My family went to church, but only at Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving and I didn’t understand why. They didn’t actively pursue Christianity.
When I went to college, I joined The Citadel's Valor movement after learning about them one night at a banquet. I had a lot of questions about God.
Military Ministry leaders on campus helped when I needed help or had questions. They were readily available to guide me toward truth.
I came to Christ at a Campus Crusade for Christ fall retreat near Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a really big decision for me to go because I never had been in a big group setting with Christians. I questioned whether or not I should go.
During the retreat, I had a long spiritual conversation with Keith, a staff member with Military Ministry. The conversation went back and forth between my questions and his answers.
I asked him how I could know whether or not I was forgiven and could have eternal life.
He said, “It’s knowing that you are a sinner and that Christ died for your sins and accepting Him as your Savior.”
In my life, I have had my share of sins. I used to cut myself and think that I was not good enough to live. I used to think God hated me. Why would God allow these things in my life if He really loved me?
I felt like those sinful things kept me from being forgiven and having eternal life. He explained that even Christians do sinful things, but we don’t like to do it and it’s our job to fight against that.
I thought that Christians never sinned.
After that, I accepted I was a sinner and that Christ died on the cross for the penalty of my sins. I knew I was forgiven.
To express this new life in Christ, I got baptized with the group of people that weekend in the cold water of Lake Wylie at Camp Thunderbird. Being immersed in baptism is a picture of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. In baptism, I professed my new life in Christ.
Baptism didn’t bring about the new life in Christ. But it displayed a dying to my old life and being born again spiritually.
Now, when I sin – do something I know is wrong – I realize I need to ask God to help me because I can’t do it on my own.
I have been acting out my faith around my non-Christian friends. It is a big step. I was very afraid to do that when I first became a Christian. A lot of the time when talking with people I try to tell them that Christ still loves them even though they are sinners.
Would You Like to Know God Personally?
Anthony Pelloni attends The Citadel, a military college, in Charleston, South Carolina. He is active in the ARMY ROTC program. The 19-year-old physical education major dreams of becoming an army chaplain or army fitness instructor upon graduation.