The Bible Changes Lives
WHAT moved a young woman to return to the religious upbringing from which she had strayed? Read what she has to say.
“I Now Have a Real Purpose in Life.”—LISA ANDRÉ
YEAR BORN: 1986
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: LUXEMBOURG
HISTORY: PRODIGAL CHILD
MY PAST: I grew up in Bertrange, a clean, safe, and prosperous little town near the city of Luxembourg. I am the youngest of five children. My parents are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they worked hard to instill Christian values in my brothers and sisters and in me.
When I entered my early teenage years, I began to have serious doubts about what Jehovah’s Witnesses teach. At first, I ignored these doubts, but gradually my faith became weaker and weaker. My parents did everything they could to guide me in the right direction, but I rejected their help. Without their knowledge, I spent time with young people who had little respect for authority. I wanted the freedom that their lifestyle seemed to offer. We partied a lot, slept around, and abused drugs and alcohol. I was initially glad to be with people who seemed to enjoy life to the full.
In reality, though, I was not truly happy. Life with those associates was so trivial; no one gave much thought to anything. By contrast, I was bothered by such issues as the widespread injustice in the world. As time went on, I felt more and more depressed.
HOW THE BIBLE CHANGED MY LIFE: One day when I was 17, I was feeling very low. Sensing how unhappy I was, my mother asked me to give the Bible another chance. She encouraged me to examine its teachings and then decide for myself whether I wanted to live in harmony with them or not. That heart-to-heart conversation was a real turning point for me. I agreed to study the Bible with my older sister Caroline and her husband, Akif. He had not been raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses but had become one as an adult. Because of Akif’s past, I felt that I could speak openly with him, which was important to me.
I knew that my lifestyle was not suitable for a Witness, but initially, I felt that what I did with my life was a personal matter. From studying the Bible, however, I realized that my conduct affects Jehovah’s feelings. (Psalm 78:40, 41; Proverbs 27:11) I also came to understand that it affects other people too.
As I examined the Bible further, I found that there are logical and convincing reasons to believe that it is the Word of God. For example, I learned of numerous Bible prophecies that have come true—with an amazing degree of accuracy. Such knowledge helped me to resolve my earlier doubts.
About a year after I started studying the Bible, my parents and I visited my older brother who was a volunteer at the branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany. When I saw how happy my brother was, I felt deeply moved. That happiness was exactly what I had been looking for! I was also impressed by the other Witnesses who volunteered there. They were far different from the dishonest, thrill-seeking people with whom I had been associating. Shortly thereafter, I offered a heartfelt prayer to Jehovah, promising to serve him for the rest of my life. At the age of 19, I symbolized my dedication to Jehovah by getting baptized.
HOW I HAVE BENEFITED: I now have a real purpose in life. I find joy in teaching the Bible to others, helping them to learn about Jehovah and his promises for the future. My family has also benefited—they no longer worry about me.
I am aware of my past mistakes, but I try not to dwell on them. Instead, I focus on Jehovah’s forgiveness and on his loving interest in me. I wholeheartedly agree with the words of Proverbs 10:22, which says: “The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.”
[Blurb on page 12]
“We partied a lot, slept around, and abused drugs and alcohol”
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“I am aware of my past mistakes, but I try not to dwell on them”