Life Stories (256)
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 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.
I was not a Christian until 2003. I feel I was a pretty good woman, a hard working nurse, a good mother, a good wife. I thought it was enough to be just these things. I don’t think I even realized that I needed more.
My husband of 46 years died Feb. 3, 2003 from cancer. On that morning, two Christian co-workers of mine come to the hospital and prayed at his bedside for hours. He was in a coma, he was not a believer. He was a good man, good father, good husband. He was 62 years old. My heart was ice. How could this happen? As I listened to my friends pray, though, I felt a peace. How could that be?
My wonderful husband died that evening. The two Christian co-workers, Audrey and Simone were not asked by me to come to the hospital to pray. When I asked them after why they called to to see if they could come, they said they felt compelled to. Questions I asked: Why did I feel peace? Is there more?
Audrey lost her husband to cancer a year later 2004. Simone, Audrey and I are now really close friends. All retired now. We often get together for prayer and parise. Now I know that I have the ‘more’ I didn’t even knew I needed.
I became stronger, less fearful. So interested in finding out everything I could about my beloved Saviour Jesus Christ. I felt I wanted to scream my love for God from everywhere to tell people that in my good but empty life before Christ, I had finally found ‘more.’ That although I didn’t know where God was, He know where I was all the time.
Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not for I am with thee; do not be dismayed for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; I will help thee; yea I will up hold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
After almost 42 years I decided to go public and let everyone know I am proud to be known as a Christian or what I like to be is a follower of Jesus Christ. (That was almost 10 years ago now.)
I grew up like 80% of the people in North America. I knew there was a God out there but I never followed him nor tried to be like him. In fact I don’t remember even having a reason to go to church other than the odd wedding or funeral. As I was growing up I had my share of trouble including some run-ins with the law. I felt I only had to be accountable to me for my actions and what I did didn’t affect anybody else, little did I know the affect we have on the people around us (especially those who love and care for us). Even back then I now recognize that the Lord was watching and guiding me. I didn’t give Him the time of day let alone the time I should have for a relationship. I continue to share stories with friends from my past and understand even more as time passes He was there watching over me all that time. How could I think that I was ever really in control on my own life?
I was brought up with the understanding if I lived a good life everything would be OK and I would go to heaven, as I got older I thought this was still true, I always thought it was me who was in control of my life. I did what made me happy. Even after I got married I still did what made me happy and as many of you are aware, this is not the way a good relationship works. As the years passed our marriage was failing and this life I was living was taking its toll on our family. I think I still had blinders on as life was still about me and not my family nor how to fix it.
My wife, Julie had already accepted the Lord into her life and was going to church. Julie had asked me several times if I wanted to go with her however I always had something to do. Finally one day I made my way into the church. I said to myself this was okay and I found that the message was directed right at me(now I understand how God works). I made it to church once in a while and it seemed every time I went the message had something to do with my life. Julie had found a church to call home and our 3 children were now getting involved with the kids programs thanks to the invitation of our neighbors. I started attending a little more often and these messages continued to be directed more to my life. One day I went for a walk and asked that Jesus Christ to forgive me for my sins and to be my Savior, that was 10 years ago. In my heart at the time I felt this was a private relationship between Jesus and myself so I didn’t tell anyone, not even Julie. I know now that this was a turning point in my life and a time to rejoice and share.
As they say the rest is history. My Life did not change immediately however with the support from this church family and the ongoing messages from the Pastors (which so many still continue to speak directly to me) I started to notice subtle changes in my life. It felt great! With God in control everything seemed to improve! Our marriage was in recovery mode and we were once again on the same road with the same goals. I count my blessings now, a restored marriage, 3 great kids and a good job.
Now my life is not perfect but I wouldn’t trade my life with anybody else’s and I know I wouldn’t have all of this if I didn’t have Jesus Christ in my life. I don’t understand why some things happen and I still have lots of questions but I do know, God will guide me through my life no matter what, all I need to do is; Be a follower of Jesus Christ.
I grew up in the small town of Creston in the Kootenay’s. Although my parents were divorced when I was quite young, I always knew I was loved and valued. After graduating high school I worked in an institute for people who have developmental disabilities, to save money to travel and go to college. It was there that I met some amazing friends who introduced me to God. Up until this point I was taught that religion was for those who needed a crutch. It wasn’t something I thought I needed and I certainly was never introduced to a personal God named Jesus.
But one night at a Christian rock concert I was face with that very amazing person. Jesus. Within a week I had been given a bible, read and read and read, asked questions and made the life changing decision to follow Christ with my whole heart and life. I have never looked back. Since then I have pursued theatre in college, done missionary work all over North America and Europe with a missions group called YWAM, had three wonderful kids and one terrible marriage. I have gotten a degree in Social Work, remarried an amazing man in my husband Bernie and gained three great kids along the way.
No matter where I have gone however, and no matter what I have done, the Lord has been with me all the way. He is my strength in the difficult times and my joy in the triumphant ones. The Lord has given me several life verses to keep me on track. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not in your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and He will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 and “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
Hi my name is Kamila Stinner. I was born in Poland and immigrated to Calgary in 1989 with my mother, father and older brother. I was born into a Catholic home and I feel that I have always had a relationship with the Lord.
I was baptised as an infant and attended Church with my family until I was in high school. I stopped attending Church because I found it hypocritical and I did not feel that I needed to go to Church in order to have a relationship with God. My relationship with The Lord consisted of praying every night.
In my early twenties I felt emptiness and a lack of purpose in my life so I started to look at different Churches to see if I felt a difference. I went to a couple different Churches a few times but I wasn’t motivated to go on a regular basis nor did it change my opinion. When I met my husband I noticed that he really liked going to Church so I asked him if I could join him sometime. When he took me I was instantly captivated by that Church. It was full of joy and I felt that it applied Christ’s teachings to my life. Over time I grew spiritually and learned a lot about The Lord and his love for me. At that point I began to build a stronger relationship with Him. I was given a book called “The Purpose Driven Life” and at some point while reading that book I felt a strong sense of joy come over me. Ever since then there has been a strong desire in my heart to get baptised again (this time being my choice) but life seemed to always get in the way.
Following that experience I felt more internal peace. I was able to truly forgive the people that I needed to forgive, let go of the things I needed to let go of and love people for who they are. I began to accept myself as well. I gained more confidence and I also stopped worrying so much. Most of all I gained an understanding of the type of relationship I can have with The Lord. He has blessed me so much in life and I am thrilled to continue my journey with him by my side.
I am excited to show my love and dedication to the Lord through baptism.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
Romans 5: 1-5
I was brought up in a Christian home where I had praying Godly parents. I was ushered off to a couple of Sunday School Mission camps early in life .. one of which is at Pender Island BC where my older brother had also gone. The physical conditions were less than ideal as was my spiritual condition. I understood that my spiritual condition was not inherited and I needed to make it right with God. I accepted Christ into my heart at the age of 9 years old on a cabin army cot at that same camp.
My adolescent and teen years were at a time of the turbulent 60s and 70s where societal change was happening in a large way. Although most of my friends and associates were from Christian families, we didn’t have a lot of strong influential role models and it wasn’t long before many of us were caught up in living for the world and ourselves and not God. I was no exception and at eighteen was out of school and signing up for mechanical trades in the marine business at the water front in Coal Harbour Vancouver. The job was rough as were the people and life at work was a diametric shift from the home life. Soon I was spending all of my time away from the home and the church and pretty much absorbed into a different world with new found income, cars and women. My mother knew what was going on in my life and her prayers were answered when I was confronted with the choices I had made. I was twenty at that time when I left the bars and the girls and again ended up at a camp this time a Baptist camp through a school buddy at Mount Baker Washington where I rededicated my life to Christ and went on to be baptised.
I met my wife Patty Lou through related church affiliations and soon the friendship became marriage and she blessed me in many ways. Her strength and singularity in her faith was a wonderful constant for me as we have grown together. We faced difficult valleys together and finally were blessed with our girls. God has been ever present guiding us and using difficult times as teaching moments.
We moved away from the coast to Kelowna where God had some more life moments to face and all the while he was guiding us. Three years ago we heard there were good things happening at KGF church and decided to attend. It was about the last church I wanted to ‘visit’ in our church hopping. I said to God, “this is it”.. “I can’t do this anymore”. We need a church that we can connect and identify with ... and God has answered.
We are excited at what it happening at KGF as it grows. Most recently God is working with me and challenging my comfort zone. I so need to trust in him for our future as I contemplate the changes ahead. As men often we think that we can be completely independent when God has designed us to be dependent on him and interdependent on others. Prov 3:5 (msg) Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Romans 12:3 do not think of yourself too highly.. 12:5 We who are many form one body, each member belongs to the other.
Mike spoke through the series on identity and labels. I know “whose” I am and so God has a label for me ; forgiven. Romans 4:7 (nlt) Oh what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.
We are happy to identify and join with the KGF community.
I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home in Vancouver. When quite young a remember making a decision to follow Jesus; as a teenager I reaffirmed that decision. During my teen years I found my life verse 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.” This has indeed become true. Tim and I have been married for over 33 years; we have two amazing daughters Janessa and Noeloni.
Throughout my years of walking with God, I have often felt compelled to act. A situation or circumstance would arise and it just seemed it was an opportunity to love others. For a few years in Vancouver, Tim and I worked with Cambodian refugees enabling them to settle into Canada. Later we had the chance to come along side bereaved families and even started a support group. Lately we are involved with students and providing breakfast to kids in our local schools. We have tried to remain open to whatever direction God might be leading us. Currently we are looking to how we might “finish well”. It is unlikely either of us would be happy just sitting still, we are looking at what and how we might use all the years we to serve God.
Attending KGF has challenged me to re-think how I see myself Christian walk. There are times when I feel like I am working on my spiritual resume rather than working on my spiritual walk. I love it when we are encouraged to “read along” each week with the scripture that is being featured—it’s a great way to be doubly blessed by God’s word. We love being a part of this church family.
I was born in Edmonton Alberta and at the age of 3 moved with my family to Kelowna. My Dad became very involved in a local church and from my earliest memories I also seemed to be involved in some capacity. Being the oldest of 6 children did bring responsibilities and you just did what you needed to do to keep peace in the family and set a good example as the others were watching. Church was all I knew and up until my late teen age years never questioned it. At this stage of my life fear was the operative word as I was well aware of the rules and very conscious of it though when I broke them. I lived with a lot of condemnation and was not a happy person inside. Having said that compared to the rest of the world I was a good person. I was in a protected God fearing environment but lacking something.