Hello, my name is Melissa Amarante. I am 17 years old, and I have been attending HDC for about 3 years. I have never actually shared or written out my testimony before, so here I go. Before I came to know Jesus, I was very concerned with only myself. I was convinced I knew best, at all times. It was very frustrating to pretend like I knew every answer to every question, like I never needed help. I also had a huge insecurity issue. I was constantly comparing myself to other people. Whether it was, “she's skinnier” or “she has straighter teeth” or “she has better hair,” I was not happy with myself at all. It was a constant struggle.
The summer entering into my junior year of high school, I made the decision to go to Hume Lake Christian Camp with a good friend of mine. My experience at Hume Lake was nothing like I'd ever imagine it would be. I was honestly just looking for a stress-free week, surrounded by people I knew were good for me. The entire time I was there, I was constantly comparing myself to everyone I saw, even comparing my own walk with Christ with theirs. These were people I barely even knew. It was actually awful to go to bed thinking about what I could do to make myself look prettier the next day. I think after so much time trying to pretend like I was perfect, wishing I was someone that wasn't me, I finally broke down. On the second to last night of my time at Hume Lake, I was sitting in chapel with my good friend and bible study leader. I had so many emotions weighing on my shoulders and I honestly just felt this overwhelming presence. It was truly unbelievable. There I was, singing along to the worship songs, and I for once, was completely just consumed with nothing but worshipping my Savior. I completely broke down in tears.
That’s when I realized that I can't do it on my own. That’s when I realized all this time I had been doing it wrong. I would go to church, participate in worship, but was I really focused on giving Jesus my full attention? I wasn't. I fully realized that I don't know what's best. God knows what's best, and I needed to let him guide me. I wanted to let his light shine through me, onto everyone I came into contact with. I came into full realization, and it was a truly breathtaking experience. We prayed and we prayed and I just completely let go. I let go of everything I had been holding onto so tightly. It felt great. I accepted Jesus that night. I made a solid commitment to start living my life for Jesus. Everything I do, I need to do it for him.
My bible study leader was extremely influential before I accepted Jesus, and I still look to her as an inspiration. I am definitely changed, and I feel that I now do everything for Jesus. I know that I cannot do it on my own. I need the guidance of my Savior. I don't compare myself to everyone I see. There's no need. I am completely loved. "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." - Psalm 139:14. Accepting Jesus is life changing, and I now live to make him known.