Testimony from the Streets of Winnipeg
By Jill Coombs
As of late the media has shone a light in some of the dark corners and secret alleyways of Winnipeg. Our city is reeling from the tremors of the murder of missing women to the allegations and truth of deep seated racism. However, as Christians we know that where there is darkness, God's merciful light shines all the more brightly.
So in response to Winnipeg's darkness, I am delighted to share the testimony of one of Winnipeg's aboriginal girls who found herself plucked from the streets by our Lord's strong and steadfast arm. And praise God, she is one that will not be numbered amongst Winnipeg's murdered and missing.
My friend's life has not been an easy one since she has given her life to the Lord. Nevertheless her joy and complete trust in the Lord rings out with unmistakable faith.
The Bible text I've chosen to weave throughout her testimony is Psalm 73:22-24. I am sure that we can all relate to what it is to emerge from a season of despondency only to be thrown into the waves and billows of God's Fatherly chastisement and unyielding grace and love.
Sasha's Testimony: "God is so good! He's done so much in my life in the past two years. It's so awesome. The Lord took me off the streets when I cried out to Him. It was pouring rain. I was drunk and I had nowhere to go. I was crying my eyes out yelling, 'God please help me! If you help me now, I will live for you. I'm ready.' Five minutes later, a stranger pulled up and asked me if I knew Jesus. I said yes and asked if I could go with him. He said yes and took me back to his and his wife's home. I started going to church and reading scripture. About two weeks later, I got my own house and my five children came to live with me. Everything was going really good, stable with my children, taking them to church and teaching them about Jesus. We would start out days with worship music and attend church whenever possible. Then a year after getting my kids back and living for God, tragedy struck. One morning I woke up and started getting my girls ready for school and found my baby daughter Ryan not breathing. The Lord took my girl to heaven that day and my life felt like it was falling apart. The Lord was teaching me a lesson in faith. I could go back to my old lifestyle or I could grow in the Lord and in my faith. My other children were apprehended while CFS and Police did an investigation. The whole thing was a complete nightmare but has brought me ever closer to the Lord. He has provided for me continuously since then. I recently got a place again and I get my children back in a few weeks. I am deeply grieved for my baby girl but I grieve with the hope of being able to see her in heaven. I feel closer to God and have a desire to tell people of all the marvellous works He does. God has blessed me through this difficult time. He has opened my eyes to the importance of reading my Bible and teaching my children and others of His power. He heals my heart every day. His love is amazing and everlasting and I tell everyone I can. I love Jesus and so should you. I am not ashamed to say He is my Saviour. I want everyone to know! I read my Bible on the bus and start as many conversations as I can with friends, family and strangers. It's amazing how all things work together for good with God. I just want people to know it! God is good. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. I dare you to try it! I've run into many people from my past and they all say there is a glow to me now, something different. I witness to them and tell them they can do it too! All you have to do is ask Him into your life and into your heart. Believe that Jesus died for your sins and if you accept Him, I'll' see you in heaven!"
First before we reside to the fact that 'our story' is so different from my friend's that we could not possibly relate, we must humble ourselves under the weight of the Word of God. Starting in Psalm 73:22: "I was so foolish and ignorant; I was like a beast before You." Remember God declares David a man after His own heart, yet here David confesses and declares himself a fool. If we could but see ourselves. Think how often we have chosen sin over obedience. Think how we have not trusted God even after He has proven faithful. How often we have forgotten to honor God when we had noble opportunity to follow Him. If we were honest, we would confess that all too often, feelings and pride have trodden down our faith. Just like David and my friend, we must all start here and recognize our state before a holy and righteous God.
Psalms 73:23 "Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand." Jesus, that beautiful name Jesus. God's right hand. I laugh at how in my friend's testimony she quotes scripture and writes, "Jesus is the way, the truth and the life with child-like faith then nudges, "I dare you to try it". She proposes that the reader take action and 'try it'. In verse 23 God declares His steadfast presence but also bids us to take action, to grab hold of His right hand (Jesus).
Psalm 73:24 "You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory." Oh to sing in agreement with the song writer: "I know that He is able to keep that which I have committed against that day." In my friend's testimony she was literally crying out "God help me. If you help me now, I will live for You, I am ready." Though she was obedient to Holy Spirit by forcing her gaze to the heavenlies and pleading for God's mercy, she could not have done so without the Holy Spirit faithfully guiding her to a state of divine repentance. You see, in ourselves, we are really fools. We would not and could not know the way apart from Him. Graciously He has ordained every step, every temptation and every trial. We can suffer nothing that He doesn't see fit. For He is our God and we are His children. In the great and the little, Jehovah reigns. You may rest in His Word!
As Christians, faith in Christ and His redemption is our universal link, bond and tie to the kingdom. Our stories may be different but together we can proclaim, "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? There is none other than my soul desires but Thee. May our hearts join the author of this song and my friend as we continue our journey heaven bound.
In conclusion, our lives are not so different from the city of Winnipeg. Where there is darkness, how much greater is the light. How would we know light if we had not foreseen darkness. And how beautiful is that light, now that it has been exposed. Thank you Sasha, my dear friend and sister in Christ, for sharing your testimony. Thank you all who pray for the city of Winnipeg and its dark crevices. Most of all, thank you Jesus for being our Light.
Jill is from Manitoba. She's married and a homeschooling mother of three. Her one desire is to be obedient to the voice of God which presently takes the form of inner city ministry and child evangelism.