Terry Fenwick is the Director, International Relations of Catholic Scripture Study, International.
My husband, Tom, and I were taken into full Communion on February 3, 2004 when I was 71 and he was 76!!!!! (Are you smiling?) We are a young old couple! We were Lutherans most of our lives, even before we met, and later when the Lutheran Church started taking the inerrancy of the Word out of their constitution, we left. We had seen it coming. We were in strong Bible studies, knew the Word, taught the Word and loved the Lord. We tried Presbyterian (this was in the early 80s) and then it became Pro-choice.
All of that made a strong difference to us! It was difficult. We could not make it work. Although we never missed attending Church, we began missing real worship. We spent some "time" in a former Southern Baptist gone Seeker Church. In all three of these churches there were wonderful people - greatest of friends, who all loved and served the Lord and studied His Word. We both had great leadership roles and we both taught the Bible. We sort of "fell into" the Baptist gone Seeker, as it was autonomous and, as bad as that seems, we knew we would see, and could see, the "falling into the pit" as it came and could do something about it. It would not be hidden.
My husband was always an elder and always very active. When the phone rang and it was the church, I always would ask, "What do they want you to "be" now? He was a beautiful leader. I was always active in the education of the Church as well as in Bible Studies. We were both in leadership positions in everything, leadership training, teaching the Bible, as well as starting classes in California - later other states. These studies were the very best studies in the country and they gave the very best training for teaching the Word. We kept so busy loving and serving the Lord that it just 'almost' worked except God would not let go. Tom would talk about how much he was missing worship and then, about the time I began studying Church History, finding a 1500-year gap, I fell and broke my leg.
That day, when I crawled into my bed, where I would spend three long months, I said, "Lord, what are you going to teach me now? What is this all about?"
There is a wonderful story told about how a shepherd cares for his sheep - especially for the one who does not stay close. To preserve the life of that sheep, the shepherd goes out and seeks the straying sheep to save him from danger and harm. He does this over and over to save the life of that poor stubborn sheep. Finally the shepherd brings him back and very carefully breaks his leg. He wraps the leg carefully in strips of cloth and then places him on his shoulders around his neck. The shepherd carries him until the leg heals. During that time the injured sheep smells the shepherd, he feels the pulse beat of the shepherd's neck and begins to feel the concern the shepherd has for him - he knows he is protected and loved. When the leg is finally healed, the shepherd unwraps the leg of the sheep very carefully and puts him down along side of him. The sheep never goes away again.
I have told that story so many times in teaching so I remembered it when I had the broken leg. In truth, that is what the Lord did. He broke my leg, kept me close to him for three months. I had vertigo, which is why I fell. I could not have anyone around because I had problems with the vertigo and I needed quiet. I had no friends over because I am most animated and would get dizzy. I could not talk on the phone because with the vertigo my ears were too sensitive to sounds. So quietly, the shepherd carried me around his neck. I looked forward and watched the Catholic channel EWTN and was taught day after day by the greats on that program. I watched Journey Home and saw myself coming and going in every program. I taped them for Tom who watched it later in the day. I ordered every book they mentioned and read them. One was Scott Hahn's ROME SWEET HOME. That did it. My husband read it and brought it in to me - stood with tears brimming in his eyes, gently closed the book and said, "They are right!"
Then it happened. It was a Sunday morning - Tom stood up and stretched- arms outstretched, like a cross, and said, "Do you know what I want to do today? I want to go to San Francisco to the Cathedral and worship my Lord." I said, "Yes!" We went. It was the Candlemas - the day with all the candles - February 2, 2003, the Feast of the Presentation of Christ at the Temple. It was like our birthday. It was glorious in every detail. We worshiped and went forward, arms folded across our chests and received the blessing. When Mass had ended we sat a few minutes. I turned and said, "This is worship." Tom said, "Yes, and we are coming back!" We went out and at the door met the Priest, and Tom said, "We are going to become Catholics!" Simple as that.
We came 'Home' together - the two of us. We were two people who had a Savior but now had found beautiful worship, early Church fathers and Truth. We were blessed with an abundance of grace! After one wonderful year of study, hardly being able to sleep at night because of the excitement, we were taken into Full Communion in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church on February 3, 2004! We came HOME to the Church Jesus Christ began in Matthew16 with Peter.
I am now the Director of International Relations for Catholic Scripture Study, International. It is such a blessing to be used by God to help Catholics, all over the world who are hungry for God's Holy Word. Many new people are beginning to study the Sacred Scripture. This is also how I had the joy to meet Aneel Aranha, founder of Holy Spirit Interactive, and many, many more beautiful Catholics.
My husband, Tom, went Home to be with the Lord on May 14, 2006 - one year ago - but we had the best years of our lives beginning February 2, 2003 when we attended our first Mass.
"I want the world for Christ because I know Christ wants the world."