Life Stories (214)
I was born in Switzerland, the oldest of 7 children. Our home was a Christian home, where we prayed before meals and there was a Bible reading morning and evening. I grew up in a French speaking and mostly catholic area, but we attended a small German speaking Mennonite Church, although we were not Mennonites. I was baptized as a child. There was never any talking about a personal relationship with Jesus.
I would say that my journey with God/Jesus started when I was about 15 going to catechism classes. I realized that I needed to make a personal decision. After my studies, I spent a year abroad in Pennsylvania learning English, then came back to Switzerland where I met my Canadian Husband. We married, I left my family, and moved to Manitoba in 1974. Adjustment was not easy and I struggled a lot with faith issues. The faith community probably did not help as there was hardly any sharing of struggles and difficult times, only Praise items. My everyday life was not like that. We have always looked to be part of a Life Group most of our married life. Our group was interdenominational in our town, while we each were active in our local Churches.
Our life was good materially speaking, but at the same time at times it felt to me like ...is that all there is ..have we now arrived ...what next?
Well, about 12 years ago my glass castle crashed big time and all the tears that I could not cry before came flowing out for hours. It was a wonderful freeing feeling, but what next? With a godly counsellor and a change to a different faith community, I slowly came back to life. I have learned more in the last 12 years to trust who God is, his faithfulness, his love and his forgiveness. I learned through our counsellor to appreciate the old testament. One of the verses that continues to give me peace of mind and guidance is Micah 6 verse 8, "He has showed you ,O man what is good. And what does the Lord require of you ? To act justly and to love mercy, kindness and to walk humbly with your God."
This new journey led us to step out and retire from our jobs, and with the spiritual and material support of our small church, our families and friends, we volunteered with a non- government humanitarian Organization in Mexico for two years. I was stretched physically, mentally and emotionally in ways I never imagined, truly realizing that we were out there on the front lines, and that we could only do this work having our praying church and family behind us.
Our two children, their spouses and now grandchildren have enriched our lives tremendously. We moved to Kelowna at the beginning of this year to be closer to one of our children and grandchildren. Our daughter and her family live in Switzerland. We also knew that we would be looking for a Church, thinking that we wanted something like we had. Our son and his wife introduced us to people here at KGF. We started attending Impact events and joined a Life Group and now we desire to be fully part of this church family that made us feel so welcome and to participate in the life here and the community.
It is such a blessing to walk with the Lord. To look back at my life now, I don’t know how I would have survived. I remember all too well what a mess I made of my life and am reminded every time I tumble off the path. Guilt and shame are not what we should carry through life. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow... Isaiah 1:18 One of the many gifts the Lord has for us. There is no life worth living outside that road chosen by our Heavenly Father.
I was loved by two peaceful, warm hearted parents who had faith but no relationship with God. I came away with an acceptance of any scripture brought to my attention. I still believe my faith is that of a child’s. Read me His story, I love every word.
Growing up in a logging town in northern BC it was easy to find trouble. Trouble was fun! Alcohol was a way of life. It was what we witnessed growing up and looked forward to in our teens and young adult lives. When I was introduced to a better life turning mine over to the Lord, I feared I wouldn’t be able to drink and have fun anymore. I refer to that moment of choice as simply toppling off the fence. I think I landed on my head because it still took another year or so before I realized that a simple prayer wasn’t going to cut it. I actually had to make a decision. That I did, 17 years ago. It was then that the Lord truly showed me a better life. He changed my perspective on life and freed me from the bondage of unhealthy choices. It certainly wasn’t anything I did. He accepted me as I was and continually loves me today with all my imperfections. A love like His makes you want to be a better person. The rewards of following His will for your life far outweigh our misguided perceptions of what we think our lives should be. There is nothing in this world that could match the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, which will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Thanks to God, I will be celebrating 27 years of marriage to a man who has also grown to love the Lord. Without God’s presence in our marriage the rocky mountains would have been too treacherous to bear. I am so grateful that He chose me while my children were young. I have 2 sons and 1 daughter who have all committed their lives to the Lord. I know that although they may sway from His lead at times in their lives, He has hold of them and loves them more than I could imagine. They do keep me on my knee’s I might add, but any reason to pray is a good opportunity to spend time with the Father.
I am looking forward to this next chapter with my new family at KGF. Already I feel accepted and loved as God loves his children. My favourite scripture changes all the time; there are so many good ones! Today Proverbs 3:5-6 is one I do lean upon: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."
In my youth I was raised in a Christian family and baptized as a baby but early in my teens walked away from my faith. I can’t say why it just wasn’t of importance to me. It wasn’t until I met my wife Vicky that I realized that I wanted Christ back in my life. We started attending church and it was soon after that I wanted to be baptized as a sign of my recommitment to Christ.
Since then life has been an adventure of ups and downs great times and sad times. But through it all Christ has always been along side me. Not long after we relocated to the Okanagan I had a heart attack and was unable to work for a year the stress at times of how were we going to make it financially was hard but just when we thought we didn’t have a dime to our name something would come along and it would be there. We knew it was the work of Christ giving us a helping hand to sustain us.
I was able to return to work but after some time I was in a car accident which left me unable to work anymore. I didn’t know what to do with my time but God placed in my heart how we are to help the unwanted which lead me to the downtown area where there is so much need. I assisted men I met down there to get into recovery homes, fill out paper work that some just didn’t understand and found housing for others. My wife Vicky and I brought them to church on Saturdays offered them a meal and to hear the word of God. It was a time of great growth for me seeing how God’s hand can heal the broken and give them such strength to grow. It was exciting to see the start up of Metro ministry but sad as we knew our time had come to leave all these great people we had met as God had a new plan for us.
We left at that time on a two year trip around North America it was exciting and we met so many people and saw so much of God’s creation the true beauty of the country we live in. Once our two years was up we decided to move to Mexico. We moved to a small village and during our time there we saw what we thought was great poverty but the Mexican people who lived there didn’t look at that. They saw being together with their families and community was far greater than spending time apart trying to get things that really don’t matter. Again the simple things in life stood out to Vicky and I it is strange how God shows us so many things when you least expect it. What we think are riches are just distractions from what God really wants for us.
We met a mechanic in the village and soon learned he was a pastor of a small Christian congregation. We learned he had gone to the States to build a better life but it ended him being addicted to drugs and then dealing. He got sent to jail for 10 years and in that time accepted Christ in his life and became a pastor. He was sent back to Mexico and he felt a calling to bring Christ to his village. He started a church and brought his whole family to know the Lord. We started attending his church and even though we didn’t understand the language he always made sure we knew his topic before hand and his congregation accepted us into their family with open arms. We learned a lot during that time of how important it is to be part of the family of God and how it doesn’t matter who we are or where we come from we come together as one in Christ.
I had the privilege of going with the pastor to volunteer at the prison and drug rehab centers in our area. Even though I didn’t speak the language and had to use a translator I saw these men reach out and just want to hear about Christ and how He can heal them. I learned that no matter where you are if you speak the language or not Christ’s word is universal and there are many who want to hear it. We had to leave Mexico due to my health and I am on a new journey now. One of not knowing how long I have here on earth and not always knowing what is ahead but I know that no matter what comes before me I have the love of God with me to lead me on. I gather great strength in remembering all that He has shown me and look forward to all that he has yet to show me.
My favorite verses are:
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
I grew up in a home that was loving and supportive; one that went to church on Easter and Christmas Eve. I always knew God existed and that He loved more than anyone else, but I didn't know much of the Bible until my teenage years. I met two friends in school who came from Christian homes; every Monday they would tell me what they learned at church and I would go home to read it in my Bible. Shortly after I began attending a youth group down the street and my knowledge of God, Jesus and the Bible grew. In school, I was strong academically and had many friends. While I should have been happy with my life, instead I was surrounded by a heavy cloud of darkness.
At the age of 13, I was diagnosed with depression and was at my lowest point. I was prescribed anti-depressants to balance the neurotransmitters in my brain, and within a week became a different person. It was as though I had been living in black and white, and now my world had color and dimension. I had come to life. I remember my mom crying as I walked out of a room laughing, because it had been so long since she heard my laugh. I felt joy and happiness again, however it felt tainted since it came from a pill.
I continued growing in the Lord throughout my middle and high school years. God protected me from rebellion that many of my friends got involved in, and I choose to go to Capernwray Bible School in New Zealand. Those were 6 months of in-depth Bible teaching and an opportunity to meet friends who would remain faithful and true ever since. I returned home to Calgary to go to University and in this time God healed me of my depression. To this day, I no longer need to take medication and am grateful to God for setting me free. God has blessed my life in beautiful ways; forgiving my sins and offering an abundant life to live, being able to marry the man I had specifically prayed for and being able to share the good news of Jesus Christ to others.
My life with Jesus began when my parents introduced me to Him at a young age, which is when I prayed a prayer to invite Jesus to come into my life. I was raised in a home with Christian beliefs, morals, and disciplines, as my dad was a pastor and my parents were strong Christ followers. Growing up with three brothers, I was blessed, supported, and had Godly examples before me, yet Christ did not become a real part of my life until my later teenage years.
Growing up, I internally struggled with God and being obedient to Him. Outwardly, I followed the rules and fit in well in the Christian community. I did all the right things, and yet my heart was hard towards God and I resented Him. I perceived God as a rule maker and had no desire or passion to get to know Him personally. My selfish attitudes and independence completely conflicted with what He wanted for my life. I was lost, empty and had no purpose in life. Despite my low points, I am thankful to God for my family, who were there to support and love me, despite my apathy, and to continue to demonstrate God’s love to me.
Jumping forward; in my high school years, I had success in sports and excelled in basketball. It was my passion and what helped me gain confidence. After having limped through graduation academically, I was looking for my next steps. I decided to go to a bible school in Sweden and couldn’t imagine how Christ would work in my life over the next year.
Through being independent from my family and having to make spiritual choices on my own, it was during that time that I was humbled. I had to make a decision; live my life for my own purposes and desires, or follow Christ. I chose Christ! I experienced his peace and it was as though I massive burden had been lifted off from trying to do everything in life on my own and by my own strength. Through a close group of guy friends, 9 months of biblical teaching, and having my slate cleaned by Christ, I came home a different person! I attribute everything in my life to Christ and everything I am today is because of Him. I am humbled by the grace He has shown me. I am blessed to be married to my wife Kelsey and we are thankful every day for Christ’s sacrifice for our freedom!
Jesus is my reason is for living. He gives me strength, he gives me hope, and he gives me happiness.
As a teen, I was quite involved with church but have not had any great involvement since. My wife and I felt connected to KGF since the first time we walked through the front doors.
I love how Mike knows the people in his congregation. I love that our church totally gets the idea of "community" and cares for one another. I love seeing the birth and death announcements, because it makes me feel like these people are a part of my family. I love that KGF is responsible with its finances. I love that KGF's members are generous do-gooders. I like how we are a church that does not get caught up in the small stuff, but instead accepts and loves everyone. As Mike says, I like that we are not fancy.
I want to learn more about Jesus and I want to be more like Jesus; I want to belong to a community that will help me achieve this goal.
My husband and I have been attending Kelowna Gospel Fellowship for about one year, but only in the past 6 months have we made KGF our home.
The idea of being a family and community-oriented church is what initially attracted us to the church, and with the recent birth of our daughter, Poppy, the idea of family became that much more appealing to us. We want Poppy to be surrounded by people who will support her walk with God. We really embrace the philosophy of “it takes a village to raise a child” - we want KGF to be the village that helps raise Poppy.
Likewise, we want to encourage and support other children and families to live the good life, love Jesus, and be the best they can for God’s purposes. My husband and I love that our church is multigenerational and it is our hope and prayer that we can be a part of the KGF family for many generations.
I accepted Christ into my life in my mid 40’s before Christ I was focused on my work, money and possessions. I can’t say I was unhappy but at times very dissatisfied thinking there must be more to this than just work. I met my husband Brian a few years after my first husband passed away. It was a whirlwind romance and just 2 months after meeting, marrying and moving to the Okanagan. It was a transition of a lot of stress but a lot of love that made up for it. Brian had said that once we moved to the Okanagan he wanted to return to church I was a little surprised as for me I had not been raised in a Christian home where as he had. We started to attend a church and I have to say I really wasn’t that interested; as soon as the service was over, I would head for the door and wait by the car until Brian came out after his socializing with everyone. I didn’t feel like I fit in.
After a while I actually started listening to the sermons and it got me thinking about my life and what I was going to do. During this time it ended up our next door neighbors Paul & Sharon attended the same church and they invited us into their home and we became good friends. I always thought there was something different about them. They were so kind and I knew Christ was a big part of their life as they always gave thanks to Him for all he had done in their lives. Paul would sit and talk to me about faith and what it means and how you can draw such strength from it when you are in calm or stormy times. Sharon invited me to attend the Alpha classes they were having at the church and I enjoyed spending time with her so I went. It was very life changing for me questions I had were answered and I knew then it was time to make my commitment to Christ. I was baptized soon after that.
Since making the commitment to Christ I was very blessed to meet a woman named Nancy Tordiffe who became a great mentor to me. As a new Christian it was so comforting to know that being a part of a church family can bring along side of you people who are there to walk along side you during your journey. People who will pray with you, cry with you and laugh with you. I have learned that the mentors God brings forward to you can enrich your walk with Christ.
Life since accepting Christ has been one of great discoveries about myself even though things have not always been smooth as my neighbor Paul said there will be stormy times in your life but the difference now is I know that I can turn to Christ for comfort and answers. I have learned to slow down and enjoy life quieting myself so I can spend time in God’s word and enjoying the beauty he created. I don’t have to worry about how much I have in money or possessions as I know God will always provide all I need. It has brought a great peace in me which I never thought was possible. I gather great strength from Him in this time of the unknown with my husband’s health knowing that He is always with me to comfort me and walk with me I am never alone.
Two of my favorite verses are:
Psalm 9:10 - Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord have never forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 18:2 - The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer my God is my rock in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I was raised in a home with two loving parents that didn’t attend church but I remember going to Sunday School as a kid and learning about Jesus. I didn’t give it much thought until many years later. I was a young adult a year out of university and newly engaged when friends invited me to church. My friends showed me that a life that had Jesus as the center was fulfilling and a way I wanted to live and start my family.
Shortly before I was married, I asked Jesus into my life and decided to make him a part of my life. A month later, while I was talking with our Pastor and he offered to pray with me again and a year later I decided to express my faith through Baptism.
The years following have not been easy and many times I feel I fall short in my walk with Jesus. I am thankful for the people he has placed in my life that have loved me and shown me “Jesus with skin on” even when I feel those shortcomings. I feel blessed by a great family and a wife who has been my greatest teacher on God’s ways. I am grateful that our God is a loving and patient god that is ever forgiving.
I was raised in a home with parents that took us to church every Sunday and camp every summer. God was a part of our home like an uncle. He was active but not the center. I think my parents did the best they could but like all of us, they often fell short of putting and keeping God the center of our family.
When I was 10, I went to camp for the 7th year in a row but the first time without my parents. It was that year that I made the decision to accept Christ in my life. My life continued on but nothing really changed in my day to day life. I had always gone to church and youth groups and still did. My final year of high school I even began to help lead my youth group. When I graduated I went to Bible College and it was there that I really began to cement my beliefs and finally began to understand what all those Bible verses and stories began to mean to me and my life.
When I met my husband I had made the decision to not live my life with God. I knew He would always be there for me so I decided that I would make time for him after I lived my life and had some fun. When we decided to get married I knew I wanted to have a Christian wedding and wanted to begin my life for God again. Shortly after we were married, the Pastor of our church asked me to baptized. I was baptized as an infant and never felt the need to be rebaptized. I told him at the time I didn’t feel God required me to be rebaptized and if I ever felt God calling me to be rebaptized I would. Almost 2 years later to the day, after much study and prayer, I got out of my car on a bright Sunday morning and heard the words “If he asks today, Go.” I had never felt the words of God so clear in my life. So of course when the pastor made the call that day at the end of church, I obeyed and a week later I was rebaptized.
Over the years we have gone through a lot of trials and testing. We have often made choices that I am sure God has been disappointed with but He keeps calling us back to Him and we keep coming back, sometimes running, sometimes with our heads hung in shame. I am constantly reminding myself that this is a journey with many potholes and distractions. Thankfully God has given us many good friends who have become role models and mentors. They have loved us and supported us with a love that can only be given because of their love for God.
Our desire is to see our children see Christ in us, imperfect as we are, but loved and forgiven. Our hope is that God would draw them to Him as He has done with us. I want them to know God as their Father, not just an uncle we invite for Sunday dinner.