Amethyst's Testimony Cont 'd . . .
Growing up in Pentecostal Assembly of God churches, I feel blessed to say I’ve seen the spirit move miraculously in the lives of many individuals. Crawling under church pews as the spirit fell heavily at alters, seeing all different reactions: laughter, tears, shouting, dancing, falling, running and more. I knew how good my God is at a very young age. However, the reality of the spiritual realm was not real in me yet.
At age ten, Mom and Dad decided to do a family mission trip to Mexico. We met with local missionaries and did street evangelism and witnessed house to house. About a week into the trip, I was baptized in the Holy Ghost at a Mexican elderly woman’s home. A day or two after, I woke up to see someone lying beside me and called for mom and dad. Scared to death, I rolled over and went back to sleep. Today, I’m convinced it was an angel . . . After the experiences in Mexico, the mission field never left my heart: the faces never left my mind.
I strived in school, eventually becoming one of the best students: president of Florida’s biggest SWAT club, president of the student council, anchor person for the morning show, seat number one on the tennis team… I gave speeches at the honor roll assemblies, sang dedication songs, the works. Honestly, I had my fifteen minutes of popularity. Everyone knew me teachers and students alike. That was when I met Mr. Russo. I never had him as a teacher but one day we happened to get into a discussion. I had been wearing a Teen Challenge t-shirt and Teen Challenge visited his church. After explaining my families direct relationship to Teen Challenge (a drug rehabilitation program), we got into a conversation about the Lord. He immediately began inviting me to church. When I was late to class, he’d write an excuse for me. Constantly he’d mention visiting the youth group from then on.
Life as an ideal teen came a screeching halt when I felt invincible enough to dibble, dabble in a relationship with a man five years older than me. (It doesn’t sound like a lot, but at age 14, it is.) I briefly got into the rave scene, attending parties with the works: glow sticks, trance, black lights, ecstasy, acid and LSD. I remember witnessing a guy overdosing for the first time. It awakened the spirit in me: I immediately recognized the same demonic spirits that I felt in Mexico. I ignored it but never forgot it. I never went as far as kryptonite, dropping ecstasy on a rare occasion. For awhile, I balanced the two different worlds until I was caught skipping school. My mom grounded me for the rest of my life, especially from seeing that boyfriend of mine.
In my desperation to “have a life again,” I attended the youth group Mr. Russo mentioned (of course to meet the boy there.) I knew the spirit of God was there, I’m convinced. One sermon, “My Beloved” preached by Rob Russo was just for me: my spirit wanted to cry out but my mind wouldn’t let it.
During summer I was still grounded… As a result, my only hope of getting out was church camp and my boyfriend wasn’t able to go with me. I decided to go. Bringing all my baggage and bad attitude, , hopped in the church van, disgusted with the “rich, Christian white kids” around me. I secluded myself at the camp but went to all the nighttime meetings. The spirit of God was undeniable. I tried hard to quench it. I watched people fall prostrate at the wooden stage. It was during that time, I asked God. If you want me you’ll prove yourself real to me: I’m not going to take a walk of emotion but a walk of conviction. . .
It was in that moment while the band played loudly, teenagers sobbed, mockers snickered in the back rows, the preachers shouted, the people praised. One man pointed me out, “you get over here”. I walked to the wooden ‘alter’ and my knees buckled and I gave up everything saying, “Even if I never get the jobs I want and I sweep the floors of the church for the rest of my life—I’ll do it if it’s for you God.” At that point, I didn’t understand God’s mercy; I didn’t expect to ever experience God the way I did in Mexico ever again. After all, I was tainted by the world.
Two years later at the same wooden stage I humbly gave up everything, I played the keyboard in worship with a more reckless abandonment then I could’ve ever imagined. Within two years I had gone from one of the most well known people in my school, to being the girl who had paper balls thrown at her for praying in the courtyard. God brought me through an intense season of loneliness where I felt disconnected from the world and yet disconnected with the church. It was a season of pruning. In this season God graced me with my ability to play the keyboard, I met some of the best friends I have today and I created a firm foundation for future trials and tribulations. I later continued in local missions work and missions to Brazil.
At age 15, my parents suffered an abrupt brake up. Mom and I walked through a time serious darkness and poverty. I remember sneaking into the churches kitchen, rummaging through left over’s from church gatherings to bring home for food. Cars broke down, grades plummeted and goodwill immediately became a way of life. I dropped all sports and clubs to get a job at the church. This was an extremely humbling time for me, again another season of pruning. During this time, God gave me a huge heart for the forgotten and through so many prophesies: my call to missions became apparent.
The night of my high school graduation, I took off my cap, rode to the airport and left the little town of Citrus County to begin a journey that still hasn’t ended.
I’ve lived in the African bush, lived in my car, lived at host homes and even lived in beachside condos but more importantly I’ve lived in the will of God who provides all my needs according to his riches and glory. The safest place to live is inside the will of God. As for me, that is where I desire my permanent dwelling place to be wherever the Lord may take me.