© wdstock | iStockphoto.com

Something Was Missing

July 01, 2015

She thought nothing could fill the void in her heart...until she accepted a friend’s invitation to church.

By Leidy Urena Pichardo

From the time I was a little girl until graduating from high school, I attended Catholic schools. My family was not especially religious, but I was baptized in the Catholic Church and we went to services on Sundays. Growing up, Catholicism was all I knew about God or church.

My family was well off, and as a child I wanted for nothing. In fact, my mother went to great lengths to give my sisters and me whatever we desired. I had friends and went out with them, and my parents did not prohibit me from doing anything I wanted. In a sense I had everything, but at the same time I had nothing. Once I was alone at the end of a day, there was an emptiness inside of me that I could not get away from.

One time that empty feeling became especially overwhelming. I was so upset that although I was barefoot, I started running down the street on a gravel road. I kept running hard for about a mile and a half, trying to get rid of that empty feeling. That day it seemed as though something inside of me exploded. Nothing could console the deep pain I felt.

At the university I studied dentistry in a class of about fifty students, and we all worked together daily. Life at the university was normal until one young man in our career group invited all of us to church. He never missed an opportunity to talk about the Lord. Even though he lived an hour away, he would offer to pick me up at my house for church services and bring me home afterwards. I always said no, telling him, “I belong to a different church. I don’t want to visit your church.” Yet he never tired of inviting me.

One day, when I was nineteen years old, that feeling of sadness overwhelmed me again. I had gone out with some friends and should have been happy, but afterwards I felt the same pain inside. It seemed nothing could satisfy. I thought, Well, I don’t have anything to do. I guess I’ll call my classmate and tell him he can pick me up for church.

The moment I entered the church building that evening, something happened. It was like my fears were shattered, and I let my guard down. The Lord dealt with my heart, and I realized He was what I had been longing for. When the preacher stood up, it was as if he knew why I was there and what I was searching for. He declared a message that completely fit my life. At the altars of prayer I opened my heart to the Lord, and He saved me! He changed my life that day, and it was amazing. I found what I had been searching for when I gave my life to the Lord.

The first days after I was saved were wonderful as the Holy Spirit started to lead me. My eyes were opened. In the past I had not cared about other people’s needs, and felt no remorse if I spoke to others in a mean way or made people feel badly. After God came into my life, all that was different; I valued people for who they were. My life had changed!

As I became more established in the Gospel, the Holy Spirit showed me that I needed to be sanctified, and I began to consecrate my life to God. My need seemed too big to overcome, but I yielded myself completely and kept praying. One night I turned on my radio to some worship music and cried out to the Lord. The Spirit helped me as I prayed, and God did the work. He sanctified me and I could see the difference afterward. Sanctification transformed my innermost being, and increased my hunger for more of God.

Eventually, the classmate who had invited me to church became my husband. His father is a pastor, and for years the whole family had gathered weekly at the church to pray together. After we married, my husband and I joined them. One evening, as we were driving to the family prayer meeting, God started to deal with me. I began worshiping the Lord and praising Him. When we arrived at the church, my eyes were closed but I walked directly to the altar and got on my knees. As I worshiped the Lord, the Holy Spirit came down powerfully. My praises grew stronger and then suddenly the Lord changed my language. I tried to pray again in Spanish, but I couldn’t because the Spirit had control of my tongue. I had such happiness inside because I knew I was surrendered to Him! On the drive home, the Holy Spirit was still speaking through me, and He spoke in many different languages, not just one. Even as I went to bed that night, He still continued. It felt like God poured out as much of His Spirit as I could possibly hold that night.

The gift of the Holy Ghost is a blessing, but it doesn’t come alone. It comes with the call to work and serve the Lord. God has given my husband and me three beautiful children, and now we are serving God together in an area of the capital of the Dominican Republic where there is great need. We have a small ministry that is growing, and the Lord is helping us. Without Him, I would be nothing. I depend completely on Him and my life is hidden under the hand of the Lord. I am so grateful to Him.

About the author

Leidy Ureña Pichardo attends the Maquiteria Apostolic Faith Church in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where her husband is pastor.