By Jeni West
Hi, my name is Jeni. I would like to share my story.
I grew up in Woodinville, WA. My parents were Adventists and so were my relatives. I remember going to church, having lots of family, relatives and friends around. I was number 7 out of 10 children.
I had lots of good memories growing up until 5. We went to church. We sang in the car.
Relatives would come over. There was so much love especially from mom. But things changed dramatically when I was five. I don’t know what had happened, but I knew things were different.
Looking back, it seemed like my mom gave up on life. Relatives were no longer coming over. No friends could come over. A brother committed suicide. And when I was 11 when my mom passed away. When I was 12 I went to live with my aunt in Federal Way and I attended Buena Vista for seventh grade and half of eighth grade.
When I moved back to my family home, it wasn’t the same. Siblings had moved away; nobody was close anymore. At the age of 14 I started hanging out with people much older than I. And I started drinking alcohol and smoking pot. I became a teenage alcoholic.
I got in a relationship with a man much older than I who was also an alcoholic. Every now and then memories of going to church with my mother would surface. I would ask God why He took her. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I got out of the relationship and lifestyle that I was in when I was 26.
But I moved to Kent when I was 27 and found myself drinking again. I met someone who I ended up marrying and started my own family when I was 28. One of the biggest fears was being a single parent. I didn’t think that would happen because I married into what seemed like a wonderful family. But I ended up divorced and a single parent. Again I would cry out to God, “Why? What am I doing wrong?”
I started to drink again but told myself it wasn't affecting my kids because I didn't’ get drunk around them. And then something really bad happened which made me realize that I could have died and my kids would have had no mother. I cried and cried and I prayed one morning in the shower.
I felt something wash over me (it’s the best way I can describe it). A calming feeling went thru my body. And I felt Jesus saying, “I’ve got you. You’re not going to drink.”
At that moment I knew I would not drink again. Praise God! Later I learned that it was the Holy Spirit that had washed over me.
At that time I knew I needed Jesus in my life and I looked for a church. I found the Kent SDA church which was only 3 miles from my church. I attended faithfully for 5 years. During those 5 years I might have missed church only two times. But in 2016 when Pastor Greg left, there were a few months where the church was without a pastor. And things seemed to change in the church. And I don’t do well with change. I ended up missing a Sabbath here and there and then eventually dropped out of church completely.
Then in the fall of 2019, I knew I needed to go back to church. I started praying and asking for guidance. I desperately wanted to study the Bible but didn’t know how. I had been told on different occasions to study Daniel and Revelation. I would try but struggled on my own to study.
I had been signed up through e-mail for Amazing Facts and would order books, etc. I had watched 3ABN some years ago with my sister and really enjoyed Doug Batchelor. Then in January 2020, I received an Amazing Facts e-mail saying Amazing Facts would be doing a seminar in Maple Valley, WA. I could not believe what I was reading! Amazing Facts 10 miles from my home!! And get this, the seminar was on Daniel and Revelation! I said to myself out loud, “NO WAY! Thank you JESUS!!” My prayers were answered! I was so excited.
I signed up instantly.
This seminar was life changing for me. I looked forward to every meeting for 30 days. Pastor Martin Kim gave the seminars in such a way that I had no problem understanding. The people were so welcoming and caring. I felt I had a new family. I was remembering things from going to church with my mother so many years ago. I had a sense of finally belonging.
I had quit smoking and was baptized on March 7, 2020. Although we have not been able to meet together since baptism my new family continues to reach out to me. Every day I receive at least one text of an inspirational Scripture, a blessing, a “how are you?” I praise Jesus daily for this amazing change in my life, a change in how I feel everyday always looking forward to Jesus leading the way.
I have had some setbacks, but I don't feel defeated and have given up. By the grace of God I have been given a new life and am working to better my situation. This time I KNOW who is in control. I have learned that I cannot change things without Jesus in my heart.