By Louisa Coutzee
I can’t say I didn’t grow up with an opportunity to know about Jesus.
We went to church every Sunday. We’d also pray together on a regular basis. I even remember being 17 years old when I repeated the “sinner’s prayer.”
I figured I’d settled it at that point, but I never had a relationship—a real, growing, thriving relationship with God. I met my husband when I was 18. He grew up in a religious family, too, but neither of us really knew God. We only knew how to play the part. We went to church regularly, but on the weekends, we’d drink and party just like everyone else. If everyone else was doing it, how wrong could it really be?
I thought we were saved, but I know now we weren’t.
We emigrated from South Africa to Canada four years ago. For two years, everything went well. Then, my husband lost his job. We had to move from British Columbia to Edmonton to get work.
That’s how we met Stan and Karen Felder. We saw a poster advertising an Easter event they were hosting at our Edmonton apartment complex. We figured it was something to do—a way to get out of the apartment. Our girls were excited. I thought it would just be about the Easter Bunny. I was less than enthused.
I was wrong though. We had a great time. The Felders invited us to have lunch with them, and they immediately felt like family. They cared for us. We started attending the small church they led in the apartment complex.
We needed those relationships. We were also going through our own struggles at that time. My husband had gotten a job when we moved to Edmonton, but the salary wasn’t enough to cover our expenses. I got a job, but it still wasn’t enough. I became depressed.
We continued to go to the church, but we also started praying together as a family and spending time with Stan and Karen. I started reading my Bible regularly. God’s Word broke into my heart like never before. Eventually, our entire family surrendered our lives to Jesus. We were baptized together in June of 2015. Our lives had changed forever. We stopped drinking altogether and have been sober for over a year. God has given us a sense of peace that I can’t really describe.
It hasn’t always been easy, but now, when struggles come our way, God gives us strength to go through them. My husband was without work for two months, but there was always food in the house. Because God has been so good to us, we want to help others find out about Jesus. We have started a Bible study in our home. It’s small, but we’re praying more people will join us.
I know there are other people who think they’re saved, but they’ve never given their lives to Jesus. They’re living in their own strength. I want people to know God will never give up on them. He will be forever faithful. And He loves you!
Refugees and internationals come to North America seeking security, opportunity and prosperity. Genuine friendships offered by the church can help refugees and internationals get familiar with their surroundings and stay safe in their new home. Learn more about how to engage refugee and international communities.
Published October 12, 2017