Wow, alot of great conversion stories! It’s amazing to see how God puts people and situations in our lives that bring us home. I am reminded of Romans 8:28 (And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose). It always reaffirms my own faith when I hear conversion stories, and it was my hope that someone else has the same reaction, too.
I was baptized in the Presbyterian church when I was just a few weeks old, and was raised in this church. My parents are still members. I was at Sunday school and church every week (thanks Mom and Dad for instilling that in me early on ) and growing up, I always loved to learn. I was the strange 8 year old kid that though reading from an encyclopeida was the greatest thing in the world, and eventually I came across Catholicism. I was really facinated with psychology already, but Catholicism had bit me pretty hard, but I quickly lost interest. It only came out here and there, such as when my uncle was in town (he was Catholic, but only came in every other month), and I might ask one or two questions, but I wasn’t very interested at that time. He died when I was 12, and his funeral was the first Mass I ever went to. I remember wanting to kneel (but I was scared to, as my mom at that time was really uncomfortable with anything non-Catholic) and was really jealous I couldn’t take the Eucharist. I felt very drawn towards it, and at that time I had no idea of the Real Presence or transubstantiation.
The pastor at a local Baptist church (although I suspect he would be horrified to know that) helped plant one of the biggest seeds when I was a little older, because this is when I first started reading more thoroughly about Catholicism, from actual Catholic sources. Being very anti-Catholic (at least one sermon a month would be about how “evil” Catholics were) he routinely would hand out tracts such as Jack Chick. I read them for a good laugh, but at the same time, I wondered about how much of the information on the pamphlets were true, so I began to read as much as I could on Catholicism.
Also, a beloved former principal at my high school was killed (Mr. B). Because not much is known about Catholicism (besides mis-information) where I live, after his death, what later became my home parish taught a few basic classes on what Catholic’s believe. A couple of students and former students converted soon after. This was when I was 19 years old, and at that time I had finally come to believe that the CC is Christ’s Church on Earth, but I guess I still was stubborn, myself, convinced that I was predestined to be Presbyterian all of my life. However, I did move out very soon after Mr. B died, and very soon started attending daily mass during the week. I knew within a few months I wanted to convert. But during the time that I came to my decision, I convinced myself that I was still Presbyterian because I went to my old church on Sunday. It didn’t matter I was going to a Catholic Church 5 time more than my old one.
But still, I told no one at that time, because as much as I felt drawn to the CC, I was still scared to death myself, mainly because of what the people at my old church would think. I also was really scared of Mom’s reaction, so I kept silent on my intent on becoming Catholic for another 2 years. Over a year ago, I was really hurt (a few intentionally, and for a long time, some unintentionally… long story) by my old church. Not too long before that I had prayed that God would help me lessen my attachments to specific people. I think in the same prayer I asked him to help me join the CC. Be very careful what you pray for, because sometimes it might happen in ways you could never dream of or imagine. But in the end, though, I took the final plunge this past May after some one on one sessions with my priest about the catechism.
I’m very happy that I’ve converted now. God is gracious, for sure, because I know there are no coinciences, which some people I know will want to argue. I can also see God working in me to help plant some seeds. About 5 months after I was confirmed, I ran into a friend who I hadn’t seen in a really long time. He had not been to Mass or the sacraments in 5 years, and had slipped into some sinful lifestyles (as he’ll admit himself). I was telling God how lonely I was at that time, and was asking for a friend. He was praying for someone to help him come back into the church. Right in the middle of our prayers, I saw him and ran over to say hi, and gave him a quick life update. His eyes bugged out when I told him I coverted to Catholicism and he started laughing. I didn’t know why until a few days later when he told me about his prayer. I kept prodding to get him come to a Mass with me, and a month and a half later he went to his first Mass in over 5 years. He’s not skipped a HDO since.