By Daniel J. Wolfe
One of the things we like here at New Hope is hearing testimonies from students who come to the College. Last semester, a young lady by the name of Savannah Sanders-Busby came to New Hope, and her story is an incredible reflection of God’s love and redemptive purposes. I interviewed Savannah and she was excited to tell me her testimony.
“At three years old my father went to prison and has been there since I was three. I was sexually abused at the age of five. My mother was a single parent—she wasn’t really a mom though, she was more like just a friend. At that young age, I was looking to fill the void in my heart, and I didn’t know how to do that. My home was ‘Christian’ even though it was dysfunctional. The first thing I remember [about experiencing God] is raising my hands in worship and music was a security for the hard times. Even though I was younger and had all these bad things happen to me, He was there.
“Going from being sexually abused and looking for significance, at age thirteen I turned to relationships, smoking cigarettes and marijuana, and alcohol. I was still a ‘functional’ person on the outside; I was a good student, played sports, was in choir—all these things. About fifteen I got prescribed prescription painkillers by a doctor, and he over-prescribed so I got addicted to those in a way.
“Through all this, I always knew God was real. I didn’t remember who I was anymore. I remembered God had a calling for my life—I knew this from a child. I knew it had to do with music, with people—defending and speaking out for them. I was sick, desperate, alone, and I said, ‘God this is not the life you have for me.’ He changed my life from that moment on.
“I ended up going to jail and getting out. My family had set up an intervention for me, but instead of going through with it they ended up sending me to Hannah’s House. When I got there I discovered God’s love for the very first time. I had never experienced that at home.”
Hannah’s House is the Pacific Northwest Adult and Teen Challenge, where Savannah learned more about God’s love and was able to get back on her feet. Since then, Savannah has done an internship there and is currently working part-time on staff.
Savannah heard about New Hope by attending Willamette Christian Center, a local Eugene church. It was there that Savannah heard singers and musicians from New Hope’s Momentum Team, who were doing the worship service. When she heard them and saw them, she prayed, “Lord, I want to be a part of Momentum; I want to do what [they are] doing.” Savannah explained how this dream of going to New Hope was an encouragement to her during her time at Hannah’s House. She said, “I wanted to go to New Hope so bad; I knew I had to finish my program at Hannah’s house so I could go. New Hope was a dream, a goal set before me; [God] used it in my life. It gave me hope.”
As a closing remark of God’s goodness, Savannah had this to say, “You know, He’s fulfilled everything since I got here. I thought that transition would be hard, but it was as if every piece of the puzzle was falling into place. God knitted New Hope into my life; I am finding purpose here, and I’m building my life here. There has not been a person here I’ve met that I do not like, because it’s like family. It’s a place where you can grow.”