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Mrs. Buske, You Need Jesus!

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On April 3, 1994, my life changed. If you check the calendar, you will not find a national catastrophe or cause to bring the flags to half-mast, yet that Easter Sunday made history in my hometown. Though I was familiar with Christianity, God was not part of my life when my only sister, Heidi Allen, was kidnapped while working alone at a convenience store. We continue to search for her today.

I spent the first decade after my sister’s abduction searching for something or someone to fill her absence. Many people were praying, holding candlelight vigils and sending notes of encouragement. This kind of support is expected, yet the sheriff warned us about another type we would encounter: mass solicitation from psychics and other paranormal “experts.”

At first, my parents, husband and I avoided them. Yet in our growing desperation to find Heidi, we eventually received their false messages and lies—which we heard as hope and truth. Our desire to find Heidi, combined with their desire to take advantage of us, introduced us to Satan firsthand. With each “reading,” it became easier to ignore the Truth and lean on lies to get through the day.

One psychic in particular used my anger, confusion and grief against me. She earned my trust, and before long, I was attending message circles, spiritual revival weekends and even a few occult classes. My goal was to learn all I could so I could first find Heidi and then help other families searching for missing loved ones. Using the fears and pain within me, the devil said what I wanted to hear, rendering me dependent on him.

After the 10th anniversary of Heidi’s disappearance I spent an afternoon “searching” and “following” the psychic’s directions. I never found my sister but instead spiraled further into Satan’s grasp. Thankfully, our Lord is more powerful than Satan’s deception. God too saw me searching and knew how to reach me.

During the weekly circle on Wednesday evenings, the Wiccan minister opened our time with prayer, or at least that was what she called it. This was the worm on the hook that had initially convinced me she was honest; if she prays to Jesus, I reasoned, it cannot be wrong. Yet this time, I felt uneasiness and caution as I listened to her. She asked us to pray against a Christian church and its members who were praying that the Wiccan Shop would close. I tensed, sat bolt upright and opened my eyes. All I saw was darkness.

Reality started to trickle in as the Holy Spirit allowed me to see the truth. If Wicca isn’t wrong, then why are people praying for us to leave and the shop to close? I thought. Over the next six months more discrepancies created doubts and questions, ones the so-called minister couldn’t answer.

But God cared for me, even though a dark veil covered my heart. As November snow blanketed the earth, God used one child, one of my fourth grade students, to capture my soul forever. I’ve worked with many wonderful students over the years, but this one will always be special. Jonathan recognized the emptiness behind my eyes and knew who could fill the void.

Thanksgiving vacation was approaching, and the classroom was busy with activity. When Jonathan raised his hand, I never could have imagined the words he spoke next.

“Mrs. Buske, you need Jesus!”

I stepped back, bewildered and half frightened because I knew by the look in his eyes he wasn’t going to stop there. I tried to change the subject, yet his determination brought me to his level. “Mrs. Buske, you need Jesus. Will you come to our church this Sunday?”

Jonathan’s words were genuine and loving.

“Yes, Jonathan, for you, I will go,” I promised.

After school I started to devise an “emergency” that would make it impossible for me to attend church. But I could see those innocent and caring eyes staring at me. I called Jonathan’s father, Pastor Sheets, to get directions and service times and waited for Sunday so I could cross the task off my list.

I’m not sure why, but I decided to attend Sunday school as well. Out of obligation I arrived at Community Alliance Church with no expectations. My only goal was for Jonathan to see me and know I kept my word.

It has been more than seven years since I crossed the threshold of the Alliance church in New Haven, New York. From the moment I walked through the door until the end of the service, I felt love like never before in my life. I walked in with hate in my heart and left with tears of healing trickling down my cheek. I was overwhelmed with feelings of acceptance as they welcomed me into their family, the very first day. I found my home, an eternal home with Jesus Christ.

I returned the following Sunday with my own Bible, new hope and a hunger to learn. I spent a couple of years dealing with the negativity and darkness that consumed me. Slowly I removed the books, e-mails, pictures and odds-n-ends connected to Satan from my house—and from my heart.

In 2006, it was time to let the world know who was responsible for the joy and healing in my life. Alongside my daughter and two other children, I was baptized. A child led me to the Lord, and then God used this same key to unlock my heart in the water of baptism—with the children.

I realize now that God never left me; I left Him. Yet He loves me enough to save me, to let His One and Only Son die on the cross for my sins.

The impact the Alliance Church in New Haven has had in my life started with one child, born the same year that Heidi disappeared. Jonathan’s boldness and love for the Lord models this church’s mission statement, yet more importantly, he lives out Jesus’ mission statement.

Until the day I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I would have said the defining moment of my life was Heidi’s kidnapping. The grief involved with losing my one and only sister transformed me, but the ultimate definition of life is my relationship with Jesus. The tragedy of losing Heidi and the healing power of Jesus makes me the woman I am today. I pray you seek His face and invite Him into your heart too.

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