From Tragedy Comes Triumph for New Member

On Feb. 28 Gail Ereaux was baptized into the Fort Belknap Church on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. Her baptism came near the end of an evangelistic series held by Brian and Denise Bechthold, Native American evangelists for the NPUC, which led to five more Native people making decisions for Jesus. This is Gail's testimony. I grew up on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana and in Redding, Calif. My mother, who passed away in 1994, was a Catholic, and my father is an atheist. As for me and my household, we now serve the Lord. I am the 42-year-old and the mother of four children, one who died of pneumonia at four months old. Another died more recently. I was arrested for kidnapping and felony assault on my sister in September 2001. I could have faced 20–120 years in prison. As I sat in jail, I felt lost and alone. A short time later I was told that a pastor, Jim Jenkins, was there to visit me. I was quite ashamed because I had to be visited in jail by a pastor. After reading a few Bible verses, I made a promise to myself that if I ever walked out of that jail, the person who came to that jail would be left in jail, and a new and better person would walk out. I was bonded out by my cousin and placed under house arrest at his house. He showed me how I was to be living and how we were to follow the Ten Commandments. It was then that I began to attend the Adventist Church in Fort Belknap sometimes. I eventually received five years probation. I thank God for that because, without the blessing and grace of God through Jesus, I would have never seen another free day the rest of my life. It wasn't but two months later that I got the terrible news that my 22-year-old daughter Andria and two other relatives were killed in a head-on collision with a road construction truck. The accident was the result of drugs and alcohol. My daughter left behind three beautiful baby boys. It was again time to turn my life back to God. I was still fighting alcohol and drugs and knew I could not give up the fight to hang onto God. I needed Him now more than ever. I began to attend more church functions, and, in the fall of 2003, I went to the Montana women's retreat. The guest speaker, Mary Maxon, mentioned a man whose wife had been killed by a person who had no consideration for the speeding laws and no remorse for what he had done. This man, by the grace of God, forgave this person for killing his wife. I realized then that God had put me in that place to hear the story of forgiveness. I needed forgiveness in my own heart, and I also needed to know that God would forgive me for the things I had neglected to do for my children in their lives. I began to attend church faithfully and felt myself getting closer to God. I was still trying to get alcohol and cigarettes out of my life. Sooner or later, I needed to fully surrender to God. It would not be possible without Jesus. A short time later the Bechtholds brought the Gospel Road Seminar to Fort Belknap. I decided it was time to take myself off the throne and let Jesus be in control of the rest of my life. So on Feb. 28, I was baptized at the Fort Belknap Church. I am interested in doing missionary work for the church and my people. This is a goal I have had since I was young. Now I can begin doing work for God.

On Feb. 28 Gail Ereaux was baptized into the Fort Belknap Church on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. Her baptism came near the end of an evangelistic series held by Brian and Denise Bechthold, Native American evangelists for the NPUC, which led to five more Native people making decisions for Jesus. This is Gail's testimony.

I grew up on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana and in Redding, Calif. My mother, who passed away in 1994, was a Catholic, and my father is an atheist. As for me and my household, we now serve the Lord. I am the 42-year-old and the mother of four children, one who died of pneumonia at four months old. Another died more recently.

I was arrested for kidnapping and felony assault on my sister in September 2001. I could have faced 20–120 years in prison. As I sat in jail, I felt lost and alone. A short time later I was told that a pastor, Jim Jenkins, was there to visit me. I was quite ashamed because I had to be visited in jail by a pastor. After reading a few Bible verses, I made a promise to myself that if I ever walked out of that jail, the person who came to that jail would be left in jail, and a new and better person would walk out.

I was bonded out by my cousin and placed under house arrest at his house. He showed me how I was to be living and how we were to follow the Ten Commandments. It was then that I began to attend the Adventist Church in Fort Belknap sometimes. I eventually received five years probation. I thank God for that because, without the blessing and grace of God through Jesus, I would have never seen another free day the rest of my life.

It wasn't but two months later that I got the terrible news that my 22-year-old daughter Andria and two other relatives were killed in a head-on collision with a road construction truck. The accident was the result of drugs and alcohol. My daughter left behind three beautiful baby boys. It was again time to turn my life back to God. I was still fighting alcohol and drugs and knew I could not give up the fight to hang onto God. I needed Him now more than ever.

I began to attend more church functions, and, in the fall of 2003, I went to the Montana women's retreat. The guest speaker, Mary Maxon, mentioned a man whose wife had been killed by a person who had no consideration for the speeding laws and no remorse for what he had done. This man, by the grace of God, forgave this person for killing his wife.

I realized then that God had put me in that place to hear the story of forgiveness. I needed forgiveness in my own heart, and I also needed to know that God would forgive me for the things I had neglected to do for my children in their lives.

I began to attend church faithfully and felt myself getting closer to God. I was still trying to get alcohol and cigarettes out of my life. Sooner or later, I needed to fully surrender to God. It would not be possible without Jesus.

A short time later the Bechtholds brought the Gospel Road Seminar to Fort Belknap. I decided it was time to take myself off the throne and let Jesus be in control of the rest of my life. So on Feb. 28, I was baptized at the Fort Belknap Church.

I am interested in doing missionary work for the church and my people. This is a goal I have had since I was young. Now I can begin doing work for God.

April 01, 2004 / Montana Conference
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