“He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
We are called to share our testimony with others in our daily walk. I want to share with you what I learned at the Sharing Your Faith Story workshop I attended. It was given by Nancy Ward, a woman of strong faith that loves the Lord and who has been a businesswoman for many years.
Some of us have been called to tell our faith story at the ACTS retreat in 30 minutes. I am not referring to those testimonies. I am referring to a 5- minute encounter with a co-worker, family member, neighbor or someone you meet in your daily walk. As you grow in the Lord and experience changes in your life, people will notice. They may ask, “What it is that gives you that assurance that things are going to get better?” Or someone may say, “I would be so troubled if this or that happened in my life but you seem to be at peace.” This is the time you share your faith story.
There are 3 components of your faith story:
1. Who were you before your conversion, or before your healing?
2. What happened to change you? What was the decisive moment, a thunderbolt of love or the gradual awareness of God’s love? Connect with your Galilee moment when you first met Jesus as your Savior.
3. Who are you now?
To say, “I went on a retreat and since then I feel Jesus in my life,” would not draw a person to understand what you experienced, That person most likely would walk away, not moved by what you shared.
My faith story – two versions
For example, my faith journey began when my neighbor, a Baptist minister tried everything to share Jesus with me. He finally asked me to read the Sinner’s Prayer, declaring to God that I am relying on Jesus Christ as my Savior.
Since then I have prayed this prayer with many people because of the impact it made on me. It didn’t seem to have the same impact on them. I assume that, because God created us all different, what works with one may not work with another.
Instead, I would say,
“My faith journey began when I was 18. My neighbor, a Baptist minister, had me read the Sinner’s Prayer. The moment I prayed it I felt the feeling come over me that gave me a hunger and thirst for what I had felt at that moment. The only thing I can compare it to is when I hear of people experiencing cocaine for the first time. It is so amazing that they want to experience that same feeling of wholeness again and again so they keep sniffing it to get that first experience again.
“I have never forgotten the encounter I had with Christ that day. It was as if I had been told all my life about the Lord but this day I actually knew I had experienced something so amazing and wonderful. He didn’t ask me to start going to church and stop living the way I had grown accustomed to. He just showed me unconditional love by giving me a peace I had never felt before.”
Life has a lot of ups and downs and distractions so we have many Galilee moments. Many times we can walk so strongly with the Lord and then find ourselves getting distracted with everyday issues and realizing something is missing. We realize that the excitement of being in the Word is no longer there, and that our faith dwindled and problems are occurring. Then something will happen and again we will remember that Galilee moment.
The Samaritan woman
The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah?” (John 4:28-29)
Another moment for me was when I couldn’t get over my past, the sin that I was reminded of often. Then a woman that I didn’t know told me that the Lord wanted me to quit looking at the curtain behind me because there was nothing there. At first I didn’t know what she meant so I asked the Lord to show me if this was from him so I could receive it. If not, then I asked him to help me to forget about it. The following Sunday during Mass I began to cry because the understanding of what she said came over me like a flash. The Lord sent this woman to tell me he wanted me to know I had been forgiven.
This kind of personal sharing brings hope to others that can’t seem to let go of things concerning their past. It will draw them to want to experience a life filled with trust in the Lord in small and big areas of their lives.
Through the journey God has brought me through I boldly will ask people if I can pray with them. In this daily testimony, you don’t have to share all the areas of your life that are private to you. Share those times that will minister to that particular person in their particular situation.
Please don’t share anyone else’s story just because the person you are witnessing to is going through the same thing. If you share another person’s story, the person you are speaking to will be hesitant to share his or her story with you because he or she can see that you cannot be trusted to keep information private.
Like Nancy, I recommend that you write in a journal about the moment you felt Jesus near you — that Galilee moment when you first met Jesus and knew that he loves you.
Gloria Castro is a broadcasting software operator at a Spanish broadcasting station. God has blessed her and her husband Amado with two children and two grandchildren. She is a Eucharistic Minister and on the leadership team of ACTS at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Duncanville, TX. Her passion is witnessing to the love of God and praying with and for people.