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I was born into a poor, hard-working Roman Catholic family in a farming community. We never missed church on Sunday and prayed at bedtime. As a teenager I was very dedicated to being a good student, never touched liquor or drugs, and had a serving heart.
I understand now that the RC faith had roadblocks in developing a personal relationship with Jesus. But my Dad’s leadership in teaching morals, discipline, the importance of prayer, and the meaning of holy communion opened my heart to search for more meaning than ceremony, statues, and rote responses.
I married my high school sweetheart, an irregular church-goer, in a Protestant church. Alone in church most times with my three children, God led me to strengthen my faith. Besides working as a Dental Hygienist, I dedicated my time and energy to teaching kids in Sunday School and worship music, and for many years I organized the children’s programs at church.
Because my husband and I wanted different things, our marriage and my health collapsed. God had even placed a pastor next door, but we were blind to God’s beckoning! After a bitter divorce, I searched for The One who had held my hand during years of neglect and disappointment. I remember feeling His presence more than ever.
During that period, God placed a Godly man in my pathway. I married him (Mel) four years later. Together we sought to rebuild with Jesus as the centre of our lives. I had been baptised as an infant, but because I felt a strong desire to make a public statement about my Christ-centred life, I was re-baptised ten years ago.
Since that day, there has been no hesitation as to what choices I make and what paths I walk. With every word and action, I hold myself accountable to Christ. I have learned how to trust his love and to surrender to Him. I take every opportunity to make every moment “Christ-led” and I make my decisions based on “What would Jesus have done and what would he want me to do?” in every situation I encounter.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 “And we exhort you brothers. Warn those who are irresponsible, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
I've always believed in Christ, but have spent a lot of time walking away from Him. It was easier to live the life I thought I wanted if He wasn't in the picture. But He kept insisting on being with me throughout my life. After a few discussions, I caved in and told Him, "Okay, I give up! Let me see what you're all about." Bar none, it was the best decision I have ever made!
I was "christened" as an infant in the Catholic Church and as an adult I was baptized in the LDS church. When I was a kid, I was always afraid of God, never thinking of Him as my Heavenly Father. I thought he was just some mean old guy that scared the stuffing out of me! I was afraid that every little thing I did wrong would send me to hell. Not the kind, warm, and loving Father I wanted to meet!
Sadly, I continued to have those thoughts as an adult. But thankfully I came to believe, through much prayer and feeling/listening to the Holy Spirit, that the Father was not who I thought He was. I believe that God's message is a simple one. It draws us to Him, rather than scaring us away! I know that there is a right and a wrong in all things, but I also know that He knows we're going to mess up. If we just go to Him in repentance, He will forgive and always love.
I believe that my Father wants us all to know that it's so easy if we just keep things "simple" and quit trying trying to complicate things. Sometimes easier said than done, isn't it! My favourite verses in the Bible are John 3:16 and Psalm 23. They both fill my heart and soul and make me cry! I just need to say the first line of Psalm 23 and it fills me up with love, hope, and peace.
I came to Canada from China eight months ago. I wanted to make more friends and I also needed to improve my English. My friend Jenny invited me to come to KGF, where I met Millie and Jim. They help me to study the Bible. I had never read Bible before, and at first I did not understand anything. They were patient to teach me and help me study Bible. I realized that Jesus is the only way to God. Christ died for us. Jesus will forgive my sin and take away all my sin. He cleans my heart from every wrong. I asked Jesus to come into my life and guide me.
I was blessed as a child because I was taught how much God loves me. What a gift!At age 12, during summer bible camp, I gave my life to Christ. After receiving Christ I wanted to live my life to glorify His kingdom, and put my selfish ways aside.
Philippians 2: 3-4 (NIV) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
P.S. Thanks to every one of you who has held open the church doors for myself and my 2 young children in their red wagon.
I was born in Collingwood, ON and raised in a great family. Our family attended church when I was young and I was baptised at a young age, but I never understood it. As soon as my sister and I were old enough to have a say, we stopped going to church. From that point on I said I didn't believe in God. I ridiculed God, religion and anyone who believed in Him. This continued into my early 30s.
Around the age of 32, God started showing Himself to me--or at least when I started noticing Him. After a lifetime of alcoholism and addiction, one day I just stopped. At that point I sought out the help I needed. I know it was God helping me because I had tried to quit on my own for years, with no results. All of a sudden one day, the chains were broken. This was around the time I met my wife Crystal, who is a Christian, and Pastor Don Richmond. Both have walked by my side on my journey and I am very grateful that God put them in my life.
I struggled with God for another 6 or 7 years until, one day, I prayed. I asked God to make my wife pregnant. We had been trying for two years with no success. I told him I would surrender to Him, and believe, and follow Him if He would answer my prayer. Four days later, Crystal came home with a positive pregnancy test! Now it was my turn to hold up my end of the bargain.
My new found faith was awesome and I was happy with my choice to follow Jesus. I called myself a Christian and looked forward to my future as a Christian. Then tragedy struck and our unborn son died when Crystal was 6 1/2 months pregnant. Max was stillborn on June 1, 2014. Our lives were immediately turned upside-down. I blamed God! I wanted our deal to be off. I cursed Him and I cursed at Him! It has been hard to feel close to God or feel His presence since then, and again I find myself struggling with Christianity and God. Sometimes I feel stuck because it is the only way I will get to see my son. I have hope that being baptised will bring me closer to God and allow me to be a better person--someone more like Jesus!
My name is Jenny. I was born in Suzhou, China, a city close to Shanghai. I immigrated to Kelowna, Canada in 2014 with my daughter and husband. When I was a child, my grandma raised me. She is a Christian. In China, just a few people know Jesus. There is only one church in my city. My grandma took me to the church every Sunday. She told the stories of the Bible every day before I went to sleep.
When I came to KGF, I felt welcome and happiness. I met many new friends. They have been teaching me English and telling me about Jesus, like my grandma used to. I believe Jesus and follow him like grandma wanted. I want to learn more about Jesus. I know that I’m a sinner. I believe Jesus died on the cross for me. I hope Jesus comes into my life, forgives me for my sins, and saves me.
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!