I was born in Phoenix but I was raised in Chandler on the same street. It was the Southside. It was a rough neighborhood of drugs and gangs.I was raised a Catholic and we went to church on holiday and the occasional Sunday. I did my holy communion and my confirmation, practiced lent, confession, lighting candles, reciting the rosary, etc. My childhood consisted of witnessing and experiencing all types of abuse. I first met Jesus when I was a little girl. The parents of an old friend took me to their Christian church when they could. Being around that family was the first time I saw a family pray together. A different time, when I was a child I went to church with my aunt. That was the first time I learned about heaven and hell. During an altar call I remember my aunt crying and praying with a man. I sat there alone and a nice lady asked me if I wanted to accept Jesus into my heart? I shrugged because I didn't know what she was talking about. Then she told me that he died for my sins on the cross and that he did all of that because he loved me. She said he died so that I could have life in heaven with him. She prayed with me and I accepted Christ that day. I didn't fully understand what had happened but the only thing I knew was that Jesus was with me and that I was saved from hell. I thought that's all I needed from him. As a teenager my mom took me to Mormon churches and tongue speaking churches. We never stayed at any of those churches for long. I got pregnant when I was 16 with my son Gabriel III. I got married to Gabriel Jr. when I was 21. I adopted my son Roberto when he was 5 but I had him since he was one. I was married for 15 years and I was in that relationship for 23 years. The divorce was final in August of 2013. When I was 29 I went to a secular counselor to see if they could help me because I felt I needed fixing. I had recently redidcated my life to Jesus, started going to church again, and I still felt like I was missing something. After my intake the counselor looked at me and said well sounds to me like you're doing great. I really don't know why you're here. I didn't know at that time that Jesus had a better plan for me. I confided in a friend at that time. We went to Gilbert Christian Church. She told me about a guy named Howard King that she was going to for discipleship counseling with and said that it was amazing that she was learning so much and she knew it would help me because it was helping her so much. I never met Howard before but I was curious what this bible counseling was about. I remember I called him and asked him a bunch of questions. At that time I didn't understand if he did not have a degree in counseling how could he actually help me. Howard answered all of my questions and I agreed to do counseling and he agreed to counsel me. I did not know what to expect. I left counseling on that first day knowing that this was what Jesus wanted for me. For the next 4 to 5 years I was learning the truth and how it applied to my life and life problems. The faithfulness of Howard's ministry and this church's prayers and support has guided me through my life. For the first time not only did I want Jesus to save my life from hell but I wanted him to be in every area of me. He has never left me through divorce, death of my mom and other loved ones, loss of relationships, and many other trials. Through all of this I say praise Jesus. Thank you for hearing my testimony.
Thank You Howard, for all that you taught me. It changed everything. I have learned how to rest in Jesus and pray about everything. I still have times of worry and anxiety, only now I can give to God and rest in his Grace and Peace. So thank you so much. I love you both
A few years ago I had reached roadblock in my spiritual life. While from a worldly perspective things were going well, (I had a wonderful family, reasonable health, steady income and good marriage) I had suffered years of chronic insomnia and was experiencing annual of bouts of depression that at times, was debilitating. I had come to such a frustration with the words of John 10:10, I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly. I was keenly aware that I was not experiencing this kind of life. Mine was one characterized by restlessness, frustration and weariness. So I did what every "good" Christian would do. I set myself about the task of engaging in more bible study and prayer. The entire year before I reached what I refer to as "the end of my resources", I approached the above-mentioned Christian disciplines with a fierce tenacity. At the end of that year, I had such an unbearable dryness of soul. The issues I was wrestling with simply would not give way to my most sincere efforts. It was then that I made the decision to engage in discipleship counseling with Howard King, at Church of the Cross of Christ. As Howard taught and through that experience, I went through a stripping down of my "faith" and a re-building of my foundation. My spiritual life underwent a complete overhaul and for over a year, my life could have been labeled "under re-construction"! It was the most painful, agonizing, beautiful, glorious experience I’d ever known. I was released from so much bondage in my law-driven, performance oriented understanding of spirituality. Howard showed me the depth of my self -sufficiency that had undermined my spiritual growth for years. I was restored to a lifestyle of repentance and authentic faith in the completed work of Christ. I was learning for the first time to appropriate all that became mine the day I was converted but had failed to realize it. This included identifying with Christ in his crucifixion (the death of my old nature) and resurrection (His new life in me), and seeing myself as a totally accepted, completely forgiven and deeply loved child of God. The effects of understanding these truths and so much more, has had a profound affect on my life, marriage and health. Today I am set free from the emotional and physical symptoms that I believe were a direct manifestation of the deception that had occurred in my spiritual life. I now possess a dynamic walk with the Lord and live a more joyful, authentic life characterized by victory instead of discouragement and defeat.
I took the "leap of faith" in 2002, accepting Christ into my heart prior to getting married, led to Christ by my soon-to-be husband and his childhood pastor who counseled us. I was not raised in the church, and my husband battled with his own faith during the early years of our marriage. My relationship with Christ wandered somewhat aimlessly over the next 10 years, battling with the "coulda, woulda, shoulda's" of my faith and obedience. There was little to no growth in my relationship with Christ. I heard others' testimonies and observed their God-dependent lives with awe, and I knew something was amiss in mine. In March 2013, I was depressed, again … about my marriage and about life. I was ready to seek out yet another mental health professional to discuss these issues and possibly inquire about medication. A dear friend inquired for approximately the third time if I would consider meeting with her Christian mentor, Howard King. I was in a desperate place and figured I had nothing to lose. If it did not work out, I would pursue my original intention. After a brief email exchange, I met Howard via Skype for the first time in April 2013. He was kind, humorous, gentle but firm, and he communicated frankly. I was intrigued but skeptical. Within the first month, I was completely broken yet felt wholly complete for the first time in my life. I distinctly remember one session, which I described to my dear friend, whom had referred me to Howard, as: "That moment when you are sitting in the dark, feeling like everything is a-okay, but someone turns on the light and you realize you are covered in filth." It was the revelation that "being a good person" (aka sitting satisfied in my works) was filth compared to the holy-ness of Christ. My salvation had nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him! Another remarkable moment was more subtle, especially because I worked in the mental health field and had been sporadically depressed since I was a teen. I was skeptical when Howard explained my current depressive state was really a condition of my heart, not a bio-physio-psychological disorder. About nine months into our mentoring program, without any other counseling or medical intervention, I realized I was no longer depressed! Through homework assignments, Bible readings, regular church attendance, and Howard's discipleship, I had stopped looking to the fallible, fallen and heretical world for my self-worth, and had instead rooted my identity in the unchanging, everlasting and loving Christ! Therefore, depression was merely a fleshly response to taking my eyes of Christ, the "cure" for which was simply readjusting my view to and renewing my mind in His truth and love. Throughout my growth over the last 23 months, Howard has dispelled myths, rectified erroneous thoughts, and taught, trained, corrected and rebuked me. I have recognized my strength in Christ, received His bottomless and perfect love, and healed from age-old wounds. My life has been transformed by the renewing of my mind so that I can discern God's good, acceptable and perfect will (Rom 12:2). As with all God-infused changes, my renewal has trickled--er, flooded--into other areas of my life, from my daughter to my coworkers, from my friends to my enemies. Most significantly, my husband agreed to begin discipleship with Howard several months ago, following a particularly difficult moment in his life. The process for us as individuals and as a couple is on-going--sanctification is a lifelong process of walking with Christ on the narrow path--and I am beyond grateful for Howard's ministry and its illumination of that path. It is exquisite to see and experience God's providence through this ministry.
Understanding the love, acceptance and complete forgiveness in Christ, and living as a new creation in Him, has been exciting and challenging. My understanding of how to walk in the spirit, honor God and love others, would not have been possible without Gods word and the consistent biblical teaching, support and wisdom of Howard King. Yearning for an understanding of how to intentionally live the life God has created us to live, has been a constant struggling my heart, but with Howard's continue encouragement and teaching, this transformation has and continues to be nothing short of God's grace working through my life.
A few years ago my husband and I were dealing with some very difficult circumstances in our lives, and we were just trying to survive mentally, emotionally, etc. We knew we needed help. About the same time, we met Howard through a friend, and we began discipleship counseling with him. He opened up the scriptures to us in a way that completely changed our entire way of thinking and dealing with issues. He helped us to see our weaknesses (sin) in everyday life and to deal with them righteously in Christ. It has helped us in every relationship, but most importantly our marriage. (And at the time, we thought our marriage was fine!) There is so much to be said for someone speaking one-on-one into your life. We can hear a message in church a hundred times, but because of our habits and our patterns of thinking that have developed over our entire lives, we have a hard time seeing for ourselves what needs to be seen. And what I needed to see was how my flesh acted out in my daily life. I needed to see how I wrongly measured my self-worth. I needed to see that I was living by my own righteousness, not Christ’s. It is difficult to explain to people how identifying the sin in my life has opened the door to the freedom I have in Christ. "Sin" is a scary word to a lot of people. But as I realized more completely the meaning of God’s grace and His forgiveness, I desired to find my life in Christ rather than myself; to be dependent on Him, not dependent on me (Romans 6:16-23). Every day, I want to lay aside the sin which so easily ensnares (Hebrews 12:1) and run with endurance the race set before me, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
In 2009, my husband and I were desperate for help with some issues that were plaguing our marriage. We had previously sought counsel from our pastor, a christian counselor, and a clinical psychologist. I believe that they were not able to discern what was the heart of our spiritual issues and help us identify sin in our lives. We were unable to find someone that could teach us from the Bible how to deal with life. When we started discipleship counseling with Howard King we were told that our issues were not over the top and that we could be helped! I was so excited. This began a 3 year journey of weekly discipleship that was life transforming. I learned that God has LIFE for all of us to live through Christ, despite our circumstances! I desperately wanted to understand the Bible and to be able to apply it to every minute of my day! I wanted to find rest and now I have it in Christ. I now rest deeply in His love for me and also His forgiveness. I desire to be pruned everyday to be more Christlike. I have also learned to hear His Holy Spirit speak into my life. I understand the power of repentance and how it brings fruit and transformation. The understanding I have gained has also given me the opportunity to teach my children these truths and others as God provides opportunity. If I could recommend one thing to all of the people in my life that I love so dearly, it would be to enter into a commitment of one on one discipleship. At times it is raw and hard, but the fruit it yields is glorifying to Christ on all levels. I would be happy to answer any questions anyone has. Feel free to contact me. Eternally grateful,
In the spring of 2012 my wife and I began to receive Christian counsel and discipleship from Howard. Who, through the word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, began to remove the blinders that I had been wearing for so many years as a Christian. I began to understand Gods complete and total work in me through the free gift of salvation. At my conversion and for most of my Christian life (The better part of the past 25 years) I had little understanding of the complete change that occurred in me the moment I received Christ as my Lord and Savior. I knew that Christ had died for me and that my sin was forgiven (at least past and present sin)…I knew that I was going to Heaven. I called Christ my Lord but looking back over all those years I don’t think I completely understood what that meant or how that was to be lived out. My life was lived on a condition/performance basis with God. I had to meet conditions that I thought were placed on me by God and I performed in many ways hoping for His approval of me and my life. When I failed or felt that I wasn’t living up to God’s expectations of me I would find myself feeling un-forgiven, defeated and left searching for meaning and purpose. Howard taught me that “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20) He has shown me that God’s Spirit is linked to me in my spirit and that my spirit was completely regenerated. He explained to me that I was “in Adam” but am now “in Christ”…that my old unregenerate man was literally crucified with Christ…that I was buried with Christ and that I have been risen with Christ and given new life in the form of Christ’s life, in me, through his resurrection and His eternal Life. It was a wonderful process to walk through as I discovered that God has totally forgiven me for all (past, present, future) sins. I don’t need to be a “human doing” but can simply be a “human being” based on what Christ has done and continues to do in me and it’s nothing of my own effort. God has given me a totally new identity, as His child and that I don’t need to seek any form of identity from anything in this world. I am completely loved and entirely approved by my Father in heaven who sees me as he sees his Son Jesus…pure and blameless…Jesus’s life is the Life that lives in me…He is my Peace. In this discovery and life journey I have simply concluded that God has placed the “call” on my life to help other people, (believers and non believers who have or are currently living a similar life of chronic defeat, conflict and frustration much like I was living for so many years) to discover these truths…to be able to walk in the Life and Peace of the person Jesus Christ that is in us as we are…in Christ.