Julia Porter was searching for God in all the wrong places. She grew up in a Christian home, though her parents divorced when she was young. Her mother was a Free Methodist, and when they moved to Connecticut, her stepfather started taking the family to a Korean Baptist
“I call it a culty Baptist church where the women didn’t wear pants or makeup,” says Julia. The kids weren’t allowed to watch TV, listen to the radio or indulge in other forms of entertainment deemed unsuitable. When Julia was 16, without warning, she was no longer accepted at church. She couldn’t be in the Christmas play. She couldn’t go outside and play with the kids. It was all taken away.
Fast forward to the age of 30. Julia was married, had a four-year-old son, and had left the church. She felt that something was missing in her life, so she began looking for God. She started reading about religion, and read a lot of religious books, but never opened the Bible.
One day she came across a video about the Temple of Baal, and how the archway — an entry into the temple — had been destroyed. The video said that archeologists wanted to rebuild this archway and premiere it in New York City, but the city refused to have it.
Memories of her past in the church flooded her mind. “All this stuff started coming back … like Satan really exists, I thought. And there was God asking me, knocking on my heart.” Julia picked up a Bible and started reading it, realizing how silly it was to be searching for God and never open His Word. Almost immediately she knew she was doing something right, because everybody around her could tell she had started reading the Bible.
“They looked at me like I was crazy. I could have any book in my hand. I could have the ‘Satan’s bible’ in my hand. I could have all the Gnostic religions, Hinduism, all this and they
wouldn’t even cross their eyes at me. But I pick up the Bible and there was just something there.”
Julia started praying for wisdom and discernment. She didn’t know how to even find a church. Soon she had lost almost everything. She couldn’t find a job, and eventually even lost her home.
She began attending a church, but when the COVID pandemic hit, the church shut their doors “I was really floored at that time because I thought, why are we shutting the doors on God?”
That’s when she came across some videos by Walter Veith about the Spirit of Prophecy. Julia thought, “Spirit of Prophecy. Like what is that?” She learned that he was talking about books written by Ellen White. After reading some of them, she looked up the Adventist Church, and
started attending the congregation in Concord, North Carolina.
Quiet and shy, Julia didn’t interact much with others. It wasn’t until they reconvened Sabbath school that she came out of her shell.
She loved the open discussion and interaction with the group. “It was like, wow, this church likes to study,” she shares. While they taught her, they were encouraging her to study her Bible as well. Julia knew at that point God was taking her through this journey. He had opened her eyes. “I told Him that all I wanted was the truth,” she says.
Julia had never really known what being baptized meant. But she did know that when you’re baptized, you publicly commit yourself to God, and she wanted that.
“I just want to work for God,” Julia concludes. “It doesn’t matter what it is, where He calls me, what I have to do, or what I have to give up. I just want to work for Him.”
—Rebecca Carpenter. Photos by Henrique Gomes.