Jan25

My Testimony by Jamie Hulsey

I grew up in a small town in Alabama in a home with a dad, mom, older brother, and two sisters.  My father was a carpenter and made a good living for our family. He was a hardworking man and taught me a lot about work ethic. At the end of March, 1983, all this changed.  On this day, my father had a brain aneurysm. I awoke that morning with a great dad and by the end of the day he was in a vegetative state. He died on April 1st and was buried on April 4th, my 9th birthday. This tragedy totally changed my life. Cars were repossessed, we moved a couple times, finances were minimal.  My mom tried very hard, and did an excellent job, to raise us by herself.

This event in my life pushed me into passivity. I would take a back seat in many areas of my life. I played in a local band and tried many things to cover up what was going on inside. When I was 14 years old, I met a girl named Rena Fulmer. This was another major turning point in my life. Things changed. I now had this wonderful girl that truly cared about me and gave me purpose. After a few years, I asked her to marry me, and she said yes. I was going to a local college, working full-time, and balancing my relationship. All the while, I was still in many ways a very passive person. I kept wondering how I would ever have the money for us to get married. I kept moving forward, trying my best, but feeling as though I was getting nowhere. One evening I was talking with Rena’s father, and he asked me if I ever thought about joining the Army. It had never crossed my mind until that point. A few weeks later, I walked into the Army recruiting station and told them I wanted to join. As you can imagine, they had no issue with helping me. So, on August 20, 1993, I joined the Army.

After graduating basic training, Rena and I were married. Our first duty station was Fort Hood, Texas, 750 miles away from Alabama. Things were great for a while, but being a passive person, I would let things sit and not deal with them. Rena and I had some issues in our marriage, but I would pretend as though they did not exist. While at Fort Hood, our daughter, Taylor, was born. This was another major event in my life. Again, this did not fix the issues, we just focused our attention on our daughter, not resolving the issues. At the end of 1997, I received orders to Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania. This was exciting, but dramatic at the same time. Rena and I were as close to divorce as we could possibly be. It was only a matter of time.

Prior to leaving for Carlisle, my wife’s cousin invited her to a church service in Gadsden, Alabama. So she went. The people there would clap, raise their hands, and were obviously excited about something. This began to get my wife’s attention. She invited me, and the same thing happened: I wanted what they had. They were excited about life. They were connected to Jesus in a way that I had never seen before. They were preaching from the Bible and pointed out to us that we needed to be baptized in the Name of Jesus for the remission of our sins. I had never heard this before, but if this is what it took to have what they had, I was for it.  So my wife and I were baptized and God filled my wife with the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). What a transformation!

We left for Carlisle soon after that with the name of a church that taught and believed this same message. When we got to Carlisle, we contacted Dave Huston from the church and began a Bible study. Our life together was changing. In March of 1998, Jesus filled me with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit!! He was making us into a new creation. He was removing the passive side of me. He began to restore our marriage. He also blessed us with a son, Hunter. Jesus became the father to me that was taken away in 1983. We began to feel what the folks in Gadsden were feeling.

Through reading, study of the Bible, seeking the presence of Jesus, and understanding what life is really all about, Jesus restored that which was lost in our lives. Today I am very active at Carlisle Christian Fellowship and serve as one of the pastors.

Jan22

My Testimony by Nathan Horne

My testimony begins many years ago with my parents Kevin and Judy. They met in a local church not long after they were both saved. The Lord had done a miraculous work in both their lives and He was calling my dad into ministry. A couple years after they got married, I was born on April 22, 1986. I grew up in a little Pentecostal church, New Life Tabernacle, in New Bedford, MA, where my dad was also the assistant pastor for many of those years.

Growing up I had a great childhood. For many years my mom did at-home daycare, which allowed her to be home with my older brother and I. Although we were never wealthy, I don’t ever remember a time where we went without. It never dawned on me when I was younger but as I got older, and looking back now, I know we were truly blessed and God always provided. I believe He always had His hand on our family.

When I was little, probably about 5 or 6, I remember waking my mom in the middle of the night wanting a drink. the way our little apartment was situated, you could see my parents’ bedroom door from the kitchen. To this day, I vividly remember looking over and seeing a white figure, like a white silhouette in the doorway of their room. It took up the full height and width of the doorway. Being half asleep and groggy eyed, I asked my mom, “Why is Dad standing there in the door?” She responded and said he wasn’t, he was asleep in bed.  Now you might call it the imagination of a child, but I choose to believe it was an angel of God watching over and protecting our family.

As I said previously, I had a great childhood, growing up in a godly environment and church that preached biblical truth. We had a great Sunday school program, and I had many awesome teachers through the years.  I am very thankful for the truth I learned growing up about God and His salvation. At the age of nine, in a Wednesday night service, I was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance, just like the Bible talks about in the Book of Acts. The following Sunday I was baptized in Jesus’ Name, the only biblically correct way of baptism. It was an incredible experience. At that age, however, I don’t know if I fully understood the gravity of what it meant to be saved. I knew Jesus loved me. I knew He was God who came to earth, and robed Himself in flesh. I knew he suffered, bled, and died a horrific death on the cross for my sins. But I don’t think I truly understood what it meant to live “saved.” That came with time and age.

I am extremely blessed to have been raised in the family I was raised in. It’s only by the grace and mercy of God that He kept me from many things. I don’t know what it tastes like to smoke a cigarette. I don’t know what it feels like to be drunk on alcohol. I don’t know what it feels like to be high on drugs.  I don’t know what it’s like to grow up in a broken home with only one parent. I do, however, know what it feels like to be in His presence. I know what it feels like to have His Spirit wash over me. I know what it feels like to be brought to my knees under the power of His awesome presence. I know what it’s like to see His healing power touch someone and make him whole again. I could not list all the wonderful things God has done for me, done in my life, and done in the lives of many other people I know.

All this isn’t to say my life has always been sunshine and roses. I have had my own struggles. But no matter how many times I have let Him down, God never fails to show His mercy and grace. I am so thankful for His faithfulness!

As I said, growing up, I didn’t always truly understand what it meant to be saved. Growing up in church, I knew how to have “church.” I knew how to go through the motions. I knew how to act “saved.” But looking back, I know my relationship with God was much more on the surface than in the heart, and I’m not proud to say that. I know, however, that God has had a plan and a purpose for my life all along.

In March of 2009 I went on a trip to Greece for apostolic single adults. It was sponsored by the United Pentecostal Church International, the organization that my church was a part of. Since I went to school for architecture, Greece was always one of the top places in the world I wanted to see. Little did I know that God had another plan in mind. I met a young woman on this trip named Alyson. We didn’t really hit it off right away, but we kept in
contact. The only problem was that she was living in Pennsylvania and I was living in Rhode Island.  Finally, in December of 2009 we started got more serious. We had a long distance relationship for a year and got engaged on Christmas Day 2010. In the meantime, I was looking for a job to relocate to PA. In April 2011, the Lord provided a job and a place to live that allowed me to move. We immediately set the date and got married September 3, 2011. Just a couple short years later, the Lord blessed us with our first child, a beautiful little girl named Lyla Claire.

Leaving my family and friends and the only place I had ever called home was not easy.  I know, however, that it was God’s plan for my life.  Being a part of Carlisle Christian Fellowship has been an incredible blessing for my life. I have been to many churches in my life, but just like many people say when they visit, there’s something different about CCF. I can say it has helped me be a better man and leader of my family. It has helped me grow deeper in my relationship with and understanding of Jesus Christ, who He is and what He desires for my life. I might not have it all figured out just yet, but I’m glad the Lord is still working in my life!

I pray that anyone who reads this testimony will know that Jesus loves YOU unconditionally! He shed His blood and died on the cross for YOU. And He desires an intimate relationship with YOU. No matter what you might have done, His grace is sufficient and His mercy endures forever! At CCF you will find a place to call home. You will feel His love and compassion. You will hear great preaching and teaching based on biblical truth. You will find a place that is more than just a church to attend. It is truly a place to belong and believe!

Nov01

My testimony by Sharlene Hockenberry

When I was a child, my family attended a First Church of God congregation. But from the age of nine through my late teen years I suffered sexual, emotional, and mental abuse. During this time, church became a comfort  zone for me; I knew that whenever I was in church I was safe.

I was baptized at the age of 12, but only because that’s what everyone else was doing. Through my teenage years I tried drinking and doing drugs. But every time I would drink it would leave a bitter taste in my mouth , and drugs did absolutely nothing for me. I realize now that it was only because of the grace of God!

At the age of 21 I got married just to get out of the house. In 1984 our son was born and in 1989 our daughter was born. But in 1995 I was struck by the painful blow of my husband leaving me. Before I had fully recovered from that, my son rebelled and left to live with his father.

After my son left, I made a bad choice and got in trouble with the law. I tried committing suicide nine times. Finally a friend urged me to go to the hospital. I spent 14 days in the psychiatric unit and was treated with anti-depression medicine. Meanwhile, my daughter was taken away from me. My entire family was gone. I felt unloved, abandoned, and utterly alone. Everything I had worked for was gone, and depression choked hope from my heart.

But one night my neighbors, a couple who attended Carlisle Christian Fellowship, invited me to a home friendship group. I had never experienced the genuine love and compassion that I felt in that meeting. From that very first moment on, my life began to turn around. I had found a new family.

In July 1998 I was born again, just as the Bible describes. After I was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, I felt so much lighter. My burdens were lifted! It felt as if every drop of water that rolled off my back was every sin that Jesus had taken away. My home group leaders took me under their wing and counseled me through many phone conversations and late-night talks. I am so grateful for their commitment to me. But I still had a long road ahead of me.

Because of a very bad incident that happened the year before, in 1999 I was sent to state prison. My sentence was for 5-10 years. Once again I fell to the bottom of the barrel. But this time it was different: I had Jesus Christ on my side! I had so many ups and downs, but Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” And He hasn’t.

Jesus told me to stand on the truth and the truth would set me free. That’s exactly what I did, and I spent the whole 10 years in prison.

After I came home I went to my new home friendship group where I found the fellowship I had missed so much in prison. That particular night there was as interpretation of tongues in which Jesus said, “What was taken from you I will restore and give you back more.” Peace and comfort came over me that night.

If God could scoop me out of “the bottom of the barrel,” He can and will do it for you. He loves you just as much as He loves me, even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. When David was discouraged, he wrote these words that I now find so encouraging: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my savior and my God” (Psalm 42:11).

If you are discouraged about life, there is a trustworthy God who will give you encouragement and strength to go on. Even though the road ahead of me may not be perfectly smooth, my Lord Jesus Christ will never leave me. With Him I can get through anything life tosses my way, and you can too.

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me” (Psalm 138:7).

Sep29

My Testimony by Dave Shrader

I arrived in Carlisle for my next military assignment at the U.S. Army War College in October 2002. I had just spent almost 6 years in Alaska, and I was anxious to get back down to the lower forty-eight and closer to my home in West Virginia.  Once I got settled in I started going to the church on base at Carlisle Barracks along with my wife Mary and daughters, Amanda and Brittany. We went there for almost 2 years but eventually quit.

In 2005, I retired from the Army and was looking for another full-time job. Somehow I was able to get a temporary job working full-time as a contractor at the U.S. Army War College, which led into a permanent full-time job. But still I was not going to church.

In early 2009, one of my co-workers  named Jamie Hulsey invited me and my family to his church. I was skeptical at first, but then decided to give it a try. At that time my religious experience had me feeling like a tumbleweed, just being blown around by the wind. I had no real sense of direction.

I started attending the Sunday morning service with my family, and a few weeks later asked God to forgive me of my sins. On June 30, 2009, I was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (see Acts 2:38). I wanted to learn more, so we joined a home friendship group and eventually started a home Bible study with a man named Mike Hensley. In October of 2011 I received the gift of the Holy Spirit, and for the first time in my life I spoke in tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance (see Acts 2:1-4).

Life was going pretty good for me, but I still encountered struggles in my daily activities. My dad had a situation, which I asked the church to pray about. I did not go into details, but we prayed for my dad. God’s Spirit spoke through one of the church members named Barbara Huston in regards to his situation. That response was a real eye-opener for me.

The bottom line is this: GOD IS REAL! I have learned that when I put God first in my life, all the other things will fall into place. He worked things out with my dad and his situation. God’s Spirit has given me a desire and a sense of belonging to this church. I no longer feel like a tumbleweed blowing in the wind. I feel like I belong to this church and I thank God for Jamie Hulsey for planting that seed in my life. God has given me inner peace
and a solid rock to put my feet on. I thank Him for His grace and salvation.

Life’s road is not always easy, but with God’s Spirit I sure do manage it better.

Apr20

My Testimony by Brian Schrift

After Jesus!

After Jesus!

Before Jesus.

Before Jesus.

It all began back on May 30, 1972, when I was born to my parents, Claude and Jean Schrift. I grew up in Annapolis, MD, the youngest of six children: three girls and three boys. My childhood was fairly normal: a fishing trip here, a hunting trip there, a lot of friends in the neighborhood, playing Lacrosse. All in all, not a bad childhood. I always knew, however, that there was something missing in my family’s life as there was no consistent peace or joy in our home.

In 1982, when I was ten, my parents allowed me to get a paper route for the local newspaper called the Evening Capital. I delivered newspapers until I was 13. During that time my supervisors name was Jim Reyback (he looked like Abe Lincoln…kind of).

From there I muddled through my teenage years, with not a lot of direction. When I graduated high school, I went into the biggest identity crisis of my life. I always thought I wanted to be a doctor, but, I was not sure what was in store and quite frankly I was at the point of not really caring a whole lot about it. I just wanted to go to college, to have a good time, and if a bachelors degree just happened to fall into my lap…well, I would take it.

That was not what happened at all, however. I thought I had it all together, but after giving college a half-hearted attempt and the partying life a whole-hearted attempt, in 1995 at the ripe young age of 23 I decided to pack my bags and move to Seattle. It was there that I met the woman who would be my wife and the little girl that who be my oldest daughter.

All the while, I still had other motives: a lifestyle that I thought was “Ok,” that I thought would fulfill me, that I thought would be the “easy life.” While I was in the midst of all of this, I started to see how I was on the inside.

In April of 1998, after a short visit with my family the year before, Michelle, Mary, and I decided to move to Pennsylvania. We liked the area, the cost of living was low, and we would be close to our families. Soon after we moved, Michelle began planning our wedding. So in the spring of 1999, I was assigned the task of finding someone to marry us. Since we wanted to get married in our back yard, we needed a pastor who was willing to drive out to our house. I now realize that this was our way of saying, “We have not been to church in a really long time and we have nowhere else to get married.”

One spring afternoon I picked up the Carlisle phone book and looked under pastors. I landed on the listing for a local pastor here in Carlisle named Dave Huston. I called him and asked a few general questions: Will you marry me and my wife? Sure. Will you marry us in our backyard? Sure. How much will it cost us? Whatever you want to give me.

My immediate response was, SOLD! He proceeded to tell me, however, that he would like to meet with us to do some premarital counseling. My response may not have been the warmest, but I agreed to it. Soon after that we went to our first premarital counseling session. Once we arrived at the church building to meet with Dave, he began the conversation by asking where I was from, and I told him Annapolis, MD. He said, “That’s funny, so am I.” He proceeded to ask me what my profession was, and I told him that I was in the restaurant business even back in Annapolis.

Dave went even further than that and asked what I did when I was a kid. I told him I delivered newspapers in Annapolis for the Evening Capital from the time I was 10 to 13, from 1982-1985. Dave told us that he too worked for the Evening Capital those same years. He continued and asked me who my boss was, so I said it was Jim Reyback, the guy who looked like Abe Lincoln.

Dave proceeded to tell me that at that time, he was Jim Reyback’s boss! Now, I don’t know about you, but at this time, God started to speak to me in little ways that I could not recognize at first. This was more than a coincidence, this was more than happenstance. What are the chances? Grow up in Annapolis, move 3000 miles to Seattle, move back east “by chance” to Carlisle, and sit in front of the pastor who is to marry Michelle and me, who “by chance” happened to be the boss of my childhood paper route manager.

As we went through the pre-marriage counseling, I didn’t feel that it was doing any good, as I thought I had all of the answers to our issues and we were walking into to our marriage with all wisdom. Right. I think not.

We got married in October of 1999. Dave put us on the church mailing and invited us to the Easter service in the spring of 2000. We left half way through the service.

On August 10, 2001, we had an addition to our family, Ryley Ana Schrift. In the mean time, Dave and I remained in contact and in December of 2002 we received an invitation to the Christmas program, “A Lambs Tale.” On this occasion we were introduced to Dave’s daughter, Andrea, and her family. Low and behold, Andrea’s husband, Don, grew up in Annapolis too and knew some of the same people I knew. From that point on we began a friendship with Don and his family.

This is when God really began to work. Don became a friend and started to show the light of Jesus and how it brought peace and joy into his life. I knew that Michelle and I were ‘coming up short’ in our lives and that there was something, a void, an empty place, where we were just complacent, sad, angry, but never truly happy.

We soon got involved in a home friendship group and then a Bible Study. On February 8, 2004, Don and Andrea were teaching us a Bible Study and going over how to be born again. That’s when the light went on for Michelle and I. It was 9:30 at night sitting at a dining room table. No thunderous voice. No lightning striking. Just the still small voice of understanding showing me the way into everlasting life. That night we both got baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38). A short time later we both received the incredible gift of the Holy Spirit.

This is my testimony, this is how God brought me out of sin. Although Jesus knew us even in the womb, He also knew every step we would take until that cold night in February when I was baptized in His name. You see, God knows the beginning and the end. Why do we so easily forget where we came from and where Jesus has brought us to? We should never forget how merciful He has been, how patient He has been, and how much grace He has supplied for us. Jesus is no respecter of persons, situations, or lifestyles. All he wants is your heart to be in the right place so you can come to know Him.

Apr01

My Testimony by Dave Huston

Dave and Barbara Huston (2008)

Dave and Barbara Huston (2008)

By the time I had reached the age of 31, I was divorced, lonely, and miserable, living in a pathetic 8 by 35 foot mobile home. I smoked two to three packs of cigarettes a day, drank alcohol and smoked marijuana on a regular basis. I had joint custody of my three children but couldn’t have them over for the night because my home was too small. On weekends we all stayed at my parents’ house. The only thing I had going for me at that time was my job. I poured myself into it and was steadily climbing up the ladder. It was my escape. In fact, I dreaded the weekends because I knew I would be lonely. As Monday morning approached, I was always eager to get back to work.Even though I was making good money, I was always broke because of bills left over from my marriage and divorce. During my 20s I had owned my own business and a nice house in the country with a swimming pool. But just at the point when I should have been really prospering, my life was in shambles.

In the Spring of 1981, a man at work talked me into letting him teach me a Bible study. He would come over to my house each week and walk me through the Scriptures. I had always been interested in spiritual things, but I must admit, I had never made much effort to read the Bible. I has fascinated with the things I was learning, and I was impressed with his willingness to come over and teach me each week.

In the Fall of that year, my friend invited me to the local assembly he was part of. Since it was a Saturday, I had my children. So that night all four of us walked into Antioch Apostolic Church for the first time. I had been raised in an Episcopal church where everyone was absolutely quiet and the prayers and music were very structured and formal. But this church was different! People were raising their hands and praising God out loud. They were singing from their hearts. People seemed to be genuinely sincere in their love and adoration for Jesus. And the preaching was powerful and right out of the Bible.

I didn’t respond that first night. In fact, I left the service greatly troubled on the inside. The thing I couldn’t get away from was that the people worshiped God as though He was actually there, standing right in front of them. For the first time in my life I felt that I had been confronted with the reality of God.

I returned the next Friday evening, November 13, 1981. That night I did respond. I repented of my self-centered life, I prayed and reached out to God, I was baptized by immersion in water in the name of Jesus Christ, and God filled me with the gift of the Holy Spirit, just like it happened in the Bible (Acts 2:1-4; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:1-6).

Since that time God has worked many wonderful things in my life. He has healed my hurting heart; He has delivered me from alcohol and cigarettes; He has given me a beautiful new wife; and He has placed within me a higher purpose for living. Today I live in Carlisle, PA, where I am involved in the oversight of a local assembly called Carlisle Christian Fellowship. My three daughters have grown to adulthood and are all married to ministers of the gospel. They have also given me ten fantastic grandchildren. What a mighty God we serve!

Jesus said that we must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. He explained that this meant being born of “water and the Spirit” (John 3:3-5). I now realize that this new birth comes by being baptized in water in the name of Jesus and being filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). When I had my new birth experience, my life was changed. Today, the old things have passed away and behold, all things have become new. I thank God for the peace and joy He has given me and for the wonderful church family He has placed me in.

Jan12

My Testimony by Carl Koser

 

Carl Koser

Carl Koser (2008)

I was single until I was 41 years old. I was considered a free spirit and mostly did what I wanted. But I still felt empty. For about two years I attended different churches, and even joined a Christian singles club. I started going to a church regularly, but after service I would go home and resume what I would normally do. I did not feel God’s presence, but at the time I did not know how that should feel. I thought I was O.K., because I was attending a church that taught from the Bible.

Then one day I went on a blind date to a church picnic. It was difficult. I met a new girl, new people, all strangers. But they made me feel welcome. When I went home that afternoon I really did not plan on seeing any of them again, but God had other plans. My friend who set up the date told me this girl was wondering if I was going to see her again. So I called her, we dated, and I attended her church. No comparison! I felt God’s presence and the warmth and love of His people.

About five months later, on a Wednesday evening after a home group meeting, I got baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and God filled me with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Three days later I got married. So I really got “married” twice in one week, Praise God!

I can’t promise you will find the girl of your dreams, but you will find brothers and sisters in the Lord who will love you. But most of all, you will meet Jesus Christ, Who loved us all so much that the He died on the cross for our sins.