My name is Steven Wedel. I turned 59 years old at the end of October, 2012. I received Christ as my personal Saviour on November 7, 1971. I had just turned 18 years old a week earlier. If Christ had not entered into my life when He did at that time, you probably would have read an obituary about me years ago, rather than the opportunity to read the testimony of Gods' power and ability to change a person’s life that you are reading now.
When I graduated from high school in the spring of 1971, I had no ambition of continuing on to college. I was a pseudo-hippie. I hit the road to San Francisco, California, at first with some friends in a car, and then with my thumb out, hitchhiking from San Francisco to Boulder, Colorado and then back to California again, this time to Los Angeles.
The mother of the friend I had been traveling with had a very large and beautiful home in Beverly Hills. She invited us to stay with her for a while, until we could find a job and an apartment to move into. Her house had a beautiful outdoor swimming pool and a maid that did all the shopping and cooking for us. It should have been an ideal vacation-like setting to enjoy, but it was the most miserable time of my life.
I felt inside like I was completely lost and without hope in my life. There was nothing that could take away the constant confusion in my mind and soul about the meaning of life and purpose. I felt trapped inside. I wanted a life with meaning, one that could help others. I was dismayed at the condition in the world around me, the corruption, the apathy, the crime and bloodshed. I wanted to live in a world of peace and had thought the hippie movement in California would have provided me an alternative answer to the rat race system all around. I had thought that smoking pot and hashish, taking LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs should have given me the insight I was craving for into finding a reason for the life I was living. I didn't want a nine-to-five job, a picket fence home with dogs and cats, and a nowhere future. I wanted to know what life was really supposed to be for. All the drugs did was rob me of any sanity I had remaining and left me with very little reasoning ability to do anything at all. I thought I was going crazy and without any doubt about it, I probably was. But I hadn't been brought up this way at all.
I had spent my earlier years growing up overseas. My father worked with the International YMCA in Tokyo, Japan, and we faithfully attended church every Sunday at a non-denominational church. I had always been taught we were Christians, and was always taught to be humanitarian, to help others. I knew that Christmas and Easter were special times, that they really had nothing to do at all with Santa Claus or the Easter bunny. I believed in my spirit, as most children do, that there was a Creator, a God who had made everything, including myself. I was taught to believe in Jesus Christ as the Saviour, and yet I knew nothing about who Jesus really was. I had no power in my life, no strength to not sin, and really, looking back, none of the churches I had ever gone to had even taught me what sin really was. I had never heard the term "being born again of the Spirit" and had never witnessed an altar call where souls were being saved in any of those churches. They were spiritually dead, just like I was.
I was going into the tenth grade in school when our family returned to the United States. I didn't want to be spiritually dead any more. All around me people were "tuning in," "turning on," and "dropping out." I began really searching for answers to the questions inside me regarding life, death, eternity, purpose. I read books on Far Eastern religions, mystical religions, Native American Indian religions, philosophies, books on people’s ideas and ideals, books on communism, socialism, capitalism, everything I could think of. I read the Bible, but at that time, without the Spirit of God inside me, could not understand it. I practiced chanting, yoga, walking through the forests, making sure to not step on the flowers, to get closer to God. Nothing was filling the emptiness inside. Nothing was working.
I didn't know then, but I know now, that this was the Lord dealing with me and bringing me to a place where He could humble my stubborn pride into accepting Him as Lord and Saviour. He allowed every other option to be exhausted. He may not have had to work this way with you, but He knew it was the only way to make me finally come to my senses. He had let me come to California to bring me to this purpose. He was working on me, but I didn't know that yet.
In Hollywood, California, you couldn't go 200 feet down Hollywood Blvd. without running into witnessers from the Tony and Susan Alamo Christian Foundation. They were everywhere you went. Every time I ended up in Hollywood, while either looking for work or just killing time, they were all over the place handing out gospel tracts and inviting people to come to services at their church. They were full of the zeal of God. I was witnessed to about the Lord several times and invited to come to church like so many others, but refused their invitations over and over. I was still too full of my own ways to listen to others tell me about Jesus. Many times though, in the still of the night hour, when the turmoil of the day had ended and now alone by myself, the Lord would start bringing things these Christians had told me back to remembrance, the scriptures they had showed me in the Bible about the end times, things that were easily seen all around, scriptures about eternal life and hell that really made me wonder about things. On the outside, Satan was still pulling me around, but on the inside God was breaking me down.
One afternoon God finished what He had started in this string of events. I felt like something was happening in my life but didn't know what. I found myself on Hollywood Blvd. again that day, not looking for the brothers and sisters from the church at all, but rather trying to avoid them. I instead ran into one of the witnessing sisters on a street corner that simply handed me a gospel tract and invited me to come to church that evening. I gave her a lame excuse, saying, "I'll think about it." She quickly replied, saying, "I would really think about it, because it may be the last time God is going to have anything to do with you!" Nothing she could have said could have affected me more. Just the thought that God Himself might have nothing more to do with me hit me harder that a ton of bricks in the face. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I was crazy, but not crazy enough to know that God leaving me alone would be the last thing I would ever want. This terrified me. I was miserable enough already.
I walked all the way down Hollywood Blvd. and up a side street that had many large homes and big yards along it. I sat down in one of the yards and waited until it was almost time for the bus taking people to the church to leave, and then walked down to where the bus was loading up and took a seat.
The ride up to the church in Saugus was quite long, but I felt very much at home. One of the Christian brothers had pulled out his guitar and had led the whole busload of people in singing gospel songs all the way there. I felt very much at peace even though this was all very strange to me at that time.
When we got to the church, all of the guests who had come up on the bus were invited to come in and sit down for the service. I had never been in a church like this before, one that felt alive. It didn't have the dead feeling in it that the churches I had attended before were steeped in. This brothers and sisters during this service were singing gospel songs to the top of their lungs. They were raising their hands and praising the Lord. It seemed as if everyone in the church that night gave some type of testimony of what God had done in their lives. Some had done drugs like I had, some had not. Some were ex-cons; some were from the gutters and others from the blue blood of society. These were people that had been just as I was still, miserable and lost. Now they all proclaimed Christ as their Saviour. They were no longer lost, but found. In my soul I wanted what they conveyed in the service that night. I wanted that life, but was still unsure about many things. Satan was throwing millions of doubts at me in his last ditch attempt to keep me from getting saved. The Bible says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." At the altar call invitation that night, Satan lost his grip on me. I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ that night on my knees in front of that congregation and I was saved! Praise God! Praise the Lord forever for His patience and the mercy He had on me! I had been born again!
I felt the Lord enter into my heart that night and will never let that go. Going into the prayer room after the service and knowing now for certain that there was really a God in Heaven that cared for me and answered prayer was the most comforting feeling I had ever known. The price Christ paid for this was with His own blood. He died so we could live. He brought me to a place that night I can never forget. He gave me the baptism of the Holy Spirit about two weeks after this. Nothing could ever convince me after these experiences that God is not real. He is alive, and He is alive for ever more. He saved me and He can save you. I have seen thousands of people brought to Christ through this ministry since then. I have seen many, many people healed from diseases and ailments they had by the power of God. I have seen lives that were shattered (like mine) turned into productive ones. I wouldn't trade this Christian life in for anything the world has to offer.
Tony and Susan Alamo were the people God used to bring in people by the thousands from every walk of life to find new life in Christ. They both did this very selflessly. They have never asked anyone for anything in return, only that we serve the Lord. Susan went on to be with the Lord in 1982 and Tony has continued on in the gospel every day since then. He is still continuing on. I, and many others, are very grateful to the both of them for not only having the zeal of God in them to have the witnessers on the streets daily to reach out to others in need of help, but also providing places where people like myself could live a consecrated, godly life and not be caught up in the affairs of this evil world. Praise the Lord!
If you are reading this testimony and are not "saved" yet, don't wait. Jesus Christ is really the Saviour of the world and He can give you everything you long for. He saved me, He gave me something to shout about, something to live and die for. He can do the same for you. Don’t wait. Ask Him into your heart today!
I certify under the penalty of perjury everything stated in the testimony above is completely factual and true. Praise the Lord,