Hi, I’m Ellie Geppert. As early as I can remember I had a playmate in the neighborhood, was Catholic, went to church all the time. Somehow I became aware of that.
We played a game with popsicle sticks. You through your popsicle stick onto her grandfather’s shed roof. If it fell off the roof, you were going to hell. If it stayed on the roof you were in heaven. And if it went halfway down, you were in purgatory (which I didn’t understand.) That was our game.
Well, come to find out, as I grew a little bit – 16 years old – a new pastor in town came to our home. None of my family went to church. He knocked on the door and introduced himself – spoke to my father a bit – and was invited to come back.
When he came back and spoke to us, this time we all gathered around. He told us about Jesus and about giving our lives to the Lord. That was music to my ears because I had wanted to go to church with any of my friends. I don’t know where it all came from, those playmates, whether it was so important in their lives it became an important thing to me. And I didn’t want to fall off the roof forever!
So we received the Lord, but it didn’t end there for me. I knew that I was a Christian now, and I kept going to church and I kept hearing more. But at age 25, and married, I found that in my life there still wasn’t the total peace. And I thought, “My life is so wonderful. I went to college. I have a great job. I’m married now. And what is the rest of it? Is it just buying things, one thing after another to put into my home? And then what happens to those things? Nothing. Who cares?” So what was life about?
And then there was a tormenting nagging that also abided with me of “What becomes of me? Okay, I’m going to die. I’m going to heaven.” But this process of death was very unsettling to me. How does it occur? All that kind of thing was still unsettled.
What I didn’t understand was, there were fears working in my life. Fear of falling off of the shed had driven me. Now the fear of what the death process was like was driving me, and the fear of “What’s life all about?”
At that point in time there were people coming to our church and we were learning . . . people were experiencing the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Another dimension was added. I didn’t understand it, but one Sunday morning I found myself being drawn by the hand of God to the front altar and being baptized in the Holy Spirit.
And that was my changing time. And it was also a time where I began to realize the fears that were driving my life. But with that understanding, it seemed as though the fears in my life were even more determined and more pronounced and more real. I was identifying them and they seemed to want to hold me back even more.
I had become subject to panic attacks. I had a lot of those things that were coming to the surface. At the end of a year’s time, about, more or less, one night as I went to bed and I began to feel that panic attack trying to come, the word of God came instead.
“If I die, I’m with You. If I live, I’m with You. And either way, it’s okay and I love You and I just want what You want.”
With that the panic attack disappeared and my life was calm. I went to sleep, and they were gone forever.
So that brought an entire change to my life, and now I was free. It came at a point in time when my husband and I – he had been called to the mission field, and I had been prepared for the mission field.
So off we went, and on our first journey down to Guatemala I experienced the freedoms that I had been set free of along the way. And for a year just watched and saw the incredible deliverance that He had brought to my life. And I’ve enjoyed that freedom all these 30 years now.
And I know that I’m not going to fall off the roof. And I know that I can trust Him totally and completely with my life. But more than that, He has shown me a life in Him that brings fruit that goes beyond this life for me. It’s not my furniture and my home. It’s other people’s lives that will go on beyond me, and will change other lives. And so my life has become eternal.