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I was born and raised on a small farm in Wisconsin. My family practiced the Lutheran Christian Religion (Missouri Synod). Our family went to church weekly and during my elementary school years, I went to church summer school. After confirmation, I voluntarily went to bible classes because my girl friend also went there. After high school, I went to one year of college at Gustavus Adolphus. I spent all the money I had during high school, so I joined the Navy to see the world. During boot camp, I joined the "blue-jacket" choir, and sang in two church services each ?Sunday. The benefits were significant, since we would make special trips to Chicago and Milwaukee almost weekly. We were treated to meals in nice restaurants after our concerts, while the other guys in boot camp were slaving away. In other words, my religious life continued up to this point in my life because of the benefits I was receiving.
After reaching the legal drinking age, I really took advantage of it. My worldly activities continued as long as the money lasted after "payday". I saw the world; Hawaii, Japan, Philipines and Hong Kong, but, I saw it through the bottom of a beer glass. After the Navy, I went back to college. It was there, I met a wonderful girl. I fell in love, and when I asked her to marry me, she said "yes". We began planning our marriage. She was Catholic, and neither one of us wanted to change our religious denomination. We decided to get married by a "justice of the peace", however, her father intervened, to my resentment, and I agreed to get married in the Catholic Church. So after our marriage, I periodically went to both churches.
When our first son was born, I felt I was getting a "raw deal", because he had to be brought up Catholic. My wife and I didn't talk about religion much, because one of us would always end up with hurt feelings. As time passed, I stopped going to the Lutheran Church, and we began to go as a family to the Catholic Church. I felt "whatever the religion" we should go to church as a family. Still, I couldn't bring myself to join the Catholic Church. There seemed to be something I was missing. My wife and I began to go to seminars like marriage Encounter and Effective Living, and we began communicating with each other about our religious life. We attended a few Charismatic Prayer Meetings that were having guest speakers, and I was amazed at the "carrying on" at these meetings. They were singing and praying in "tongues"; clapping their hands and seemed to be really enjoying themselves. The Lutheran and Catholic Churches were nothing like this! Everyone was full of joy and enthusiasm! It was during the first meeting, I was singled out by the speaker; prayed over and slain in the Spirit! At the second meeting, my wife went forward, and she too was slain in the Spirit! We attended a sharing supper at the People Of Joy Prayer Group, and we signed up for the "Life In The Spirit Seminars". We were on our way!
During the Seminars, I received the Holy Spirit into my heart and began speaking in tongues. Since the Seminars, I've continued to grow in the Lord Jesus, and I see a lot of areas in my life requiring change, which weren't evident before receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I see the lives of our children also changing, and I praise the Lord for this! Each of our three children ask my wife and I to pray over them whenever they are sick. When they have problems, they turn to Jesus and ask Him to solve them. Each child has developed beautiful spontaneous prayers to our living Lord. They also play "Jesus" music, because that's the kind of music the like now. The Holt Spirit is continuing to build up our family as we continue to rely on His power!
One important factor in my life came into focus as I was preparing this testimony, I no longer have any ill feelings toward the Catholic Church. My family has Jesus in their hearts, and the Lord Jesus is the common thread that ties ALL Christians together, and crosses all denominational boundaries! PRAISE THE LORD!