By Andrew Foltz
From Spark to Fire
I’m always excited to share my testimony with anyone who will lend me their ears and their hearts for a few moments. My personal background is nothing special. I was not a rebel growing up, I was not the type to disobey authority, I grew up in a loving family, and I was exposed to taking leaps of faith for Christ early in my years because I was a missionary kid. So, if you were expecting a 180-degree turnaround in my lifestyle, you’re going to be disappointed, because I would say the way I lived my life before I got saved was a Christ-like lifestyle anyways.
I remember when I accepted Christ into my heart and when I was baptized. Simply, I was just an 8-year-old boy when those two things happened to me. Accepting Christ into my life was just the spark to the fire, the beginning to an amazing path that Christ continues to lead me on. I would describe my beginning years, as a Christian, as a slow crawl, a period of learning, lots of cuts and bruises, and a lot of conversations to myself asking, “Is this Christianity path really worth all this hassle?”
Moving forward in my Christian walk, it wasn’t until the summer of 2012, when I was a 22 years-old kid, that I began seeing the fire of Christ in me so clearly; that’s the summer Christ told me to quit acting like a closet Christian, a Christian that never shows their faith to anyone, and start acting like a warrior for Christ.
Let me rewind my story a few years. The summer of 2012 will forever be a memorable year for me, but in retrospect, I am able to see that Christ had been preparing a specific path for me even before I was conceived in my mother’s womb. I am an advocate, through my own personal experiences, that Christ gives us little nuggets at a time. He allows us to see little glimpses of our future in the present moments of our lives. What I mean by this is, as a now 29-year-old kid, I am able to see that God has given me little insights of my future at specific times during my life, I just did not realize he was doing this until years later.
When I was 15 years old I started landscaping in the summer for family friends, a husband and wife. Looking back, I can see that God used the husband to help ignite a fire in me; the husband was one of those many nuggets I was talking about. Nothing too profound emerged from my interactions with the family friends until 7 years past my first summer with them.
When I was 22 years old, I was dating this girl at the time. She was not the first girl I dated that wasn’t a Christian, but she was the first girl that was very adamant about not being a Christian. She was, by her own words, “An atheist”. As a 22-year-old, I did not truly understand the philosophical meaning behind that word, I did not understand what being an atheist really meant, because I was still just a closet Christian in my 20s, having never explored what it really meant to be a Christian or not to be one.
We eventually broke up that same summer, summer of 2012. After we broke up I spent my free time studying Christian apologetics. What brought me to apologetics was the family friend, the husband. I asked him a very simple question one time, “Why should I believe what the Bible says?” And instead of him giving me an answer, he pointed to a few Christian philosophers and apologists. During my studies, I remember asking God that same question, “Why believe in the Bible?” Let me give you a spoiler alert before you read any further: I have yet to regret asking God that question because the path He has me on has been so rewarding.
The summer of 2012 I spent every waking moment, every free second I had between classes, jobs, and socializing, either reading, listening to, or watching Christian philosophers. Subsequently, I have continued that passion I had back then and I am still on a warpath to studying apologetics.
If you haven’t understood the title of my testimony yet, “From Spark to Fire”, I am here to lay it out for you in this paragraph. Between the ages of 8 years and 22 years, I will humbly tell you that I was not in the business of expressing my faith as a Christian, but for the past 7 years I have not thought about anything else other than this thought, “How can I express my faith to others?”
When I asked God “Why should I believe in the Bible?”, I can clearly remember Him speaking to me and saying, “Andrew, I’ve allowed you to find that answer to your question through other people. I’ve let you read who others say who I am, but it is time for you to answer my question.” Even though I still love academic books, lately God wants me to answer a specific question He asked me. He has asked me, “Who do you say I Am?” The only way I know how to answer that question is to read the Bible. So, for a few years now I’ve been setting my academic books aside and I’ve been digging deeply into my Bibles. I can honestly say that out of all the philosophical, historical, mathematical, or even scientific books I’ve read over the years, there’s only one book that can answer that deep question from God; the Bible.
To sum up my amazing journey through Christianity, it has had its cuts and bruises, its learning curves, but I would be a fool not to tell you this: The best explanation that answers all my deepest questions is the Christian worldview. I have yet to come across any other worldview or lifestyle that gives me comfort about my eternal life. I owe this, from spark to fire, feeling I have to: God, my family, mentors God has provided me, and the ex-girlfriend that challenged my faith.
So that is my testimony. It started out like a small spark, nothing too exciting, but once I dug into my Christian faith, like a powerful forest fire, my love for Christ and defending my faith has grown and grown and there’s no way of stopping it until it burns itself out, but trust me, I’ve seen a little glimpse of my future and I will give you another spoiler alert: I’m not burning out anytime soon.