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Paul Backholer - My Testimony

I was lost in the jungles of a Communist country in South East Asia. My arms and legs were bleeding, my clothes were torn, I thought I had broken my ribs and after drinking river water, my body convulsed violently forcing me to vomit. We had come to this remote region to preach the gospel, but instead we needed a rescue mission. How on earth did I end up here!

It all started when I became a Christian at a young age. As a child I was very sick and came very close to death on three occasions. The doctors finally told my father to accept that it was very unlikely that I would ever live to become a teenager. When my brother and I were young, our family had no religious beliefs but my father stated, “If there is a God, I will seek him for my son’s life.” After a great deal of prayer, some Christians met with us and stated that God answers prayer and heals today! Unbelief and cynicism often get swept aside when life and death are in the balance and this happened to us. Jesus was our last hope and these Christians laid hands on me and prayed, then something wonderful happened! After that day, my life was never threatened again and I grew stronger and stronger.

We became Christians and started to attend church, but ten years later I was spiritually cold. I tithed, read my Bible, went to prayer meetings etc., but I had no fire for God. Everything changed when I heard an audio sermon by the late revivalist Duncan Campbell. As I was listening to him, something struck me. “Oh let’s get serious” he said. “Are you real with God?” His words struck like a thunderbolt into my soul and I repented for my cold religious ways. Suddenly the Holy Spirit swept into my soul and transformed my life. Over the next few months, I spent a great deal of time in prayer and the Holy Spirit revealed to me that he wanted me to go to Bible College.

I sought the Lord for many years, then the Lord showed me it was time to go and so I resigned from my job and enrolled at the Bible College which was founded by Rees Howells. The culture shock was extreme and the challenges were great! God transformed my life there and after graduation, I spent a year as a staff member. My years at Bible College were costly, yet terribly exciting, and I remember preaching almost every week in a different church. There were youth camps, campaigns and many assignments.

I was then invited to join an American mission and media organisation. They filmed their missions and created the first season of the world’s first Christian mission reality show. I was invited to join them, but I needed around £4,000 and I had no income! I knew the Lord wanted me to go, but after College fees and a few missions, I had no money left. Day after day I prayed seeking the Lord. As the months went I began to get desperate. Finally I feel on my face on the lawn of the Bible College that Rees Howells had founded and cried out, “Lord You sent all the money Rees Howells needed to purchase these grounds. I only need a few thousand pounds, but I have no other hope than You! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and if I don’t get the money, I’ll never get this chance again!” The situation was desperate and I cried out, “Lord help me.”

Two months later I touched down in Thailand with enough money for the first few months and a belief that God would provide everything else I needed. The relief of God’s provision was great!

But disaster was ahead of us and after just a week with this American mission organisation, I was lost in the jungles of a Communist country. My arms and legs were bleeding, my clothes were torn, I thought I had broken my ribs and after drinking river water, my body convulsed violently forcing me to vomit. I had slept under the stars, with most of my clothes drying by a fire, after getting wet in the river. Our guide had lost his way and we had to cut our way through thick brambles in the dense forest.

Imagine an untouched forest, overgrown and hostile. This was our adversary. No one had machetes because we had hired a guide, so the thick brambles and sticky branches would cut into our arms and legs. Doing this after every step, took an enormous toll on our bodies. Finally we reached the peak of the forest and I saw jungle in every direction. We were utterly lost.

We finally found our way back to civilisation and after recuperating, I asked the Lord why he had allowed me to get into this terrible situation. The response reassured me. “If you can trust Me here” He said, “You can trust Me anywhere!” For the next few months, I travelled to the ends of the earth preaching the gospel from canoes in Papua New Guinea, to villages in Indonesia and Malaysia.

After my trip to Asia I wrote: ‘There have been times when the cost of God’s call seemed a little too much to bear, but God has always proved Himself to be deeply faithful to me. Truly I have seen that ‘all things work together for good to those who love God and have been called according to His purposes’ ’ Romans 8:28. On the shores of the sea in Papua New Guinea, I had a vision of a website called ByFaith. I began to plan the website and after arriving back in England I began to work on the html for ByFaith.

The website went online in 2002, then afterwards came missions, filming, books and documentaries. As the years went on my brother and I went around the world on many Christian filming projects. Then we found Christian channels all over the world who wanted to air our programmes. One project followed another, and we filmed ByFaith TV seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. Every series had a different theme and we produced DVDs and books to accompany them. During the same period, we published many books concerning revival, missions and discipleship. After more than a decade we have travelled to over 40 nations.

My brother and I never had any ambitions to produce Christian TV programmes, documentaries, books and so forth, but step by step we have followed the Lord as He has led us. The last decade has been a real uphill challenge of faith with great sacrifices, as well as great miracles. We have travelled the world and been involved with many wonderful Christian projects, and all this has been accomplished by faith in Him.

The Call To Salvation

Jesus made the way of salvation clear. He said this, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through me" John 14:6, and "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God", John 3:3.

If you want to become a Christian, the Bible says to do this...Repent, which means to turn from your sins (those things which are wrong and break God's law) Luke 13:3, and "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved", Acts 16:31. Put your faith in Jesus. He died for your sins, and rose again three days later, showing us, that we can be forgiven and live in newness of life.

Some may say, "Maybe I’ll get saved later in life", but this is what the Bible says about that: "Behold, now is the accepted time, behold, today is the day of salvation!” 2 Corinthians 6:2.

After you have been truly saved and get on fire for God, you will enter into a new world. A world where God is real and you can discover that God has a call and destiny for you. Christianity is not another religion to try out, but a satisfying relationship with the living God. There is great excitement as 'We walk by faith, not by sight,' 2 Corinthians 5:7.

'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths' Proverbs 3:5-6.

The Call To Discipleship

Each one of us has a call and destiny from God, and it is up to us to respond to His call. Will you live for the call that God has for you? Will you accept the challenge of Discipleship?