Artistry as books, graphic design and abstract art by Rachel L. Burkum.

My Autobiography

(Testimony Below)

I was born in Rochester, New York, and brought up in a small town near Lake Ontario. I was homeschooled along with my older brother, kindergarten through high-school. My father was a minister at a deaf church in Rochester, and my family and I attended there for many years. Through time, I became fluent in sign language and made many close friends in the small congregation.

I discovered my love of horses at a young age, and was able to pursue that love through a man who trained me, and who later would become my stepfather. I was involved in horse shows in upstate New York, riding both western and English.

When I was fourteen, my mother, stepfather and I moved to Iowa. Finding a new Christian family in the church, making new friends, and getting used to an entirely different lifestyle, my world seemed to turn upside down. But my faith in God carried me through.

I started volunteering some of my time at a Christian non-profit organization called Deaf Missions where my mother was employed, and began forming new relationships and learning new things. During my time at home, I continued my high-school education while helping take care of our horses, dogs, cats, and parrots. Being involved with 4-H for a short time also filled up my days, while I continued to ride horses.

It was about then I discovered my desire to write. After writing a novella based on characters that a friend and I had pretended to be as children, I was encouraged to continue writing. So I did. I had never dreamed what the Lord had in store for me when I started, but I began to see how I could combine my knowledge of horses with my relationship with God and bring about an intriguing novel.

I also discovered where else God was leading me, and that was to a full-time job at Deaf Missions. I started out as part-time and as soon as I had graduated from high-school I began to work forty hours a week as a librarian and receptionist. Juggling my job, involvement in my church, and my responsibilities at home, I still managed to find time to write and develop several novels.

Today I still work at Deaf Missions, though my job title and responsibilities have changed and evolved. After many more years of writing and refining my skills, I finished my novel, A Test of Courage. Encouraged to publish it, I found a publisher who was willing to accept my manuscript. It became evident to me how the Lord had worked in my life, preparing me for this accomplishment, and I give Him all of the credit for my talents and achievements. He has blessed me with even more opportunities, proving that A Test of Courage was just the first book of many more to come.

My Personal Testimony

I don't have some awesome ten-page testimony to give. I don't have an exciting story to tell of doing a "one-eighty" in my life. But since a "testimony is simply an open declaration, I suppose this qualifies. And when God is involved, there is no insignificance.

I was brought up in the church and raised by Christian parents. At age nine, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and was baptized. For me, it was simply the right thing to do. It was what I was taught to do when I was old enough to understand that I had sin in my life that needed forgiveness. I was brought up studying the Scriptures, learning about God's love, and being captivated by the amazing stories in the Bible. Accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior was the next step I decided to take in my spiritual growth.

My life did not change dramatically after that. I still lived in a loving home and was encouraged in my own new walk. It wasn't until I was a young teenager that my faith was truly tested for the first time when my parents divorced. In a world of chaos, God was my stronghold. Not only did my parents divorce, but I was at odds with my brother for a time; I was manipulated by people I trusted; and I was uprooted from my home in New York, moving with my mother to Iowa, where soon after she remarried. But despite feeling helpless and lost at times, I always knew God was with me. Despite times when nothing made sense, He was holding everything together.

I've experienced an array of blessings in my many years since then, and never once have I questioned God's presence. Bad has happened. Good has happened. And as time passes, the less the past hurts sting, and the more I'm anxious for the future. Looking back, I'm still amazed at how God used such diverse circumstances to get me where I am today. Interests and skills I had as a child later became important pieces in my adult life. Bad circumstance beyond my control were taken and used by God for good - and He's not done yet. And perhaps that is truly what my testimony is about. God's not done with me yet.

I am not a perfect individual. I am far from it. But my hope is that God may use me to share the message of Him with others - whether through my everyday life or through the books I write - so they might experience the peace and joy I have found.

I believe in God the Father. I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe in the crucifixion of Jesus and the salvation that was offered through His sacrifice. I believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven and will return soon to take His people home. I believe that one must accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and follow His commands in order to spend eternity with Him.