Spiritual Spectators: A Student’s Story: Herta Neufeld

“There was no room to ask questions or offer different answers," says Booth UC student Herta, who felt alienated from the church for many years.

August 1, 2013 by Kristin Fryer


Herta Neufeld

Herta Neufeld, second-year student, bachelor of arts in behavioural science

Church has always been a part of Herta Neufeld’s life, but until recently she did not have a true church home.

Her family attended church every week, twice on Sundays and once on Wednesdays, but her parents were physically abusive. When Neufeld, now 31, was eight years old, she was removed from her home and placed into foster care. Her foster parents were nominally Christian, attending church only on Christmas and Easter. “Faith wasn’t really talked about,” she remembers. “I lived a very secular life.”

During the summers, however, Neufeld went to Christian camps and that was where, at 16, she became a Christian.

“My counsellor asked me to tell her my life story,” she recalls. “I had told my story to a lot of people but I would say it almost remotely, like it was someone else’s. And for the first time in my life, I actually told it like it happened to me and I cried.

“I felt like I was freed from it—like it was God who had helped me overcome, to be able to tell the story. Afterward, we prayed together and I accepted Jesus.”

Neufeld did not connect with a church at that time, and followed her friends into the partying scene, until she was 19 and she started going to church again with a friend. She was assigned a mentor to help her prepare for baptism, but instead of contributing to her growth, the mentor drove her away.

“Everything I said was wrong,” Neufeld remembers. “There was no room to ask questions or offer different answers. She made me feel like I was stupid.”

She stopped attending church for several years, became pregnant and reconnected with her birth family.

“Their support when I got pregnant meant so much to me,” she says. “It mirrored, in a way, the unconditional love and support you get from God.”

When her son was a year old, she returned to the church. “I wanted to show him a better way of life,” she says. “And I wanted to raise him to believe in God.”

Today, she says her church is like a family. As a single mother, she has faced difficult times, especially with her financial situation, and the church has taken up offerings to assist her.

Neufeld has received their kindness with joy and gratitude. “I’ve never been to a church where they treat people that way.”

Speak Your Mind

*

Out of Syria

Out of Syria

The Salvation Army provides practical support for refugees in Germany.

Crashing the Party

Crashing the Party

Marcia Farrell was looking for a church home and found more than she ever imagined at The Salvation Army.

Opinion & Critical Thought

Courage, My Love

Courage, My Love

When Valentine’s Day is hard.

And a Little Child Will Lead Them

And a Little Child Will Lead Them

Reflections from Lebanon.

Territorial News

Salvation Army Provides Shelter to Asylum Seekers in Manitoba

Salvation Army Provides Shelter to Asylum Seekers in Manitoba

Booth Centre opens 30 beds as more migrants come across U.S. border.

Territory Sends Out “Mobilising” Flag

Territory Sends Out “Mobilising” Flag

Travelling across the Canada and Bermuda Territory, The Whole World Mobilising flag supports international campaign.

International News

“Go Children and Youth!” Weekend to Mobilize Young People

Children and youth to be encouraged to join The Whole World Mobilising initiative.

General Leads 10th Anniversary Celebrations in Mali

General Leads 10th Anniversary Celebrations in Mali

Hundreds of Salvationists encouraged to “mobilize” during weekend of events.

Faith & Friends

Love in a Thrift Shop

Love in a Thrift Shop

The Salvation Army helped Dave Crockett rebuild his life and restore his faith, but there was more in store.

A Marvelous Unmasking

A Marvelous Unmasking

Batman fumbles through fatherhood in new Lego movie.