Mindy Goorchenko is a Catholic convert, mother of five, and nurse in Alaska.
My journey toward Catholicism began when I attended a small, intimate prayer session led by a group of college students in our evangelistic Protestant congregation. The talented young leader guided us in prayer amidst electrifying contemporary worship music. A wave was rippling through our church~~one which may have been present since ever there were youth in a church congregation. These beloved kids invited us old folk to be a part of something deeper, more authentic~~to have a true encounter with the Holy Spirit.
My children were welcome and I brought them along, dubious not so much about my own fate in the area of deep and authentic worship (I knew that it was unlikely I’d give myself wholly to the Spirit while peeking out from one eye at them the entire time) but whether anyone else would be able to with my several young children present. Indeed, as I lifted my own arms in praise of God, my opportunistic six year old immediately reached up and tickled my armpits. This consequently distracted me, and I decided to take my dancing, whooping youngsters out of the room. We played for an hour in the gymnasium at the church~~to simply engage in our vocations called motherhood and childhood.
Born into a nominal Catholic family, Shane was only 13 when he experienced a profound crisis of faith. Judaism, the New Age, Billy Graham, the charismatic movement - all play a part in this teenage story of God's grace and fully embracing the Catholic Faith.
Taken to School by the Spirit (and the Bride)
Why am I Catholic? There's a loaded question. In The God Who is Love: Explaining Christianity From Its Center I gave the 116,000 word response. I realize you're pressed for time however, so let me give you the "A,B,G,Z" version as opposed to the "A through Z"! Let me start by telling you why I am a Christian. My story begins in grade school, with a classmate's question:
"Do Jewish people believe in Jesus?" At first, I couldn't believe he'd asked that. I saw our religion teacher roll her eyes; you would think that a seventh grader at a Catholic school would have known the answer. Our hostess at Congregation Shaar Emeth was very gracious though, "We reformed Jews believe Jesus was a prophet. We do not, however, believe that he was the Messiah. When we read our Scriptures, what Christians call the 'Old Testament,' we don't see Jesus in the prophecies. We interpret them differently and believe that Messiah is still to come. Another way our belief differs from Christians is that we don't believe God will become human. Messiah will be a human being just like you and I." Of course Jewish people didn't believe Jesus was the Messiah; didn't everyone know that?
Leonard L. Adams, Jr.
FROM PAIN TO PEACE
Leonard Adams converted to the Catholic faith in 2010. His story is a journey from Pentecostalism to Judaism to the New Age Movement to Atheism to Catholicism.
I was born in the ghettoes of Chicago's South Side in 1961. My first memories are of dilapidated apartments, window frames without windows, trash strewn on the streets, urine-soaked alleys, and a neglected-derived independence. As a three-, four-, and five-year-old, I remember many times coming and going from the apartment my mother, siblings and I shared while my mother, an active alcoholic at that time, had friends over from morning till night – days filled with card games, cigarette smoke and all the beer and vodka they could want. I remember someone giving me beer as a four- or five-year-old after having dumped fresh cigarette ashes in it, saying that the ashes made you get "higher."
Almost Not Catholic
Here's the skinny:
● Born into a reverent Pentecostal family
● Former Pentecostal preacher and high school Bible teacher
● Trained in Reformed theology at Oral Roberts University (03')
● Entered into full communion with the Catholic Church November 23, 2008
Now let's dive right into the story from where it gets interesting
On February 5, 2006 my daughter was born. I'll never forget the overwhelming joy and love of that moment. I will also never forget the fear of the Lord that overcame me. It had been fine up until this point to linger in my own religious "ignorance"--I say ignorance because I knew there were serious tensions in my faith but I had no internal drive to resolve them--going about practicing Christianity in the tradition that I had inherited. However, it was quite another thing all together to pass that faith off to this innocent life. As I held my helpless daughter in my arms, I remember knowing that I had run out of time. The time was now to investigate what was the true faith, the true Church, and where in fact would my children be safe from the rising tide of relativism, secularism, and evil.
After being raised Catholic, Richard Evans left the Catholic Church from ages 15-49, becoming an Evangelical minister and eventually a gay activist. This is the story of his departure and return to the fullness of the Catholic faith.
After Coming Out, I Came Home
I CANNOT RECALL A TIME WHEN I WAS NOT AWARE OF GOD IN MY LIFE. While other little boys were planning to be firemen or police, I often said, even at age seven or eight, "I want to be the Pope!" I jumped at the chance to become an altar boy, having already had much practice as the family "priest" when we played Mass—complete, at times, with flattened "hosts" made of white bread and cut out with bottle caps. The idea of actually serving next to the priest at the real Mass was incredible to me, and I did so with joy for the next four years.