Hi my name is Chelsea Bussemeier. I grew up in a Christian home and had the privilege of learning and knowing about God my whole life.
I was baptized at the ripe old age of 6 with three of my other siblings at a large baptism service that our church at the time held. Even though I was so young it was a very special time for me. Since I have been a christian as long as I can remember, this was a big spiritual marker. I can't explain it, but I will never forget the feeling.
When I was a teen I went though a time of questions but though the support of friends, family and great role models, I came to the conclusion that if other people have relationships with God like the ones I was seeing, then God had to exist. And God created us to have a relationship with us so that meant the point of big scary life is loving God and loving others.
That's what I have been trying to do, sometimes better sometimes worse. But God has always been faithful, from helping me deal with my grandma's untimely battle and death with cancer to bringing the best man I could ever ask for into my life. Four years early on my schedule but just in time to be my personal tour guide during the three and a half years we lived in Germeny.
I am excited to see what happens next as we settle into our new life in Kelowna.
My Name is Björn Bussemeier, I'm 30 years young and for the last 7 years I've been married to my extremely wonderful wife Chelsea.
I grew up in Germany in a Christian home. I gave my life to Jesus when I was about 12. But when I was around 18 my life became much more focused on party's and hanging out with friends rather then Jesus. I always knew that I should turn back to God but it didn't happen.
My parents and my two younger brothers moved to Canada (Grande Prairie AB) in 2004. And 3 years later I decided to visit them for a year with a work and travel visa. After a few days my mom introduced me to this cute girl named Chelsea. And I praise God so much for putting her in front of me!!!! My life started to change.
I felt that I wanted to have my relationship with God back. Chelsea, our Pastor and others helped me along the way.
After a year and four months Chelsea and I got married, moved back to Germany (for three and a half years), moved back to Grande Prairie (for three years) and finally moved to Kelowna this spring. All trough out the last seven years of our marriage Chelsea and I have experienced the love of God!!
And when pastor Mike talked about the upcoming baptism, I felt that it is time for me to do that step in faith and declare myself to Jesus in front of God and his church.
I’ve called KGF home for almost 9 years and I’m finally moving forward with membership. I grew up in the United church, and I had thought on moving to Kelowna that I would simply join a local United church. While exploring options, I came to KGF with a friend and I have been here since.
I’m married, and we have three kids. I’m a family doctor based in Rutland, and I visit nursing homes around town, hospice house and the hospital. I’m also increasingly involved in healthcare leadership.
Early on the church was in transition and the congregation was small; this allowed me to get to know many of the long-serving families. I felt included and learned that the church runs on volunteer effort. I was fortunate to join a wonderful bible study care group.
Initially I struggled with the idea of being baptized as an adult when I had been baptized as an infant. While I’ve long felt comfortable with proceeding toward adult baptism, I haven’t until now made the move forward. I’m also looking forward to becoming a member of KGF.
By serving in children’s church, coffee time and participating in care group, I have gained far more than I have given. Many of the people in this church live as Jesus taught his disciples – service, prayer, genuine contribution to the lives of others. So many in our midst give far beyond the recognition that they will receive in this life, a living example of Biblical values.
We all have favourite Bible verses, go-to scripture in times of different needs. These are a few of my favourites, guiding principles to move forward each day.
2"So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honoured by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3"But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
James 2: 14 & 17
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?...
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
I was baptised as a baby and confirmed at age 14, but my Christian experiences as a youth lacked substance and meaning. My faith was very superficial.
Shortly after we were married, my husband and I became involved with a religious organisation that claimed to be the only true church. We were both pretty naive about spiritual things so we were very easily led along a path of so-called “Biblical proofs” that they were God’s true church and all others were counterfeits. We eventually came to believe this and were members for almost 10 years.
What was actually happening was that we were being exposed to a distorted and twisted version of the gospel message that lead us into a legalistic form of religious observance. It was stifling. After much anxiety, we eventually left the church over a growing number os internal church controversies and conflicts.
We were completely frustrated and disillusioned with religion. I still believed there was a God, but I was confused about what I believed about Him. I was also very disappointed in God. I believed He had let me down, so I built a big wall around my heart. I wanted nothing to do with religion or church or anybody connected with that.
For the next ten years, I threw all my energy into my family, our home, our business, and all the things we were involved in. We eventually began attending Christmas Eve services with family friends. The preacher was very entertaining, so we began attending more regularly. I even joined the choir.
In high school, our youngest son began hanging out with a Christian youth group. One of his friends gave him a Bible to read and told him the book of John was a good place to start. He began to ask all kinds of questions I couldn’t answer, so I decided to blow the dust off my Bible and read the book of John, as well. I figured at least we’d be on the same page and I could attempt to keep control over the situation.
I encouraged him to bring his Christian friends home. This was one way I could keep an eye on things. I noticed their sincere, honest openness about their faith in Jesus Christ. The conviction of their lives and their faith stirred something deep within me. As I read my Bible, I began to pray. I told God that if He was really there, I wanted to know Him - not as I might want Him to be or as others might want to portray Him - but as He really is.
As I continued to read through the New Testament, gradually my heart began to change. I began to see God in a whole new light. When I was young, I believed anyone who was baptized and went to church was a Christian. Then, when I became involved with what turned out to be a cult, I believed one had to be in the right church and doing all the right things to be a Christian.
After we left that church, I just trusted that God would see that basically I was a good person and I was doing the best I could. I was counting on the good things in my life out-weighing all the bad and that God would accept me on that basis. But as I continued to read through the New Testament, I began to realise that there is nothing I could ever do that would possibly compare with what Jesus had done for me.
I began to realise that my pattern of living had been based upon wrong principles and a faulty belief and understanding of God. I was devastated at the realisation of the depth of my spiritual bankruptcy. In April 1989, I made the decision to surrender my life to Jesus Christ and to place my trust and faith entirely in Him and what He did on the cross. For the past 26 years, I have determined to follow Jesus, allowing Him to rule my life and to live His life in and through me. June 23, 2002, I was baptised in Okanagan Lake, along with my husband, both our sons, and our daughter-in-law. I wish to become a member of Kelowna Gospel Fellowship as a public declaration of commitment to this body of believers with whom I worship and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
My name is Betty. I was born in Ottawa but grew up in Sarnia, Ontario. From the nursery up, I was raised in a Christian home.
My parents were both new immigrants to Canada from China via Taiwan. They were introduced to the Sarnia Free Methodist Church by a pastor who had moved from Ottawa to Sarnia ahead of them. Having no family around, the congregation quickly became our substitute family. There, my parents started the first Chinese Bible Study group in Sarnia and I remember spending every friday night playing with my heritage cousins in basements while our parents sang familiar hymns in Chinese.
One sunday when I was sixteen, I answered an alter call. Even though I attended church with my family every sunday, I remember feeling God asking me to "get out of my pew' and make a public declaration of my faith.
The same year I joined a wednesday morning sunrise bible study group for teens started by a young pastor in the church. It deepened my relationship with God and instead of being a Christian because I was raised one, I felt like I was making the choice to follow Christ myself for the first time. I decided to be baptized again when I was seventeen to mark that decision.
After high school, I moved to the University of Toronto for school and then eventually to work. I attended several churches but always still considered Sarnia Free Methodist my home church.
It wasn't until I moved to Kelowna (by which time I was married and starting a young family) that I decided to look around, hoping this time to find a place to set down roots.
I went to several churches but when I was invited to Kelowna Gospel Fellowship, I felt like I had found that place.
As part of the membership, we’re asked “what verses do you hold as being important or having value in your life”.
As I think about the step of membership for me, two come to my mind.
Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them”
Isaiah 40:31: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint”
After five years of attending KGF, I feel once again God's call to me to "get out of my pew" and make a public declaration of my faith, to become a member, to worship with fellow Christians, to draw my strength and put my faith in God and officially called KGF my new home church.
Until I met Betty Loeppky, I was very negative about everything. I was resistant to believe in anything, especially the church. That is until I went to the ALPHA course at KGF.
Betty was so patient and kind to me. She showed me unconditional love in friendship so I trusted her. I never thought I would believe in God and Jesus at all. ALPHA was when I started becoming very interested in everything Betty and Pastor Mike and Pastor Levi were saying.
Then I wanted to start praying on my own, and I loved it! I prayed for “Hope” in general. I needed to find Hope, Hope in anything. That is what I prayed for months, and I asked Betty and her family to pray for Hope for me. And I know they did.
Betty and her family are the kindest people I have ever met. They know everything about me and they still loved me. They never judged me. If they had, I would not have come back.
So Betty introduced me to Jesus and I finally opened the door for Jesus “please come in and help me. Help me change my life-style.”
And now I can see Hope through Betty and through Jesus and His love and grace. Thank you Jesus for forgiving me. I love you.
My name is Lisa Earl. I am 55 years old. I grew up in Victoria, BC; lived in Quebec and the Okanagan. Writing this testimony has been a great experience. I can clearly see now how God has been alongside me all the way.
I was baptised in the Anglican Church when I was 2 years old and attended Sunday School sporadically. I remember the song “Jesus Loves Me” and the fact that I got wear my best outfit with my white knee high socks and black patent shoes. Oh yeah and I got to put a dime in collection tray too! At home we didn’t talk about God and I never once saw a bible there. What I knew about Jesus I learned from Christmas and Easter celebrations
Growing up things were pretty chaotic. My Mom was married 4 times and my Dad was married 3 times. We moved a lot. I felt confused. I wanted so much for someone, anyone to just put their arms around me, explain things and comfort me. I just wanted everyone to get along. I didn’t want to be a burden so I did not share my troubles or ask for help. I desperately wanted to feel that sense of belonging. I was distracted in school and fell behind. I cheated to keep up (the first of my many shameful little secrets). I never learned how to learn. I dropped out of school in grade 8 and began a life of doing anything I could to “escape the present moment”. My first coping behaviour was escape through food. I tried drugs, alcohol, relationships, having children, hobbies, playing, relationships (oh did I say that already?) and keeping busy, busy busy. All of these would only provide a temporary solution and leave me feeling empty inside. I left home when I was 15 and moved in with my boyfriend.
When I was 17 my Mom introduced me to a spiritual program and I discovered there was a different way of life. I became more God conscious. That fellowship has been a part of my life on and off since but because I did not commit myself completely; something was still missing. I was spinning my wheels try to control everything and continued to do things “my way”. I believed in God. I prayed to God.
In my early 40’s, my children had left home, my relationship was ending, my job of 12 years was being phased out and I had to move. Everything that I existed for was being torn away. I had no identity. I was going to my support group meetings and I was praying to God. I had been asking a fellow I work with questions about the Bible. He explained to me what he knew of Jesus. I wanted so much to understand. He then took me to meet with a Pastor. Again things were explained. He even drew pictures! I was excited about this eternal life they spoke of. I didn’t really understand but a desire was awakened within me that I still have today.
I went to visit my Mom and noticed a peace about her that I wanted. I asked her how she got it. She said she started with an Alpha Course. I came home and enrolled immediately. That is when I started to hear and learn more about Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. I learned that I was created to live in a relationship with God. I heard words like salvation, repentance, forgiveness, eternal life, LOVE and more. I then took a course called “Purpose Driven Life”. The first three words in the book were “It’s not about you”. Those words hit me hard.
I began forming relationships with like minded people and decided to go to church. I have been attending different churches on and off since. I took the RCIA 10 years ago and became a Catholic. I have not continued to practice Catholicism, but am still closely connected with some very special Catholic prayer warriors. Five years ago I began to see and accept that there was not enough of anything in this world to “fill my empty hole”. I pondered on what I really wanted out of life and came up with: Peace, Love, Joy, Freedom from Self and a Sense of Usefulness. A couple of months ago I noticed that God has been gracious to be blessing me with these desires of my heart. More and more I am getting to know Jesus in my heart and feeling the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I have been reading the New Testament every day since January 1st will finish by end of year. This year, I completed “Celebrate Recovery” which is a Christian 12 Step program. Like I said before I can see what I call “God Winks” all through my life and I am beginning to see them even daily now. I thank God for His Mercy and Love.
My journey has been a gradual awakening of loving and trusting Him. God has been very gracious to put many special people in my life to help disciple me – too many to mention here. I am so blessed. There are so many scriptures that stand out for me but here are a few that come to mind in this moment:
Proverbs 3: 5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but all ways acknowledge Him and he will set your path straight.”
1 John 4:19 “We love each other because God loved us first.”
The one scripture that God puts on my heart constantly is the one that is hardest for me to heed to:
Psalm 46.10 “Be still and know that I am God.”
ALL THE GLORY TO GOD !!!!
As I write this testimony, tears run down my cheeks because every time I tell my story, I realize just how good God has been to me. Things may not always be how I want it to to be, but no one can convince me otherwise that God is a good God and He has big plans for my life and everything is going to be all right at the end of the day.
I was born to a financially poor family in Haiti, April 1992.
By the time I was two years old, I was in stage two malnutrition, along with my twin brother. At this point, my parents, who had four other kids as well, had to make a tough decision. Keep us (my twin and me) because they loved us and watch us slowly die or make the biggest love sacrifice a parent could make and give us up so we would live. They chose the latter.
The orphanage they took us to didn't want to take us because they only took in kids who had at least one missing parent and we had both still alive. However, God took care of that issue because one of the workers who knew our parents convinced them of our plight, and they took us in.
I was there till just pass 7.5 yrs with my brother. It was a Christian orphanage, and they always gave us kids opportunities to accept Jesus. I do not remember doing that, but I remember always having a consciousness of God as a child.
My now Mom and Dad had started adopting us when we were 4 years old and, due to financial difficulties, the process took way longer than expected. They even gave up on adopting us because they felt bad that we were waiting year after year. As the orphanage founder told my brother and me that day the news that we were no longer being adopted, I remember my brother brook down into sobs. As for me, I had been praying for at least two years, every night before bed, that God would help Mom and Dad adopt us. So I didn't cry. I wasn't even sad. Somehow, I knew in my heart that they were going to adopt us and I just kept praying for God to help them and He sure did!!
The family I grew up in was a Christian, mission focused family and raised me up in the Lord. So I grew up praying, reading my Bible, speaking the Word, even when I didn't want to, especially when I reached my teen years.
Although I wanted to serve God, somehow the belief entered into me that if I served God, I could never have fun again. I thought I would need to pray 5 hours a day, read my Bible for 10 hours and always go around asking people “Brother, sister, are you saved”.
So from ages 11 to 17, I was continuously telling God, “Don't worry God, when I reach this age I will dedicate my life completely to you”. Then that age came and I still wanted to have fun so...I moved it to the next age and so on. One day, much to my distress, I realized that the older I got, the more fun things there were to do and, to boot, I wanted to have more fun the older I got! I realized then that at this rate, I would never serve God if I was waiting for fun things to run out before wanting to serve Him. So I decided I would rather serve God and also realized that did not mean I could never do fun things again.
After graduating high school, I went to Bible school for 11 months. This was great because I wanted to be sure that my faith was truly my own and not just something I was into because of my parents.
My walk with the Lord has been up and down at times, but, especially over the past two years, I have truly come to know that no matter what I am doing, whether it is good or bad, that God is always with me and He loves me and is never condemning me. Therefore, I never need to hide or run away from Him.
I am truly thankful that He has brought me to KGF and I am very excited to have the opportunity to serve God in this ministry. I want to grow in my prayer life and Rolly said one Sunday, “The best way to learn how to pray is by doing it”. It was at that moment that I knew I needed to join the prayer ministry team. I know as I step out to do this, it is one more opportunity for me to learn how to completely trust God and watch Him move in other people's lives as well as my own.
Shandi and I were each baptized as infants and confirmed as adolescents. We were blessed to have grown up in wonderful church families – myself at a Lutheran church in Westbank, and Shandi at a United church in Sherwood Park. We do not necessarily identify with a single event or circumstance that led us towards Christianity, but rather it developed over time, though the guidance and teachings of our families and congregations.
Once we started our own family, we were hoping to find a church with a vibrant children’s and youth ministry. After attending various congregations throughout Kelowna, our close friends, Jeanne and Nolan Acheson, invited us to join them at KGF for kickoff Sunday in September 2012. We have been attending ever since!
We knew pretty much immediately that we wanted to be part of this growing community. We love the multi-generational congregation, the focus on outreach, the music, the incredible kids’ ministry, and the countless opportunities to belong. We have both been overwhelmed by the hardworking and selfless staff and volunteers at KGF. The church has become a true family to us.
Simply attending on Sunday’s was fine for a while, but eventually we wanted to become more involved and commit to KGF in a more meaningful way. We have participated in various events, including ALPHA, Levi’s Deeper classes, and Shandi participated in a Women’s Bible Study on the Book of Daniel. We have also enjoyed helping out with compassionate care, coffee time, and some ushering.
After three wonderful years, we are looking forward to making our commitment to KGF, and joining as members of this amazing, growing family.
When I was a young boy, the name of Jesus was spoken in our home but I did not walk with Him. At the age of 11, my 8 year old brother was diagnosed with cancer. I begged and pleaded with God to take this from him, but He did not. Over the next 8 years while I watched my brother slowly waste away, I became angry with God which turned into hopelessness and by the time my brother died, I had completely turned away from God.
At 21, I married, went back to school and then settled into a typical Canadian middle class life with two kids, a couple of cars and a mortgage. I would not say that I was riding shot gun for the Prince of Darkness but I was certainly working very hard although unknowingly at hammering those nails into my Savior’s cross. But there was always this feeling deep down that something was missing, something was not right. No matter what I tried doing or what I bought, there wasn’t anything that could fill that empty feeling. Fast forward to when I am 50 years old.
My daughter and her boyfriend gave their lives to Jesus in 2003 and were married shortly afterwards. My wife and I would often visit them in Surrey. On Sundays they would ask us to go to church with them and I reluctantly did. Then one Sunday, I was listening to the Pastor and it was as if he was standing 3 inches in front of my nose, shouting at me about Jesus. I fought back tears and after 51 years of wondering the spiritual desert, I was really good at doing stubborn. But my heart was stirring.
One morning in March 2005, I needed to make a road trip from Castlegar to Kelowna for business. It was like any other road trip except my heart was stirring and my emotions were over flowing. For more than 2 hours in that car I struggled over and over in my mind with God, Jesus and my life. And then just a little outside of Beaverdell, I said to Jesus, I’m sorry for what I’ve done, please forgive me, please take control of my life. And in an instant, I began to cry uncontrollably and an overwhelming feeling washed over me as I came to the realization that what I was always looking to fill that empty feeling had always been right in front of me. It was Jesus and all I had to do was turn to Him, repent and embrace Him, and I did and I still do, and I thank Him every day.
Much has changed in my life since that moment. I would like to say that I have been walking with Jesus for 10 years but in all honesty, He is carrying me more than I am walking. But such is the love, grace and mercy that is Jesus. I read my bible almost every day. I pray to Jesus every day and I seek to serve where I can.
The Bible verse that reflects my life now is 2 Peter 1: 5-7 (NIV) “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self control; and to self control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness; brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness; love.