|Christopher Gerard Hilgendorf ~ Lethbridge, Alberta|
My name is Christopher Gerard Hilgendorf. I was born on April the 27th, 1979 in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, a sinner. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23).
I was raised in a Catholic home and attend church once a week until I was about 10 or 12, however I attended a Catholic school right through until graduation in 1997. I always knew about God and the Bible, about Heaven and Hell, Adam and Eve. I had even heard the terms "saved" and "born again" but I always took it for granted as common knowledge. I never took time out of my life to really think about it and learn what it means...salvation...that is until I met Ben Prins, a Seed Sower. But first. January of 1994, my Grandpa Hilgendorf passed away. Sometime, within a few days after his death, I knew that something was missing in my life. I had a hole in my heart and I wanted more than anything to fill that hole with the one thing in the world that fits. Now all I had to do was figure out what that was.
For a while I tried to fit "PARTY" in that hole. I lived the life of the party as much and as often as I could...until it almost killed me. I then moved on and tried to fill that hole with "LOVE". Unfortunately it wasn't the unconditional love I now find in Christ. It was the 'fairy tale' love you see on the silver screen. That type of love doesn't exist.(I later learned that a long loving relationship takes time, commitment, compromise, honesty. etc.) Instead I found the 'temporary' love you find at the bar and dance clubs. I thought that I had found "the one," a girl I went head over heels for. We dated for two years. When that ended I thought my life had too. I slipped into depression. The hole in my heart grew larger. I came closer to filling that hole in December of '98, the peek of my depression, I turned to the Bible. I realized that my depression was more than a spiritual problem and got the help I needed from a Psychiatrist. Very occasionally I opened my Bible. I carried on as I used to. Trying to the life of the party, only this time it was different. I didn't like it anymore. I made some slight alterations to my lifestyle, I changed from going to the bar all the time to going to the pub a singing karaoke all the time. That helped, but not enough.
I then changed my home from Medicine Hat to Lethbridge, Alberta where I started my new career as a Funeral Specialist. That also helped but again, not enough. A few months after moving to Lethbridge I was making my weekly call home and while talking to my Mom she asked, "Are you going to Church in Lethbridge"? I replied, "No, but I should be." My life was slowly heading down. I wore masks to hide it from others but deep down I really hated life.
January 27th, 2000. I was working the booth at the mall in Lethbridge. The same mall that the Seed Sowers booth was at. I meet Ben Prins at a "Good For You" frozen yogurt stand between our tables. We said hello to each other. I glanced at his table and went back to mine.
On January 29th, 2000 I was working at the mall again. All day. 9-5. After a couple of hours, I find myself really talking to Ben. We're talking about the weather, trucks, donuts, funerals, Mexico... "Are you saved?" he asked. I thought for a moment and realized the answer was NO. "Did you know Christopher, that when you die your soul will be in the place the Bible calls hell?" I KNEW that since the first answer was no, this answer was YES. Ben and I talked about salvation for a while longer but eventually the time came when I had to go home but, he made me promise to come to a gospel meeting. I promised, and 2 days later on Monday the 31st I went down to the Good News Center and opened up the door, beginning my new life in Christ. "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." John 10:9
At the Good News Center I met many great people who helped show me The Way. Steve Kember, Gaius Goff, Jake, Ken & Diane Braun, Dave & Sheila Williams, Henry Ly, Jeremy Heyboer and his sister Roz, Charity Challenger, Tim Graves, Angela Smith and many others. They were all excited to see me there and I know they all prayed for my salvation. I learned many things during the week of meetings. Lots of questions and lots of answers. The most important realization of all was that the crucifixion of the Son of Man and resurrection of Christ was done for...ME. "That if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved." (Romans 10:9).
On February 8th, 2000, in Dairy Queen, talking with two friends who I had met that day; Andrew Musch & Chad Griffin, JESUS SAVED ME! I spoke the words from my heart and broke into laughter when I felt the joy of salvation overflow in me. I had been so scared about being a sinner and knowing that my soul would be in hell and eventually the Lake of Fire for all eternity. My mind became very calm. A lot of the thoughts, fears, questions, concerns and worries just kind of went away. My thoughts fell on Jesus and my heart was filled with God's unconditional love for me, and I was left speechless. That night I prayed and thanked God for this precious gift, the gift of His Son's blood shed upon the cross all for me. The hole in my heart I realized that day was 'a God-shaped hole'(-audio adrenaline) and that day it was filled.
Since then I was baptized on the Feb. 20th and came into fellowship on March 5th. I try to live everyday in Christ, to serve God. Sin and temptation are powerful tools used by Satan on us constantly, but what a comfort to know that God is on my side and when I die or when the Lord cometh again, I will be Heaven for eternity.
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).
For we ourselves were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 1:7-9, 3:3-7).
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16 )
"Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you" (Hosea 10:12)
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10).
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