Sara Pastrana's testimony:
As a child I was sad and feared God because my mother was a very devout catholic. I wanted to be a nun, and yet at the same time struggling with my affection for the world. My father, a prestigious US Army Sergeant Major for 20 years, was bound by alcohol.
While attending the university my cousins invited me to a free religious group called “Catacumbas,” where I accepted the Lord as my Savior. This group met in the outdoors because they held firmly that God does not live in temples made by human hands (Acts 17:24). In practice they were similar to the hippies in the 60’s. However, while meeting with them, I did touch the Lord in a small way because I was seeking (Matthew 7:7).
As time passed, however, I lost the “shining” of the Lord within me. Desperate to fill the emptiness within, I tried many groups - the Jehovah Witnesses, the Santería, and the Spiritists. But none can satisfy me. I didn’t know why. A deep conviction within me told me that none of these was God’s way.
When I started working, a Pentecostals colleague preached the gospel to me. All of a sudden the Lord who had been dormant within me was shinning in me again. I told the Lord that I wanted to be absolute for Him once again. Trusting so much in my emotion, I started on my erroneous journey to isolation. I shunned my job, my husband, and children just to be “alone” with the Lord. The result was devastating. Dryness filled my inner being, and the feeling of joy disappeared. Struggling, I cried to the Lord: “O Lord, there has to be something else in Your heart. Please show me.”
Then through God’s sovereign arrangement, a friend whom I lost contact for years called and spoke to me concerning God’s eternal purpose. I have never heard anything like this before! Everything I have learned and tried was to be individualistic. But my eyes were opened up to see God’s heart is to gain the church (ekklesia in Greek, meaning the gathering of the called out ones). Yes, God saved me as an individual. But His real joy and desire is to see all the believers mature and grow up into one Body of Christ (Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 1:22-23).
I resisted initially due to my background. However, inside of me there was a confirmation that this is the way of God. Hallelujah, I have found the real reason of God’s calling! I no longer struggle to search for the “better” way. Today I am absolutely for Christ and His church. I have been in the church life for 20 years, and my joy increases day by day. Not only that, I can see that my life is an expression of God’s multifarious wisdom (Ephesians 3:10), a miracle, and full of meaning. And this is only a foretaste. The half has not yet been told.