Julie Terrell Testimony
Like many people, I grew up in a Christian home. My parents tried to instill in us the principles of God’s Word from early on. My grandpa was a pastor in the Evangelical Free Church all my life, until he retired when I was 18. I spent every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening, and whenever else the doors were open at church! When I was 5 yrs old my Kindergarten teacher was talking to us about Heaven. She explained that it was a perfect place, but we could not go there because we are imperfect and sinful. “But wait!” she said, “God did make a way for us to be with Him for eternity!” She went on to tell us about Jesus paying the penalty for all of our sins, so that we wouldn’t have to. He doesn’t expect us to earn our way into His kingdom… it can’t be done! I accepted Jesus that day as my personal Savior.
8 yrs later… summer camp… wake up call! This was a Christian run camp, but somehow I was offered my first cigarette there. There were conversations taking place that shocked me a bit, but opened my eyes. I realized that there are a lot of people that claim to be Christian, but don’t appear to be any different from the rest of the world. My parents started home-schooling me and my siblings after I finished 4th grade at Park Hill Christian Academy. So summer camp was really my first opportunity to witness first-hand people who “talked the talk” but did not “walk the walk.” I decided that summer that I would not be one of those people. If I was going to serve Jesus Christ, I was going to do it with my whole being. Then the question came… do I want to be that different??? I thought for a while “yeah, I think so…” but the thought was scary. The next summer I attended (with my family) a home-school conference in Knoxville , TN. During that week sometime I heard a few young people speak (they couldn’t have been much older than me!) about their experiences serving God. Some had ministries in their home towns, others volunteered in foreign countries. I was awed by these teenagers who were so confident in their relationships with God that they were willing to risk their reputation. But the one testimony that really gripped me was from a young lady who went to Russia . She felt God’s call, and surrendered to it, though she didn’t particularly want to go all the way to Russia ! But she was obedient and God blessed her and others around her because of it. That week I committed my life to the Lord. I felt that the highest calling He could have for me would be serving Him on the mission field, and I could hardly wait!
4 yrs later, I found myself on several short-term mission trips to Alaska , Mexico , etc.. doing children’s seminars. I met my sweet husband on the trip to Mexico , though I wouldn’t know that for a few more years. These trips just whetted my appetite for missions and I prayed that God would use me wherever and however He could.
The next year, I started working at our home-school organization’s headquarters inChicago , IL . While there, the opportunity presented itself for me to go to Russia ! I thought, “this is it! My mission trip!!” and excitedly packed for 3 months at an orphanage in Moscow , Russia . My time there flew and I fell in love with the people and culture. After Moscow I was able to go to Singapore and then Malaysiato do children’s seminars. That trip helped me realize in a small way that missions can be very uncomfortable sometimes! For all of these trips, I felt God’s hand leading long before I saw how it would be possible. Every time I had to step out and say “Ok Lord, I have no idea how this is going to work out, but I’ll go.” Miraculously, He provided the means to walk through every door He opened.
In January, 2002, Nathan Terrell showed up on my doorstep! Through a God-inspired (and therefore very different) courtship, he wound up proposing to me. Shortly followed by “I’m asking you to marry me” were these words: “I believe God has called me back to Mexico to continue in the work my parents have been doing for years. If you marry me, that’s where we’ll be going.” It didn’t take much time at all for my parents and I to feel absolutely confident in giving Nathan a resounding “yes!” 9 months later, we were married! 2 ½ yrs and one miscarriage later, on Feb 16th 2005, God blessed us with a precious daughter, Cloe Renae. She has been more of a joy to us than we could ever have imagined! God’s timing had never been more perfect in our lives. We found out we were pregnant with Cloe just a month after my 17 yr old brother died. The Lord used the hope of a new life to help ease the sting of losing my sweet baby brother. Those first few months were an emotional roller-coaster that I have a hard time remembering. But I remember very vividly having to finally sit down and tell God how angry I was with Him a few months after He had taken Billy home. It was the first time I had ever had a crisis of really not wanting to talk to God, let alone want to do anything for Him. I finally came to realize, after 6 months of not knowing how to pray, that He didn’t really care *what* I said. He just wanted me to talk to Him! Our relationship slowly rebuilt, as He faithfully kept calling me back to Himself.
Nov. 3rd 2005, we boarded a plane and flew to Mexico . We had only a few of our belongings with us, and the rest was in storage back in Colorado . We spent 6 weeks in Mexico , figuring out what things we would need to bring back with us in January, working on getting our house livable, and trying to settle in to life in a third-world country! Those 6 weeks were really hard for me, and I knew it would be a challenge for me to come back after Christmas. Sure enough, we had a great time with all our family and friends and then January rolled around! We packed up our trailer and truck and headed for the border. I cried for a good part of the first day of driving, but was surprised at how much peace flooded my heart. That has also been the story for much of the past 6 months that we have been in Mexico . I have been homesick and culture-shocked, but have felt a constant peace that passes understanding. Things have been much harder emotionally and financially than I had expected, but somehow God has been faithful to give what we need, when we need it! My faith has grown leaps and bounds the last few months, and I am confident that He will be faithful to complete the work He has started in us!