Testimony of Wendy Baker

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I know that God has been calling me to Him through my whole life.  I just didn’t know how to answer that call until I met my friend Pamela Baron in 2000.  But first, let me back up for a brief background.   

I come from a Midwestern Iowa farming family, I have 2 brothers and 1 sister and my parents married very young (15 & 18), had me when they were 16 & 19 and are (amazingly) still married.  My grandmother had left her Catholic roots and became Methodist and since she was Methodist, my parents were, and since they were, that is how I was raised.  I believed I was saved as I had been baptized as an infant and had knelt down and prayed the sinner’s prayer with my grandmother at the tender age of 8.  I was taken to church and Sunday school every Sunday and attended youth group on Sunday evenings.

 As a teenager, I rebelled, just like most teenagers.  I smoked, drank, snuck out and did speed and marijuana (which I became very fond of.)  At 14, I was raped by my cousin in the hay mow of our barn and, looking back, I believe that is when I started being angry, scared and depressed.  I still managed to get excellent grades and went off to college.  There I met my first husband and we were married at age 18.  My marriage was not a happy one; my husband was unfaithful after only 4 months of marriage and continued his extramarital activity through the rest of our marriage.  I stayed with him for 13 years (and 2 children) until his drug and alcohol abuse got so bad that I couldn’t stay.  I was living in Colorado at the time having been stationed at Fort Carson when my husband was in the army, we had purchased a home and I had a great job.  Needless to day, that during this time, I gave very little time and energy to God.  I had been going to a church in Colorado Springs towards the end, but there was no real commitment to anything.

After the divorce, I took my children and moved to Wisconsin to be by my parents for their help and support.  I was shell-shocked, depressed and lonely.  I started going to my parents’ church and believed that I was finally serving God as I should.  I had started talking to Him – a lot!  I shared all my innermost thoughts and feelings with Him, including the fact that I was lonely and that I wanted to be married.  I started composing a list of everything I wanted in a husband and told God that I would not look outside of our church to find one.  (I thought that was safe as I attended a church where there were very few people my age and none were single.)  Well, be careful what you ask for – my future husband, Alex, began attending my church and he was interested in me.  We went to a Bible study together and he seemed to be all that I had put on my list.  We were in love and knew that we wanted more children, so we took the plunge and got married after 6 months of dating.   

Our marriage has been rocky, my teenagers did not want me to get remarried and we were really still getting to know each other even though we were married.  Three weeks after we were married, I found out I was pregnant – such joy!  Things were looking up!   

Several months later, my employer was hiring a receptionist – this was the first time I saw Pam.  She was sitting in our conference room filling out her application and there was such brightness surrounding her, as if a ray of pure sunshine was shining through the window just on her – I knew she walked with God.  The first day she came to work for ASK, I was so happy!  I knew she was Pentecostal as I work with two other saints who attend Apostolic Life Tabernacle.  I craved being around her – she fascinated me.  I made up excuses all the time to go to the front desk to talk to her because I knew she would talk about God.  She started praying with me and some others and always talking about the Holy Ghost.  I thought I had the Holy Ghost as we were taught that when we accepted Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit then filled us.  One day, another co-worker said that she wanted the Holy Ghost and so we all planned to go downstairs to a private conference room during lunch to pray.  There were four of us down there – two saints, myself and my Holy Ghost-seeking coworker.  We prayed and prayed and I watched, her mouth was struggling against itself, but even I could feel Jesus there.  She never did let the tongues come through and as we were walking back upstairs, Pam said she was sure someone there was supposed to get the Holy Ghost.  That is when I realized that I didn’t have the Holy Ghost and I wanted it.  Pam kept witnessing to me for the next several months and I even attended some services at Abundant Life with my husband and teenagers, but still I made no commitment. 

 

My son Joshua was born on my birthday in 2001 and he has become the “glue” for our blended family.  We all have him in common and all give and receive love through him.  Six weeks after giving birth, my doctor told me that I had an abnormal pap and that I needed to come in for another test.  I did and that one came back abnormal as well.  She said that the results of both tests showed that I had Stage 3 cervical cancer and needed to get to a specialist immediately.  I made the appointment with the specialist, but I was not worried.  I determined to make an appointment with The Specialist and told Pam I was ready to be baptized.  I repented and cried a lot over the next few weeks as she continued to witness to me and help me prepare for baptism.  On Wednesday evening, June 13, 2001, I was baptized in full immersion, in the glorious name of Jesus Christ and I came up clean!  Not only spiritually, but I knew I was healed and there was no cancer.  As I stood in the water with my arms outstretched to my Father, I could feel the struggle for my lips to let go and I could hear all the saints praying around me.  Suddenly, someone climbed up on the edge and put their hand on my forehead and I was filled with the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues!  I will never forget that elation!  I asked Pam later who had put their hand on me and she told me that it was Sister Dretzka – Thank you Sister Dretzka! 

When I went to my ObGyn specialist a week later, she confirmed what I already knew.  There was nothing there – no sign of anything that could be abnormal.  Praise Jesus!!  You would think that all of those miracles would be proof enough that I was home, but no. 

It didn’t take the devil long to start putting doubts and fear into my mind.  He constantly whispered that I hadn’t received the Holy Ghost and that I was just faking.  He showed me all the people who had lost their spouses because they started walking for God and told me my husband was going to leave me, too.  My family was appalled that I was attending a Pentecostal church and constantly pointed out the characteristics that made it a “cult.”  Pretty soon, I caved – I cut 10” off my hair and turned my back on Jesus and the church.  (My spirit grieved so at the loss of my hair – I couldn’t understand then why I was so sad inside.)  For three and a half years, I struggled.  I kicked and said no, I cut my hair, and wore more makeup and jewelry than ever, while the Spirit in me called – always there and always calling.  For those years, Pam never gave up on me.  She loved me with Jesus’ perfect love.  She was so gentle and kind, even when things I said hurt her, she never left me.   

In August of 2004, I was so depressed; I didn’t know where to turn.  I had been through another pregnancy and birth (only a very difficult one), I was exhausted and sad all the time – I wanted to run away from life and just leave and run barefoot down the road to anywhere but where I was.  Pam gave me the name of a Christian counselor and I started seeing her.  Within 2 sessions I saw the mistakes I was making over and over, allowing my family (mother in particular) to hold me with strings and making God the caboose of my life instead of the engine and I knew what I had to do.  She also pointed out that when the devil whispered his lies in my ear, I would argue with him.  In plain English she said, “You don’t argue with the devil, you don’t even speak to him or acknowledge him – just start praying or quoting scripture or praising God, because the devil and God can’t both be there at the same time.”  That alone was so freeing! 

Again, I knew what I had to do.  I told Pam that I wanted to go to Ladies’ Prayer on Wednesday morning and get refilled with the Holy Ghost.  When we got there, I started praying at the alter and pouring all my heart out to Jesus.  When I was ready, Pam and Sister Showalter started praying with me and in an instant I was filled so full that I was shaking with the power of the Holy Spirit!  

Things are so different this time.  I am running towards God and reveling in His loving embrace and the safety of His grace.  I weathered the storm of my mother’s disapproval and didn’t waiver and she is coming around.  My husband hasn’t left me and asks me all the time about the church and the messages and the Bible and God.  He loves me more when I am serving God.  He is coming; he just doesn’t know it yet.   

Now that Jesus is the engine in my life, I feel joy, wonder, happiness, love, peace and contentment.  There are times when life isn’t great, but because I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, I will be fine.  He is teaching me and I am learning and I will learn for the rest of my life, but I know that I will never, ever leave Jesus again. 

Sister Wendy Baker
February 10, 2005

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