A few months before she went to be with her Savior, in May of 1995, Karlene Lynn wrote her testimony. Pastor Mike Gendron led her to the Lord, baptized, instructed her in the Christian life, and buried her. Karlene died just eighteen months after receiving the gift of salvation. She had been a nun for ten years, and during all that time had neither heard the Gospel nor opened the Bible. After Vatican Council II (1962-1965) made some recommendations modifying the restrictions that surrounded the daily life of nuns, she saw how unimportant religious life was to the nuns around her and almost had a nervous breakdown. These people were secular in nature, although in nuns’ robes. Eventually, she wrote a letter to Pope John Paul II asking for a pardon from her vows as a nun. A letter granting her wish was received during the summer of 1967. She left the convent life and went to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she found a job teaching in the local schools as a fifth grade teacher.
This is her story as she wrote it and as read by Pastor Gendron at her funeral. The introduction here and the Scripture verses, which clarify the truth that both assured her of eternal life with her Lord and prepared her for it, have been added.
Why I Wrote My Testimony
I am fifty-five years old and have been battling cancer for seven years. I feel compelled to write this testimony before I die, which I understand should be soon. I was a Catholic for fifty-three and a half years and a nun for ten years. I was saved by the grace of God eighteen months ago.
My First Contact with Truth
One day I met Pastor Mike Gendron, who directs a worldwide, evangelistic outreach to Roman Catholics called Proclaiming the Gospel. He was handing out evangelistic literature specifically written for Catholics. As a Catholic, I never felt a need to read any of his publications because I believed I was already going to heaven. I never ever owned a Bible until just recently. After all, I was a Catholic; I did not need one. In fact, during the whole ten years I was in the convent with over two hundred other nuns, we had one Bible among us, but we never opened it. I do remember, during my ten years in the convent, all I ever wanted was to know Jesus. I just never knew how easy it was to know Him. The Bible was so close; yet, we were discouraged to read it on our own. She said here in this paragraph that she knew she was going to heaven but then says she had never known how easy it was to know him. That seems to present a problem here in logic. How would she have gone to heaven if she did not know Jesus? Another problem: I thought Catholics did not know if they were going to heaven until after they died, and I thought most, even the pope, may have to spend time in purgatory until they had paid their sin debts off.
A Clear Contrast
The Holy Spirit did not give up on me. Weeks later, we were invited to a small group meeting for Bible study, prayer, and fellowship. Mike shared the Gospel with me and encouraged me to read a publication that showed the difference between what the Catholic Bible teaches and what a Catholic catechism teaches. When I read it, I became angry at him for making my church look bad. Little did I know, he only wanted me to make a choice between trusting in the Word of God rather than the teachings of men for my salvation. He knew it was impossible for anyone to believe both. “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other” (Matthew 6: 24).
It was because of Mike’s explanation and approaching me to examine the wrongs of “my faith” that I realized I was not saved. This gave me a new desire to pursue Christianity, leave the Catholic Church, and receive Jesus as my personal Savior. “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”(John 14:6). “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
Shortly thereafter, Pastor Mike baptized me for my public confession of my faith. I knew that my baptism as an infant was a meaningless ritual. I always begged God to let me find Jesus and to be used by Him. He granted me that wish and I am now a Christian, saved by the precious blood of my Savior.
Redemption through His Blood
Now I must praise the God of all grace for my redemption, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ…. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:3-7).
My baptism represented my death to sin and my joy to walk in newness of life, “We are buried with him by baptism into death, that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6: 4).
My Dying Prayer
I’m on death’s door. I am ready to go be with Jesus my Lord. He has called me, and I have received Him. Pastor Mike will soon officiate at my “going home” celebration. My prayer now is for the salvation of my Catholic family who will be attending my funeral. I pray my death will bring them life as the wonderful news of my Savior is proclaimed. Then they, too, can know Jesus and receive His most precious gift of eternal life! “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet he shall live” (John 11: 25). He or she that lives and believes Him, that by faith is born again to a heavenly and divine life. Indeed, Jesus Christ is the life of our souls. Praise His name forever!