My testimony:
Coming out of the “new age movement”

Growing up in a “broken home”; my father died from lung cancer when I was five, also leaving my mother and younger sister behind . We were Christians, but led a turbulent life; we moved from place to place through the USA and Canada, from being a toddler untill my tenth year; when we came back to the Netherlands.

In total I’ve moved almost twenty times in my life, so I never could find a certain place to stay. We were Presbetarians, though I never understood the real meaning of faith throughout the years. I attended several schools along the way: Christian, Catholic, even a non-religious school, I had no idea how important it is as a Christian to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! Though I had learned from early childhood to be afraid of going to hell; because there “you would burn forever” if you were considered “bad.” Which eventually made me insecure for the rest of my youth. Having the wrong “fear of God” and developed low self-worth; I did not understand that in those early years. That lack of understanding resulted in anxiety and depression from my puberty on. It was so bad that I became a “school drop-out” because of these “mental attacks.”

We went twice a day to church on sundays, but that didn’t take my problems away. In fact they got worse when I discovered astrology; which developed my curosity and before I realised it I was “hooked” and made it a study for hours. I guess it was a welcome “flight” to me; diving into an “exciting mystical world,” escaping “my problems.”

I became close to a family friend, who happened to be a professional astrologer and she invited me to her place. I couldn’t resist, and having no idea of the dangerous snare I was going to fall into. She initiated me into the “ancient astrology theory.” Soon I was casting people’s horsoscopes and often with success; I made predictions which came to pass and it made me feel better, however having no idea how wrong it was from a Biblical view! I simply didn’t see anything wrong with it and neither did my family.

Even though there had been a period in my life when my faith got stronger and I remember some time I heard a voice telling me to get rid of this big astrology book I had just bought. And I did “away with it.” But later on I thought about this one book and couldn’t resist; it was pulling me ever so strong. At that moment I didn’t realise at all I had this addiction to astrology, and it really was! It was the beginning of my “new age adventure.”

Being insecure in my youth, astrology gave me some “confidence” and also some awareness of a “super natural power,” which fascinated me. I guess it made me feel better, though it didn’t last long. For I struggled with anxiety and depression for years. At one point I left the church, even after my confession; disappointed in other church- goers I thought as “hypocrites.”I got even more disconnected from God, whom I couldn’t experience and never knew why. I joined art school, which seemed to me like “total freedom”, I went to a Bhagwan centre several times. Where I once had a weird experience of “ let yourself go” in a kind of “wild dance meditation.” There I met my first friend, who initiated me into Zen meditation. Besides that we read a lot from Bhagwan to Krishnamurti to Edgar Cayce and etc. (Bagwan centre promoted a Hindu guru who was driven out of India by the govenment, He came to Oregon USA and established a huge Ashram and finally driven out of Oregon)

The relationship ended in a drama. I grew totally isolated with this man , who was like a “guru”to me; everything being “mystical” and an “exciting escape” from my problems. Finally I became brainwashed- though I wasn’t aware of it. I hadn’t seen my family and friends for about a year. I managed to escape to my houseboat, then I suddenly realised I had been living with a psychopath for several years! I had a nervous breakdown and felt I couldn’t function on my own. I had turned into a wretch, a broken person, was in a horrible physical and mental state.

After some days in a clinic, I went to the only people I thought I could trust: a couple from the new age shop. They let me stay in their house for a while , but I was so fearful I couldn’t even sleep with the light off and had nightmares, like a horrible demon chasing me from the clinic. Though these people were kind and hospitible, at their place I became even more involved in the new age business, as they had several esoteric connections. I consulted paragnosts and underwent “healings,” though they didn’t solve my anxiety and the depression got worse. Besides there was a new restlessness in my soul.

There happened to be one Christian friend who warned me against astrology, but being deaf, blind and stubborn, I dove even more into it. I reovered some self-worth, though only for a short while. I was still getting these amazing dreams, which made a great impression, though I didn’t understand the meaning then. Afterwards, I realized they were warnings from God!

Even then He showed His concern, but I was blind. After one bad relationship after another I felt terribly lonely and depressed, then I got the fatigue syndrome after a bowel infection. Some years later after marriage a daughter was born which brought great happiness. Her father divorced me for someone else and I moved to another town with my little daughter and happened to have a neighbour who was a psychic and a health practioner (new age style). After some time I was convinced she helped me by her advice and my health improved somewhat, but then she told me my (dead) father was trying to make contact by a medium friend she knew. I was thrilled because she mentioned details that nobody else could know besides myself; so I was convinced it had to be true! Again: I had no idea satan was behind all this.

My daughter was “visited”at night by “spirits”, which caused her to be fearful of sleep. Strange things began to happen in the house: a voice softly singing like my mom, a radio which switched on and off, even the cat was frightened once of something in the shed that we couldn’t see and when he died we both at the same time a few days later heard his voice outside. We moved again and my health improved steadily! Having tried all kinds of things in the new age which were exciting, but gave no true satisfaction, I came to the point of total emptiness; finding myself watching sensational “ghost appearings” in houses on YouTube and I remember thinking “How did I lose the faith I once knew?”

Then suddenly I heard this soft voice like a whisper saying “What are you really doing?” Nobody said that to me before! I was stunned, and used to fleeing from one distraction to another, I stood still and thought for a moment. I was so amazed by that soft concerned voice!! It moved me to leave the useless “ghost stories” and look around for other kinds of films. Immediately after that I saw a lot of Christian films I’d never seen before. So I opened one, can’t remember which, but it blew me away completely! It changed my life for ever!! For I came to know God is real and such a loving God it made me cry. His truth wanted to reach me and it did!!!

Suddenly it was as if scales fell from my eyes and I was shocked to see how close we are to the end of times!! I had finally woken up from a deep sleep. So I saw one film after another and could not stop watching all these Christian films. The same day I prayed a prayer of repentance and accepted Jesus in my heart totally.

Later at night I had the most frightening experience of my life: suddenly it got pitchblack around me and I heard the most horrible laugh by my ear deep in my head which scared me to death. At that moment I cried out: “God, Jesus, save me!” and suddenly the scary “creature” left my head and went out of my room to never come back again. At the same moment there was a glimpse of light on the other side and I had the most wonderful experience of great love and peace in and around me and this overwelming feeling of peace and joy. A great change had overcome me by surrendering to Jesus!!! It’s nothing to be compared to.

Instead of “devouring”astrology now I “devour” the Bible and have come to understand a lot I never understood before!

Shortly after my conversion I went to a church for the first time in more than thirty years. It was a Baptist church nearby on a Sunday Easter morning. It was a very emotional experience as the Lord had awakened and freed me from the bondage of sin after such a long time! It was and still is a process of bible study and growing in knowledge and in the faith of the Lord.

As I came to know I could ask Him everything, I asked “what can I do to please you Lord?” Then He urged me to put away these new age things. Still there were some astrology books I happened to be attached to. I prayed that night : “what shall I do with them? Can’t I save something that perhaps isn’t so bad?” That same night I had a dream that my daughter and I where at some big new age event and suddenly I became aware of the growing dangerous deception all around us and shouted “we must get out now, at once!” With that I woke up and the next day I burned everything of the new age things that were able to burn. Other things I had put in a box and someone from the Baptist church offered to burry them for me in a deep hole somewhere.

In less than a year my daughter became converted!! (Her story follows later) I didn’t stay at the Baptist church as the Lord led me to the Sabbath truth (in answer to my prayer “what can I do to please you Lord?”) After some difficult discussions and confrontations on that subject in that church I visited a SDA church and there I had the experience of being finally home! For me I came to know it is the true endtime church and after some time (and bible study) my daughter and I were baptized in the SDA church in Winschoten, Netherlands.

Amazing blessings had happened to us! My anxiety and depression has gone till this day, not one more lonely day either because of the presence of Jesus in my life and every single day I feel the joy and gratitude of being saved from the bondage of sin.

In spite of the pain I’ve experienced through several bad relationships, losing my mother and most of my so-called “new age friends”, I’ve been born again into a wonderful life in Jesus Christ is my one and only Savior. Since the Lord found me, perhaps one of His oldest lost sheep, I finally feel a peace and joy in my heart and have never been the same since. Truly my life has forever changed for the good.

Note: after some time I learned that the people of the “paranormal ghost appearings” seen on YouTube had became converted!! Praise the Lord!!! He truly can do miracles in your life too.

Hilde Salemink
SDA church Winschoten, the Netherlands