I grew up on a small farm in Wisconsin. My parents tried to raise me and my brother and sister in the Catholic religion. My father was raised as a Roman Catholic in Cuba – so my parents thought they would continue the tradition. We attended services regularly every Sunday until I was five or six years old.
Sadness Enters Our Home
Our family life took a turn for the worse when my mother lost her closest sibling. My mother turned to alcohol to help her cope with her sadness and depression which led to alcoholism. From that point on, both my mother and father struggled with alcohol dependency.
No More Church and No More Confessions
It wasn’t long before we stopped attending Catholic services. No longer attending church didn’t bother me because I dreaded going to confession. In fact, I had only gone to confession once but that was enough for me. Although my mother told me to confess my sins to the priest, telling every detail of my sins to a complete stranger made me very uncomfortable. When the priest told me I was forgiven, I knew the burden of my sins remained. Deep down I knew I wasn’t forgiven, because the sins I committed were against God, not against the Catholic Church.
Family Sadness Intensifies
As time went on, my family grew further and further apart. With my parents being disconnected, my sister and brother and I lived our own lives separately from each other. Increasingly, we spent our own time with our own friends doing the things each of us wanted to do.
Accomplishments despite Life’s Adversities
My parents loved us deeply and they did their best to raise us up to respect others and to treat others kindly. I’m so thankful they did their best despite the addiction they suffered with every day. Because of their condition, I learned how to assume a lot of personal responsibility when I was young. Life taught me that. I did well through school, making honor rolls, attending school activities, and gaining lots of friends. I was the type of person to become friends with nearly everyone I met; but despite all of this, there was still an emptiness deep inside me that these things could not fill.
As time went on and addictions in my family worsened I began to feel depressed about my own life. The gnawing emptiness inside felt as though it were growing deeper and deeper and I wondered why no one loved me. I would look up to the sky on my knees and with tears think about my Creator who knew all about my emptiness.
I was so angry that God would even consider bringing me into this world. I wondered what purpose I had here. Was I here just to suffer with such a feeling of worthlessness and emptiness? Why did God bring me into this terrible world of disappointment and hurt? I was so mad at Him and I wanted to end my life, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was afraid of worsening the addictions with which my family already suffered, plus the fact I was too afraid of what would come before me on the other side. I knew if God were to review my life after I died that He would rightfully see the filth of my attitude and actions. He knew all of the immoral things I had said and done, whether small or great. I could not hide my transgressions from Him.
My First Job
I began coping with my dark inner sadness by going to parties as a teenager and hanging out with others who grew up in broken homes. It was my way of ignoring the emptiness and lonesomeness I felt. I was 15 years old when I got my first job; it was at Culvers, a fast food restaurant in Viroqua. My parents let me use their spare car to drive to and from work after school and on the weekends.
It Happened at Culvers
Two years later the Lord showed me just how much He really did love me. I was seventeen by this time and the summer of 2007 was just coming to an end. I was at work and we had just finished up with our typical lunch hour rush. I was working behind the front counter washing up some trays when Brittany, a best friend of mine and a coworker at the time, came rushing to me from the dining room. She wanted me to meet some motorcyclists that she had been talking to who happened to be passing through. Brittany’s mother was also a biker which is what intrigued her to talk with them.
My Friend Begs Me to Meet the Bikers
“We’re still on the clock,” I told her. “If the boss sees me talking to people instead of working, I’m going to get in trouble.” But Brittany begged me to meet these people. She showed me a special coin they had given to her. She told me that if I went and talked with them that I could probably get a coin also. Again I replied, “No, I can’t; I could really get into trouble for this.” A third time, she pleaded with me to just go and meet them quick.
I checked to see if my manager was nearby, and since he wasn’t in sight, I finally decided to go quickly to the dining room to meet the bikers. Just to be on the safe side, I took a sweeper with me. If my manager found me chatting, it would seem as though I was still doing something productive.
Motorcyclists with a Cause
Brittany introduced me to the Bikers. The lead biker told me his name was Wayne Bredahl. (Bredahl and wife in picture.) The first question he asked me was: “Do you want to know what we ride for Sally?” Interested by his question, I asked him: “What do you ride for?” Wayne smiled and said, “We ride for Christ.” I smiled back and nodded my head saying, “That’s nice.” I remember thinking to myself that that’s good; you can ride for whatever you would like to.
Deep Probing Question
It wasn’t until Wayne directly asked me, “Are you a sinner?” that I began to consider Who it was that he rode for. Of all the kinds of questions one could ask, this one hit me hard. How is it that this man, who doesn’t even know me, knows the burden I carry around? Could he see it in my countenance or in my expression somehow? How did he know that my shortcomings, my failures, and my heavy load of immoral sin troubled me so strongly?
Taken back by his question about my sin, my eyes began to tear, as I looked at the ground. The shame I had felt from my life swept over me in that instant. Although no one had ever taught me the Ten Commandments, my conscience told me what sin was. When I did bad things like lying to my parents, going to parties, or drinking, I knew that it was sinful and immoral.
Every Sin Can be Erased
So to the biker’s question: “Are you a sinner?” I replied: “I have done some really bad things that I wish I could take back.” Wayne soon asked, “What if I told you that you could be forgiven?” With, I am sure, a longing in my eyes, I looked back up at him and said, “I would love that!”
The Moment that Changed Everything
At that moment, I wondered how all of the sins I had done in my past could possibly be forgiven when they had already been committed? Wayne then asked “What if I told you that Jesus Christ died to forgive you of your sins?” I had always heard the stories of Jesus Christ, but it was right then, at that moment in Culver’s dining room, that I realized why He came, died, and rose again on the third day. Christ died for ME – for MY sins! God didn’t hate me. He had a purpose for me. He loved me so much that He sent His only Son, Who had no sin, to die a painful death on a cross – yes, for me! What kind of love is this, that one would give His own life to save an undeserving sinner from the burden and penalty of my own sinful way?
I had finally realized and truly felt what love was. The heavy weight of my toilsome sin and the painful memories of my life disappeared in that moment. Joy filled my soul when I realized that my sins were put away at Calvary, when Christ, on that wooden cross bled and died.
Loved, Safe, Secure and Joyful
Nothing in my past can separate me from His love, because He put my sinful past away when He finished the work on the cross. God is satisfied with me because of the sacrifice of His Son for my sins. I can joyfully say that I am forgiven. I have a purpose, and a sure hope that cannot be shaken or taken away. My life has been changed. My sin debt was finally cleared when, in that moment, the Christ I had only heard of as an historical religious figure, became my very own Savior. He died to set me free from a life of emptiness, sin, and ultimately eternal hell.
Exactly What I Needed
Before Wayne and the three other riders rode off, he gave me a coin with John 3:16 on it.
For God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him
should not perish,
but have everlasting life.
He gave me his card, joyfully hugged me, and then the three of them got on their bikes and went on their way. My joy, to this day, still remains because of the proven love and full security I have in Christ Jesus, who died on the cross years ago for me and my sins.
A New Life and a Great One
Soon after the Lord saved me, my old friends became distant. They said I had changed, and I wasn’t the Sally that they knew anymore. Thank God for that! The old desires and cravings were replaced with new desires. Finally I had freedom from my past. I didn’t miss the parties and my old lifestyle. The more I enjoyed my new relationship with Christ, the less my old friends wanted to be around me. We spent less time together and eventually they stopped calling me. At High School, they no longer filled the seats around me. I had found a new Friend and His Name was Jesus. He too had suffered rejection and even to this day He is still rejected by the very people He loved and died for.
My Brother and I Growing Together
Because of the distance in our family, I was completely unaware that my 20 year old brother Casey had trusted Christ as his Saviour just months before me. Now Casey and I finally had a real bond as siblings, all because of our new life in Christ. Together we shared the sorrows of rejection, while sharing the joys of knowing Christ. The Lord used Casey to strengthen me in those first few months as a new believer. Together, in our search for fellowship with other genuinely born again Christians, we attended a Baptist church and the both of us were joyfully baptized as Christians as the Bible teaches.
Gas Station Encounter – Not Culvers this Time
Sometime later, on route to my parents place in Readstown, I stopped at a gas station. A man asked me if I would like to read how I could be saved. I was so happy to see a Christian spreading the good news of the Gospel that had positively changed my life and destiny, I responded: “I really appreciate what you are doing! There are people who are lost and hopeless who need to know about Christ.” He invited me to attend some meetings where the good news of Jesus Christ was being preached.
I accepted his warm invitation and went that Sunday evening to hear the Gospel, hoping to meet other believers – and I did! I enjoyed hearing the clear message of God’s love and Christ’s suffering and death for our sins. I wept when I heard again of Jesus being mocked, spit upon, whipped, crowned with thorns, and hung up on a cruel cross for our sins. It made me remember the day I was saved and the love Christ had for me. I was so impressed that God’s Word was spoken clearly but simply without any big, glamorous, eye-catching methods. The Christians were warm and welcoming and I was impressed with how sincere and real and genuine it all was.
New Christian Friends and Fellowship
A very kind Christian couple there encouraged me greatly as we spoke of Christ together. New friends and what friends they became! Their kindness and care reminded me a lot of Christ and His great care and love for me. Later, I introduced Casey my brother to this Christian couple. He asked them what church denomination they belonged to. We were impressed that they weren’t a part of organized religion but that they simply met with other Christians who “gathered together to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
A Certain Beauty of a Biblical Gathering
When I moved to LaCrosse, WI to start college, I found another similar group of believers who met in a simple hall who followed the Biblical New Testament pattern for Christians meeting together. Every Sunday they met for the Lord’s Supper and to share the Gospel. They had other meetings to study the Bible together. As I observed their meetings, they took no money from me. Some other places seemed anxious for my money. The Christian women wore a covering on their head during their services and no one pastor dominated. There were quite a few other things I noticed that seemed to be different from other churches in the community.
I wanted to see where they got these practices from. I read many verses in the Bible which were eye-openers for me. 1Corinthians 11; 1Corinthians 5:11-13; Acts 20:27-28; Hebrews 13:7, 17; 1Peter 5:1; 1Timothy 5:17; Acts 2:41-42: Matthew 18:20 and many other verses helped me understand what a New Testament church really should be like.
I am thrilled and thankful for Christian friends who initially encouraged me to read my Bible and to discover for myself what a New Testament gathering of Christians should be like. I am so thankful to the Lord, not only for my salvation but for the fellowship of believers I now enjoy and the Biblical teaching that broadens my perspective and deepens my appreciation of Christ.
No Disillusionment and No Disappointment
I am so blessed to be where I am today, and so thankful that God has brought me into such a wonderful family of believers! I often wonder where I would be today if I never knew about Christ and His love. I can surely say that Jesus led me all the way. Quite a few years have slipped by since I became a Christian and my love for Christ is even deeper today and my joy greater. I can truly recommend Him to you as a Personal Saviour and Friend who will change your life and satisfy you completely.