Patti Roberts was raised in a strict Roman Catholic home and loved her very structured and formal church. But as an adult she became discouraged when she began asking her priest questions like, “Was Peter truly the first pope?” and “Where did Jesus say that Peter was the rock upon which the church was to be built?” When her priest could not answer her questions, she confronted him with another, asking him if it wasn’t his job to give answers to her questions. She finally left the Catholic Church around 1981, choosing to even skip Mass on Christmas and Easter, since she felt in her heart that she did not belong there.
Soon Patti was living a life of sin, which continued for many years, feeling herself a lost soul. But the Holy Spirit would not give up on her. About a year after her youngest daughter, Samantha, was born, Patti felt the strong impression that the Holy Spirit was asking her why she was not attending church. She felt convicted and began to pray, asking God to lead her to the right church.
She had read the Ten Commandments, and on her own, decided to keep all ten of them. When she got to the Fourth Commandment she asked herself, “What am I going to do about this one?” She knew that the Jews kept the Sabbath, but she couldn’t go along with them as they didn’t believe the Messiah had come.She earnestly prayed for guidance, and about a week later she was channel surfing and came upon a religious program. When she saw people passing out and falling to the floor, she knew this was not what she was searching for, and continued changing channels. She felt the Holy Spirit impress her that she needed to watch the “other channel.”
She knew immediately which one He was referring to, because she had seen it before in passing. Although the reception was rather crackly and poor, as she adjusted her antenna, she found that this station came in better by touching her antenna to the curtain rod at the top of the window! She began watching channel 48, 3ABN’s downlink station in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and she understood everything! She was so excited.
She called to her daughter, Deveny. “I’ve finally found the truth!” she told her. Almost immediately she began looking for a Seventh-day Adventist church in her area, and found one in Wyoming, near Grand Rapids, Michigan. Upon entering the church, the pastor’s wife greeted her warmly.
Patti blurted out to her, “I need to be baptized!”
To this Mrs. Colburn, the pastor’s wife, responded enthusiastically, “Praise the Lord! It’s not every day that someone comes into church for the first time and wants to be baptized!”
After the tragedy of September 11, Patti called Pastor Colburn wanting to know what was happening in the world. This was a good opportunity for him to start Bible studies with her, and before the end of 2001 she followed Jesus’ example of baptism by immersion.
“What a refreshing, renewing experience,” she says. She says she felt like, “Now I’m baptized, Lord, please just hurry up and get here. I’m ready to go to heaven!”
Her joy was complete when her 16-year-old daughter, Deveny, followed her in baptism just one month later!
When I asked her what her brother and sister felt about her decision and her baptism, Patti told me that they just didn’t seem to care, but that her faithful Catholic Mom was heartbroken. In spite of her mother’s concerns, Patti felt that she must follow her convictions. She also discovered that her Mom had gone to everyone she knew and told them about her daughter’s baptism. Sadly, Patti’s mother passed away in 2002, but she continues to be hopeful that by then her mother had a better understanding of her decision.
The day I called Patti to hear her story, she told me that she had been watching Pastor Doug Batchelor on 3ABN the night before. “He said we all need to be witnesses for the Lord, especially new Christians, as it helps us to learn and to remember,” she related. “So I prayed, ‘Lord, I’ll be a witness for You,’ and the next day I received your phone call asking me to give my testimony!” She told me that she feels my phone call was an answer to her prayer!
Patti says, “I work in a worldly environment. I find peace in coming home and turning on the 3ABN channel.”
May each one of us pray the prayer Patti prayed, “Lord, I’ll be a witness for You.” It will be exciting to see how He answers that prayer for each one of us!