Reaching out to Central New York in the name of Jesus Christ
Give me your whole heart!
The testimony of how Bro. Rocky Gonnella came to Christ
I was standing at the “Wailing Wall” in Jerusalem during the Church’s 1994 Israel trip with 250 saints. I could not help but to weep in thankfulness to God in Christ Jesus.
As I turned to the left, I could see the rabbis studying the Old Testament. I could hear the Arab prayers from their tower nearby. I could see over the platform wall, the Roman Catholic offices. What they were all searching for… I HAD FOUND!
I was born again on May 7th 1977. It all began when a teacher at my school in Liverpool was getting married. As I was at the church where she got married in Pompey NY, I began to talk to God.
“Lord,” I said, “As the day goes on, I’m probably going to drink myself drunk. The only difference between me and my friends is I still go to church and they have all left the church. However Lord, let’s face it; I’m just like all of them. I know there is something wrong with my relationship with you. Please help me. I know I’m not right with God.”
Sure enough, after the wedding reception in Cazenovia, I was drinking heavily. The group I was with decided to bar hop into Syracuse where we would meet at a particular bar.
First, while I was in Fayetteville, I ran into a young girl from my neighborhood. She was going to marry a friend of mine until he met a girl in college. I was going to comfort her. As I approached her, I could see she was happy and content. She then told me not to worry, she was fine because her circumstances made her turn to Jesus and she felt “Born Again.”
“Wow!” I thought about my prayer that morning. I heard her say, “All I could say to you is when I gave Jesus my whole heart and repented of sins, I got saved.”
I then had a vision that I was sitting in my car watching the speedometer as it approached 100 mph. It suddenly stopped at 97 mph. The Lord said to me, “Give me your WHOLE heart.” I remembered the prayer again I made that morning. Ok! “Lord,” I said. “I repent of my sins. Come into my heart.” Suddenly, the light went on and I was truly saved. No longer was Jesus just in my heart, but He became the Lord of my life. I truly felt His presence.
Immediately, I thought of what a gentleman the Lord was for waiting for me. I was 28 years old before I came to my senses. My second thought was that 50 years from that moment was going to be just as real as it was then. I would never need to drink again.
That night, when I went to bed, I could hardly believe what had happened to me! I was so joyous. When I got in bed, I closed my eyes and even though my eyes were closed, I could see white lights flashing all around. Wow! Wow! Wow! I then got up and went to the kitchen table. Every thing in the apartment seemed new. I had totally changed.
I can remember God talking to me, saying, “You are going to heaven, but not on your goodness, but on the goodness of Jesus Christ.” I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, “You are scarcely saved, scarcely saved.” I didn’t know that was Scriptural. (Peter said the same thing in 1 Peter 4:18.)
From then on I started telling people about what had happened. The first was Bro. Jim Mead, who lived downstairs from me. Within a short time, he too, was saved.
Thank God for my salvation!
“…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
Bro. Rocky has been a faithful example in the church and has led countless people to Jesus Christ since his salvation. As referenced above, his testimony and good example had an influence on his friend Jim Mead who also ended up committing his life to Christ as well.
Bro. Jim’s testimony can be found on the following page.