Before surrendering to Christ, Jennifer Scott was a drug user, "smoking and shooting" 7 grams of crack cocaine into her body every day. But God “used other Christians” to save her life — and she believes if it wasn’t for her church staying open during the COVID-19 lockdowns, she “would be dead.”
Scott’s church, Trinity Bible Chapel in Ontario, Canada, posted a video on Twitter of her sharing her testimony, which has since gone viral.
Despite bans on worship gatherings and ongoing lockdowns in response to the pandemic, Trinity Bible Chapel incurred over $100,000 in fines for staying open in opposition to the Reopening Ontario Act and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
Scott, who testified ahead of her baptism that she'd abused drugs since she was 14, credited her recovery with the church’s decision to keep its doors open despite opposition.
“Before Christ, I was a very angry person, and filled with fear, doubt and self-pity. I was constantly seeking avenues of filling the hole in me that only Jesus could fill,” added Scott, according to The Daily Wire. “It began with marijuana and ended with smoking crack cocaine and intravenous drug use. I was a slave to darkness.”
While mired in drug addiction, Scott was invited to a prayer meeting at Trinity by her son. Shortly after attending that meeting, she started to attend the church, led by Pastor Jacob Reaume, regularly.
“In my small group, I asked for prayer to help me stop,” Scott shared in her video testimony, referring to her drug use. “I left a comment on one of Pastor Jacob’s sermons on YouTube. Pastor Jacob took the time to find out who I was and tracked me down and called me to pray for me to encourage me to keep coming to church. I did.”
Shortly after the pastor and church elders prayed for her, Scott received a phone call that there was a bed available at a sober living house in Cambridge. In the meantime, Scott said, she continued to attend Trinity.
“I’ve been clean and sober now for over seven months, moved into my own apartment and the Body of Christ here at Trinity has helped me with [furnishings] and other blessings,” she revealed. “None of these things would have happened if Trinity closed its doors and was solely online. I know for a fact that I would be dead right now if God had not used this church in my life.”
Scott added that even when struggled with relapsing on several occasions, “Jesus never stopped His pursuit” after her.
“The Gospel is the good news that we have salvation through Jesus Christ,” Scott said. “God came down in the form of a sinless man, Jesus, and poured out His wrath onto Him, that He might spare us eternity in hell; if only we believe that He is the Son of God — the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and the Truth, the Way, and the Life.”
The video of Scott’s testimony was spread across Twitter feeds with the hashtag #OpenYourChurch.
Over the last two years, several pastors have been jailed — or their churches hit with fines — for violating Canada's COVID-19 restrictions of church gatherings.
Last year, Trinity Bible Chapel and its leaders were ordered to pay thousands of dollars in fines over its decision to remain open despite the lockdown orders.
This included a $35,000 fine for the church itself, $10,000 fines for its pastors, and other leaders of the congregation each being fined $7,500, among other fines.
At the time, Reaume posted a statement to the church's website explaining that despite opposition, “Jesus is worth it.”
"[W]orship services are not ours to give up. They belong to Jesus. He purchased His worship with the price of His own blood,” wrote Reaume.
“Not only do we rejoice that our extravagant worship services have given us the opportunity to lead many people to Jesus, as it seems we learn of new people every week who have been saved during this time of persecution, but also now our extravagant worship services have furnished the opportunity to bear witness to the worthiness of Christ before the Superior Court of Ontario.”
Though restrictions on religious gatherings due to COVID-19 vary across Canada, all provinces have placed limits on how many people can get together under one roof. On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. State Department advised against travel to Canada because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases as the Omicron variant continues to spread.
"[Most] Ontarians aren’t necessarily suffering from Omicron or COVID. We’re suffering from the consequences of our government’s incompetent leadership," he wrote.
"Omicron isn’t a threat to most of us, but the government has become a threat to us all. Ontarians and Canadians have some of the highest vaccination rates in the world. Yet, we also have some of the most severe restrictions in the world."
Sey pointed out that a recent poll revealed that 55% of Canadians supported new restrictions and new lockdowns because of Omicron.
"In some ways, we are just as responsible for the authoritarian and oppressive COVID policies. If we didn’t support or remain largely silent on these policies, our government would be too afraid of their political future to enforce them," he contended.
"So shame on the government, and shame on us for continuing to allow them to do this."