My name is Diane Marie Thomas, a wife and mother of 4 children and two grandchildren. My husband and I live in West Virginia, USA. I am proud to say that my son and daughter-in-law have both completed this course and received their CLI certificate.

I was brought up as a Baptist and was baptized as a young girl. My parents always made sure that my siblings and I attend Sunday School and church every Sunday. Many years passed before I truly came to know about salvation through Jesus Christ. I was always searching for this peace and joy that everyone kept talking about. I gave my life to the Lord at the very young age of seventeen. Although I’ve had my times of backsliding, I thank God today that He never forsake me and that His mercy kept me.

My experience in coming to know the Lord was from a tragedy in my life. When I was seventeen, I received a phone call that changed my life forever. I learned that my cousin who was also seventee and had just graduated from high school was attending her first year of college, was murdered by her uncle. This death devastated me and the pain was too much to bare. We laughed together, cried together and shared our secrets with each other, We were like sisters. Unfortunately, she was not the only victim that horrible day in March 1978. Her uncle, who was a Vietnam veteran also shot and killed his wife and son. It is believed that he had a flashback in war and that they were all the enemy. That was hard for me to understand or accept and I had a fear of anyone who served in the military at that time. Thank God for His deliverance of that fear today.

My life would never be the same and I had lost all hope. I knew that I needed to find hope again in living and being happy. I tried several substitutes to fill that void but I was still empty. I was attending a Bible Study at a neighbor’s home one day soon after that tragedy. I was told that Jesus loved me and wanted to fill that void I was experiencing. I accepted the Lord that day and began my walk living now as a Christian.

Now my life would be fulfilled and that emptiness would be gone. That was not the case because I did not really seek to know God as my personal Savior. I just went through the motions of going to church, tithing and singing in the choir. I did not understand that God wanted to be Lord of my life and wanted more from me. Many years later, after a friend explained that I needed the Holy Spirit to help me live the life that would complete me. I learned that it was the Holy Spirit that would dwell in me and give me the power to live for God and do His will.

My desire in this ministry is to reach out to those who have lost their hope. So many people are focusing on the surface of their day to day life and ignoring the inner struggle that they face day to day. The Holy Spirit is leading me to reach out to those who are struggling with letting go of self-hate, frightened by failure, loneliness and afraid to admit they are still empty.

CLI has been instrumental in preparing me to gain knowledge of God’s Word. I look forward to reaching out to other students and mentors for their support. My goal is to reach people and encourage them to seek God’s gift of salvation. I know that putting God first and allowing Him to be Lord of my life has given me the desire to do His will. I am excited about where the Lord is leading me and trust that He will use me to make a difference in the lives of others.

I’m so grateful to God for His love and ask that you pray I continue to seek after God for his direction and purpose for my life. May God Bless You!

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