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Touched by an Angel—and Taught by Alpha
A series of divinely directed events led Chantale to become deeply curious about faith. Curiosity changed her life.

Before knowing Christ, I was afraid of church—both the building and the meaning of it—without knowing it. I was also very defensive about it. I put aside some friendships because some of my friends were just too boring for me—in fact, they were too good, too perfect. At least that's how I was seeing them at the time.

I explained that I had had lunch with this lady every day … . they told me I had been alone all those times.

Surgery

In 2000, I became very sick with Crohn's and Colitis. It became obvious that I would have to go through surgery. In September, I had the first of three operations; they all occurred within a period of 16 months.

My last surgery was supposed to be the most exciting one for me. We were hoping to have my external bag removed; however, the doctors couldn't guarantee anything—and said I would have to wait and see until I woke up from the anesthesia.

I was mentally exhausted, and didn't want to go back into a hospital. I felt I had lost the previous three years because of my disease; I also felt I hadn't been a good mother to my children, due to being sick every time we tried to enjoy an outing. Since I had to go to Kelowna for the surgery, they lodged me at the Cancer Centre. I met great people there—but one lady was more special than anyone else.

She said she was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer; but to her, my disease was much worse, since I was a young mother and had my whole life in front of me. She asked if I would pray with her; not wanting to hurt her feelings, I said yes. But to be honest, I wasn't praying—but thinking of everything else I had to do.

Angel

The day of my surgery, I went on my own to register and get all the preparations done prior to surgery. Minutes before they took me into the operating room, I started crying—and I prayed to God for the first time. I asked Him to give me the strength to go through the operation—and to please make it the last one! In exchange, I promised I would trust Him. I woke up three hours later, no longer attached to the bag. I was elated.

Sitting at the foot of my bed was my friend, the lady from the Cancer Centre. It was comforting to see her. She came to visit for the next three days. Finally, she told me that she had to go back home. I asked if I could stay in touch; to that, she replied she would always be there—and there was no need to exchange phone numbers. Since I was under heavy medication, I didn't make a case of it—and said goodbye.

When I left the hospital, I went back to the Cancer Centre and inquired about her. They had no clue who I was talking about. I explained to them that I had had lunch with this lady every day prior to my surgery—and they told me I had been alone all those times.

That's when I realized that this woman must have been sent by God. I now call her my angel.

Back to normal

God had held up His end of the deal; but I had already forgotten about my promise to Him. I went back to being who I was: a selfish wife, an impatient mother, an ungrateful daughter, an unforgivable sister and a very bad friend!

However, after two years of living that life, I grew tired. I kept wanting more: a better job, a better love life, etc. I needed to fill a void inside of me; I was tired of trying to find ways to be happier in life.

That's when I finally listened to my friend Dee Dee. I had met her a few months before my first surgery. She always had a kind word, and it seemed that her life revolved around God and church. At one point we were co-workers in the same office; she was my supervisor. I kept asking her questions about God and church—not because I was interested, but because I wanted to prove to her that she was wrong.

But no matter what I said, she was not affected; her faith just seemed to grow stronger—which I found very annoying at the time! I left that job and went on with my life; however, for some reason, Dee Dee was the only co-worker who kept in touch with me.

Alpha

I was getting more and more curious about religion, and she must have felt my need to find out more—because that's when she told me about the Alpha Course. She put me in touch with Pastor Tim at Granville Chapel, and told me to talk to him.

By that time, I was telling Dee Dee about my personal life, and asking her if God would really forgive me if He knew how much I had sinned. She kept insisting that I speak with Pastor Tim.

I finally agreed, and decided to go ahead with the Alpha classes—and at the second class, I accepted God into my life!

… am so happy I walked into Granville Chapel when I did

Life has changed for me—and it is still changing. I now trust Him with everything in my life. I am finally admitting to myself that I can't do it all alone and that I need God's help. I wouldn't say everything is easier now; I am being challenged every day—but I trust it will all get better.

For these reasons, I got baptized on my 32nd birthday. I am so happy I walked into Granville Chapel when I did; thanks to everyone there, I felt like I was part of their family. I had, however, to drag my two boys to church every week and my husband would not come with us. It was difficult to be there alone, but yet, I knew that Jesus was by my side and hearing my prayers. My husband did say that if all this could save our marriage, then he would give the church, Jesus and God a try.

Big changes

Since I got baptized, I have changed my life and my way of thinking. I no longer have a need to look outside of my marriage for love. I actually want to make it work—for a lifetime. I have learned to let go, and to stop trying to control everything. I've also learned that, with the power of prayer, things do get better.

I have had answers to many prayers—it's an incredible feeling to trust God. I am now helping with the Alpha Course, and am enjoying every minute of it. I am still learning new things—and some of my old beliefs are still being challenged.

My two teenage boys now look forward to church every week, especially to the Saturday Youth Group. They lead and help at Vacation Bible School, and go to Bible camp every summer.

My husband has seen the changes in me, and has been coming to church with us every Sunday for the last two years. He said the prayer asking God into his life—and he's very grateful that our marriage is now saved! We are both attending Bible study as well. It is such a great feeling to be able to have our faith growing together.

My grandmother, who lives in Florida, has also seen the changes. Prior to doing Alpha, I was talking a lot with her and trying to get help in saving my marriage. She saw how much I was struggling and could only be a good listener to me. When I came to faith, I shared with her the good news of my saved marriage. She then decided to go back to church. My mother, who lives in Montreal, always spends four months in Florida. Grandma took her to her church as well, and both got baptized December 24th, 2005.

God has taken care of me more than I could have imagined. The change in our lives during the past three years is amazing. God even healed me from sickness and pains that had puzzled the doctors.

I am not afraid to express my faith; in fact I have a thirst for it. I tell everyone around me about it—and I'm not afraid of being judged. I am very lucky to be able to share my story with as many people as I can. I pray every day that Jesus will give me the right words, so I can affect and touch the people around me.

If my story has touched you, please feel free to contact me and share your story at chantale_fournier@hotmail.com.

Originally published in B.C. Christian News, June 2006.

 

 
 
 
 

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