Life Stories

There is power in stories of life transformation.  It's really what God is most interested in.  At KGF, we celebrate the work God is doing in each one of us, and hope that you will be encouraged and challenged in your own walk as you read, listen to and watch some stories from this church family.

 

Thursday, 07 January 2016 12:15

Joslin

My favourite verses, that I hold dear to my life:

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
    He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Psalm 139

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

Lord, you have examined my heart
    and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!

 

 

Thursday, 07 January 2016 12:11

Max O.

I was born in Summerland into a loving Catholic family. We attended church every Sunday. I felt loved and appreciated. Every summer we went to catechism for two weeks. I went to confession and had communion regularly. I knew about God but did not know him personally so I lived a party life.

In 1959 I went to Toronto to go to college and study Electronics. I continued going to church every Sunday. 

I graduated and got a good job right away. I made friends at work. I was leading the so called good life for a couple of years but something was missing. I felt lonely. I was praying in church this Sunday and I prayed “Lord I am ready for you to send me the girl that you want me to spend the rest of my life with.” I felt at peace and I picked up a bulletin at the back of the church and it said Sunday night 7:30 Young Peoples club. Within two months I had met Joan and in two years we were married. We were so happy God had answered my prayer. 

In 1968 we moved to the Okanagan to be with my family. God blessed us abundantly with a good job, a nice house and three wonderful children.

We brought up our children as Catholics continued to go to church every Sunday and leading the good life the rest of the week. If you were to ask us if we were good Christians we would say yes.

By 1974 we felt something was missing in our Christian walk. This one Sunday the priest invited two men to tell us about the Cursillo retreat they attended last weekend. They were so on fire and they just glowed. I said to Joan I don’t know what they have got but I want it. The following October I was invited to the next Cursillo weekend. On that weekend I experienced God in a personal way. 

Two months later we went through the Life in the Spirit seminars and I became born again. Our Christian life changed from going to church on Sundays to a 24/7 commitment. 

 I became involved as a volunteer and in leadership with greeting, men’s groups, adults, youth, nursery, prayer groups. I continued to work in these areas up until four years ago when my wife Joan’s health began to decline and I became her caregiver.

Close friends invited us to come to KGF. One Sunday we went to visit KGF. We were greeted at the door by friendly people. There was a warm genuine atmosphere. There were a number people we knew and they were so happy to see us and they made us feel welcome. The worship was great and we enjoyed the message. It felt like home very quickly. I continue to bring Joan to church on Sundays until she was not able to come.

When Joan went to be with Jesus we had Joan’s Celebration Of Life at KGF. Pastor Mike was so obliging he basically said here is the church and the staff what do you need. KGF people have big hearts and gentle spirits and this is why I want to become a member. 

Looking back on my life I can see God’s favour on me. At least 3 times I should have died. I credit this to God’s Love and Favour and a praying mother. Because He lives I can face tomorrow.

 

 

Jeremiah 29:11: 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 hope and a future.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

 

Joshua 24:15: But as for me and my household, we will serve the lord.

Saturday, 19 September 2015 21:22

Chelsea B

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.

Saturday, 19 September 2015 21:19

Bjorn

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.

Friday, 18 September 2015 22:35

Tara

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.

Matthew 6:2-3

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.

Psalm 86

Wednesday, 16 September 2015 12:51

Betty U.

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.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015 12:17

Betty Y.

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”.  

Many do.  

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. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015 12:12

Sasha R.

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.

Sasha

Wednesday, 16 September 2015 12:08

Lisa E.

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 !!!!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015 11:55

Bechah

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.