The following is the testimony of my dear friend Kristina Rogers, which she has shared with me so that I might share it with all of you.
Throughout my teenage years, I’ve struggled with many things. I attended a public school, where I was more interested in fitting in and being “popular,” than with anything else, especially having a Christ-centered life, or being a beacon of light to my lost friends. I live in a home where Christian values are far from taught, let alone enforced. I go to a church where my sister, my brother, and I are the only kids whose parents do not attend the services. This path of mine is not as easy as one may think, and many times, I’m the one who has made it difficult for myself.
My mom was raised in a Catholic home, but after running away as a teenager, never went back to the Roman Catholic ways. My mom met my dad through my aunt’s boyfriend; they were in prison together. My mom was 19, and my dad was 35 when they were married in the Montana State Prison. Three years later, I was born. Between the birth and the age of two, my parents lived in virtually every state on the West Coast, and several others between Montana and Mexico because my dad was on the run from the government. My little brother was born in Washington, and my little sister was born after we moved back to Montana. My dad went back to prison, and after that I saw him for one summer between second and third grade, and I haven’t seen him since. He is still wanted by the federal government. I never really knew why he was in prison until much later in my teenage years.
When I was in fourth grade, we moved across town into our first real “house.” My neighbors had a daughter only a couple years older than I am. For two months, she begged us to go to church with her and her family, but we didn’t go. Vacation Bible School came around, and my mom decided to let us attend. I was saved that first night in June of 1994. Three weeks after that, we began riding the Sunday school bus faithfully. I was baptized in the early (and freezing) spring of 1995.
In the summer of 1996, my new bus captain and his family invited me to start attending youth group with their foster daughter. Instead of going home on Sundays after the bus, I would go to their home, then to a rest home, youth group, and Sunday evening church with them. Eventually, I began to attend all the regular services at my church. Then, the next summer, I attended my first youth conference at Hammond, Indiana. I had never seen anything like it. I decided then that Hyles-Anderson College was the only place for me. Satan would use everything in his power to sway me from this decision.
That same summer (1997), my church decided to start a school. My mom would not allow me to go. I stayed up for five nights praying that God would allow me to go to the school. I told my pastor I would clean the toilets at church to pay my school bill. When we went clothes shopping, I bought nothing but dresses. At the register, my mom turned to me, and said, “I’m still not going to let you go to that school, and that’s final!” I wasn’t sure that she was going to let me either, but I continued to pray. A week before school started, my mom decided to let me go. God really does answer your prayers! As an eighth grader, I learned that even I mattered to God.
On November 10, 1997, during evangelistic meetings at my church, I got assurance of my salvation and again, I was baptized. That year, I began singing in the choir and getting involved in teen soul winning and other church ministries. At our annual missions’ conference, on February 10, 1998, I surrendered to be a missionary’s wife.
That next school year, God made it possible for my sister and my brother to attend Heritage Baptist School as well. Our school Christmas play was about Lottie Moon, a missionary to China. On the night of the program, I begged God to get my step dad saved. I knew if I could get him saved, then my mom would follow. At the end of the play, I stood in the back of our auditorium begging God to do something. I watched, as my step dad walked the aisle and received Christ as his Savior. I began to cry so hard, I had to leave the building and go out in the parking lot. My mom wasn’t saved that night, but the next Sunday at our Sunday school program, she walked forward, received Christ, and got baptized. I thought for sure now I finally had the Christian home I’d dreamed about. I was wrong.
My parents didn’t start attending church, or praying, or doing anything different than they had been doing. That Easter, my mom got mad at the church and took us out of the school, and out of the church. That was on April 5, 1999. One month later, on Wednesday, May 5, 1999, in answer to an unspoken prayer, we were back in church for the first time. My parents would not allow us to go back to the school, but we were back in church, and at the time, that was all I cared about.
At school, I began to sidetrack myself. I became part of the “popular crowd.” I was highly involved in the music program and extra-curricular activities. God gave me a talent that I was just beginning to discover, and with the help of my orchestra teacher, I was well on my way to several music schools across the nation. In 10th grade, I was in two orchestras and choir, as well as writing my own music on the side. God’s plans for me were getting in my way, so I decided to stop going to church because I couldn’t go to church and be in God’s will, and pursue my own dreams as well.
For three months, I chased my own dreams. A scholarship to Berklee School of music snagged me. At the age of 16, I became the youngest ever to receive a full-ridden scholarship to Berklee. However, Halloween 2000, God knocked me flat on my face in a hospital bed with the only person I could look to being Christ. Out of school for a month, I returned to school amidst rumors and stories of why I was gone. Two days after returning to CM Russell High School, I went back to my church’s school.
It’s been almost two years since then, and still, Satan has tried his hardest to move me. I work in many of my church’s ministries now, including the bus ministry and the rest homes. My parents still do not attend church and have decided to again take my brother and sister out of Heritage Baptist School. They also still believe that I’ve been brainwashed by a cult. My mom believes I belong on Broadway. Many times, he has used my past to influence the decisions I make now. However, God has given me great opportunities and talents that I know now can only be used for him. I may not be able to do something great for Him, but I owe as much to Him for allowing me the talents He has given me, to give them back to Him. Therefore, in August of this year, I will be attending Hyles-Anderson College. My hope and prayer is that God will do something with me, or with my future husband: that God will allow me to be a part of some great work somewhere, whether it’s here or across the sea as a pastor’s wife, missionary’s wife, deacon’s wife, or layman’s wife.
Here is a poem Kristina wrote which she has allowed me to share as well, entitled “The Lighthouse”:
I never asked to be a lighthouse Nor to be a shining star I haven't asked to be the moon Because it's just too far But if I can be one tiny ray Of sunshine for a soul Who's tossed and turned upon life's sea Lord, let this be my goal: To show Your love in all I do In everything I say For I may be the only "Jesus" They see along their way. Help me face each trial With courage, hope, and love And help me to remember You're watching from above. I see my journey's ending My races have been run But there are others after me Whose journey's just begun. They will need the hope You give And Your gentle care They will need to lean on You To know You're always there But who will show them all these things 'Cause no one else can know Unless they've fought the battles And received the scars to show. Lord, let me be that light for them Because (through You) I know the way. Grant me the years to touch these souls My Jesus, this only I pray.