Day 22 – Allison Labbe Draper: Personal Testimony
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6, ESV)
I grew up going to a Baptist Christian school and attending many gospel services at our church, so the gospel was very familiar to me. At school we had Bible classes, attended chapel at the church across from the school, sang Bible songs, memorized Scripture, and had God-fearing teachers and coaches. I knew at a young age what sin was, and I learned that I was going to Hell as a result of my sins. As a kid, I stole from stores and told the most obvious lies to my teachers and parents to try and avoid trouble (which didn’t work). I knew that it was wrong because I hid them from my parents, but that didn’t stop me from sinning anyway.
My older sister Lauren was troubled about salvation for years before finally getting saved in July 2005. That’s when I realized I was now the only person in my immediate family who wasn’t saved. I would read gospel tracts in the car on the way home from gospel meetings, and the Lord was trying to speak to me, but I couldn’t understand salvation for myself. I tried to figure out other ways—apart from the gospel I had heard my entire life—to be saved.
Occasionally, I’d watch television with my dad, and he’d almost tear up as he asked me, out of the blue, “When are you going to get saved, Ally?” He so badly wanted to see me saved and I kept seeking the wrong way to salvation—through works. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. Not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” What I didn’t understand was that believing that Christ died for me didn’t require effort or work from me. I needed to trust that the Lord Jesus Christ paid for all my sins, and accept that the work was finished and complete. Salvation is not received by our doing, but by what Christ has already done for us! His death brings us life.
About one year later, in June 2006, an older gentleman named David Swanney and his wife started attending the Terryville Gospel Hall, where I went to church. David gave his testimony during a gospel service on June 11, 2006. I actually liked listening to testimonies when I was troubled about salvation because I thought that maybe if I heard it a different way, I could somehow understand it better. I remember Dave talking about being troubled about his soul at a young age, and as he was lying in bed, he asked his mom to help him get saved. His mom told him, “I can’t help you.” That really stood out to me because it seemed to me like she wasn’t being helpful. He even said that he was shocked when she said she couldn’t help him because he felt so helpless already. Then his dad came in to try and lead him to the Savior. I can’t recall what his dad said, but David said he eventually realized that he was a sinner who needed salvation and he believed that Jesus died for him. His face lit up when he was reenacting his excitement, saying, “Jesus died for me!”
That phrase stood out to me like never before. After Dave said “Jesus died for me,” I prayed that God would save me and begged for forgiveness of my sin. I truly believed those words, “Jesus died for me,” and at that moment I accepted the finished work of Christ on the cross. I felt immediate peace knowing that all my sins were forgiven. I take comfort in reading Paul’s words in Galatians 3:13, “Christ redeemed us.” I was now redeemed and would never have to face Hell because God promises an eternal home in heaven when we trust in Jesus, who bore our sins on the cross.