Life Stories (232)
I am the youngest of nine kids. I lived a life full of fear, shame, guilt, poverty, and loneliness. There were times I would run to a little white church up the street. When I entered, I found beautiful music and people singing, clapping, and dancing in the aisles. I loved singing and dancing. I felt safe, alive, and at home there.
I ran to that church every time I needed to feel safe, but after a few years it no longer provided a shelter for me. I could not believe that God would love me. My heart started feeling angry, scared, and unworthy. I started finding other things to provide that safe and happy “I am at home” feeling I could no longer find at the little white church. I was going down the wrong the path in life.
When I turned seventeen, I started researching my belief in God, because I perceived the god I was reaching out to as punishing. My feelings of shame, guilt, and unworthiness were unsettling. I went to a Christian movement called Full Gospel Fellowship International. There I declared my love for God, asked for forgiveness, and turned my life over to him. God has been in my life for years, but I have struggled to find my home in a place to worship.
On January 23, 2006 I lost my husband. I was grief-stricken and left in a paralyzing state of mind, body, and soul. During that time, I did attend one church and found healing, comfort, and home. I felt the presence of God, but something was still missing in my heart.
It has been eight years since my husband passed away; I have been blessed with many gifts—becoming a mother-in-law 2009 and a grandma in 2011. A year ago I was invited to visit Kelowna Gospel Fellowship by a member I knew from another church we attended. Finally I committed and came to a service. The church was warm and inviting, and Pastor Mike was amazing. I kept coming back, even though work and school made it difficult to come all the time.
Half-way through college, God spoke to my heart, saying “It is time you get baptized and commit your life to Jesus.” I remembered watching a Christian movie where someone was baptized in a lake. I knew instantly I wanted to do the same thing. I talked to a member who was baptized in a lake and she encouraged me with her experience.
I can’t wait to surrender my heart, my soul to Jesus and walk the life he designs for me.
As a young boy, we went to church but for me it was just an annoyance and a place of suffering for me on Sunday morning. When I was 12, my younger brother was diagnosed with cancer. I grew increasingly angry and frustrated because it was completely out of my control and when he died when I was 18, my anger with God was deep and complete. I was done with God.
I grew up in a Christian home. Both of my grandparents were pastors, so the Christian influence was very strong throughout my life. When I was 5 years old, I told my parents that I wanted to make sure I was going to heaven, so they helped me pray to have Jesus come into my heart.
My relationship with God was quite casual growing up. There were a few moments however where I thought I felt the presence of God. One time was at a large youth convention in Kamloops when I was 13. The spirit of God was quite strong at one point of the service and I recommitted my life to God but it really only took a few weeks after the convention to feel distant from Him. I continued my "casual" relationship with God for about 3 or 4 years. By the end of high school I was starting to doubt the Christian belief system. I still believed in a God, but I was pretty sure Jesus wasn't Him and so, like a lot of teenagers, I started searching. A close friend and I became what I would call "new-age philosophers". Questioning everything.. And learning about some pretty bizarre beliefs and scientific theory's mostly about the origins of life. Really what I was doing was searching for the ultimate truth.
I was raised in a wonderful Christian family led by the strong faith of my Dad and Mom who were strong members of the Pentecostal Church in Grand Forks. Dad was a deacon and Mom the Sunday School secretary, so every Sunday was busy with church activities. That focus on God bore fruit, for at 11 years of age, I shyly stepped forward and gave my life to Jesus at Kootenay Kids Camp followed by water baptism in the Kettle River. My parents nourished that newfound faith at every opportunity, and despite the usual turmoil felt as a quiet, insecure girl in school, I grew as a Christian and felt the obvious thing to do was strengthen my faith by attending Bible College after graduation. Following college, I moved to Kelowna to do some business office training, secured a job and actually attended KGF, when it was located downtown and its current location. I found the fellowship there to be family focused, friendly and very supportive...as it is today!
I was born at a very early age into a nominal Christian family, surrounded by lots of noise, activity, warmth, yet founded on solid Christian principles. But as I grew up, there was no relationship with Jesus, despite regular church attendance, catechism, and attendance at very boring Bible studies! But then all that changed when a dynamic pastor came to our small Anglican church, and really preached the saving knowledge of a relationship with Christ. My Dad led the way, and quickly led the whole family, including myself, into salvation and baptism. From then on, I began to make my relationship with Christ personal, and attempt to work that out in everyday life, through all the joys and turmoil of adolescence, and begin to make Him lord of my life and my future.
I am privileged to have had Christian parents. My father died when I was five years old, but my mother raised my brother and me in a loving Christ-centred atmosphere. She led me to the Lord while I was in elementary school.
I was born in The Netherlands and came to Canada when I was 7 years old. We travelled across the ocean and then most of Canada to Port Alberni. I grew up in a God-fearing family in the Netherlands Reformed Congregation where I was baptized as an infant. We read the Bible every day and prayed before and after every meal. When I was in high school, I pleaded with Jesus to come into my life but didn't know that He would actually come into my life.
I was raised into a Christian home, with strong morals, two loving parents and an older sister that were dedicated to Christ. In my earlier years, my family attended church every Sunday. When I was older, I stated playing high level sports and this made it difficult to continue regular attendance due to weekend commitments. I also did not have any Christian friends and this made it harder to know God. I do not have a particular day that my faith became my own because it was more of a journey over a period of time. When I was 15 I accidently heard a rap song titled “Don’t Waste Your Life,” by Lecrae. At the same time, some of my friends began to ask me tough questions about my faith. Both the questions and the lyrics from Lecrae made me search for the truth and discover what Jesus Christ did for me on the Cross.
I was born in Penticton, but moved to the coast where I received all my schooling. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, and so didn’t understand anything about the Christian faith. As a young person I loved playing and watching sports. In the 50’s, there were no sports on TV on Sundays, so one Sunday I found myself watching a TV evangelist instead. After the program I repeated the sinner’s prayer, but I didn’t really know what it meant. A few years later I was invited to a camp sponsored by Young Life. I heard the gospel again, and I accepted it, but I still didn’t fully understand. There was no follow up so not much changed in my life.
I am blessed to have grown up in a loving Christian home. I was captured at a young age by the idea of God having a plan and a purpose for my life. It has been a guiding principle of my life. In my early teens I chose Jeremiah 29:11 as my life verse.“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.”