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Hello all. My name is Amanda Smith (nee Faulkner). I was originally born in Barry Island, Wales. My family and I moved to New Zealand when I was 5 years old.
I am studying anew here at Christian Leaders Institute, and at this stage have little experience as a leader, though I do keep good company with the lady who ran the Salvation Army Family Store that I previously worked in. She is the lovely lady who re-introduced me to Christianity and lit the flame in me here in New Zealand.
I didn’t have much of a spiritual upbringing. My parents said they were Christian, though I was sent to church with neighbors. My mother had a saying of “God pays debts without using any money” when I was being bullied at school. My father insisted I don’t wear white when I got married since I had already had children and was therefore “unpure.” These were the only indicators I had of any religion being present in my family (I was divorced two years after I was first married due to his infidelity).
At the age of 16, I was an attempted murder survivor. Wrong place, wrong time was what I was told. Possibly a drug deal happening down the road I was walking. To date, there is no suspect or motive, even though it happened back in 1985 here in New Zealand. The church chaplain said to me, “God has a plan for you. He is not done with you yet. He had his hand on you to make sure you survived this.” This was my first real connection with God. I then sought Him out and went to Youth Groups with friends. Somewhere along the way, I kept bad company and drifted from Him.
Then I started attending church again, as I stated above, after working at the Salvation Army store. I became a Salvation Army soldier. I heard that God has a plan for me to be a leader. I started studying even more. I met a man whom I grew to love. He attended church with me just to be near me, and he came to know the Lord in the process. God works in mysterious ways. He had a stroke, that caused him to become very violent and aggressive with me whenever he had an alcoholic drink. Being an alcoholic, this was a regular occurrence. I prayed repeatedly for healing for him, because I knew it was an illness, and that he was acting against his own morals when he hurt me. He went through a residential rehabilitation program and hasn’t raised his hand to me in 7 years.
During his time in the rehabilitation program, he was diagnosed with cancer. It was a definite diagnosis and tests were being done to find out whether it was aggressive cancer or not. Weeks passed waiting for results of the last test. During these weeks, all those at the program and myself prayed for him daily. When the results came back, it was to say that the cancer cells had shrunk! Cancer doesn’t shrink on its own. Praise God! It is now non-existent in his body – it just left, with no treatment! These are only two events that convinced me of God’s power and His will for me to be His child. There were many other events where there is no doubt that God had His hand on the situation.
Free training is necessary for me because, at this stage, our finances are very tight. We recently had a very intimate wedding, keeping it personal rather than showy, due to the tight budget. Although both of us work, we don’t have the money to spend on unnecessary costs. I have started a new job and hope this will change so that I can give back to this worthy cause that has given me so much, and undoubtedly, will continue to do so. I want to move forward in my learning, as to be worthy to spread God’s word and bring others to Him.
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