Psalm 139:15: My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
My journey to Christ and my witness to you today is a reflection of the greatness of the Lord. My parents are Turkish and Muslims. During my early childhood my family experienced several moves and marital difficulties; often my parents felt the “safest” place to leave me was with various Christian families. The families took me in, gave me a secure and loving environment and I attended church with them. I learned early on the presence of God and the safety found in the community of the church. I never forgot the stories of Jesus.
As a family united we moved to California in the 1960s. My parents were rather secular in their Muslim beliefs and practices, so I grew up experiencing Christmas trees and the Easter bunny, and longing to “belong.” Several of my friends were Catholics and their families would often invite me along to their Sunday services. My father began to actively participate in the Muslim faith and began to teach me the Islamic rituals. I was always searching for a place to belong.
In my later teen years and during most of my twenties I struggled with and nearly lost a battle with an eating disorder. Then one day I met my future husband and realized that I wanted to live a long and productive life. That was a major turning point; I knew I needed help and the church offered a program of help and support. Once again it was God’s obvious call and presence in my life. My experience with the church to this point was limited to the Catholic Church. My husband, who was Catholic, was supportive of my learning and eventually joining them. I knew that I wanted my children to be part of the Christian faith and experience the fullness of God early in their lives.
Joining a church, however, did not answer my desire to “belong to God.” I longed to know what it meant to have Jesus as my savior. I struggled with the concept of the Trinity. God continued to move me along his path. I began to actively question and study theology. I moved my faith home from Catholic to Protestant, still searching for answers, and I began to pray for grace.
Several years passed; one Sunday there was an ad in the Daily Breeze, seeking a library director for a local Christian college. Things happened very quickly from that point on; I called about the job, interviewed and was hired by The Salvation Army. Having worked in engineering libraries for over twenty years I now found myself immersed in theology and surrounded by an organization which reflects the very core of Christ’s message, “heart to God, hand to man.” It was in this place, in this environment, surrounded by a people called to holiness, that I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior and Lord.
Misty Jesse recently became a soldier at the Torrance, Calif. Corps.