May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalms 19:14)
Debbie Antignano is a songwriter, recording artist and minister who founded in 2005 Matter of the Heart Ministry. Debbie proclaims "I see myself as a warrior for The Lord." Her unique style of singing includes Christian, Popular, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Gospel and a variety of worship music.Debbie has performed throughout the tri-state area at various functions such as Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Youth D.A.R.E.S. and For Muscular Dystrophy Foundation. She was recently selected to sing the National Anthem at Keyspan Park in Brooklyn, New York, Catch the Fire Event in Staten Island, New York and has ministered in many other outreach events and church functions.
Debbie has also performed on Long Beach Island several times and on the boardwalk in Seaside.
Debbie has been serving the Lord for seven years and has a call of evangelism upon her life.She has a burden and desire to see people hunger and thirst for God, that those that are lost will see and hear God's great love & His desire to have an intimate relationship with us.
Read Debbie's Testimony Below (a former Jehovah's Witness)
Debbie is currently attending Christian Pentacostal Church in Staten Island. She resides in Staten Island, NY with her husband, Sal and daughter, Danielle.
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalms 119:10-11
Debbie Antignano's Testimony (Former Jehovah's Witness) I began studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses at the age of approximately 18 years old when I was living in New Port Richey, Florida. That was back in around 1987. I, at that time, became very inquisitive about God and my only traditional religions heritage which was Catholic. It seemed there was a concentrated period of my life where I could not avoid coming into contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses. I had a teenage boyfriend at that time whose family were Jehovah’s Witnesses. I had at that time developed a close relationship with his mother and she was the first one to introduce me to Jehovah’s Witnesses, pointing out the so-called flaws in the doctrine of my own religion. That’s where it began, the pointing out of how celebrating holidays and birthdays are wrong and sinful. She always had an answer to my biblical questions and I could not refute it and it seemed to me at that time to make sense. The journey with Jehovah’s Witnesses continued even to the point of meeting Jehovah’s Witnesses on whatever form of employment I took even back at that time being a teenager myself.
Whatever I learned, I brought home with me and questioned and even challenged my parents about it, showing that their theology is false and they could suffer the consequences as a result thereof. I became very “bold” in trying to declare Jehovah’s Witnesses theology to my family. It caused a lot of waves in my family and arguments when this was all newly taking place in my household. This was especially hard during the holidays or when birthdays came around. My parents who, although attended church, never had any solid biblical knowledge to help me at that time, nor could they even refute what I was bringing to the table regarding theology. So, my parents just came to the conclusion that they’d rather have their daughter seeking God than turning to drugs or a life-style that would bring them grief of that nature. They therefore let me continue on this journey though it saddened them because I was being in a way separated from my family, especially during holiday celebrations and birthdays.
I had bible studies and attended meetings with Jehovah’s Witnesses and continued to grow in their false indoctrination. All along, I must admit there was a “hallow” in my heart every time Christmas or Easter or a birthday celebration came and went. I was led to believe that spiritual service to God was separating myself from the world by not participating in such special occasions. I believed that I was being “separate from the world” and that by thus doing so, I was “not of this world.
To move this journey along now, I, at about the age of 21, moved up to New York to pursue a career in music. At that time all my ties to that past teenage relationship were over and I remember praying asking Jehovah to please allow the next person I meet to be my husband and if he studies with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I’ll know he is the man you want me to marry. Lo and behold, about 2 weeks later, I was introduced to my husband, Sal. We were blind dates and yes, he, too, has been studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses and he was convicted that they were the truth.
At this time, from about 1990 to 1993, I was living up here in New York on my own. I continued on with studying and attending meetings with Jehovah’s Witnesses. I had bible studies even with co-workers who were Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was convicted that they were the “way”. Whomever I came across I would try to promote that you must be a Jehovah’s Witness or you will not take part of the resurrection. I’d try to point out all the flaws in others’ beliefs and try to show them that if you’re not a Jehovah’s Witness, you will not make it in the new world to be created. I grew in boldness and belief and no one could show or try to convince me otherwise. Either you are in or you are out and that was it. The LORD, of course, now I see had a plan in all of this even though HE allowed this “cultic” journey to continue.
Jehovah's Witnesses Gave Debbie No Comfort Or Spiritual Support My parents finally sold our house in Florida and moved back up to New York in about 1993. Tragedy really struck my family between the years 1995, 1996 and 1997. I lost my mom suddenly in 1995; my grandmother passed away in 1996, and I lost my dad due to his battle with tongue cancer in 1997. I was distraught. I was a mess. All the more I turned to Jehovah’s Witnesses for comfort and spiritual support. Truly, there was none with them. I didn’t know what grace meant and what God’s love was really all about. But, I will never forget this moment I had in the funeral parlor when my mom passed away. Being so gripped by grief, I went out of the room to find a place to be alone.The pain was unbearable just losing my mom like that with no warning and now she’s gone. We were so close.
So there I am, sitting there grief stricken, and all of a sudden, this amazing sense of peace and comfort came over me and I actually felt this pain in my heart being taken away and replaced with peace. I didn’t know what it was. So much so, that I felt “guilty” that I felt that way. My aunt came over to me because she was so concerned and she wanted to give me, I believe, a relaxer or tranquilizer, if I’m remembering correctly. But, I declined. I said to her, the amazing thing is, is that I’m okay right now. That night, I had a peaceful sleep throughout the whole night. Still I didn’t know that it was the Grace of God to me yet while a sinner!
My journey continued with Jehovah’s Witnesses studying with them and going to meetings. Even when I was in Court Reporting school I became close with a teacher there and we would have bible studies after school. I leaned on her during that time when I lost my mother and tried to get spiritual comfort and guidance by our bible studies.
The time is now 2000 and me and my husband are now officially married. Although both me and my husband studied with Jehovah’s Witnesses and had ties to them, they wouldn’t have allowed us to get married in their Kingdom Hall because we were not yet officially baptized by them yet. The time is now January 2002 and I am pregnant with our daughter. When I was about 4-5 months pregnant, I asked my husband how are we going to raise Danielle? We have to make a decision; do we get baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses and raise her as such?
That’s when the real spiritual journey began. I told my husband at that time being 5 months pregnant that I am going to sit down with just the bible, which was their bible, the only one I had, and do some research. I decided to go online and do some research about the origins of Jehovah’s Witnesses and I researched into their doctrine and how they translated their bible. And my eyes were opened! The LORD started opening my eyes to HIS truth, showing me the error in their translation of the bible, especially John 1:1! I hadto research all their false doctrines and compared it with the Truth that the LORD JESUS was showingme!!The LORD showed me that their rendition of John 1:1 is wrong and the Greek language shouldn’t be interpreted the way they do by the insertion of an “a” before the word “god”. At this time, a friend of mine in a band that I was the lead singer in knew my dilemma to now find a church that me and my husband can go to being that our eyes have been opened to the Truth. I will never, ever forget mine and my husband’s first experience in a Christian Church, Gateway Cathedral. There we were. I was about 7 months pregnant. It was our first experience for a true worship service. I will admit that it was overwhelming for us because we never experienced that before, a big choir and a band. Here was the moment when Pastor Tim asked the congregation to stand and “Let’s give Jehovah God praises by standing in HIS Presence,” or words to that effect. Me and my husband looked at each other and thought, “Are we in the right place?” We were taught that no one knows that God has a name and His name is Jehovah. This was the first time we ever heard someone in another church know that God’s name is Jehovah. Instantly, I started crying and I knew I found HIM! I felt the presence of the LORD in such a real way I will never forget it.
After service, one of the greeters for those new to the church came over to me. My husband went to get the car and I was to meet him out front. I will never forget the words the LORD filled my mouth to say. I told her our background and she told me about the church, that it’s a born again Christian Church. At the end of our conversation, after she gave me the welcome package, she asked me, “Where do you see yourself in the Kingdom of God?” What came out of my mouth were words I never, ever said nor knew to speak, especially being taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses. I paused for a moment and said, “I see myself as a warrior for the LORD." There I am, 7 months pregnant and what a statement to make! I get in the car and told my husband what I said and I was so embarrassed. I know now that the LORD filled my mouth to say that!
Debbie Accepts The Lord Jesus Christ As Her God And Savior It was prior to our daughter being born that it was a blessed Sunday afternoon while in service, I gave myheart to the LORD. Danielle was born October 10, 2002. I believe it was approximately August/September prior to her being born, or thereabouts. However, all along the deep studies the LORD brought me through all on my own with HIM, the seeds were being sown and conviction of what the Holy Spirit was showing me had already begun in my heart.
The LORD weeded out all the bad doctrine that was sown in my heart and replaced it with the truth of HIS Word.All the scripture twisting and being indoctrinated falsely was all corrected by the Truth of His Word and spending time alone with the LORD.I will never forget how the LORD showed me, which was a hard one to let go of, the doctrine of blood as taught by Jehovah’s Witnesses. I prayed and cried out that I am still struggling with this and the next day, instantly again, the LORD answered me through a radio broadcast on 570 AM with the Bible Answer Man to obtain a book from a former Jehovah’s Witness, David A. Reed, who is the author of the books, Answering Jehovah’s Witnesses Subject by Subject and Jehovah’s Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse. The struggle with the blood issue was now over!
Bad Doctrine Weeded Out Of Debbie's Life By Jesus As God Doctrine by doctrine the Holy Spirit guided me and showed me all the flaws in the Jehovah's Witnesseses teachings. HE showed me that Jesus is God especially because of HIS Resurrection! This was so powerful for me especially and I quote in one of their Watchtowers, Nov 15, 1991 “God disposed of Jesus’ body, not allowing it to see corruption and thus preventing its becoming a stumbling block to faith”. Another quote, “We deny that He was raised in the flesh and challenge any statement to that effect as being unscriptural,” Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 7, page 57.
This false doctrine gripped me and kept me in darkness. But whenthe LORD showed me that I serve a living God who conquered the grave in a Resurrected physical body, our first Easter was like no Easter I could ever remember celebrating with my family growing up before I came to Christ! I serve a living God who is alive and seated at the right hand of the Father! Our first Easter as a family was in the year 2003 after the birth of our daughter. I will never forget it!
There were times present with family while they were celebrating Christmas and Easter and I was always guilty just to be there. I was so held by the bondage of guilt all those years just to be with them around any celebrations, especially Easter based on what I was so falsely taught. However, when my spiritual eyes were opened, I experienced true freedom in Christ that I celebrate a Risen Savior!
Immediately I saw the hand of the LORD in my life. I’ve sang for years, but never for my King. The LORD gave me the gift to write songs, instantly! I prayed if HE wanted me to write song, that if HE would help me. I will never forget this moment.I was telling my husband about writing songs for the LORD about how Jesus showed me that HE is “The Way, the Truth and the Life,” as soon as I finished those words, instantly I wrote my first song in the kitchen, words and melody all at once! Within a month’s time I wrote pretty much my first album, Matter of the Heart. All I want to do now is sing HIS Word and preach HIS Word. I liken it to Paul and his conversion once his eyes were opened to truth. All that conviction I had for what was false is now replaced with boldness and conviction for the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the power in HIS Word! He set this “captive” free. On my album is a song entitled, “Captives Be Free” and I pray the LORD uses it to set others free from whatever they are held in bondage by.
The LORD all along was fueling me for what would be to become, as HE put in my mouth, “a warrior for the LORD.” That’s exactly how I feel, especially being in spiritual darkness all those years not knowing what truth was. All I want to do now is proclaim the Truth of the Gospel through the songs HE gives me and the Word that is implanted in my heart!
I am grateful for what the LORD is doing in and through my family. The LORD saved me and my husband and now my daughter is learning and being raised in the truth! My brother and my sister came to Christ. My mother–in-law gave her heart to Jesus when she was watching a Billy Graham special. My brother came to the LORD because he said the conviction I had for the LORD touched him that it caused him to search for truth and he wanted what, “I had."
Many wonderful doors for ministry have been opening up and I am so grateful to be used of the LORD now. I’ve ministered in various outreaches and church events and nursing homes and the LORD has been opening doors to even preach HIS Word now. I love the Word! I treasure it so deeply in my heart as a prized jewel! I love the Truth! I am so grateful for my Salvation and that I am saved by Grace through faith in Christ Jesus.HE set this "captive free” so I can now worship HIM in Spirit and Truth! Amen.
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