My name is Linda Petersen. Many of you have heard me say that I have attended Faith Church since before I was born—what you may not know is my mother also attended Faith Church before she was born in the early 1900’s, during which there was an epidemic of Tuberculosis sweeping our country. My grandparents were considered “outcasts” because Grandpa’s first wife had died of TB.
Despite being shunned by the majority of society, they were assured by a lady named Flossy Rix that her church (OUR church) would welcome them. They were indeed welcomed and why do I tell you this? Because despite my great heritage and having been raised in the church, I never truly understood what it meant to be a Christian.
When I was seven years old, my older sister, Gloria, explained that sin separates us from God and so I asked Jesus to forgive me my sins. I thought I was “all set.” That is until I was 15 and my younger sister, Nancy, died suddenly. At church camp the summer after she died, the speaker explained that asking for forgiveness was only the beginning. We need to give God our everything, our entire life. That’s when I dedicated my life to Christ.
My husband, Darwin, who also grew up at Faith Church, and I have had many trials during our 50+ years of marriage. Faith Church has been there to help and guide us. When I was pregnant for my second child the doctor said I was the source of our son’s German Measles and should have an abortion. It wasn’t easy to just trust God but I learned that giving God everything was a daily decision. If we hadn’t trusted Him with our unborn child we would have missed the joy of raising our daughter. When our marriage went through a rough patch it was the prayers and support of our more spiritually mature friends here at Faith Church that helped us put things in God’s hands. One major influencer was Lennie Rathbun—she taught “Precept Upon Precept,” an intense Bible study that also made a large impact on us, allowing my walk with the Lord to grow.
A few years after going through that rough patch in our marriage we had a house fire, learned our unmarried daughter was pregnant, and Dar’s best friend died suddenly, all within a matter of hours. With every life experience my faith has been tested in new ways. The most recent test of faith was when my oldest grandson was diagnosed with testicular cancer and the chemo treatments nearly took him from us. I know there will be more testing of my faith as long as I’m alive. God asks for my obedience and trust, despite the circumstances. But I’ve learned God is faithful and I will continue to trust Him through it all.