A Prodigal Daughter Comes Home

Every missing and former member who returns to God has his or her own unique story of responding to a Savior who never gives up. Recently, at the Voice of Prophecy’s (VOP) VisionBuilders weekend held at Skamania Lodge, Lonnie Melashenko, VOP speaker/director, interviewed Pam Bolton. Out of the church for 24 years, she faced more than a few challenges in returning.

Pam grew up as an Adventist but had no relationship with Jesus during her early years. Her academy Bible teacher predicted she would go to hell and probably like it there. Her exit from the church had occurred in the early 1980s when it seemed to her she was more lonely in church than at home alone. Accepting a weekend job made it even easier for her to skip going to church.

Pam, a mammography and CT technologist, became involved in Wicca (witchcraft) for eight or nine years and was addicted to drugs prescribed by her physician. She also suffered from having been misdiagnosed with psychological disorders. “My real problem was that I had chosen the lead of Satan down a very dark path, which was in conflict with where God wanted me,” Pam says.

Recruited by the owner of a diagnostic imaging facility in Portland, Pam accepted the job offer more than two years ago, not knowing her new boss and another employee were Seventh-day Adventists. “I was sandwiched,” she says, remembering how both had talked with her for many months about Jesus and getting to know a loving and forgiving God.

Pam’s returning to church and finding a relationship with Jesus Christ involved a significant number of people. In addition to her boss and colleague, pastors from the Oregon Conference were involved in a January 2004 anointing. Many other friends were praying for her and had an impact on her decision. “The anointing was a turning point in my life,” she says.

Another who became involved was Lonnie Melashenko. Pam had written a letter highly critical of one of VOP’s ads in the Adventist Review. “It was really negative,” she says, “and Lonnie responded with a warm and loving letter that blew me away.”

At first, Pam couldn’t believe that a ministry director like Lonnie would take the time for her. "But he did,” she says. Over the period of a year, their e-mail friendship grew to "big brother" and "little sis." They didn’t actually meet until the day before Lonnie baptized Pam in the Rockwood Church on April 10.

When asked how her life has changed since accepting Jesus as her Savior and Lord and returning to church, she said, “I’m trying to focus on staying under the power of Jesus rather than under the power of Satan and my past. God is making order out of the chaos of my past life. I’m happier, softer as a person.”

June 01, 2005 / North Pacific Union