Testimony of Nancy Poppo
I was raised in a Roman Catholic home with two parents that really loved each other and I was an only child. The Catholic Church helped keep the fear of God in me and I believed that I was a good person by doing my confessions with the Priests believing that all my sins were wiped away after a few vain repetitious prayers were cited. In general there was a lack of assurance that I was heaven bound and that I was truly loved by anybody. My parents raised me in an environment of conditional love – as long as I did what they wanted I was OK.
As a teen-ager I was introduced to Christianity and other religions. I went to Grace Baptist church in Nanuet, NY with a friend, but did not realize it was a church that had born again people in it. I did not even know what born again meant. My friend did not witness at all to me. He just brought me to church. However, I knew that he was different from other teen-age boys. Our relationship ended, and we went different paths (Proverbs 16:9), however that church always left some curiosity in me and I wondered why I felt so compelled to go back to that church or know more about it. However, I had the fear of the Catholic Church and while living under my parents’ roof, I did not dare to question the faith that we were living under. I was honoring my parents the best way that I could, but never felt that I was good enough for my parents.
My best friend, who was Catholic, went to that same church mentioned above and she received salvation in 1991 and she started praying for me to receive Jesus into my life. I started to learn about born again people, but at the same time witnessed a born again believer committing adultery which hurt my best friend. I decided that I would never be a born-again Christian. She prayed for me to get saved. I witnessed her life change to be able to forgive her husband and the believer that was in sin with him and to see God’s power really work in her life and restore her marriage. This complete change in her life encouraged me to explore different churches and decreased going to Catholic Church. I was being drawn toward the Christian faith. God was calling me to the Christian faith and soon I would receive him as my Lord and Savior.
On October 3, 1993, I was invited to a Lutheran Church in Walden NY, by a co-worker. My friend mentioned above also decided to go with me. That day at church I received the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior by asking the Lord to forgive me for my sins and totally trusting Him as my savior in my life. (Proverbs 3:5-6 was the first scripture that I memorized). John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the trust, the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” The next day I went to a Bible Book Store and I had the desire to start reading the Bible and began to pray even more at meals or in the car while driving. I drifted away a little from the faith and my church attendance decreased while pregnant due to the difficult pregnancy and shopping for a home to raise our two kids.
In 1995, we bought a home in Hyde Park. Once we were settled I was trying to find a church to go to. In October of 1996, I found Hyde Park Baptist Church and I really started to grow there. Being in that Church, I was understanding the gospel better and at that point had assurance that I would go to heaven, and on March 16, 1997, I made a profession of faith and was baptized. I would wake up 5 a.m. and read the word of God just about every morning. I was praying that my former husband would get saved and our marriage would be restored, but that did not happen. As I raised my children as a single parent in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4), I had to depend on God as my husband. I saw how God provided for the kids and myself and how the body of Christ gave me a lot of support during that trial and the love that they showed me. I did not think anybody would love me for who I really am, but the Lord showed His love to me through the trials that I endured (1John 4:7). The body of Christ was like the family that I never had before salvation. I never had so many brothers and sisters. My family just continues to grow as I continue my walk with Christ and I get excited. One of the things that excites me the most is I Thessalonians 4:13-18. I look forward to the day that the Lord will come back and all His believers will be with Him.
In the past, I have had some fear of doing certain ministries such as Awana and evangelism. I did not think that I was adequate in serving in those ministries. My thinking of serving in Awana has totally changed since I have been helping out in the past few months. Witnessing has now became an everyday event for me as I hand out tracks that are like ice breakers and confidence of God has been starting to take over as God leads me to witness to individuals that are complete strangers. I thought I would NEVER serve in these types of ministries and God has totally changed my view and thinking. Without God’s saving grace I would not be where I am now. I am very thankful for this congregation in encouraging and holding me accountable to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, according to His ways, that He has taught me through His Holy Scriptures.