Time Frame: 2010-2013
My primary testimony is a bit more complicated than the one that took place after Bible College, but is also a bit more descriptive of my original journey that details when I came to know God. To some, a “real” testimony involves a single moment in which you are converted from a pagan to a Christian. In a sense, you could find a “single moment” in this historical tale but, just to assure the reader, in the author’s eyes (that’s me), this is a tale of a “Christian-from-birth’s” progressive realization of Our God as Creator of the Universe and Rightful King of all life.
My story begins on Friday, April 30, 2010. Please allow me to describe the hideous being that went by the name of “Robert Christopher Melton Jr.” Let me begin by announcing that any portion of my life prior to, I don’t know, December 31, 2012 was a time that I’d rather not remember. For the sake of sharing my original testimony, I will endure and attempt to retrieve any memory that seems likely to be helpful to describe my spiritual travels. On that day, I was not smart, very unhygienic and, most importantly, a shamelessly nominal Christian.
Before sometime in May 2010, I was a mess. For starters, I did not really care all too much for school. In middle school, I only did work in the classroom but after that, I did not do homework. When I was in the classroom, I did work and I paid attention (I think), but lunch and time outside of school was “my time” and “my time” was for friends, social interaction and video games. Another reason I resent what I was before May 1, 2010 is because I was unconcerned about my appearance, image and… scent. Out of sheer disgust, I am sorry to say that I will not be speaking extensively on this subject. However, it will not derail my incentive to tell you about how I was a Christian “in name only”. Straight to the point, since I was raised Christian, I just thought that church was an event that you ought to attend. Realistically, I went to church only as a means of friends, social interaction and because my father said that we had to (not to blame my nominalism on my dad). With that, I will transition from describing what my internal characteristics were to what my external communications were like.
Back then, my three main friends consisted of a female, with whom I do not speak anymore, a friend that was introduced to me by said female, with whom I am still great friends with, and a very popular friend of mine who I spent most of my time around him or his friends (because, by extension, they made me popular), with whom I do not have extreme contact with anymore but do appreciate the few times we do talk. As I previously mentioned, the friend who was very popular delivered me to the “in” crowd, thereby increasing my obsession with popularity and social interaction. These three friends, in that time, were irreplaceable. I valued the time I got to spend with each of them and it was actually one of these friends that led me to an event that would change my life for the better on May 1, 2010 and I’ll tell you now: it’s not the one I am still friends with.
I don’t seem to remember when it was planned but I had a friend (We’ll call her Bliranda so that she can remain anonymous) who wanted me to attend a birthday party alongside her. Of course, not having other plans, I said that I would. I don’t remember very much of the party to be honest and I’ll tell you why in a moment, but I remember that the house had an Xbox 360 with a copy of Final Fantasy XIII playing, a friend of mine that I hadn’t seen since the year before was there, the kid got a cake shoved in his face and that my friend and I walked down the street together. From there, I can only imagine that when we got back, we decided to go ride bikes. It was real stupid, actually. What I’ve been told is that we arrived at this hill and we ran a contest to see who could ride down the fastest. I didn’t have a helmet so when I tried to dodge a sewer pipe and failed, from the same people, I hear that I went over the handlebars and took a heavy blow to the left side of my brain, resulting paralysis of my right side and heavy concussion.
After that, the next thing I knew I was in an ambulance being transported from Renown Hospital in Reno, NV to Oakland Children’s Hospital in Oakland, CA. Later, I was told about what happened at that some time had passed. I essentially had the mind of a toddler so everything from back then is a bit fuzzy. Not that it matters, because if anything is unimportant to the story of my salvation, it’s the time I spent at Oakland Children’s Hospital. What is important is that I never knew a day where my friend, Max, said that he was not my friend.
Max and I are still best friends and we were in 2012 when he told me of this amazing experience he had at church and how he now wanted to pursue Christ. For the time, I didn’t know what that meant. I go to Church, that means I’m a Christian. Eventually, he invited me to a youth group at his church, even to a few Sunday morning sermons. From spending time with Max, I started to learn and think more about Christian principles or topics of interest, especially eschatology. I was most interested in that topic due to the religious symbolism I found in the film, Tron: Legacy. My thoughts of the rapture and end-times definitely played a part in my concern of “possessing authentic faith in Christ”.
One Sunday evening, I attended a youth group on my own that taught on dedication. It taught that whatever you dedicate your time most to was your God and what you are slave to. It was my wake-up call directly from the Lord. Not too long before that, I had received some stunning information from my Nintendo 3DS Activity Log.
Max was looking through my Activity Log one day and brought attention to the fact that I had spent more than 350 hours on a single game. At the time, I took it as an achievement. When I heard the lesson is when it actually made me think: if I spend that much time on the one, imagine how much time I spend on video games in general! Since this was a lesson I learned at church, the lesson obviously taught that most, if not all, your time should be spent on Christ.
I approached the teacher after the lesson and told him of my concerns. I told him that too much of my time and dedication was towards this one game and that I was worried about my Spiritual salvation. I don’t remember what I was expecting him to do but he said a prayer with me that I could spend time wisely throughout the week and, God-willing, that I spend less time on video games which were my chief concern (paraphrased, obviously).
Well, I’ll have you know that although I don’t remember if a lot of time was spent in fellowship or reading the bible, I do remember that I spent on a significantly less amount of time on video games with which I was grateful. It is likely that most of my time was spent with Max, if not for that week, than definitely in the future. Together, we had great conversations about God, Christ, sin, salvation and other things usually while having lunch at the local Taco Bell. We also went on hikes, rode bikes, even played the occasional video game (we were teenagers, after all) but no matter what, we kept in mind that we were Christian and acted as such.