I Still Believe!
Unfortunately, it seems we live in an era where someone can sit on one side of the church, and be angry with another brother or sister sitting on the other side of the church, without ever feeling bad about it. They can go on being mad at each other without ever saying “I’m sorry,” or “I forgive you.” I remember a time when something was wrong between the hearts of two people, and we couldn’t sleep at night. We would be bothered about it. We could try to carry on, but our days were miserable. Nothing would seem to go right simply because of this difference with someone in our hearts, that we felt convicted about. We’ve allowed this conflict go on until bitterness builds against one another. This bitterness hardens our heart to the point that we can go to church, lift up our unclean hands and pray to God for forgiveness, and not ever feel convicted about our own unforgiving, hateful spirit. The prayers of the Saints are now hindered because we can’t forgive one another causing the church to become cold. A place of help for the lost souls no longer exists.
Here we are now in a moment that we all knew was coming. Tragedy has struck America, it has struck our communities, and it has struck our churches. There are some days, regardless of the “unprepared condition” of my heart, that I look at the state of this world, and anxiously wonder, “Please God, is it the end of the world yet?” Rev. Robertson once said, “I have always believed that the greatest opportunity ever given to mankind is that we can change.” God help me, and God help us all.
This was something I had written to the church when I left House of Prayer in 2009. I was called a reprobate. I had been broken down to the point of complete hopelessness, and I believed that I was doomed. I needed help and I let them destroyed me. If there was no hope for my soul, then what was the point in living? I couldn’t sit in a church service anywhere for years. I started to believe that the preachers were right. They had taken everything thing that mattered to me, and I had nowhere to turn. I loved and missed all my brothers and sisters in the church, and they were completely shut out to me.
I had kept silent about the abuse I endured from my husband at that time, Michael Best. The only ones who really knew what was going on in our house was Denis, Robertson, and Bradeen. This abuse was the reason that I was separated from my husband on several occasions. At one point, I stayed with the Bradeen’s. I was pushed into going back home time and time again only for things to get worse each time. My breaking point was at a late night prayer meeting, where I prayed at the altar and cried. I stayed there until I fell asleep because I was afraid to go home. The last time I had to leave my home, I stayed with Sis Chong. By this time, so much damage had been done. I couldn’t sleep at night. I was having nightmares that caused me to cry out in my sleep. My fear was that I would be made to go back again. How could they be helping me by continuing to let me get hurt?
This drove me to flee in the middle of the night in my pajamas with as much of my belongings that could fit into a pillow case. This was not before I had already fallen. There was another sister that I confided in and told her everything. We ended up in the church office with Bradeen and Robertson. They talked to this sister first. I don’t know what was said. When they called me into the office and began to ask me what all I had said to her. I told Robertson that I had told her my whole story. She came with me when I left. I tried to get her to understand the urgency, and the fact that I was not coming back. I ended up bringing her back to Georgia only to be met by the Friars pushing me to come back. I got on a plane and went to Texas.
The phone calls from Robertson and Bradeen started instantly. This is where the real damage came. They convinced me that my soul was damned. On top of dealing with all the trauma, this is what pushed me into the idea that there could be no hope for my soul.
I later learned that no one was allowed to contact me. Everyone in the church was told that I was gay and sleeping with sisters in the church. I was even asked over the phone by Bradeen about my relationships with sisters that I was close to in the church. Because of my fear and lack of desire toward my husband, this somehow turned into me having unnatural affection towards my sisters.
It has been 8 years since I left. That was 8 years of hopelessness. I thought so much about all my brothers and sisters that I loved and truly missed. This led me to google House of Prayer, and I found this site. This site confirmed so many things that I thought made me seem crazy. I have found some of my brothers and sisters only to learn that they had also been hurt by the church. I just talked to Sister Jen Rodriguez a few days ago on the phone. For the first time in 8 years, I felt hope. After reading all the testimonies, I believe God knows my struggle and can heal and restore. Please pray for my strength. Words can’t express how grateful I am to have found so many brothers and sisters fighting for what was taken unrightfully. I love you all and miss you so much.
Sister L. Best