Life Stories (212)
I grew up in a loving and supportive Christian family. I can’t ever remember not having God as the Lord of my life. I was involved in the Mennonite Church throughout my childhood. I was blessed to have gone to a Mennonite elementary school where most of my Christian faith was founded. I remember teaching a few of my neighbourhood friends about Jesus, and that around 11 or 12, I recommitted my life to Christ after feeling that I should take my faith more seriously.
I was involved in my youth group at Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary and had the most amazing and godly youth pastor and sponsors. They lived out their faith in real ways and helped answer questions about living out my faith in the world today.
I was baptized at 15 and became a member of my church. I loved the larger Mennonite Church and enjoyed going to camp and youth events sponsored by the General Conference Church. It was so fun to meet other believers across the country and feel connected through our faith and the Church. I served on the Alberta Mennonite Youth Organization for 2 years as secretary.
The Christian faith has always been part of my life, although it’s taken on some different forms. I knew that God loved us, but towards the end of high school, I came to realize that being a Christian also meant I could have a positive outlook on life with much joy and community.
Later on in University, I learned that there were many sound reason to believe what I had heretofore taken for granted. Whenever I ask hard questions about my faith, I’m comforted to find reasonable answers which I believe to be true and can share with others.
I don’t believe that our faith journeys are completely linear and that the ‘pre’ and ‘post’ salvation sequence will be neat and tidy. My walk with God has included messy times. Each time, I would return to God in repentance.
I grew up with parents who taught me about Jesus and made my spiritual development a priority. I have fond memories of feeling God’s presence and joy in my heart. I spent most of my school years in a Christian school which was a great experience for me. I recall nights of praising God until the wee hours of the night and feeling His presence as close as a friend or brother.
Despite these wonderful experiences, I still had times of wavering and making poor lifestyle choices. After a painful time in my life, I felt God had let me down, that since I had served God for most of my life, He owed me a safe and happy life. I know that God doesn’t promise to shield us from hardship, but I used this as an excuse to let God slide.
I was raised in a loving Christian home, and grew up in Willow Park Church. I have always believed in Christ, but not always followed him consistently. In high school, I became involved with a group of friends who led me away from Christ. After high school, I moved in with some of my friends and gradually got into partying. The following year was filled with doing my own thing and not allowing Christ to guide my life.
As it turned out, it took my Grandpa’s fatal heart attack to turn my life back around. I was working with him in Vernon, where he and my Grandma lived. They were such an inspiration to me. Every day I would go over there for lunch and without fail, they prayed and talked openly about Christ, which wasn’t foreign to me, but definitely got me thinking. They would have their Daily Bread on the table with they read together every morning. It was all these little things that made a positive impression on me.
I was born in Manitoba to a Christian family. My father was a lay pastor to a Russian congregation. Sunday was the best day of the week for me, as that was when we had our best meals, dressed up, attended church and visited with many friends. My parents were very strict, and I had the notion that to be a Christian was, “thou shalt not” and “you can’t do this, and you can’t do that.” So I tried to be good and please others.
We moved to Ontario where I attended school in a Mennonite area. The MB church there was experiencing revival as many of the kids came to school happy as can be telling everyone that they were “saved.” They witnessed to their friends. I was influenced and impacted by them. I, too, wanted to be “saved” but didn’t know how to go about it!
A few years later, when I was twelve, our Russian church had special meetings, and at one, I was one of several who “walked the aisle” seeking forgiveness. I still had the notion that I must be good, rather than putting my trust in Christ.
At an early age, I knew I was a sinner, and though corrected by my parents, I continued to displease God. Our pastor taught us the results of sin would be death and hell if we did not receive Jesus Christ as our Saviour. He paid for our sins’ penalty by dying on the cross.
This was quite heavy for a six-year-old, but I knew it was true. I wanted to be a part of God’s family and live with Him in Heaven.
After some days of evangelistic meetings, an invitation was given. I raised my hand, but being a child, this was not recognized. However, my mother leaned over the bench from behind and told me Jesus understood what I wanted. You might say the evangelist scared the “you know what” out of me and I was thankful he did. So was my mother!
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know God, talk to Him, or sense He had a plan for my life; but I also held a mistaken belief that if I spoke and acted “rightly”, I could earn God’s love. Jesus wasn’t my Savior - He was my “meal ticket.” I believed God would reward me if I had the right answers in Sunday school, obeyed my parents and played nicely with my sister.
My belief was broken by two events: my parents’ divorce when I was eight and my mother’s remarriage five years later. My family’s breakdown had not been part of my plan. I began to resent the God I had been striving to please. When I was sixteen, I told God I wanted Him to leave me alone.
For two years I rebelled, trying to lose my pain in alcohol and drugs. Two weeks before my eighteenth birthday, I had a close call with death. I awakened in my room, when I probably shouldn’t have. My Bible, which had sat untouched on a bookshelf for months, was lying open on the floor. Curiously, I skimmed the page, and my eyes rested on a verse - Psalm 118:18, “I shall not die, but I shall live and recount the deeds of the Lord.” I felt God say to me, “Why are you wasting your life?”
My name is Caleb and I was born in Vancouver after my parents immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong. I was blessed to have Christian parents who instilled God’s values into my life: to be polite, respectful, honest, and hardworking. Much of who I am is due to the training and disciplining I received from my parents.
At an early age, I knew my parents were Christians. I had just assumed that I too was a Christian, because my parents were Christians. I was wrong. As I grew up, getting into trouble, and not always treating others well, I realized that God only had children, not grandchildren. I wasn’t automatically a Christian just because my parents were Christians; I realized that I had to make a personal choice to be a Christian. So around the age of 8, I decided to become a Christian, to become a follower of Jesus, to become a child of God.
I grew and matured, and was a pretty good kid. However, I was not a very good Christian, because through high school, I was embarrassed to tell others that I was a Christian. But God was patient and slowly worked in my life. I learned more about Him and His character, and enough to be obedient in following His desire for me to be baptized in 1982.
I grew up in Campbell River with four brothers, and parents who made sure we attended church on Sundays. Even so, we never talked about a personal relationship with Christ. I was exposed to and participated in many things before I think I was actually mature enough to understand or handle them.
During my senior years of high school, I attended a Bible study through Young Life. After graduation, I started to enjoy the life of partying, boys and sometimes drugs, until it lead me to a situation that I left me feeling unclean. I remember some of the talks from Bible study and that the only way to cleanse myself was to ask Jesus into my life. So one evening I went to the leader’s house and asked if they would pray with me as I felt I needed to ask Jesus to cleanse me of my sins. Even though God in all his grace did forgive me and cleansed me, I struggled living a life for Him. I was baptized in 1985 thinking it was the right thing to do and maybe it would help me live a purer life. A few months later I moved to Prince George and gave up on my Christian life as I couldn’t let go of the partying lifestyle.
Three years later, life was ugly, the party was no fun and I was depressed.
Our God is such a meddler, and for that I am so thankful!
Growing up, I went to church, but didn’t know what it meant to be a Christian. I became one at VBS when I was 6. We would be asked if anyone wanted to accept Jesus into his heart. My soul felt the weight of that question. One day, I gave in to what my soul was telling me: this was very important and I needed to do it. But Jesus was more of a ‘magic eraser’ than a friend.
I met people that glowed. And because God made me a girl, I’m attracted to sparkly things. What underlying radiating qualities did they have that I didn’t? Through them I learned that God was good and caring.
I thank God my parents divorced while I was still young (12), because my faith was still so simple. I knew I had the choice to either trust God, or toss it aside. But the Holy Spirit prodded me into trusting Him, and God turned a horrible thing into quite a beauty, as He would and will continue to do in my life.