, as told to Gina Wahlen, editor of Mission Quarterly
This is the story of how God saved me from a life of alcoholism in Ireland — and then allowed me to make a difference in someone else’s life.
I come from a broken family. Although my mother was a Bible worker, I was out of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for a long time.
At the age of 18, I left home and went with any man who showed me attention, going through one relationship after another. I became an alcoholic and couldn’t go a day without alcohol. Despite this, I become a nurse and kept my job. For more than a decade, my mother prayed for me, pleading earnestly for my soul.
When I turned 30, I experienced a personal crisis, and that’s when the Lord revealed Himself.
I’m an avid reader, and my mother had given me a lot of books by Ellen White, which I had never thrown away.
Being in a bad spot in my life, I turned to these books. Scanning the shelf, my eye caught the title, The Truth About Angels. Taking the book, I opened it and read: “We know not what results a day, an hour, or a moment may determine, and never should we begin the day without committing our ways to our heavenly Father. His angels are appointed to watch over us, and if we put ourselves under their guardianship, then in every time of danger they will be at our right hand” (p. 14).
A few days later, I sat on the floor by my bed one evening. I was upset. There was something in me that didn’t agree with drinking, and I wondered how I would ever be able to stop. Then suddenly the answer came. Experiencing an unbelievable strength of purpose, I got up and poured all my wine down the toilet. Over the next few days, I removed people from my life who were a bad influence, moved to Dublin, and returned to church.
Then I started drinking again. Soon, however, the Lord drew me back. Determined to quit drinking, I told the pastor, “If I don’t do this now, I never will.”
I took seven nights off work and locked my front door. Every hour during the first three days I went on my knees, pleading for God’s help. I drank fresh juice, water, and fruit. I ate nuts and seeds. My body cleaned out from the alcohol that I had drunk for so long. It was slow going, but when an Adventist evangelist came to Ireland from the United States, I attended the meetings and was baptized.
My interest in health outreach grew, and I became involved in the Cuisle Centre, a new center of influence operated in an Adventist church on the south side of Dublin. I volunteer at the center on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s so important for us to be here. People come in because they’re tired of walking around all day by themselves.
The Cuisle Centre is where I met him.
One morning I decided to take some soup to the center. After arriving, I saw a man coming up on a bicycle. His hair was messed up, and he looked forlorn.
“Good day, sir. What can I do for you?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
“Would you like me to take your blood pressure? How can I help you?”
“I wouldn’t mind a bite to eat,” he replied.
I was so glad that I had brought some soup. I warmed up the soup and sat down to speak with him. There was something about this guy — it was like God had come through the door. He was so gentle and sweet.
The man had skin cancer by his eye and was in pain. I changed his dressing for him. Then I took him into the church and prayed with him. He didn’t know how to kneel for prayer.
“I’ve got so many things inside of me,” he told me. “I was abused by a religious leader. I wanted to tell the cops …”
We prayed and prayed. Over the next six months he came to every prayer meeting and every Sabbath church service. One day I took him to his home. His place was very clean. I walked inside and all around were pictures of Jesus.
“I speak to Him all day long,” he said.
Then he told me about that first day that he had visited the Cuisle Centre.
“As I cycled past the church, something told me to turn around and go back,” he said. “I didn’t know what I was going to do there, but something told me to turn back. Even though I was already past the building, I came back.”
He wanted to stop smoking, so we enrolled him in the stop-smoking program. He was so grateful. But then he started smoking again and was too embarrassed to come back to church. I went to see him and told him that we missed him.
“We’ll help you,” I assured him.
He said that he missed us, too. He came back.
I praise God for my mother’s faithful prayers. I love the people in our community. God just put gold into some people’s hearts.
Gina Wahlen is editor of Mission Quarterly, a publication of the Office of Adventist Mission at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Featuring stories from around the world, Mission Quarterly has been continuously published since 1912.