My Testimonial – Part I
As you know, what your parents do have an effect on your life. This is what the Bible says. The Second Commandment says that the sins of the fathers are visited upon (passed down to) the children. By the same token, whatever good the parents do is also reflected on the children. So we are either blessed or cursed by our ancestors. Or a mixture. This is why I feel you need to know some things about my spiritual life.
My grandmother had a picture of Jesus on the cross in the living room. I must have been about six years old when I became aware of that picture. I asked my grandmother who that was. She told me about Jesus being God and dying on the cross for us. Since that day I became a friend of God and I used to talk to Him in my head.
As I grew up, I remember praying to him, especially during WWII. During that time all the news on the radio and in the papers was about this horrible war. I must have been 8 or 9 years old when I was very earnestly asking God to end the war. Just a few days later, the A-bomb was dropped in Japan, and I saw all the destruction and death that it caused. I thought that it was my fault because I prayed to God to end the war, and indeed, He did. I stopped praying for a while.
The Bright Light
I must have been about 11 years old when I became very fearful of the dark. We lived in a beautiful but badly designed apartment in Havana. The living room was in front, then the dining room, then the kitchen, and at the end were the bedrooms and the bathroom. After dinner my parents and Luisa and I would sit in the living room. The adults would talk. There was no TV, and conversation was entertainment. At 9:00 pm, they would tell me to go to bed. Well, the only light was in the living room and the back was very dark. I was afraid to go into the dark. So, I would ask someone to walk with me and turn lights on. My father got tired of this. So, one night he said, “I will go with you, and show you that there is nothing to be afraid of back there.” Well, I always thought that when I would put my hand into the dark room to turn the light switch on, a hand would grab my hand. My father went with me, turned the light on, made me look into the room and said, “See? There’s nothing here. Now I want you to promise me that you’re going to be going to be by yourself.” I promised.
The next night, when it was 9:00 pm, he told me to go to bed. I had promised, so I went by myself, but I was very scared. I put my hand in my bedroom and turned the light on. At least I overcame that. I took my pajamas and went to the bathroom to change, brush my teeth, etc. and turn the bathroom light on. As soon as I turned it on, the bulb burned out. In the dim light, I unscrewed the bulb and went to my father to get a new bulb. He told me he had forgotten to buy bulbs, so I went to my bedroom and unscrewed a bulb out of a lamp. I went back to the bathroom to put the new bulb in. There was only this light fixture in the bathroom and it was a wall fixture above the lavatory.
I had changed light bulbs many times, but this time, as soon as I touched the socket with the bulb, there was a sound and a small cloud of very white light appeared over my head. But I was not scared, just surprised. I was looking at the light, and the light came through my eyes inside my body. I could feel it. I felt it go all the way to my feet, and then I felt it come up again. When it came up, I felt it was pushing something. When it got to my throat, I had to open my mouth, and a horrible scream came out. In my mind, I wondered why I was screaming because I was not afraid. My first thought was to run and tell my parents that nothing had happened to me so they wouldn’t be worried. I went out of the bathroom, but all three of them were already running toward the bathroom. I tried to tell them that I was okay, but I couldn’t use my mouth because another scream was coming out. My mother threw me into bed; my father went to get a doctor that lived in the same apartment; and Luisa went to do a tea for the nerves. My mother was hovering over me just watching me scream. About 10 screams came out of me that sounded like a horror movie. When the last one came out, I finally could get control of my mouth, and I told my mother, “Mom, that was not me screaming. I did not want to scream.” When my father arrived with the doctor, I was fine and the doctor left. I didn’t even get to drink the tea.
The next night, when I was sent to bed, I walked down the corridor to the darkness with great assurance thinking, “After what happened last night, why should I be afraid now?” And I was not afraid any longer.
God Speaks to Me for the First Time
Years later, I was a member of one of the many yacht clubs in the north coast of Havana. I used to go here with Luisa every day in the summer. One day we arrived very early. I got my swimsuit on and walked out to the beach and I noticed the sea was very calm. It was a beautiful day. I walked on a wooden pier all the way to the end. The water was deep there, as the pier was used for diving. I was impressed by the peace that surrounded me and the calmness of the water. I couldn’t see any waves. It was different. I started looking at the horizon line, to the right and was moving my head to the left taking in the beauty and the peace. When I was looking at what I know now was the direction from Havana to Houston, I heard a voice in my head that said, “The man you’re going to marry is in that direction on the other side of the sea.” Well, I was so surprised by the clear voice in my mind that I thought maybe I was going crazy because I had heard that crazy people hear voices. I figured I wouldn’t even tell my mother about it because she would think I was going crazy.
There were many things that happened that you could call coincidence, but now looking back, I can see that it was God working in my life. I came to the U.S. which was a miracle in itself that I could leave since they were not letting professionals go. But it was easy for me. I met your father in Gainesville, Florida, but he was living in Houston at the time that the Lord talked to me for the first time on the pier in Havana.
Buy That Book!
I got busy with husband, children and a career, and I didn’t have time for God. One day, I was teaching my daughter how to shop for herself at JC Penney and I had told her to go pay for her stuff and to stand in line and count her change. I was waiting for her about 15 feet away sadly thinking that my little girl was growing up and I had to cut the cord. I heard a voice in my right ear that said, “Buy that book!” I looked to my right and there was no one there. I looked to my left and right in front of my face there was a book called Born Again by Charles Colson, and it had a photo of him on the cover. It was in a revolving rack. I saw that book and I didn’t want to buy it, because Charles Colson had been involved in the Watergate Scandal and I didn’t like him. So, I said in my mind, “If that guy gets a penny of my money, I’m not buying the book.” The voice said again, this time with a great authority, “BUY that book!!!” Suddenly, I felt that it was a matter of life or death that I buy the book. I grabbed the book, but I didn’t want to grab it. My feet moved to go to another cashier to pay for it, but I didn’t want to buy it. I looked at my feet, and to this day, I remember my feet going over the patterned carpet, and I was wondering why my feet were going because I didn’t want to go. When I got to the counter I heard myself ask the lady, “How much is this book??” I sounded like a desperate woman. The woman looked at me very surprised, took the book, and told me how much it was. I bought the book in a hurry, and I still didn’t want to buy it.
I went to get my daughter and as we walked to the car, I tried to tell her that I had bought a book that I didn’t want to buy, but really I couldn’t explain, so I shut up. When I got home I immediately started reading the book, and then I couldn’t put it down. It had a lot of inside stuff from Watergate that was not in the newspapers, and Colson explained his feelings of failure and fear. But he had a friend that brought the Good News of Jesus to him which he kept rejecting. Finally, when he hit rock bottom, he remembered what his friend had told him, and he prayed a prayer to Jesus that head had written in the book.
As I read the book, I realized because it was explained there what Jesus had done on the cross for us. I had never heard it before. So, when I got to that prayer, I told God, “God, now I’m going to pray this prayer for me.” And I read it aloud. I finished reading the book, and as soon as I finished it, I knew I had to start reading the Bible. I knew we had a Bible in the house that we had bought for Mandy when she started at St. Thomas’, and it had been rejected by St. Thomas’ because it was not the King James version. I knew that Bible was somewhere and I wanted it right away! I got the whole family to help me find it. And I started reading it.
Church? For Me?
What happened afterwards is that I wanted to go to church. Now that was a real change, because before, nobody could get me to church unless they would chain me and drag me. It was because all the churches that I had gone to as a visitor were really stiff and boring, and I didn’t feel the presence of God there anyway. This included the Catholic church, the Baptist church, and the Episcopal church, which are the ones I knew.
There was such a yearning to go to church in my heart, that’s all I could think of, but I didn’t know what church to go to. So, I had a talk with God and I told Him, “I don’t know what church to go to. I don’t like the Catholic church services. The Episcopal church services are boring. And the Baptists won’t let me drink! So, You tell me what church to go to.” And I left it at that.
At that time I had my own business, and a lady from my bank invited me to lunch. As we talked, the Lord told me, “Ask her about church.” Well, I didn’t want to ask her about church, because I didn’t think it was the professional thing to do, and what would she think of me. So, I ignored it. He said again, “Ask her about church.” He put the pressure on me, so I thought I was going to explode if I didn’t ask her. So, I said, “Nita, you know, the strangest thing is happening to me. I feel that I have to go to church.” Nita immediately replied, “Oh, don’t tell ME about church. My daughter is going to this strange church, and I’m so worried about her.” I asked her, “Oh, why?” She said, “They speak in tongues and I don’t know what else happens there.” There was a bell ringing inside me, and I understood that that was the church that the Lord wanted me to go to. I asked Nita the name of the church, and she told me. I wrote it on a paper napkin.
When I got home, I looked it up inn the telephone directory, and guess what? As huge as Houston is, THAT church was in my neighborhood! So, I went to look at it, but it was not there. The telephone directory had the old address. I finally found where it was – not very far from the original address, and I went to “case” it. It didn’t look like a Gothic cathedral – it was a very contemporary, beautiful building, and I told the Lord, “You know what kind of architecture I like.”
The next Sunday, I parked in the church’s parking lot and got down from the car. I looked toward the door and I saw a man standing at the door greeting the people. Now, I didn’t know anything about churches, but I knew about church membership, and I knew that a membership was required to enter a private club and you needed an I.D. card. So, when I saw the man at the door, I told God, “How am I going to get in, I’m not a member?” The Lord told me, “Say you’re a visitor.” I said, “Okay.” I got to the door, and I, of course, tried the password – I said, “I’m a visitor.” The guy enthusiastically said, “God bless you!!!” and he ushered me in. That made me feel right at home.
Well, my first times at church just made me cry and cry. I wonder what the people around me were thinking. But I was crying tears of repentance. Soon after that, Roger and I were going to Cozumel and I went to the bank to get Traveler’s Checks. I saw Nita at the bank. I told her, “Guess what? I’m going to THAT church.” She opened her eyes and asked me in a very low voice, “And how is it?” I said, “Oh, it’s wonderful! They speak in tongues and they have miracles there. You see, God has not changed – the same miracles He did before, He’s doing now.” (Pretty good for a baby Christian, right? I think it was the Holy Spirit speaking through me.) By the time I came back from Cozumel, Nita was going to that church also.
I wanted to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues, because I thought it was something that God wanted us to do. So, I called the church and talked to the secretary and asked her, “When is the next time you are going to baptize in the Holy Spirit?” She said, “Tonight! You have to come right over because you need to come to a meeting before being baptized.” So, I went and I finally found the office, and asked the secretary about the meeting. She said, “You see that man? He’s going to the meeting – follow him.” So, I followed him, and he opened the door to the conference room, and I saw a conference table surrounded by people, and everyone had towels and bundles of clothing in their hands. I sat down and was wondering what was going on. The Associate Pastor said, “I want each one of you to give your name and say why you want to be baptized.” So, they started on one end of the table, and when it was my turn – I was sitting next to where the pastor was standing – I realized that this meeting was for the baptism in water, not for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. So, I said, “I’m sorry, but I’m in the wrong place, because I was baptized when I was a baby.” So, the pastor looked at me and pointed his finger at me and opened his mouth to say something, but at the same time, God told me in my mind, “That’s what I want you to do.” And I immediately said, “Okay, okay, I’ll do it, I’ll do it.” And the Associate Pastor looked at me funny.
So, when I came out of the water into the women’s locker room, I got to a counter and I thought I was going to pass out, so I had to hold myself to the counter. I imagine I received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit at that moment, because I felt like I was going to be “slain in the Spirit”. But I didn’t know that, so I still wanted the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I finally went up front to the church, and I asked for it. There were a lot of people seeking ministry, so the ministers were in a hurry. The minister prayed for me just a little bit and told me to go on. And I didn’t feel any different, so I looked at him, and he said, “Go on, it will come to you.” Since I was disappointed, I went to the church library and got a book about the Holy Spirit, and in that book it said that if you have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and are not speaking in tongues, all you have to do is open your mouth and start. So, I took my book to my praying place, and told God, “Look God, it says here that all I have to do is open my mouth and start, so here I go.” So, I opened my mouth and started speaking in tongues.
The Jesus Cross
While in Cozumel, I found a lot of silver trinkets that were very well priced and I bought a bunch of these chains and crosses, Jesus on the cross, etc. and I was putting them in my purse as I was buying them in the markets. On the way home and in the plane, I took them out of the purse to look at them again, and Roger said, “What are those for?” I said, “Oh, I got them for me and the children.” Roger said, “Well, don’t give Richard any, because I believe men shouldn’t wear jewelry.” I said, “Okay”.
I had bought a silver Jesus on the cross without the cross – two rings on the back of his hands were to insert the chain. I liked that design and I wanted it for me, but when I got home, I told Mandy to pick from the whole group of trinkets and I was hoping that she would not pick that Jesus. As we were in the breakfast table, Richard came to the kitchen and wanted to know what we were doing. I told him that this stuff was not for men, but he said, “I want one!” I said, “Okay, pick one,” thinking I would explain to Roger later. I also told God, “Don’t let him pick THAT one.” In a flash, he got to the table and picked the ONE I wanted. I got frustrated, and I told him, “Okay, Richard, you can have it, but you cannot wear it to the movies. You cannot wear it to school. You cannot wear it to play in the backyard.” “But MOM, where can I wear it?” he said. I said, “To church only.” He said, “Okay.”
Some time later, we had one of those storms in Houston where it rains continuously for several days. I went into Richard’s room and saw the chain piled up on top of the dresser and no Jesus on it. I asked him what happened, and he told me he had lost it. He said that he went out to play with the dog and realized it was gone. He showed me where he was playing with the dog. I told him that when it stopped raining, we would go out and look for that Jesus.
It kept on raining, but I had developed a plan to use kite string and wood stakes that I knew we had in the garage to divide the area in square foot spaces, and dig up the grass until we found it. I still had to develop a plan on how to tell Roger what we were going to do.
One Sunday, I came back from church, and I realized the rain was gone and the sun was shining. So, I went to the garage to look for the stakes and kite string, and I couldn’t find any. Well, I thought the next day I would buy what I needed, but I went to get Richard and told him to come and start looking for that Jesus. We got some hand rakes and he told me where he thought it was, and I told him to start raking the grass. As I was raking, I was digging up dead leaves, grass clippings and doggie droppings. I got so discouraged that I told God, “God, you know I’m not doing this for the money! This thing was really cheap. I’m doing it because I don’t want Jesus to be lost in this mess!” I heard in my mind, “Don’t worry. Don’t look for it any more. I’ll give it back to you.” I was astounded. God talked to me! Then I heard another voice saying, “And…what makes you think that God talks to you?” I took stock of the situation, looked into myself and realized that I was sure that it was going to appear. So, I told that other voice, “Well, if it was not God talking to me, how come I’m so sure that it’s going to appear?” That voice didn’t reply.
I looked at Richard and told him, “Okay, Richard. We don’t have to look for it any more.” At that time, my mother and aunt came into the yard and asked what were we doing. I just gave them a dumb answer and rushed to get dressed to go back to church.
The next day, when I came back from work, it was such a pretty day that I thought about going to look for the Jesus, because I had been waiting so long to be able to do that, because of the rain. But then I remembered that God had told me not to look for it any more. So, I just tried to put it out of my mind and went about my business. The following day when I came back from work, I sat at the breakfast table to look at the mail. Richard came down the corridor and put the Jesus in front of me. I told him, “I know God gave it to you.” And he nodded yes. “I want to know how He did it.” He said, “I went out to play with the dog, I tripped and fell, and it was right there in front of my face on the grass.” I said, “Show me where it was.” We went to the yard and he showed me the spot. We had been there before looking for it, and it had not been there. In my mind, I picture an angel putting his foot out and making Richard trip, and another angel putting the Jesus where his face would land!
I used to pray every morning before going to work and before Roger would come back from work – remember he worked nights. I would get ready for work first and then go to pray. One day I was on my knees with my head on the floor when I suddenly felt very sleepy. I was falling asleep but I was fighting it because I thought it would be an offense to God while I was praying. My neck relaxed and I felt even sleepier, even when I was fighting it. My neck relaxed again. I could feel this relaxation of the back of my neck and it happened three times. The third time I fell into a deep sleep. Immediately, I had a vision. I was standing on a platform in an enclosed garden. There were old-fashioned wooden folding chairs laid out with a center aisle. In the vision, I knew there was a wedding to be held there. Then, I realized that I was dressed as a bridesmaid with a long dress and a wide-brimmed straw hat and long gloves, and I had a Bible in my hand in front of me. I looked at my Bible and it was all dirty and mistreated and not only that, but it had also been torn in two, and I had only one-half. It was the Bible that you had rescued from a garbage can at St. Thomas’ and given to me. If you remember, it was all scribbled over and torn and dirty. As I saw the Bible, I started crying and said, “Oh, look at my Bible!” Then, I realized there was a Man standing next to me. This Man was in a three-piece white linen suit with a very heavy gold chain going across his vest as for a watch. I couldn’t see His face. He turned toward me, and with the sweetest voice, He said, “Don’t worry.” He had the other half of the Bible in His hand, and He put it next to my half and it became one whole Bible. End of vision. I woke up immediately and all the sleepiness was gone.
There are a lot of other things that happened, and things that God told me. One time, I was praying in that room across from yours, and I saw that Darth Vader poster that was on you door. As I was praying in tongues, a rage rose up in me against Darth Vader, and I just prayed against it vehemently. And by the tone of the prayer, I know I was rebuking this thing.
One Saturday, I was running around trying to clean the house, because I didn’t want to work on Sundays, since the Bible says to keep the Sabbath holy. Saturday was the only time I had to do the shopping, clean the house and do the laundry. So, I was in a hurry, and we had wood floors. I was sweeping my room, and there were a lot of dust balls. Now previously, I had analyzed those dust balls because I wanted to know where they were coming from. When I took a close look at them, they were just gray fibers and some of my hairs rolled up. I didn’t know where the gray fibers were coming from. All I could think of was clothing, but clothing had different colors. I scooped the dust balls into the dusting pan, and ran to the kitchen to put them in the garbage. But since I was going so fast, they flew out of the dustpan. I got very irritated. So I asked God, “God, why did you have to create these dust balls? They are good for nothing. They can’t even be used in the compost pile.” He answered right away, and said, “That’s what you’re made of.” I had to laugh. I told Him, “I deserve that for questioning You.”
Several days later, a Scientific American magazine came in the mail. It had an article about Kirlian photography that photographs the auras around people. There was a picture of a shape of a man’s body, and you could see around him this aura that ended up in a narrow spout above his head. It was about one foot all around the body. The footnote said that all the dead cells of the human body are expelled through the skin, and they are taken upwards, and they go out through the “spout” into the air. And they become household dust. That’s exactly what the Lord had told me – that’s what I was made of.
One time in my office I needed help from a designer, but it needed to be temporary only. I had met a female interior designer at the church and I asked her if she could come and help me temporarily. She asked her husband and agreed to work. When she came to the office, she was on fire for the Lord, just as I was, and we were talking a lot about Him. One story she told me was when an evangelist called Roxanne Brandt came to the church. I had gone to see her in the morning service, but my friend went to the evening service, and she came into a pew where there was a young woman sitting at the end by the aisle. She sat next to this young woman. She happened to look at her hands which were in her lap, and she noticed that she was missing a thumb. She thought perhaps it was an accident, and she looked for a scar, but she didn’t see a scar. The skin was smooth over the bone.
The service started, the evangelist preached, then she started having “words of knowledge” about healings in the congregation. She would point and say for instance, “There is a healing for a liver here,” and she would continue pointing in an orderly manner, going from left to right, and continued mentioning the healings that the Lord was telling her. Finally, she pointed in the direction of my friend, and said, “There is a healing for a thumb here. I can’t see what it is, but there is a healing for a thumb here.” My friend remembered the missing thumb, and looked at the lady’s hand. No thumb there. She blinked and then there was a thumb there! The lady jumped up and started praising God, and my friend did too, and both hugged each other. My friend took the lady’s hand to look at the new thumb. She said, “I would not have believed it, were it not for the fact that the new thumb had a short nail and was unpainted, and the rest of her fingers had long painted nails.” She told me that story and other stories, and I told her several stories (and we didn’t do any work, because we were so enthusiastic about what the Lord was doing!)
The next morning as I was getting in my car to go to work, I told the Lord, “Lord don’t let my office suffer, but we just cannot stop talking about You.” He said to me, “We understand.” That evening, I was going to a church near Gulfgate where the pastor encouraged all the congregation to use the gift of Prophecy. That meant that if you visited the church, members of the church would come and prophesy to you. So, when the service was over, the girl who played the piano came to me and asked if she could prophesy to me. She took my hands and started praying in tongues. Well, I was hearing the tongues, and of course, I wasn’t understanding a thing, but then I heard something that sounded familiar, so I started paying attention. And then I realized that in between the tongues, she was saying, in Spanish, “Yo comprendo,” which is “I understand” – the same thing I had heard in the morning. So, I knew that what she was going to prophesy to me was from God.
This is what she said, “I have chosen you from your mother’s womb. I let you walk alone for a long time, but I called you, and you yielded, and that pleased me. Then you accepted My Son. You were seeking Me, but You didn’t know that it was me you were seeking, and I am pleased. I see you healing, and people being slain in the Spirit. Your family will follow you. Your house is blessed, and the neighborhood will know it as a Christian house. You will have prayer groups in your house.”
God Doesn’t THINK
One day as I was praying, and I asked the Lord, “Lord, what do you think about…”. He said to me right away, “I don’t think. I don’t have to think. Thinking is for men. Men have to put a series of thoughts in sequence in order to reach a conclusion that is based in their previous experience. I don’t have to do that. I KNOW.”