It’s dark for most of the day, and she digs firewood out of the snow when she wants heat. She doesn’t have running water and uses an outhouse.
Norene moved to Alaska in 1996 when life was chaotic at best. Her 15-year-old daughter had a baby, her dad died and her divorce was final after her husband, a heavy drinker, cheated on her.
“My life, my world, had totally fallen apart,” she said.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's (BGEA) Internet evangelism ministry, Search for Jesus, doesn’t just lead people to Christ; it disciples new and rededicated Christians in their walk with God. For Norene, that walk has at times been more of a standstill.
Norene, 57, left her home in Idaho more than 15 years ago to escape the pain.
“What I didn’t realize was the pain was still with me,” she said. “No matter how far I ran, I could not outrun the hurt.”
She remembers going to church with her neighbors as a child. But as the years went by, she drifted away from Christ. One stress after another further strained her faith.
“I was sitting here, crying my heart out because I was so sad and lonely,” she said. “No matter what I did or didn't do, things only kept getting worse.”
Norene will never forget the day she decided to settle in Alaska—“the last frontier”—in hopes of a new beginning. But there’s another day she remembers fondly: Feb. 1 of this year. That’s when she embarked on another new beginning—this time, soul deep.
“I totally and completely rededicated my life to my Father God. I hated how I was feeling,” she said. “Since that day, I have changed. My heart has become whole again. … I just could not keep going without Jesus back in my life.”
Norene found PeaceWithGod.net while searching for resources to share her faith with others. She was overcome by the message of God’s love for her.
“I am so happy,” she said. “My heart is bursting with joy, love and happiness.”
Clear across the country, in St. Petersburg, Fla., another man, also 57, recently found PeaceWithGod.net through a Google search for Billy Graham.
“I’ve seen a few of his revivals … and I’m always very moved by how much he loves God,” he said.
He wanted to follow Billy Graham’s daily devotions but also found the Internet evangelism site. It was there on PeaceWithGod.net that he received a much-needed message of forgiveness.
“It let me know that God is always there for me. I can ask Him for forgiveness and I can pray for His continued presence in my life,” he said.
The man’s parents occasionally took him to church when he was young, but self-reliance eventually crowded out Christ. Finding PeaceWithGod.net and reading Billy Graham’s devotions has helped him realize that he can’t do everything on his own.
“Now I know that I need God in my life to show me the right way.”
The man, who used to own a deli, is currently unemployed but has taken up reading his Bible and going to church. Like Norene, he finds joy in his newfound faith.
Since renewing her commitment to Christ, Norene said she is “now on a mission for God!”
She hands out tracts to anyone who will take them. She also hopes to move soon, but knows the timing is up to God.
“I think I have been wandering around in the wilderness long enough,” she said. “I have missed so much of my family's life; it is time to go home. … I am a child of God, and He does have a perfect plan for my life.”
Used with permission from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
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