We were both born into practising Roman Catholic homes, one in Switzerland and the other in Belgium. All our schooling took place in Roman Catholic institutions and God was part of our daily life, although we had no personal relation with him.
When we were married and had two children, the time came to think about their religious upbringing.
We were Roman Catholics living in a Protestant environment, and our priest allowed our children to follow a Protestant education so long as the children completed their first communion and confirmation in the Catholic Church.
At this time we were brought to think about our own spiritual commitment – how could we dialogue with our children if we ourselves had no spiritual life?
A meeting with a colleague at work, who led an Evangelical Community, opened the door for us into the Evangelical movement. In his grace, God started to work in both our hearts at the same time.
Leaving Roman Catholicism was not too difficult for us as we were not really ‘practising’ Catholics. We had been ‘rejected’ by the local priest, who believed that our newly found Evangelical spirituality would be short lived.
However, twenty-two years later we are able to look back at God’s gracious love at work in our lives.
At the same time as our conversions to Christ, Jacqueline fell sick with an illness that her doctor described as ‘incurable’. It was an illness that is not fatal, but which allows you to ‘survive’.
As we were then members of a Charismatic community, a long battle began to ask God for healing. We were told that if Jacqueline was not healed, it would simply be because of our lack of faith.
We changed church for professional reasons and found ourselves in an even more strongly Charismatic group, which practised speaking and singing in tongues during the service.
This was a difficult period for us, as we had no real biblical teaching and were put under increasing pressure by the group for Jacqueline to be ‘miraculously cured’.
We asked our pastor for teaching on the gifts of the Spirit and were told that those who didn’t believe were ‘demon-possessed’! This was a clear sign for us to leave this church.
Unfortunately, despite external appearances and the pastor’s verbal reassurances, the next church we joined had similar Charismatic tendencies. God’s Word was neglected and too strong an emphasis was placed on the emotions.
The Sunday service was led by a ‘worship group’; and after numerous songs, oft-repeated, only a few minutes were left for preaching God’s Word.
But God looks after his children. We then started to attend Bible studies led by the pastor of the Lausanne Evangelical Baptist Church; and began to discover, little by little, the doctrines of God’s grace in Jesus Christ as they are taught in the Bible.
What deliverance! Everything for the salvation of us sinners had been accomplished in Jesus Christ. Our salvation did not depend on our ‘decision’ but on God’s eternal plan, made effectual to us, so that we heard and believed the gospel of Christ.
Today we can see how our Heavenly Father has taken care of us all along our pathway. We have often been wayward, but he has always remained faithful.
The trials of Jacqueline’s ill health still continue. We have experienced true healing – deliverance from sin – and that is what really matters. But we also know that everything is in God’s hands. and that he wants us to trust him in all circumstances.
We pray that, in his grace, we will continue to do so – until that blessed day comes when we will see him face to face. To God be the glory!