Day 5: Joan Juliet Nantongo

Hebrews 4:16
"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

Isaiah 53:5 says, “But he was pierced by our “my” transgressions, he was crushed for our “my” iniquities; the punishment that brought us “me” peace was on him, and by his wounds we are “am” healed.”
This is my story for this year. My Name is Joan Juliet Nantongo. I will start by saying that I have been set free indeed, because that is how I feel writing this story and this is my daily reminder to my soul.
This year was very hard, and a lot of growth happened as well. I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember.  I received the Lord in my life at a very young age, and I can truly say that when you accept the Lord in your life, not even your worst sin can separate you from His love.
With all that I have gone through in life, I can look back and see the Good Lord at work in my life even without my own specific prayer. Please understand, I am not saying don’t pray, because through prayer there is the relationship that you develop with your heavenly father.  The devil will try so much to keep you away from prayer because he knows that in prayer you will discovery your purpose in the Lord and know God’s character.
I can happily boast in the Lord for holding my hand through this year and pulling me out of my sin and back to His alter of prayer and thanksgiving. God has shown up in ways that have blown my mind.
In the beginning of 2022, I graduated as a nurse and started working. I was excited too!  I knew that nothing could stop me from here. I thought to myself, as a very hard-working lady, all I have to do is my best then I will achieve everything I want.  But then I fell in with the wrong company and I put God on the “waiting list”.  I was only praying when I felt good about it for me. I took God out of my plans and moved forward with my life my own way.  
(Side thought that I recently heard from a podcast; the teacher said that God is always speaking but when He talks and all He sees from your response is disobedience, then His voice becomes lower and lower to you because you don’t consider Him a priority. So even when you are taking wrong turns and He gives you warning, you can’t hear His voice because you have turned His voice down so low in your life.)
Back to the story!
I was on a life-high for some time. But when you have people around you that are not right with God nor healthy, after some time they will show they are not good friends; especially when you get into a need, and they all walk away.
I was in a very dark place as 2022 came to an end. I had to return to my home country because I was so depressed and felt I had no purpose in life. I broke off a relationship because it was leading me down a dark path. I sold my car and left, I stayed away for a month and a half then returned. I was living in the system of Christianity, but not real prayer nor seeking God.
When 2023 began, I got a new car. A few weeks later I got in a bad accident and the car was trashed. And worse prior, during 2022 I made a terrible mistake and cosigned a car for my boyfriend, who shortly after became my ex-boyfriend.  Like I said, when you’re not listening to God or truly following after Him, you will make big mistakes when you can’t hear Him.
My ex-boyfriend started missing payments on purpose, then told me that the car was destroyed; that it was trashed. Because he abandoned the car, and I cosigned for the loan, the bank informed me that I had to pay for whatever was left of the car. So here I am paying for two cars that I don’t even have in my possession; one due to an accident and one due to a poor decision.  I was lost.  My mind was overwhelmed.  I was drowning and truly thought there was no way out.
I was driving to work one day and I decided to just stop and present my worries to God in a desperate moment. I remember the prayer so well. “Good Lord, this is me today.  Please help me out in the best way You can and from today onward, I will never turn my face away from you.”
So, I was determined to move on.  I started to reach out to people for prayer and guidance. I received a lot of prayers from friends at Grace Chapel. People checked in on me daily. I started praying and fasting and I had this peace each day.  Even though things were falling apart around me, my heart was weirdly filled with joy.  I had this peace that I couldn’t explain.
I started meeting with Pastor James.  The first time we met, I told him what I was going through. He prayed with me.  He also told me to call the bank and police and tell them everything about my situation with the car and ex-boyfriend.  He gave me sound advice and told me he will see how he could help.
A few weeks later the bank called and told me they had gone to the car yard to check the damage to the car my ex-boyfriend told me was destroyed, but they could not find the car. At that point I would have been responsible for the entire car.  I told them again that I have not been with the car, nor knew anything about it.  They told me they would look for the car.  Praise God that they finally found the car and it was not fully destroyed!  They asked if I wanted the car back but I didn’t feel peace about the loan, nor the situation, so they sold the car.  I only had to repay a smaller portion of the remaining loan.
Oh, I went running to my Good Lord with thanksgiving and I gave all I could though prayer and fasting and by helping those people around me. I gave a sacrificial offering to the Lord as well.  And I kept praying to God, repenting for all the things I had done when I was away from Him.
I remember one time when I attended a worship and prayer night. During prayer, one of the ladies told me that she had a message for me from the Holy Spirit.  She told me this. “you pray for forgiveness every time you go in prayer, but God is letting you know that you have been forgiven since you first asked. God sees your heart and He wants you to know He does not keep a record of your wrong.”
Oh, that day I felt free!  On my way back home during the drive I remember the voice in my head saying, “He who the son sets free is free indeed.” No one, not even the devil can take that away from me. I walk in freedom now!
I continued joyfully working my two jobs.  But I was still in desperate need of a car.  I was renting a car from someone on occasion, but the cost was high and I could not continue affording it.  While I was so thankful that God helped me work through the difficult time, I was still in need of transportation, but unable to afford any.
A few months later Pastor James did help me in a big way.  He let me know that he had found a car for me; and that a couple from Grace Chapel was donating the total purchase of the car!  I would have it as a gift without making any payment!  That day I was filled with such joy!  The weight was lifted from me. God was for surely moving!  Wow!  
I was so happy when I received that car.  My family was very surprised that someone could just give you something of such great value without you owing them something. I was sure that God was with Pastor James and this couple.
Thanks so much to everyone who prayed for me and with me during my time of need.  May the Good Lord continue to move your hearts to help those who need help, small or large.
Remember that faith with prayer can move any mountain. Jesus told us all that all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed.
Be Blessed by my story,
Joan Juliet.
"I pray that the Holy Spirit of God who lives in our hearts will guide and direct each and everyone of us to the full purpose that He has for us."

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