Mary Harper – My Story

Mary Harper

I grew up in a Catholic family in suburban Brisbane. We attended Mass every Sunday, and I went to Catholic schools for all of my 12 years of schooling. While in my last two years at high school, a very lovely nun began prayer meetings and a small group of girls, including me, became involved in the then, new wave of  charismatic prayer meetings. I suppose from then on, I was always very aware of having a relationship with God, but I was guided by my Catholic belief and any new ‘wind of doctrine’ that came within reach.

I had just turned 17 when I met Rom, and we married several years later in a Catholic church – he having been brought up in a situation similar to mine. By the time we were married, we had already been visiting Pentecostal church services, and this became a regular Sunday occurrence. After quite a few years, we both realized that we were coming home after a Sunday service, questioning the validity of everything the pastor had been saying. This continued until we decided that these messages that we were being given, were just not on the right track. We left all Pentecostalism and Catholicism behind us and just began searching, ourselves, for the truth.

This is when Rom met a dear friend who, in a very non-threatening way, began to put questions in his mind as to what his beliefs were and whether they fitted with Scripture. From this point on, it was Rom who helped me to discover what he was discovering – rightly dividing God’s word. He has been my guide, teacher and best friend throughout the entire experience and without him, I doubt that I would have been able to get to the point that I am at now.

I remember the early days of this journey when Rom would go to a meeting run by the BBFA, and then come home (I would be at home with our growing family!) and say, “You’re not going to believe this” and he would tell me all that he had discovered that day. We would spend hours talking about it and how it challenged everything we had ever learnt through both Catholicism and Pentecostalism. Every time after that when he would come home, I got into the habit of saying, “Don’t tell me! Another thing that we got wrong!!” It was like we had to completely clean our slate, and attempt to wipe out years and years of indoctrination, and start again to build the real truth, which we realized in years to come, withstood all questioning and doubt. Of course, this meant that some members of my family were horrified that I had left the Catholic church, and it also meant that we were given a message such as, “We can no longer have you on our prayer list seeing as you have left our church” from a Pentecostal church. It really was and is an entirely new way of life for us.

Now, as we continue to grow with a strong foundation to our beliefs, and despite arguments from family members who say we have got it all wrong, I continue to be more and more convinced that this is how God wants us to honour Him – by rightly dividing His Word so that we can “do your best to present yourself to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

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