The Testimony of How Jeanne Cloud Met Jesus
I am a Native American born and pretty much raised in Minnesota. The only experiences that I remember of church was going to a Catholic Church with my grandmother once in a while and going to Sunday school briefly. After I was about 6 or 7 years old that stopped. I didn’t really have any “religious instruction”. When I was fourteen I got into Satanism for about a year or two, but eventually got out of it because I was so scared.
While I was growing up, being a Native American was a “bad” thing – something to be ashamed of. I never really started getting into my heritage until I went to college. It was there that I realized it was a good thing – something to be proud of. I also learned about the Creator and how He made the earth and everything else and how he sent First Man down to earth to give a name to everything and how one day He would come back. I would not accept the possibility that the Creator and God were the same. I guess my learning in Satanism was still there and also the fact of what my grandmother and other Native Americans had to go through with the priests and nuns in reform schools – all in the name of Jesus and Christianity. Whenever a Native American praised Jesus for anything I thought to myself, “What a traitor. You’re selling out your people by believing in the White Man’s religion.”
My plan for my future was to cook – I was going to be the next Julia Childs. One day at work (cooking at Mystic Lake Casino) I met a lady who was like me – a Native American single mother trying to care for and raise a family on her own. She told me how she went back to school and was getting a degree. She inspired me to go after my dream too, which at the time was to be an astronaut. So I found out what I had to do to make that happen and started on that path. I enrolled at the University of Minnesota to get a degree in Aerospace Engineering.
While there I became friends with one of the Native American counselors and told her of my plan to be an astronaut. She told her mother about me and she “just happened” to have a friend who worked at NASA. She told the NASA woman about me who then told the appropriate person and they contacted me to ask if I would like to work out there. That was a very exciting day for me; I came home from school and played my messages on the answering machine and one of them was, “Hello, this is so-and-so from NASA at Kennedy Space Center ….” I was like “WHAT??!!” because I had no idea that they were going to call. I still hadn’t even submitted an application. Getting a call from NASA is not an everyday occurrence. I would have never even dreamed it was possible.
While in college I was also taught by a powerful Midewin priest (the Midewin is the religion of the Ojibwe) that if I became a Christian I would go to hell. It was at this time that I accepted the offer to go Florida and work at Kennedy Space Center as a NASA co-op. Had I not already accepted that position I would have done whatever was necessary to train under this priest to become a Midewin priestess – which my grandmother later told me to stay away from because they practiced “bad medicine”.
I ended up traveling between MN and FL for almost a year before finally packing everything up and moving down here (the routine was to go to school for three months in MN, go to FL and work for three months, go back to MN for school for three months, etc., each time packing up my car with all the stuff my daughter and I would need for that time). While we were in FL we ended up renting a room from a Christian family and were shown the love of Jesus through them.
My daughter and I finally moved to Florida in November of 1999. Just packed up everything and moved with a certainty that that was where I was supposed to be. It didn’t even occur to me that I might be making a big mistake. While in FL we became friends with a guy from work who always shared the Word with us. I started working with him in 1997 and he would always invite us to church and to the singles events that were going on and we would go once in a while with him. In December of 1999, I went with him to a dinner at church. Children couldn’t go so I left my daughter with one of the women from the singles group. Well it turned out that her child led my child to Jesus that night. When I found out I was furious because I thought that now my daughter was going to hell. I was very mad at both of them and I didn’t talk to the woman for a long time. Well, over the next year I went to church with him every once in a while and then on December 3, 2000, my life changed forever.
It was really neat how it happened. But before I tell you I need to explain two key things that led up to this. The first was that while I was in college I took a history course and I read in one of the history books of a lawyer who used the Bible to gather his research to help win his case. While reading the Bible he became saved (which means he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior) and the history book told of what a radical change it made to this man’s life. Fast forward to 1997 when I worked at the Space Center. For three years I had two co-workers in particular that would keep telling me about Jesus and what He’s done in their lives. One person was a former drug addict and she told of the radical change that happened in her life after accepting Jesus. So over and over for three years they told me of the goodness of God. It was so different from the “white man’s God who’s going to kill you and is always angry”. So I kept pondering how my former drug addict co-worker and a lawyer a hundred years ago could have the same radical change happen in their lives. The same experience, the same love, the same forgiveness – 100 hundred years apart. I thought that there must be something to this Jesus then. You can’t make that up.
So on Sunday, December 3rd, 2000, at the end of morning service there is a time where everybody sings and that is when whoever wants to accept Jesus and all He did for us can go up front and do so. Before the song started I was asking in my head, “Can I still give myself to Jesus even though I am still sinning? Do I have to be “clean” before I do it?” Right after I asked that question the first line of the song was, “Come as you are”. I couldn’t believe it! There was my answer! So after we sang the song once, the pastor stops and says they’ll be singing this song two more times so if anyone still wants to come up… While he was talking I was thinking in my head, “I want to but I’m scared. I feel it in my heart but I’m scared.” Right after I said that in my head the pastor says, “You feel Jesus tugging at your heart but the enemy is making you scared. He’s holding you back”. I looked at my friend in disbelief and even though he didn’t know what was going on in my head, he also made a response to what I was struggling with. That was twice God spoke to me! One time I could’ve shrugged off, but two times in a row was something I couldn’t ignore. It was so hard not to break down right there! My throat and head hurt so badly from trying not to cry and I couldn’t speak for the longest time afterwards because I still would’ve cried. So I went back to church for the evening service to talk to my friend. He talked to me and read some passages from the Bible and I just said, “I’m ready.” My daughter was there with us and we all joined hands and prayed and I asked Jesus into my heart. The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was my daughter looking up at me and there was such a beautiful light shining out of her eyes! Later I realized that was the love of Jesus I saw. Thank you Jesus!!!!!!!
P.S. I have since married and had another daughter. My married name is Cloud-Nadeau.