I grew up in a denomination that was not clear on the truth. They believed that you could lose your salvation. They also believed that you had to meet with them, be baptized by them, and follow all their requirements in order to be saved at the end of your life.
But by God’s mercy I came into the Lord’s recovery in college! That is, the Lord’s recovery of the truth, recovery of the experience of Christ, and recovery of the genuine oneness of the Body of Christ.
From a young age I had the realization deep within that the Lord was coming back soon, but I felt that I had no way to really know the Lord personally and prepare for His coming even though I was already a Christian.
In college a friend invited me to a small group home gathering with the local church in Fairborn, Ohio. I was amazed during this gathering, because I had never seen a group of Christians who so genuinely loved and enjoyed the Lord. I was also inspired, because I knew that this was the kind of Christian I wanted to be. I wanted the Lord to be as real to me as He was to them.
Later, after spending more time with them, I saw a deep longing in them for the Lord’s second coming because of their genuine love for Him. I knew if I wanted to grow as a normal Christian I had to join myself to them.
Throughout my time with them in college I received so much human love and care as well as spiritual shepherding. I had the sense of coming home to my divine family. Through their shepherding, I began to have a personal relationship with the Lord and read the Bible for the first time.
I began to become clear on the truth in the Word, including the truth concerning the church. I became clear from the Word that there is just one Body of Christ and as long as you are regenerated you are a part of this Body!
Whether you meet with the local church or a denomination, you are in the one Body of Christ. Once you are regenerated your salvation is eternal and you are always a member of the Body. When we sin, there is the blood of Jesus!
I also witnessed the practical keeping the oneness of the Body of Christ through the way the local churches meet.
For the first time in my life the Lord was real to me and I was experiencing Him. I finally felt that I had the chance to be ready to meet the Lord face to face one day and began to love His appearing.
Not only was I personally becoming ready, I became clear that the Lord has a need, a desire, and a deep longing for His Body to grow, mature, and be built up, which will prepare His bride and usher in His return. My Christian life became full of purpose and vision: it was no longer for my own satisfaction, but to satisfy the Lord’s need.
No one in the local churches ever asked or pressured me to go to the Full-Time Training in Anaheim (FTTA), but after countless conversations with the Lord, He put it in my heart to go.
I had never visited the training and I didn’t know what to expect. There are a lot of regulations to keep a proper and sanctified atmosphere to stay focused on the Lord, so I thought that it would be a very strict place and was afraid to make any mistakes or break any rules.
Once the Training started I was shocked to see how full of the Lord’s love and grace the trainers and training assistants were. I saw trainees make a lot of mistakes and thought, “wow, they are going to be in big trouble” … but was pleasantly surprised to see those who oversee the training were full of grace and had the loving and shepherding heart of our Father. They would lovingly bring the trainees back to focus on the Lord Himself and experience Christ in their mistakes.
I saw many patterns as to how to experience the Lord and live a normal Christian life. The two years in the training gave me a strong foundation for my Christian life and church life. It also brought me deeper into the experiences of life and truth. Those two years were full of joy unspeakable.
Many trainees will say that the time spent in the FTTA was the best two years of their life. While that was true at the time, I realize that since then my experience of Christ and the church has just gotten richer, fuller, deeper, and sweeter!
The past three years the Lord has granted me the mercy to serve Him and the church on a few different college campuses. To me there is nothing more meaningful and full of eternal value than serving the Lord full-time with my husband, Paul!
There is such a joy to giving back to the college students the same human and spiritual care I received as a college student. To not only help them grow, but to bring them into the same vision and purpose to bring our dear Lord Jesus back! The Lord is so merciful.
Testimony by, Katie Higashi.