I grew up in an average Christian home, with loving parents and 5 siblings.  When I was 9 years old, quite a few things changed when a young man from another country came to live with our family for a few years.  He needed a home and a family so we welcomed him into ours. At first he treated me just like a brother would, but after a few months he began to sexually molest me little by little.  I didn’t understand what he was doing, but I felt an incredible heaviness of guilt about it. I didn’t know how to stop it and felt too confused to talk to my parents. I wasn’t even sure how to tell them what was happening to me, so I stayed silent.

When I was 12 years old, I became a Christian in chapel one morning in school.  After that, I felt strongly that I needed to say “no” to what was happening. I learned how to stay away from him the remaining time that he lived with us and God protected me.  About six months later, he got married and moved out of the house. I still saw him from time to time, but for the next few years I just did my best to forget about what had happened.  When I entered the fifth grade my teacher challenged us to read the Bible and memorize scriptures on a daily basis. He also gave prizes for the most memory verses learned and for reading thru the Bible in one year.  I’ve never been one to pass up a challenge so I threw myself into being the top in the class for Bible reading and Bible memory.

In sixth grade I joined the Bible Quiz team.  My first year I memorized and practised very hard, but I was a terrible quizzer.  My coach and my team had lots of patience and encouragement, so I improved continually.  The second year I became co-captain and by my eighth grade year I was captain. I continued on quiz team in High School, and my teacher’s teachings really stuck with me.  He had constantly challenged us to get the Word of God into our soul and spirit. Hebrews 4:12 says “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  And that’s exactly what the Word of God was doing for me on a continual basis, going into my inner being. I know that for most of this time, I was memorizing more because of wanting to be a good quizzer than I was because I loved the Lord so much. Even then, the Word of God was still doing its work in me. I remember times that I would wake up at 4:00 or 5:00 AM to study and memorize before going to school.  I literally immersed myself in the passages.

One area of immediate difference that I saw at that time was my grades.  The word of God brightens your mind and purifies your thoughts! My grades went from being C-average to straight A’s.  My attitudes also changed and I became a happier, more light-hearted person. This attitude change also gave me many more friends, and I’ve never been wanting friends since!

Time went on and I graduated from High School.  Soon after graduation, I suddenly began to have memories and nightmares of things that I had buried deep down inside.  After all those years I finally had the courage to speak to my family and tell them what had happened. It was a very hard time, but God is so faithful and He was my strength.  I received counseling during this time. The lady I went to was a professional Christian counselor. She was amazed at how little these dark actions had affected my life. In probing further and learning about the Bible Memory that I had done, she felt strongly that this was the reason that I was still healthy emotionally.  In fact, she made the statement that I was more emotionally healthy than some people who had never gone through this kind of thing. I praise God that he is so faithful! His word is ALIVE! A few weeks before my wedding God gave me the courage to speak with this man and let him know that I forgive him completely. He has a wife and children now and didn’t want to admit his wrong.  He cried when I expressed my forgiveness, but he refuses to admit any wrongdoing. I am still praying for him to clear himself before God and I feel no malice towards him whatsoever! That was something that only God could work in my heart and I know that immersing myself so completely in the Word of God at such a young age was a deciding factor in my future. Praise God!!

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