation, I told her I couldn’t wait to see her and that all I needed right then was a hug. I had told her what my heart was like and that I really would like a hug.

The next day, the very nice family had people coming. So I started off to the next beach I could find. As I walked, I noticed a man at a bus stop. He looked like he was in his 40s and was quite straggly looking. I walked past the bus stop and as I looked to the side of me to take notice of a flower, I saw him behind me. For the first time, in 2 months of travelling and hitch hiking on my own, I got this real bad wary feeling. I felt that this was not a good situation. A childhood memory popped into my head. I remembered watching a TV commercial telling children if they were ever in a bad situation (like someone following them) than to go to a house and pretend it was theirs. So, I did just that. I heard someone working with a hammer up the next drive way. I quickly crossed the road, went up the driveway and tried to introduce myself to the elderly man working on his house. He was hard of hearing so he took me inside to meet his wife. This of course was perfect for my situation; because it looked like this was the place where I was staying.

It turned out that they were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. The woman and I sat and chatted. Then the subject changed to God. Well, at that point in time I would say I was more “New-Age” than anything. I believed in the energy of things. The woman ended up inviting me to stay the night in her little place and to a Women’s Bible Studying that was going to be held the next morning.  Well, I was not interested at all in the Bible Study. I told her no thank you and that I had been to church before and never liked it. There were too many hypocrites for my liking. She persisted and said that if I came to the study the next morning she would introduce me to her sister who had a bigger place and I would be able to stay there for the rest of the two weeks. I thought, well….I’ll go, only to get a place to stay.

The next morning we arrived at this little meeting room with about 7 women, the Pastor and his wife. When I first came into the room they all gave me a hug. Well, that was just what I had been wanting and I got teary-eyed, but forced myself to hold my composure. I could not let them see me have any type of emotion. We then sat down on the sofas around a small coffee table with a little TV and VCR sitting on top.

I always have trouble with this part…..I remember it so vividly……even now I have tears running down my cheeks. It is so very special to me and yet I can barely find the words to try to explain it. The Pastor played the video. For the first time ever I heard that the Lord Jesus Christ died for me. He died for my sins. And now there was nothing separating me from Him. I listened as the narrator told what it is to give your heart to Jesus Christ, to live for Him, to be married to Him. Then suddenly something happened. Something swept through me from my head down to my feet. LOVE, Amazing, Unconditional, and Tangible LOVE filled my heart. I cannot explain this, as it has to be experienced. My basement of a heart was filled with so much LOVE. Then, I saw Him before me. I saw the Lord Jesus and I together. Oh the JOY. I could write so much to try to explain what happened to me but it would not do it justice. I met Him, the Lord Jesus Christ. I knew that He was REAL. REAL! I found Him, I found everything in Christ Jesus.

In Him there is Life, in Him there is healing; in Him there is LOVE (real LOVE). I found what I was searching for. Not in my wildest imagination did I think I would ever find the meaning of life in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is though! And He’s REAL! You can meet Him. You can experience Him. He came! He came into my life and I have never been the same. I am whole. Every part of my being loves Him. No one can convince me that He is not real, for I have met Him. People might say I am crazy. But I don’t care, they have not met Him. I know what I was before He came into my life and I know what I am now and I would NEVER EVER trade a life serving, knowing and loving the Lord Jesus for my old one.  There is a song that goes… “and oh the joy that floods my soul. Something happened and now I know. He touched me and made me whole”.

I hope and pray that you will seek after Him, for He is there to be found. The Lord Jesus is so beautiful and lovely. God Almighty made Himself a body, gave Himself a name, the Lord Jesus Christ. So that He could die for our sins, no matter how big or small they are. He died so that we could be with Him again. God once walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He loved them so much and enjoyed talking with them. Then sin separated them from God who is Holy and cannot be amongst sin. So from that time on He had a plan to get us back, to be able to walk and talk with us again. And now through His shed blood, our sins are taken away and we can once again walk and talk with Him. There is nothing like it! I love talking with Him, to feel His presence around me, to know I am protected, cherished and loved. Oh, how I love Him. How I love Him.

There is so much more to write. This is when I began living. I’ll call this part one.  I hope and pray that you will desire to meet Him more than anything else in this world. He is real, He is so real. The Bible says if we draw close to Him, He will draw close to us. There is so much to be had in the Lord Jesus Christ and NOTHING to lose. Oh, I love HIM.

 

Part 2

How remarkable it is to meet God Almighty who humbled Himself, became a man to die for us, so that He can be our delight and we His. I will never forget when I felt His love for me. I was so in love with the Lord Jesus Christ. I was so light and in love, I felt as though I was truly walking in the clouds.

After my experience at the small Baptist Church Woman’s Bible Study, I accepted the invitation by the Pastor and his wife to stay with them at their place. They had a separate living quarters attached to their house where I could stay. The day after I met the Lord and He had filled my heart and life with love and joy, I told the Lord Jesus Christ that I wanted to commit my whole life to Him. The next day was my 21st birthday. I especially wanted to be baptised on my birthday. Not only is it a commandment from the Lord (to symbolize the death to ourselves and our own way of living, to living, serving and following Jesus Christ) but also I couldn’t have thought of a better way to celebrate my birthday than to show my commitment to my Lord and Saviour. It was a wonderful birthday. Although the best Birth-Day I have had and will ever have, was on that Wednesday when I met the Lord and was “born again”. We are all born into this world out of our mother’s womb, but when you meet God and He changes you, you are born into the family of God. That is what makes a Christian. Joining a church doesn’t make you a Christian; we must be born into His family, just as we were born into our earthly family.

 

“Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus saith unto him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” St John 3:3-6

And you know when you’ve been born again. You meet the living God personally and your desires change. My life was and is no longer my own. I had accepted His free gift, Himself, and gave Him what I had (which wasn’t very much), myself. Now my life is His, because He is changing me. I no longer desire what the world has to offer (disgusting partying, empty relationships, vain pursuits of happiness). I now desire to read my Bible, pray and stay close to Him. Oh the unspeakable joy I get when in His presence is far beyond anything this world can give!

Ok, sorry about that, going on. The following Sunday I went to church for the first time in years. Now, I actually knew why I was there and wanted to be there. That night the church had a worship service, a time to simply sing about and to the Lord God Almighty. When I entered the building I took notice of a young man wearing baggy snowboarding pants and a tight t-shirt. Needless to say I was not at all attracted to him (although he’ll say differently ☺), because I was so in love with my Lord Jesus. At the end of the meeting, a group of us younger single people decided to hang out. The plans, however, were changed and it ended up just this young man and I. We decided to go skating on his long-board. We somehow became instant friends.

During the next week, I began having very real dreams. Twice in a row I dreamt of being somewhere (like a roof top) and Satan trying to kill me. Right before he would push me off, I would scream out for the Lord to save me and then wake up. The third night, I had a similar dream, but this time it was so real I was afraid I wouldn’t wake up. I told the Pastor’s wife about what was happening and she asked if I had things with me or in my past I needed to clear out and get rid of. When I had a look in my backpack I had been travelling with, I found: tarot cards, a spell book and a Catholic keep-sake of Mary (which was my Grandmother’s that had died). I collected the things and wrote down my past relationships on a piece of paper. I was told, by the Pastor’s wife, that with different relationships you can take on different spirits that may be in that person. So with that, we prayed and got rid of all those things. That night I had the most amazing dream I have ever had. To this day it is still so vivid. I was flying! I actually felt the sensation of flying over the land below me. I was FREE!

I have never had a nightmare like the ones I was dreaming during that time again!

I had such a lovely time during that month I extended my visa to stay with the Pastor and his wife. I loved my God, I loved going to church, and I loved the friends I had made. The young man, who I had become instant friends with, was named Isaac. To prove our purely friend-relationship; my month was up and I wasn’t allowed any more time on my visa to stay in the country, I told Isaac I would have to leave in two weeks. Do you know what he told me? ☺ I laugh just thinking about it. “ I will email you if I can be bothered.” That is what he said.

Two days before I was going to get on the plane for the States, I borrowed Isaac’s long-board for the day. I drove with him to his work that morning and took his skateboard from there. The first street I came to was on a hill, so I decided to skate down it. I am shaking my head right now think of my stupidity. What was I thinking?! I got on the board and started speeding down the hill. With long-boards, you have to use them as a surfboard and go side to side. But me, I just hopped on and at top speed travelled straight down. I couldn’t stop and ended up skating though the only industrial street on the island at around 8am (peak time). I ended up skating into a driveway, falling off and grazing myself. Looking back, I can now see how dangerous it was and people had rushed over to see if I was badly hurt. I got up with the skateboard in hand and told them I was fine.

Isaac happened to come around the corner at that time in his work truck and asked what happened to me. I looked like I just had an accident. I told him I was fine and asked if he could drop me off at another place on the island. He did, and I was off again with the skateboard under my arm, determined not to let it get the best of me and to try again. This time, I decided to be wise and start at what I thought looked like halfway point of a hilly street. I got on (to my embarrassment as I write this) and again I started going way too fast! Again, I could not stop, but this time if I made it past the “round about” (NZ’s type of intersection), there was a cliff down to the ocean (which of course meant it could be fatal). I decided I had to jump off the board. Because I was going so fast, when I jumped off my leg twisted backward and I fell to the ground. I lay in the middle of the street with my leg behind me. A man saw me and drove me to the doctors. During the drive I was praying for the man out loud. I asked the Lord to reveal Himself to the man and that I would have no broken bones. Well, when we got to the doctors I think the man was grateful to have me out of his car (I am chuckling, because I think I would too if I were him). And Praise God, I had no broken bones, but I did tear my ACL ligament, which would need to be surgically replaced.

I had no insurance (back home or traveller’s). The Pastor’s wife and I prayed as I submitted an ACC form. The form was a type of petition to see if I could receive medial care under the NZ government’s aid. Within two weeks I got a reply that said because the injury happened in NZ that I would be covered by ACC to have surgery at a private hospital and physiotherapy without cost. Now you might think, wow NZ is great, but I know Who allowed me (someone without any money or insurance) to receive private care. My GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD! He loves and cares about me. He is my Provider, Protector and Healer. Ok, I know what some of you might be thinking, as I did. Why? Why did He let it happen? Well, sometimes the answers don’t come straight away. That is why we must (as the song sings) “Trust and obey, believe Him and say, I believe, I believe God”. It’s a walk of faith, not sight. I can now tell you why, because time has gone on and I can now fit the piece in the puzzle ☺

As I awaited surgery, I was allowed to stay in the country and my dear friend (Mr. Casanova himself) and I grew closer together. We sought the Lord about our relationship, and got engaged. To tell you the truth, when I was waiting in hospital, getting my knee x-rayed, it dawned on me that I loved Isaac. I was terrified. I did not want to love Isaac. I was in love with the Lord Jesus. I did not, by any means, want to mistake or replace the Lord’s love with Isaac’s, as so often is the case in relationships outside of the Lord.

One of the biggest deceptions Satan offers people is a human-physical-love or lust, rather than filling the empty space in their heart with God’s love, a love that can never fail. Well, I had experienced the humanistic-empty love and there was no way I wanted that over my Lord’s love. So, I tried to suppress the feeling, but it was still there. For two weeks I prayed and prayed and prayed.

I will have to refrain myself from going into further detail about our engagement, this will become a novel before I know it J.  I will, however, mention that I now believe in soul mates. I believe if you are to get married, God has someone prepared for you and if you seek the Lord first and His righteousness then He will show you (when the time is right) who that someone is. The Lord must come first in all areas of our lives, even in a marriage.

Now for another providential twist in the story. The skateboard was given to Isaac by the only other American he had ever met, a year earlier. The American girl who was travelling with an evangelistic team (people telling about Jesus Christ) around NZ, had this long-board that Isaac asked to borrow. Before she left, Isaac came to return the board. She told him that in a dream, God told her to give him the skateboard. A year later it was used for me to stay in the country! I joke with Isaac and say, the reason I was injured was because he was too slow off the mark to propose ☺ I was literally swept off my feet ☺.

I received my surgery in August and my leg healed up fine. The next event in my life was getting married.

I must add in here that I really love and appreciate my parents. You can imagine what they might have been thinking and worrying. My Dad thought I was on some deserted island and had joined a cult. My Mom, however, understood and told me something very interesting.

She told me that the weekend before Easter, my brother and her randomly met at the same bus stop that day (he was not living at home at the time). They both agreed to meet up again the following weekend and go to church for Easter Sunday, March 31st 2002. We never went to church for Easter! Nor have they done it since. At the church they were asked if they needed prayer for anything. My Mom told them that I was travelling alone in New Zealand, so a group of them prayed for me. A week later was when I noticed the man walking behind me, followed by meeting the Lord. I don’t know about you, but I just think that’s AMAZING!

After, hearing about my “Born Again” experience my parents then heard about my injury and THEN the engagement, all of these things taking place in a matter of months. And through it all, they both told me they loved and supported me. God bless them. Not to mention my Great Uncle Del and Aunty Mary Grace. They were the ones who sent me a Bible when my search had first began and during my stay on Waiheke Island they helped me financially. May God continue to abundantly bless my family.

 

“For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.”

St Mark 9:41

Before I can continue on to our wedding, I must first tell you about the events surrounding our wedding, because they are what made the day what it was. Isaac and I had planned to have our wedding in a couple of months’ time. This would allow my family to come over from the States and time to save up for a low budget traditional wedding and of course our Pastor was going to marry us.

Prior to the months leading up to our wedding, Isaac’s Mom had arranged to stay on the island for a few months from Australia. During her stay she asked Isaac to get rid of some books for her. While he was dumping the box of books, he came across a book called the “The Revelation of the Seven Seals”. The book was a collection of sermons by William Branham. He kept the book and started reading it, unbeknown to me.

During our engagement, we traveled to Gisborne to catch up with his brother Noah. While we hung out at Noah’s house, I was getting bored, so I took a booklet off of his bookshelf and began to read it. I started reading and couldn’t put it down. It was a sermon and the preacher was speaking about modesty and how a woman should dress according to the Bible. Well, I loved it. I had never heard anything like this before and it triggered something in me that knew it was the truth. The sermon was by William Branham. Soon, Isaac and I started talking about this sermon I had read and I found out that he was reading a book by the same man. We both knew that these were not ordinary sermons.

We both felt to move to Gisborne after the visit. When we got back to Waiheke Island we told the Pastor and his wife that we felt to move to Gisborne. Well, of course, they were shocked. Not only was it out of the blue, but Isaac was part of the worship band, I was part of the children’s outreach group, and we had plans to go into the ministry. Isaac was going to go to the Baptist Bible College and I was going to work to pay our finances. The church itself had more than doubled in size and had big plans to outreach around NZ. They automatically thought the move was not of God.       Isaac was living with a Deacon and his family at the time. Suspicion led the deacon’s wife to look in Isaac’s room.  She discovered the “Revelation of the Seven Seals”. She told the Pastor. The Pastor, then did a search online and found the negative things that have been said about William Branham. I was then approached about William Branham. I didn’t know enough about him to defend the claims against him; I had only read one sermon. I was then told that I would not be welcomed back at the fellowship until I came to my right mind. I went to Isaac’s work and told him that something strange was going on and what had happened. After work, we went to the house he was living at and we were greeted by the Pastor, the Worship Leader and the Deacon. Isaac was asked to leave that night. It was a tremendous shock and all Isaac could say was that he still loved them.

We didn’t know what to do or where to go. So, we got into Isaac’s car and simply started driving and trusting God to lead us. We left the island and started on the main highway. We ended up in Whangamata at Isaac’s Dad’s house. We stayed there for the weekend. During our stay with Isaac’s Dad, we were able to discuss what was happening, how we wanted to move to Gisborne, and how we need to get married before moving.

Isaac’s Dad arranged for us to meet with one of his good friends and Pastor by the name of Albert Ruegg. Albert met with both of us and agreed to marry us the following week, at the beach just outside of Whangamata. I was so blessed by this, because I had only one request for my wedding that Isaac and I would be married by someone filled with the spirit of Christ. I never really wanted a lavish wedding. All that mattered to me was that my Lord Jesus Christ and my husband-to-be would be there.

We drove back up to Waiheke Island on Sunday. Isaac stayed with his boss and finished up his work. By this time, the church was told that we were being led away by the devil and going to Gisborne to join a cult. The Pastor spoke against the teaching of William Branham and told anyone who had any booklets or sermons by him, to burn them. At this stage no one wanted to come near me, except two people. There was such a fear amongst the church and with God there is no fear.

 

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

1John 4:18

 

I thank my Lord for allowing the situation with the church to happen; because I realized my foundation was not built upon the Baptist Church, it was built upon the Rock, the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ (He had revealed Himself to me and nothing and nobody was going to offend or deter me from Him). If we can be talked into Christianity, we can be talked out of it as well. We must all have an experience and meet the Lord Jesus Christ ourselves.

Our last days on Waiheke Island, I bought my shirt and skirt that I was going to wear for our wedding. That Thursday, October 24, 2002 we left the island. As we drove to Whangamata, we bought Isaac’s vest he was to wear, and some hamburger buns and patties for our reception. Once, we arrived in Whangamata, we met up with Brother Albert, his wife and their twin babies and daughter, Isaac’s Dad, Mom, brothers, and three sisters, and a friend from the Baptist church. We then traveled to the beach. Oh, what a day! It had rained the day before the wedding and the day after, but on that day, on the beach it was clear and beautiful. There was no one on the beach, except God Almighty, Isaac and I and our little wedding party. I didn’t even realize what or who was around me. All I could feel was the presence of the Lord and the love I had for the man I was making an unconditional covenant with for the rest of my life.

God is So Very Good.

Brother Albert, to this day remembers our wedding and said that it was the second best wedding he had ever been to, the first one being his own. The only regret, which was out of our control, was that my family from the United States was not able to be there. Everything happened very quickly, but again God has blessed me with such loving parents. And although it saddened them not to be there, they gave their love and support. I thank God for my Mom and Dad.

We then went to eat our hamburgers and wedding cake. After our little humble wedding reception, Isaac and I departed to a bed-and-breakfast for the night. During our wedding, we were given a card. The card had a scripture written in it and $500. The scripture was this:

 

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

We used some of the money to stay at two bed-and-breakfasts before arriving in Gisborne. There had been two scriptures laid upon our hearts. The first one, was the one in the card and the second:

 

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

St Matthew 6:34

 

Although Isaac had work in Gisborne with Noah, we did not have a place to live and we did not want to pray for one until we needed it. An hour from Gisborne we decided to pray for a place and made a specific prayer. We asked for a place by a river, with two bedrooms, a fireplace, a bathtub, a balcony and an area for a garden. Not only did we want all these things in a home, but more importantly we wanted to know that we truly were in the perfect will of God (meaning we were going and doing exactly what He wanted us to do).

With in an hour, we were driving around Gisborne looking for our house. We ended up driving down a main street when we saw the sign “Riverside Rd”. We thought: well if God has us by a river, than the house must be on “Riverside Rd”. So, we drove down the road, turned off on a side street and saw someone coming out of his driveway. We stopped and asked the man if he knew of any vacancies around the area. The man directed us back onto Riverside Rd and told us that an owner of an apple orchard would possibly have a cottage for rent. We thanked him and drove into the orchard, down the driveway and knocked on the door. The owner of the orchard was, of course, surprised to find two young newly weds with a beat up-old-yellow-station wagon (with our only possessions: two backpacks full of clothes, two boxes with a few kitchen and bathroom things, and a two-seater cane sofa) knocking on his door in the middle of the day. The owner was unusually in his house that day, because he had not been feeling well. He informed us that there was a cottage that was to be rented out, but his wife dealt with that side of things. She was not there, so he told us to have a look at it and he would have his wife call us.

We drove to the cottage. IT WAS THE PLACE! It had everything we asked for! It was by a river, two bedrooms, a fireplace, a yard (big enough for a garden), a balcony, and a bathtub (no shower, but a bathtub)! As you could imagine, I was ecstatic and could hardly control myself. I could hardly control the joy and excitement in seeing a prayer answered to the very letter! Can I just say this now, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE MY GOD! He is AMAZING! If someone wants to say this stuff just happens or it was coincidence, you can by all means think that. But I know who watches over the sparrows and I know who watches over me. Oh, how I love my Lord Jesus Christ. You can have the world, but give me Jesus!

Ok, back to my story. We finished having a look and drove to a family friend’s house, where we had given the phone number for the wife to call us. She called and told us that the previous people interested in the cottage had not taken it and if we gave her some character references she would get back to us. She called back and asked us when we wanted to move in”!

Well, within an hour after arriving in Gisborne we had a place to live! And, the money left over from the card, gave us enough to pay the bond and the first week’s rent!

 

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

God was certainly directing our path. We knew we were where He wanted us. That year was one of the best years of our lives. Isaac worked for Noah plastering, and I worked weekends at a souvenir shop. During the week, I read my Bible, talked to the Lord and listened to the sermons by William Branham. This brings me to William Branham.

I now know who he is and why his sermons are so special. William Branham was a prophet of God sent to our generation. God used this humble man from Kentucky, first in the biggest healing ministry of the 20th century, second with a prophetic gift that revealed the secrets and intents of people’s hearts, and third to bring a message to us that takes us back to the Bible and ready for the Lord’s coming. Yes…The Lord Jesus Christ is coming again, but this time he is not coming as a baby, He is coming for those filled with His Spirit to take us to heaven. HE IS COMING! He has sent a prophet (as he has always done: Noah, Elijah, John the Baptist, Himself, Paul the apostle) to prepare a people who will be ready. God is no different now, as He was back then. He always sends someone to tell, to warn, about what He has done, what He is doing, and what He is going to do.  If God has sent this man, don’t you think it would be worthwhile to take the time to read about his story and listen to a sermon?

If you do not believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming and that he has sent a prophet for us; then I want you to know that I love you very much, I have told you and someday when I am gone you will know where I am…..I desire to see you there.

With all my heart, and all that I am, this is my desire for you, this is my Christ….and this is My Story.

 

With love,

Shannon Lee

 

 

P.S.         This was and is, only the beginning of my story.

There is so much more to be told. It has been 11 years since He came into my life and day after day He grows sweeter and sweeter. My Lord Jesus was and remains my first love. He has blessed me with: the most wonderful husband (who I love now more than ever), and 5 beautiful children. And although life has had its trials and tribulations, my God has and will never fail me. One sweet day my faith will become sight and I will see Him, my lovely Saviour, Jesus Christ.

May God Bless You

 

The thief (Satan) cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I (The Lord Jesus Christ) am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

John 10:10

 

He certainly has given me what He promised…

 

Here is another favorite song of mine

 

Something beautiful

Something good

All my confusion

He understood

All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife

But He made something beautiful out of my life.

 

And I keep falling in love with Him over and over

And over and over again

He grows sweeter and sweeter as the days go by

Oh what a love between my Lord and I

I keep falling in Love with Him over and over

and over and over again.

 Isaac and Shannon