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#Winter Issue 2013 $5.00

Beautiful News

The five-letter word

Exercising this word through the power of God is what transforms a test into a testimony

Healing in His wings

Sitting in the doctor’s office hearing about how this disease may claim my life was more than I could bear

Unstoppable spirit

Never in my life had I felt such a peace right there, in the prison cell…

Overcoming…

by the word of my testimony

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Beautiful News

“From the Editor”

Editor: Jena Grech

Welcome to the Winter issue of Beautiful News!

Graphic design: Marcelo Canizares

Well, here we are in Winter 2013! Where has this year gone…I feel like slamming on the brakes and taking a breath? This year seems to have gone so very fast.

Editor’s photo: Richard Bulley Photography Beautiful News is a quarterly publication issued by the National Women’s Ministries of the United Pentecostal Church of Australia. Fundamental doctrine: The basic and fundamental doctrine of this organisation shall be the Bible standard of full salvation, which is repentance, baptism in water by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial sign of speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance. We shall endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit until we shall all come into the unity of the faith, at the same time admonishing all brethren that they shall not contend for their different views to the disunity of the body.

The past few months, God has impressed upon me that every one of His children has a testimony, something unique and something worth sharing with others. We are all imperfect and in need of His mercy and His grace but beyond that, God extends to us His loving kindness and compassion that we see many times through things that He does for us and through us. So, this issue is dedicated to the awesomeness of God. He is a prayer answering God! Psalm 107:21-22, “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.” I pray this issue inspires and encourages you to pray for the impossible. He is able!

Jena

Send us a line …

Blessings

The Editor Beautiful News PO Box 12 Belmore NSW 2192

Jena Grech NWM President, UPCA

If you would like to contribute to Beautiful News or send us a letter, please write to:

or email: jena.grech@upca.org.au

We’d love to hear from you!

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Contributors 04 Do I even have a testimony? Jena Grech

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Go it alone? Not today! Vivienne Imarisio

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06 Keeping a promise Margaret Bellette 10 The five-letter word Annette Caltabiano 16 His keeping power Melanie Downs 18 Healing in His wings Akua Adjapawn 20 My testimony Matt Cogin

The unstoppable spirit Bro. Xenn Seah, USA

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22 In His image Jean Tuchyna

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Do I even have a testimony?

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have never been very forthcoming with my testimony of how I came to God. I guess I felt it wasn’t as exciting or as powerful as so many testimonies I hear. I love to hear how God has brought someone out of the pits of hell and saved them from the clutches of Satan. I was born in Baghdad, Iraq and when I was two, my parents, my brother and I came to Australia. We couldn’t afford to fly 4

all the way here from Iraq so we flew from Baghdad to Hong Kong and then came by a P & O Cruise Liner the rest of the way. That was 1966. My parents had decided that although Iraq had been a prosperous and modern place to live up until then, in 1966, it was apparent it was about to change. The Ba’ath political party (which Saddam Hussein became the leader of) were starting to gain more power and my parents didn’t like where it was apparent the country was

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heading. So, with only our clothes and A$20 we came to Australia. My parents were not Muslims. They were Orthodox Christians. We settled into Sydney and our life here began. At 14 years of age, a man who was attending the UPC Belmore church at the time, who was Assyrian felt lead to start an outreach on a Friday night for the Assyrian people. My mother and two of her girlfriends started to attend and she would take me with her. Eventually, my two girlfriends (daughters of my mother’s friends) and I were invited to attend Sunday school at the Belmore church because the Friday night outreach was in Assyrian and not English. Reluctantly (due to shyness), my friends and I started to attend church on a Sunday morning at Belmore. After a few months, I realised that even though I was at a young age, I was a sinner. I could feel the presence of God. I started to pay attention in church and desired to have God come and live inside of me. Prayer meetings in homes was the done thing in those days and during one of those prayer meetings where the adults were praying in one room and the young people prayed in a different room, the Lord filled me with His Spirit. I still remember where I was kneeling in a friends bedroom. I was then baptised in Jesus name. I recall the feeling when I came up out of the water…I felt so clean. Looking back in hindsight, I can see the hand of the Lord in my life. I read a book once that gave the percentages of different faiths of people in Iraq. It stated that only 3% of people were Christian (Catholic, Orthodox etc). When I read that, it suddenly hit me that I was part of that 3%. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord. It became illegal and impossible to emigrate from Iraq. My family left Iraq before this law came into force.

Most of my father’s family also left Iraq around the same time we did but they went to England and the USA. We came to Australia where I came to know God. Would I have come to know the Lord if we had moved to England or the USA with the rest of the family? During my high school years, some of my peers were taking drugs and although I was friends with them, they never pressured me or tried to push me to join them in drug taking. I have been serving God for 35 years. I haven’t always been pleasing to God and there have been times when I wanted to do my own thing but His love and mercy never left me. I may have strayed but the Lord never gave up on me. I have never been delivered from drugs or alcohol. I have never been to a nightclub or bar. I used to be embarrassed that I really didn’t have much to say when it came to my personal testimony. But I came to the realisation that God’s hand of protection has been over my life and He has kept me from much heartache and sorrow! That is something worth sharing! I know that God has had His hand on my life for a purpose in His Kingdom and a destiny for my life. It is clear now looking back over my life to see how God’s hand has steered every part of my life to bring me to Him. The longer I serve Him, the more I realise how little I know and how much more of Him I need. It truly is a journey of walking side by side with my Saviour. God is interested in every area of our life and He desires to walk with us every day…in good days and bad days. Over the years, there have been so many times that God has answered my prayers for healing, for provision, for strength in hard times, peace in the midst of my storms and direction when I am lost.

of answered prayer or times that God has blessed me or been there for me but its not possible to share them all. So I asked God to remind me of one instance to share today. I will leave you with this God moment. My former pastor’s wife’s name was Sis. Daphne Slack. I loved her very much and was close to her. She passed away suddenly with kidney failure. It was such a huge loss to her husband and family as well as our church family and to me personally. A few days after she had passed, I was at home cleaning and my thoughts and heart were consumed with grief for Sis. Slack. A knock on the door stopped my thoughts. I went and answered the door and it was my neighbour from across the road. She had one of the most beautiful gardens I had ever seen. I said hello and I saw she had some flowers in her hand. She said, “I was just working in my garden and I picked these and thought you might like them.” In all honesty I wasn’t in a talkative mood because of my grief but I wanted to be friendly and thankful for her kindness so I thanked her and asked her what kind of flowers they were. (I have a very. very limited knowledge when it comes to flowers, plants etc). She said, “they are called Daphne flowers.” I held back my tears and thanked her again. Once I had closed the door, tears rolled down my face knowing that God had sent her with the flowers to comfort me. I placed those flowers in my bathroom and they gave a beautiful scent for many days. Every time I smelt them, I would think of Sis. Slack. We lived in that house for ten years and that was the only time my neighbour gave me flowers. God is such a loving, caring God… 

Jena Grech

There are many instances that I could share #Winter Issue 2013 | Beautiful News

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Keeping a promise

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t was 5:00am on 25th April 1978. My husband and I were standing in Minnamurra Rivulet, Kiama, fishing for blackfish, when suddenly from my peripheral vision I became aware of movement on my right side. Looking in that direction I saw my husband convulsing in the water. Later that night at the hospital they told me he had suffered a cerebral aneurysm that could not be operated on as it was inside the “Circle of Willis,” a part of the brain they did not go into. He would not last the night the doctors said and advised me to call in his family. That night, as word of what had happened was passed around the family, my sister who was a member of the UPCA church in Townsville rang and told me she and other sisters had been praying for my husband, and through a tongue and interpretation a message had been given for me. God had said, “Persuade the doctors to operate. The operation will be a 100% success.” I had never prayed before, nor acknowledged the existence of God. Until then I had no need. Now however, my need was great. I wanted my husband to live. I prayed, “I don’t know if you are real but if you are and you heal my husband, I will go to church.” How ignorant I was! After much persuasion, the neurophysician persuaded a “visiting” neurosurgeon to operate. Coming out of the operating theatre many hours later, his first words to me were. “Congratulations, the surgery was a 100% success.” I never forgot how he used the exact same words translated through the tongue and interpretation. 6

As the Lord had faithfully answered my prayer for my husband’s healing, I did go to church but because it was so boring, I apologized to Him after three visits and let it slide. I didn’t know then that God holds us to our promises and through many wonderful ways He finally brought my husband and me to the experience of the new birth. Fifteen years later, my husband, now twice saved, went home to be with his Savior. Since the time of my first prayer until now after 20 years on the mission field, my testimonies of His greatness and answered prayers would fill a book and, Jesus is still answering my prayers. In 2 Corinthians 5:14, the Apostle Paul writes, “For the love of Christ constraineth us…” One of the meanings of that beautiful old word “constraineth” is that it “holds something together.” As if something fragile and beautiful is held firmly together in loving hands lest it break and shatters. Another meaning is straitened. Held firmly in a tight place and a third meaning is to “hold completely.” The Apostle Paul uses this word in the context that no matter what his trials and tribulations were, the love of Christ held him so firmly, so completely, that he would never give up, he would endure to the end, he would finish the race, not because he felt guilty, not because it was expected of him, no…but because the love of Christ reached for him even when he was a sinner. I recognize that it was the love of Christ that at a time of my most need, He held my husband and I together as something fragile and precious. He held us firmly in His hands, protecting, covering and guiding us. Like Paul, I will continue to pray, asking that the love of Christ will constrain me until He comes again, or until I meet Him “over Jordan.” 

Sister Margaret Bellette, Sydney

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Go it alone? Not today!

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esterday I was studying my Bible in preparation for a Bible study lesson. The subject was Noah and the Ark.

As I was reading, I came to this verse in Genesis 11:10, “These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the flood:” Since it took Noah a hundred years to build the ark, Shem was born 2 years after Noah began building. This means that Noah built the ark almost entirely on his own as his sons were not born until after he commenced work. He had to cut down the trees, hew the timber by hand and then build the ark. And all the while, his neighbours laughed at him. It started me thinking about what he must have felt and how he must have suffered from the cruel taunts of those around him and yet he continued on in the work that the Lord had assigned him. Did he have doubts? Did he wonder if the voice he believed to be God’s, was just a figment of his imagination? How alone did he feel? Nothing has changed from then until now….we have been assigned a task by God….to preach the gospel to every living creature…to build the church - the modern day ark –- so that the lost can come inside and be saved. And all the while, we are mocked and taunted just as Noah was. The difference is, we are not on our own. We are surrounded by our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We have a worldwide organisation so that no matter where we are, we can hear the truth preached on any Sunday. We have technology that brings us close to one another so that even when we

are isolated in terms of space, we are never alone. We can uplift and encourage one another through all manner of devices. Yet there was Noah, without any of this…all alone except for his wife and small children; following the Lords instructions. He continued to labour day after day; year after year, ignoring the jibes and the laughter, just doing what God had told him to do. He preached to his friends and neighbours, telling them that the end was near but to no avail. Not one of them wanted to know. As the time of the judgement draws closer, our voices grow louder as we cry out to those who mock and scoff at us. Our voices are lifted in prayer for our families who prefer the world to the ark. And like Noah, we continue on with the work regardless. For some it is easy to not hear what the mockers and scoffers are saying, but for many it is difficult to block them out. Do we question our beliefs? Do we wonder if that still small voice we hear is God’s? I am sure there are times when all of us have those doubts but, how blessed are we to have our church family to turn to? And to have a Bible to read? And to have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us to comfort and strengthen us? Noah had none of these. He just had a heart and a mind for God and for that I will be eternally thankful. 

Vivienne Imarisio, Townsville

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The five-letter word

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erving God for over 25 years in my almost 34 years of existence has warranted countless personal testimonies. There are so many things that I am grateful for, that I just cannot name them all! So many testimonies that have been in the form of answered prayers, miracles, healings or triumphs. Even some experiences that have given me battle scars and seemed to be a huge burden and trial to me at the time, in hindsight have become some of my greatest testimonies. Those experiences have enabled me to grow spiritually and have taught me valuable lessons in life.

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But these battles would never have evolved into testimonies if I didn’t exercise that 5-letter word. This five-letter word is not very endeared. In actual fact, it is not popular at all. But exercising this word through the power of God is what transforms a test into a testimony. It is a word that is mentioned over 190 times in the bible. It was exercised during a storm, when shipwrecked, in gaol, in a lion’s den, in the fiery furnace, in a pit, in front of a giant, on board an ark, when covered in boils and

full of sorrow, at the Red Sea, in hiding, dodging spears and many more instances. Christians in the world today strive to practise it in moments of pain, trials, sickness, sorrow, hopelessness and fear. This five-letter word is vital in living a triumphant and victorious life in God. You may have worked it out by now… the five-letter word is TRUST. TRUST IN GOD. One of my favourite scriptures is Proverbs 3:4-6, “ Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (NKJV)”

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This scripture speaks to me because it teaches me HOW to trust in Him. There are four instructions in this scripture that have personally helped me to walk in the path that God has intended for me. 1. I’ve got to trust God with ALL my heart – with everything in me. I can’t partially trust Him. But have to leave the whole situation in His capable hands, for His will and in His time. 2. I can’t rely on my own understanding of a situation, because I can’t see the bigger picture. I don’t know what is best for my future, or the future of those around me, so I am not the best judge – only God is! Some people do have their trust in something or someone, but it’s not God. When our trust is in others or ourselves, we are fighting a losing battle – and the scars of that battle will negatively affect how we perceive God, which makes it harder to trust in Him. 3. I need to acknowledge God and seek Him for direction in everything I do. I can’t simply seek Him for instruction in some things and not others. When I invite God to be a part of my whole life, I can rest assured that He is leading my path. 4. When I trust God with everything I have, resist the urge to rely on my own understanding – but lean on God and simply acknowledge Him in everything

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

I do, I am certain that He will direct my path. God will be there with me throughout it all – the sharp bends, freeways, intersections, rocky, windy paths, roundabouts, one-way streets etc. I find such security in knowing that I am walking in God’s will – there is so much peace (even in the midst of storms and hard times) because I know that I am leaning on The One who can calm the storms of my life. I have meditated upon this scripture many times to get me through different situations in my life. 17 months ago, my husband and I relocated our family from Sydney to the Gold Coast. This was a huge leap of faith on my behalf! I was a Sydney girl, born and bred (and proud of it too!) I never imagined having to leave my hometown, but God had spoken to me clearly and I had to make a choice. Would I trust Him and allow Him to direct my path? Would I lean on Him rather than rely on my own understanding and reason? Those questions were really quite simple to answer. I heard from God. He knows my path. I need to move. We left behind everything that we were sure of… stable jobs, a large and very supportive extended family, a really close network of friends that we had known most of our lives and a very special home church that we had grown up in. The period from when we heard from God, until our move, was only three months. Those three months went by so fast! We weren’t sure of which area to settle in. We had to resign our positions, but had no jobs to go to on the Gold Coast. Up until the last 2 ½ weeks, we could not even secure a house to live in. Three weeks before we moved, our youngest son was hospitalised for several days with an infection. I was in hospital and it all just

hit me. I felt the burden of it all. Sick child; leaving family and friends behind; children really heartbroken to be moving; no jobs to go to; no house to live in… what next? I was yet again reminded of the scripture in Proverbs 3 and I felt such an inner peace that I could not explain. NO matter how the storm was raging in my life, I knew a Saviour that would calm those very storms. The situation was out of my hands and I could not do anything about it. My only hope was God. And sure enough, God came through and worked everything out for us – just in time and better than we had ever anticipated. Since moving, there have been mountains and valleys come our way. But one thing is certain. He has never forsaken us! God has pulled through just in time – every time! He continues to amaze us with miracles and blessings. He knows what we need and He is truly our Jehovah Jireh, our provider. He provides for His children -physically, spiritually, emotionally and financially. Trusting God is a journey. If we choose to walk the path that He has intended for us, we can testify over and over again to His miraculous power and work in our lives. When we trust God in our times of our testing, we will triumph with a powerful testimony. In times of distress, I have learned to call upon the name of Jesus and to encourage myself in His word. He is always willing to comfort, direct and lead His children, we just have to take that step of faith and put our trust in the God of our Salvation. So will you put that five-letter word into action and trust God with your situation today? 

Annette Caltabiano, Gold Coast

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The unstoppable spirit

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was born and raised in Singapore.It is a very strict country. At the age of 9, I was on the streets of Singapore selling heroin and marijuana to American GI’s who fought in the Vietnam War in the 1960’s. My family was poor and by the time I was 12 years old, I was already a heroin addict. In Singapore when you reach the age of 18, you have to serve in the Singapore army. At 18, I went into the army as a drug addict. It took almost a year for the army officers to catch me and at 18 years of age, I was court marshalled. I was sent to one of the worst prisons in Singapore. I served 3 years in jail. When I was released, I came out but nothing had changed. Within the hour of being released, I was back on drugs again. I was back on the streets again and once again, I was caught by the police and was thrown back into prison for another two years. After I was released, I was caught again and for the third time, I was sent back to jail. The prison in Singapore is not like a Western society prison. We had nothing. No pillow, no mat, no blanket. There was so much drugs inside the prison that by the time I was released after my third term, I was heavily addicted to drugs. My addiction got so bad that I was using 485 grams of heroin a month. If you are caught with 15 grams of heroin in your possession, in Singapore, they hang you. One Sunday, I went and got my 485 grams of heroin and brought it home and was smoking to the wee hours of the morning. 

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On Monday morning, when I opened my eyes, there were 4 police officers with 4 pistols pointing at me, ready to shoot me. I screamed, “Don’t shoot me! I have not killed anyone. I am only taking drugs.” Because of my criminal record, the policemen were told that they needed to shoot me first because they believed I would shoot them. They handcuffed me. I knew at that moment, I was going to die because the 485 grams of heroin that I had got the previous afternoon, was sitting on my bedside table. That dying feeling was all over me. My mind went back to prison because the last three times I was in prison, every last Friday of the month, at 6 am, we would hear the sound of the prisoners that were on death row that were going to be hanged that day. We would hear their faint screams. Next thing we heard was the sound of them being hung. I could feel death was coming…that the rope was around my neck and choking me to death. I came from a Buddhist family. Three generations of my family were Buddhist. I was brought to the Buddhist temple at a very young age. My mother would pray to Buddha that her only son would stop taking drugs. My mother prayed for 22 years. Any time my mother would go to the Buddhist temples and pray for me, she would come to my apartment expecting that Buddha had done something to me to stop me from taking drugs but when she would come in, and see how stoned I was, tears would start rolling down her face and she would cry. But that moment, when the handcuffs were on my wrists and I knew I was going to die, I cried within myself, ‘Jesus, help me’. The policemen started to search my apartment for the heroin. The heap of heroin was sitting right next to my bed. The police searched and searched my apartment but they could not see the heroin. Hallelujah! There is power when you call on the name of Jesus. 14

They began to beat me in their frustration. They eventually took me to the station. This time I was going to prison for eight years because of my criminal history. The police officers had crow barred my apartment door open so it was not possible to lock it when we left to go to the station. I asked the police officer if I could make a phone call and he said no. I answered him that they had not been able to lock my apartment door because the police had broken it to get in so if anything went missing from my apartment, they would be responsible. In his frustration, he then allowed me to make one phone call. I called my mother. I said, ‘mum, I am at the station.’ She said, ‘son, are you going to die?’ She knew that if I ever had got caught again, I would be hanged. I said, ‘No. Mum, my room is very messy in

“‘Jesus, help me. I want to change. I don’t want to take drugs anymore.’ I began to cry. Never in my life had I felt such a peace right there, in the prison cell.”

my apartment and my table is upside down.’ My mother got the hint. She said to me, ‘Do you mean you have more stuff (heroin) on your table?’ I said, ‘yes, mum.’ She asked if I wanted her to go to my apartment and throw the stuff away. I said, ‘yes.’ Before my mother put down the phone, she said to me, ‘Son, I cannot help you anymore. No one can help you anymore. Only Jesus can help you.’ She had been praying to Buddha for so many years. Little did my mother know that I had cried out to Jesus that same morning. They threw me in prison for 8 years. It took me 6 weeks cold turkey to get clean.

I almost died without the heroin. Finally, I came through. I was eager to get out of my cell. In the prison in Singapore, they lock you up for 23 ½ hours a day. They only let you out to have a quick shower and then they lock you up again. In the cell, there is no tv, no newspaper…nothing…it is you and the four walls. After the 6 weeks, the guards came and asked who wanted to go to a church service. I put up my hand because I just wanted to get out and get some fresh air. 2 pm came and they took me to the chapel service. There were about 30 or so prisoners sitting there. They had already started singing. There was a lady on the keyboard (Sis. Barbara Willoughby) and another lady (Sis. Jenny Miller) and a man (Bro. Steve Willoughby). I found a spot and sat down. Suddenly, tears started rolling down my face. I was wondering…what kind of place is this? I went back again the second and third week and sat weeping again. I realised that there was something special in that room. I could feel the presence of Jesus. That very night, I couldn’t sleep. I wanted to pray but didn’t know how to pray. I had only ever prayed to Buddha. So I began talking. ‘Jesus, help me. I want to change. I don’t want to take drugs anymore.’ I began to cry. Never in my life had I felt such a peace right there, in the prison cell. Every week, I went back to church. I prayed and prayed, ‘Jesus, get me out of here in six months and I will serve you for the rest of my days.’ After 3 months of attending the weekly bible study, the prison guards came to me and said that because I was a hardened criminal, they were going to whip me. The whip was thick and seven foot long. They tied me up. The guard was swinging the whip and then ran, and whipped me on my back. After they finished whipping me, they threw me back in my cell. That very afternoon, I went back to the church service. I kept going back. Five months and 29 days later, they brought me to the

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superintendent’s office. He told me that the next day, I would be released. I said to the superintendent, ‘Sir, you must be kidding.’ He got mad at me. In my mind, I thought I was being tricked. The next morning at 7 am they opened my door and said, ‘take all your personal belongings.’ I thought they were going to put me into solitary confinement and I said I didn’t want to go. Finally I reluctantly followed the guard. We went to the superintendent’s office and he threw a release paper to sign at me. I couldn’t sign the paper fast enough. The superintendent

then opened the gates and the guard said to me, ‘Good luck. Please don’t come back again.’ When I stepped out, and the fresh air hit my lungs, I realised what a mighty God Jesus was. I caught a taxi straight to what I thought was the church but it ended up being the residence of Bro. & Sis. Willoughby. I rang the doorbell. On the Tuesday, Bro. Willoughby had taught me a bible study in prison and this was Thursday. He looked through his curtain and saw me, he was shocked and thought I had escaped from the prison and wanted his help. I said, ‘they have released me.’ He opened the door and invited me into his home. I thank God

for the Willoughby’s. They took me in and discipled me, helped me and lead me in the right way. Thank God… 21 years later…I am still serving Jesus. What a mighty God we serve! I am a testimony that Jesus is alive and He is a deliverer! 

Bro. Xenn Seah, USA Used by permission. A transcript of the message preached by Bro. Seah at Pentecostals of Sydney. Go to www.pentecostalsofsydney.com to hear the whole sermon

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“We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.�

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His keeping power

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was 4 years old when my parents first started attending church. It was my mum who first took my sister and I to Sunday School. She wanted to have my brother christened and the church near our home would only dedicate him if we were regularly attending the church. Although my parents always strived for a better life for me and my siblings, there was only so much they could do in their own strength. At the time, my father’s addiction to alcohol was having a greater impact on my family. My mother was ready to leave. The Men’s Ministry at the church we attended had my father’s name on their prayer list! Every Friday night they prayed for him. It was a Friday night that my dad felt an overwhelming need to kneel down in the quietness of the night and cry out for forgiveness. From that night on he never drank again and our family was changed forever. I start my own testimony here because I can only imagine what my childhood would have been like if God had not intervened. I know God had already saved me from so much.

From this time on, my parents instilled in me a love for God and for His Word as the supreme authority over all aspects of my life. Empty beer bottles and the smell of alcohol were replaced by memories of sitting under my father’s desk as he read God’s Word and studied the many treasures found within it. Memories of my mothers bible, and seeing her working to raise money for missions, women’s ministry and teaching Sunday School. I loved God from a very young age. I had a desire to live a life pleasing to Him. I remember feeling His presence in church services, tears filling my eyes as we sang ‘Jesus is here right now reach out and touch Him’. I knew Jesus was very close to me. I knew He had a plan for my life and I knew I wanted to live within that plan. It has taken years to understand God’s purpose for my life, and I am still learning! He has taken me through many valleys and many mountain tops. Each experience has taught me to look to Him. At times, my sinful nature looks for an easier way. I find myself trying to reason things out. But in the end I have learnt to let go of my hurts and fears and trust that God has a perfect plan. He is preparing me for His will to be accomplished. He wants to refine me, to take me through the fires so that I would be changed into His likeness. He is preparing me for the life He has intended for me to live. This is something I need to remind myself of daily!

At a time in my life where I am raising two little boys, I try my hardest to be very intentional about what I teach them. My eldest has started school, and I am aware that as he leaves our home he is walking into a world that has become so very broken. I need to teach him about the wonderful things God has done! My boys need to know what happened in my parent’s generation. They need to know the victories I have experienced! And more than that, I pray that they themselves will learn to know the Almighty God and the power of His resurrection. Psalm 78:4 “We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.” 

Melanie Downs, Canberra

In Numbers chapter 2, we read a very sad portion of scripture. It is set at a time after the generation of Moses, one that saw mighty deliverances and miracles. The scripture mentions Joshua’s generation – one who experienced many victories through God – they had all passed away. But then there came another generation who did not know God or the mighty things that He had done. This astounds me! How could they not know God or the amazing things that He had done! It was only one generation! #Winter Issue 2013 | Beautiful News

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Healing in His wings

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few years ago I found out that I was born with a potentially deadly disease.

Sitting in the doctor’s office hearing about the different ways this disease may “claim” my life was more than I could bear. I walked out of the doctor’s office feeling like my world was falling apart. The days that followed brought a myriad of emotions. First I was numb. Then came self-pity. Why me? What had I done? I didn’t deserve it. Then the tears began to flow. Boy, did I cry. Then I got angry with God... really angry! I couldn’t understand why He would let me go through such a thing. Wasn’t He meant to be my Heavenly Father? Wasn’t He meant to project me from all harm? I could not see how this was going to work together for my good and bring Him glory. What good was it if I was dead? There’s still so much more I wanted to do with my life. Yes, admittedly looking back, my reaction at the time was a bit (ok, very) dramatic but that, along with many other things began my journey of faith. For a very long time I lived in fear. I was so scared I didn’t go back to the doctors for my follow-up appointments. In fact I ignored the “disease” and refused to acknowledge it’s existence. After all, ignorance was bliss and what I didn’t know couldn’t hurt me. I moved to Canberra in June 2011 to work and study. I got sick with the flu that year due to the change in climate and had no choice but to drag myself to the doctor. My GP managed to convince me to go to a specialist unit in Canberra Hospital to seek treatment for my childhood ailment. 18

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Needless to say, my first visit there was a struggle. The tests revealed that I was out of the “danger” zone however it’s not unusual for it to flair up at a later stage in life and anything can bring it on. I sat there as the specialist very matter-of-factly told me about the disease. He told me that since I was out of the danger zone, he did not think it was necessary to treat me however, he wanted to keep an eye on it and monitor it.

“by His stripes we are healed.”

But on a good note (he said), I was as healthy as a fiddle. Everything looked great, my blood work was good, bone density was good and all my organs were in perfect health with no indication of the disease being present. I felt relieved, crushed and angry all at the same time. I couldn’t understand how he could just sit there and act as if it was nothing. I wanted to scream and cry at the top of my lungs, but I couldn’t find my voice. All I could do was sit there in silence and fight back the tears, and try to breathe past the horrid lump that was forming in my throat. How could he be so disconnected and indifferent about it all? I walked out of the hospital in a daze, and by the time I got home, I felt exhausted by the heaviness that weighed on my shoulders. I remember thinking, “God, let it be. You gave me this life. You breathed life into me. Whatever your will is, it shall be well with my soul.” During devotion one evening, I got a radical thought to TRUST in God to believe Him to do a miracle for me. Yes, radical. Radical because I had never been in a situation where I really had to completely take such a leap of faith and trust God against all odds.

To look at a situation that seems so hopeless and believe any good will come out of it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I had no faith. I did. I knew God to be a healer. I had seen Him heal time and time again. But when it came to Him healing me, I wasn’t so sure. But that day, I thought, why not? Why not me? Matthew 7:7-11 says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Isaiah 53:5 says, “by His stripes we are healed.” I thought, if He can heal someone else, surely He can heal me. So I started to pray and ask God for healing. Towards the end of 2012, Bro Paulus came to preach at Calvary Chapel. His message on Sunday morning was about faith, healing & miracles. My faith was at an all time high. I went to the altar for prayer completely believing God was going to heal me. I booked an appointment to see my GP the following week. He was puzzled by my insistence for him to refer me again to the specialist but he went along with it. I had my victory speech and testimony prepared, ready to exhort God for His good works. The test came back positive. I must admit, I felt like God had failed me, but still I continued to believe. I had purposed that even if the disease “claimed” my life, I would go to my grave believing He is a healer.

this year, and the test came back undetected! The specialist told me that it can fluctuate and that in his experience, only less than 1% of people with this disease clear it completely so we still have to continue to monitor it. I was completely awestruck and asked the specialist to show me paper work, and there it was in black and white “Levels, undetected.” He then proceeded to tell me that my results show that I am in better shape than the normal average “fit” person and the chances of me ever developing anything terminal as a result of the disease is “infinitely zero” (his words). I sat in the examination room, feeling overwhelmed by God’s love. As I walked back to my car, I couldn’t help but cry. This time, I cried out of joy because of His faithfulness. I know God has healed me. Regardless of that the medical professionals say, I believe He has made me part of that 1% and I will continue to thank God for healing and making me whole. That day, I caught a glimpse of the depth of God’s love and it completely blew me away. Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities and He cares about what we are going through. I blessed to be loved by such an amazing God. Truly, my cup runs over. 

Akua Adjapawn, Canberra

I had my 6 month appointment in March of #Winter Issue 2013 | Beautiful News

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My testimony

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he 27th February 2011 is a day I will never forget. It was a day that forever changed the course of my life. I received something I shouldn’t have (His grace), and didn’t receive something

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I should have (judgement). For a few weeks up until this point I was searching for forgiveness, and knew I was in desperate need of it after living the type of life I had for many, many years.

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For some reason, I woke up one morning and wanted to change my life. Maybe it was all the little things that added up; maybe it was due to circumstances around me; maybe it was influenced by all the near death experiences that I had encountered; maybe it was all the times I seemed to somehow just miss out on getting locked up in jail; maybe it was the gentle conviction from watching the tears of my mother and the pain of my father as I slowly tore my family apart through my actions. To tell you the truth, I think it was a combination of a few things. Being empty and void of any real joy, happiness and purpose inside of me; wanting something greater than the things this world had to offer. Even more so, it was the answer to my faithful parents prayers to the Almighty God and the fact that they kept believing in me even when I had given up believing in myself. I want to encourage you with this... Mother, father, daughter, son, brother, sister, whoever you are, never, ever stop praying for your loved ones. The same young man that would walk past his mother and laughed when she would be praying for him is the same one who has written this testimony. Never doubt the power of prayer. I grew up in a beautiful family in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney. My life began to spin out of control when I entered high school in my teenage years. I started using and selling drugs at around 14 years of age. What started off as small and fairly petty, escalated very quickly into serious crime. It’s sad recalling what I would do for money. I understand when the Bible says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” I got involved with the gang life and all different sorts of crime thinking that was the cool way to make a reputation for myself. I believe the music I listened to and movies I watched, played a big part in

shaping my views, values and character, I never learnt until coming to church the power there is behind music. I had many encounters with the police, I’ve witnessed horrible things and done countless things I’m ashamed of. I know what its like to have way too much money at a young age from crime, but that same lifestyle that seemed so glamorous nearly drove me to taking my life one night, and left me empty and broken. I know now that money doesn’t buy you happiness.

“Its not how you begin in life that’s important, what really matters is how you finish.”

I knew I needed to change and wanted to. I not only wanted change but wanted forgiveness. Its interesting when you really begin to cry out to God and ask for help how He moves heaven and earth to get you to where He wants you to be! He lead me to a lady at my work, she was my light and has been a light unto many people since. I remember asking her what I needed to do to be forgiven for all that I had done. She smiled and opened up her Bible to the Book of Acts, Chapter 2:37-39! Those three verses changed my life! Well what happened on the 27th February 2011? That was the night I was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of my sins!

from that old life to follow after Jesus? No. Was it worth it? One hundred percent! My worst day now with Jesus is still way better than my best day without Him. He is my best friend, and on this journey He has never left me or forsaken me. Some of the same family members I once sold drugs to, now I do Bible studies with their children. I’ve seen many of my friends I grew up with come to Christ and are doing amazing things for His Kingdom. I’ve seen lives changed, families mended, people healed and miracles take place and I know that this is only the beginning, greater things are yet to come! I once heard, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” There came that time for me to take that first step towards Christ and I have never regretted it since. Friend, don’t let your happiness be dependent upon something you can lose. If you don’t know it yet, living for Jesus is truly the greatest life of all! I may not know you, but now you know a little about me. I promise you, the grass is greener on this side, come, taste and see for yourself! I don’t know where you’re at, but friend, know that Jesus has something greater planned for you than you could ever imagine, take that step towards Him, learn to put your trust and faith in Him, experience His goodness and love and watch what happens! Jesus loves you more than you will ever know. Never doubt that! 

Matt Cogin, Sydney

The single greatest decision I ever made in my life was easily giving my life to follow Christ, being baptized in His name and filled with His Spirit! Nothing this world has to offer compares to what I have in Him. No amount of money, no riches, no fame or wealth even come close! Was it easy coming #Winter Issue 2013 | Beautiful News

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In His image Yes, in His image and without any fuss God created each and every one of us Yes, He created us perfect in every way And this is how He would like us to stay But, Adam and Eve in a garden one day Were tempted by fruit and chose not to obey You see, Eve took the fruit though God had said ‘no’ The fruit had been eaten which meant – they must go

Now, having been deceived and having been discouraged

God would rather we live and that He should die

They were no longer perfect and in His image

Though, we let Him down, He still made a way

And, all because they listened to a serpent’s lie To Satan who said, ‘ye shall not surely die’ Oh, why, why, why would they listen To such a life…oh why? Instead, they should have listened to what God had to say And they should have obeyed Him right away But, we too have ignored what God has to say

And, He spilled His blood on that cruel, cruel cross For each and everyone of us Yes, He spilled His blood to make us good And all because of His great love 

Jean Tuchyna, Bundaberg

We too have all sinned and lost our way But, God is still perfect in every way

So, sadly they sinned and were sent away

So loving and kind, day after day

Out of the garden, that very day

And, He’s not a man that He should lie

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And willingly went to Calvary

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#Winter Issue 2013 | Beautiful News

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Beautiful News Summer 2014