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.

 

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 09:20

Topsy

I write to testify of my salvation in Christ. Born in a Christian family and my dad being the senior pastor of Deeper Life Bible Church as a missionary in Swaziland, I had a very firm upbringing. I later decided to give my life finally to Christ on the 13th March 2000. While in church, I heard a very touching message that day on the reality of heaven where all my worries and pain will be rolled away. It was there and then I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior

Since then, I have been baptized by immersion, and I have served in various units in the church such as the choir, and the intercessory group. While in Canada, I was thirsty and searching for a church that was Christ-centred and I found Kelowna Gospel Fellowship. I am proud and honored to be a member of the household of God and I will readily accept any opportunity given to me to serve God. 

Yours Faithfully,

Mfon Udo-mbang (Topsy)

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 09:14

Caylen

Well I don't have some grand, glorious story of how I came to Christ. My mom deiced to turn away from the occult and became a Christian when I was 4, so I've been a "Christian" pretty much my whole life.

I grew up in a pretty strict orthodox Christian church, where the love of rules and doctrine seemed to be more of a passion than learning about the man who gave up heaven to rescue a planet that had essentially turned its face on him. So what I learned, for most of my younger years in church, was how to act a good part and how to follow rules well.

In 2006 I went on a mission trip with Willow Park church to India, which began a 3 year journey into a deeper meaningful relationship with Jesus. 

The years following he started speaking to me, dissassembling the notions and ideas that I had adopted as truth, and he began to direct me towards the only Truth, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It wasn't long after this had began that I met my beautiful wife and she began to coach me and show me that there might be another way to see God. 

In 2012, I went up north to work in the oilfields to clear up some debt and save a bit of money, but just before I left, my cousin and I sat down one day and listened to a sermon called The True Gospel of Jesus. It painted a picture of how dark my heart was by nature and that there was no way I could ever earn Gods grace or his favor, that I was dead, floating in a pool of my sins, and that Jesus loved me so much that he came down from heaven dove into my filth to pull me out, put on my sinful soiled robes and wrap his own clean spotless robes around me, that he could call me his own. I started to understand that I could never earn the right to God's grace, but that it was a gift he gave to anyone, from any walk of life, and all I had to do was believe in him. That grabbed a hold of me, in a way nothing ever has before. When I started to realize that despite the rebellion in my heart towards God, despite being completely opposite to everything God is, He looked down and with his unfailing love and gave up his throne to die for hearts that hated him, all so that we might live with him in his holy kingdom, when that started to sink in, that is when I truly became a Christian. 

While I was away working on the rigs, I soaked in every sermon about the Grace of God that I could. Even though at the time I couldn't see it, going north was a sort of spiritual journey into the truth about God, my heart, and his plans for my life.

I don't Deserve God's Grace, but he has freely given it to me!!!

So my wife and I have been on a journey to find a church that preaches the True Gospel of Jesus, and I found it here at KGF.

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 09:13

Gaye

Not doubting God’s existence came for me through nursery/Sunday School in Vancouver … my family had been going to church way before I came on the scene. After moving down to California and my parents’ divorce, we (Mom and kids) didn’t return to church… ‘twas in the day when a divorcee with 4 kids were shunned in church, let alone not loved and welcomed in.

 

Though I always knew there was a God, I began searching for my beginnings (who am I, why am I) at 13, leading me through a number of churches with varying denominations. Through a dear friend then (and today), her pastor and Campus Life, I accepted Jesus as my Savior at 15 and baptized 6 months later (GREAT story there… for another time!).

 

The excitement I felt for Jesus, wanting to tell EVeryone about Him waned after the first year or so, sending me back into simply looking good on the outside - a type of denial of which I’d grown accustomed within my family. Don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel yet look good/’fine’ = the original working definition of the dysfunctional family. No one knew the struggles I had… I was ‘fine’! As my struggles grew through the years, so did my double life… leading Sunday School and ‘doing ministry’ within the church all the while in the middle of relationships that took my heart further and further away from Jesus. Each relationship became a compartmentalized closet in my heart with each door slammed shut and firmly locked …. So tight that He couldn’t get in, right?

 

Until my 29th year… when I learned of a worship leader’s conference and was strongly urged to attend. Even though I felt completely inadequate, I went wondering what in the world He had up His big sleeves! What He had in store for me was freedom, His immeasurable Love and grace! It was then that I accepted Jesus as my Lord, Lord of all my closets and locks, Lord of my ‘loves’ and Lord of my on-going recovery and healing, cleaning up my confused way of thinking and living. While the majority of this process was quite painful, it was incredibly freeing. He would always let me know (in my Knower) how much He loved me each step of the way, especially before the next painful venture, memory or realization.

 

And THEN, at 41, He called me to an awakening… what if I have the same life in 20 years as I have now (with a dog, a cat, a garden, living alone)... what then? All I could say was Yes Lord, as long as I can keep growing closer to You, Yes. And I felt peace… amazing peace. Three months later, attending a conference I knew He wanted me to attend (yet another story for another time!), I met a man who was unlike any other I’d been in relationship with before. God’s hand was in the whole thing… the meeting, the ongoing details, the long distance communication, and called both of us to the rhythm of surrender right up to the moment Todd proposed and forward! We married 5 months later and have been on a crazy, incredibly challenging at times, yet wonder-filled journey these 16 years. There are many other stories I wish I could share here… God-incidences… and how He got us through but yes, those too will be for another time!! Just suffice it to say that through it all God remains faithful, gracious and loving to us … how can I not choose to keep saying yes to Him, to the rhythm of surrender, and to letting His love flow through?

 

And I say yes to Him about KGF too… I am looking forward to seeing what He has in store for us… for me…  here within the family at KGF! We ARE loved!

Monday, 21 November 2016 13:47

Kelsey Chan

My journey in faith started when I was in middle school. My parents were non-believers so I was never exposed to how the love of God could change life so much. I met a friend that invited me to attend youth group with her on Thursday’s and it quickly became the highlight of my week. The feeling I was having confused and scared me since it was so different from my families teaching. When I reached high school distractions got in the way and I attempted to use logic to explain away the feelings I had before. I continued along with life, with this hole inside of me. I was always looking for something to fill it up, be it friends, boyfriends, activities… No matter what I did I never felt complete.

God intervened in my life at the time when I needed it most. I was just about to finish the nursing program and I felt entirely lost at what life was going to be like. It was Halloween of 2013 when God led me to a Halloween Party where I met Jeff, this event changed my life forever. Not only did God give me a loving partner but it was this man that led me back to faith permanently. Jeff attended KGF on Sundays when he could with his work schedule and I started to attend along with him. Now I cannot pinpoint when exactly it all changed for me, what the moment was when I  accepted God into my heart. However my heart started feeling lighter, stresses came my way and I found myself looking to God and knowing that everything was in His control.

John 6:35

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Kelsey Chan

Monday, 21 November 2016 13:44

Jeff Chan

My name is Jeffrey Chan and I'm a 25 year old registered nurse with Interior Health. I grew up in Richmond, BC and came to Kelowna when I finished high school for post secondary education.

Nobody in my family was religious growing up, but they were all somewhat spiritual to at least a small extent - I guess it would be more fair to call them 'agnostic'. They never used the word 'Jesus' specifically, but in Chinese, we have a term for the one greater god, which literally translates to 'King above the sky", and that's who we would refer to when praying.

My spiritual journey was often a wishy-washy path that I'd go on and off of depending on the time in my life, but it truly began in 2012 during a very dark time in my life. It started with a combination of situational crises and the loss of someone important, which sent me spiralling into a pit of hopelessness, despair, and depression. Coupled with chronic nightmares and insomnia, I came to the lowest point in my life where I questioned my own sanity.

During this time, I sought different forms of help in the community, but nothing seemed to be able to fill that void or give me relief for a long enough time to matter. I had some hobbies and pastimes that would offer me some temporary respite, but they were merely distractions from my reality. And although it was essential, it didn't allow me to truly begin my healing.

It wasn't until a friend introduced me to prayer, and suggested that I need more than just distractions to get through painful times. Several months of prayer, questioning my place in life, and mostly-healthy-coping skills later, I was introduced to KGF Church by a friend, and I was inspired by a sermon given by Pastor Mike and Pastor Jinger.

I continued coming to KGF and, over the course of several more months, I began to grow and heal. I wasn't even aware of the healing taking place until one day I noticed I was smiling again, surrounded by incredible and supportive friends, and in love with this girl that would one day eventually become my wife.

I just want to say to the people who are in that dark pit of hopelessness and despair that there really is no quick and easy fix - and that the only things that can truly fill that void that life left in your heart is time and to trust in the Lord's plans for you.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."  ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, 17 November 2016 11:34

Angie

Although I was born in Vancouver, I arrived in Kelowna when I was four, and I have called it home for the main part of my life. I grew up on orchards and vineyards, so I feel deeply connected to Kelowna's farming history.

I knew I wanted to be teacher from a very young age, and planned on attending college right out of high school. Because French immersion became an important part of education around that time, my dad insisted that I learn French so I would be assured a job. So, I spent my next six years of education learning French by living in Quebec and getting a degree in French Literature in addition to my teaching degree.  

I moved back to my hometown of Kelowna and began teaching in the old KSS building in 1991. I meandered through a few schools, and even taught elementary for a couple of years while my two children, Tavisha (20) and Nico (19) were quite young. I have been settled in middle school since 2005, and spent the last ten at KLO Middle School. I pursued a counselling degree, and am now working through my first year as a school counsellor at Glenrosa Middle School, where I find constant opportunities to share Jesus' love, though seldom openly. This is the sad reality in our schools. I have always had a heavy burden for our youth, and feel that is my biggest and most enduring calling and one of our biggest challenges right now as a nation.

God has always had his hand on my life. Because I was from a Christian home, I accepted Jesus early on and was baptized at 12 years old in the old Evangel Tabernacle building on Bertram. I attended that church for my formative years, and my parents continue to call it home.  My path was not always straight in my teens, but God always found ways to keep me seeking Him. I know without a doubt that His hand has always been on my life, and that small, or even big miracles have occurred to respond to my doubts and concerns in the best way for me. I know the bible to be the true, living, powerful and enduring Word of God. 

I have joined this church to seek community, mentoring, opportunity to serve, accountability and a place to worship my God. I believe the faithful are being challenged greatly in this age, and I believe the Christian community needs to continue to persevere in His love and the knowledge of the gospel, so that we can be effective servants used to spread hope and love to our city and to the world.

I look forward to being a part of this community.

Thursday, 17 November 2016 11:33

Pearl and Ernie

Hello, let us introduce ourselves. Ernie and I grew up in Manitoba in Christian homes where the value of God first, and loving others through our actions and hospitality were basic.Ernie became a Christian as a child at his bedside with his mother, but it was only after we met, and he started to come to my church in Wpg that he decided to be baptized. As a child in Winnipeg, my parents taught the love of Jesus as well, and at age 9 (after some controversy in my very conservative church), I was baptized, much to my joy. That witness was the focal point for my growing up years that helped me focus on who was the center of my being.

Now Ernie and I have lived and loved together for the last 37 years. We have raised four children, and have seven grandchildren – all of whom we value and love. Both Ernie and I have grown in our dependence on the Lord over the years as we experienced the ups and downs of parenting and careers. This year God has been especially close as we have traveled a rough path that demanded our dependence on Him. 

Part of this year was a move from Penticton to Kelowna. Our career priorities are shifting, and family needs mean being here is the right place for us. We love being closer to the church we have made home for the last 5 years already, and now we are happy to join in membership. 

As family needs have made this a tough year worshiping and holding fast to our faith has kept us strong. We sing with Jeremiah “Great is Thy faithfulness” ( Lam3.23). As we walk through the fire we can also say “we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us” (1Jn4.16). We look forward to serving and worshiping in this family of God, and as witnesses to His love fully embrace the motto of the Christian school here: God first, others second, me third.

Thursday, 17 November 2016 11:27

Serge

Life before Jesus…

I was born in Fiji Islands and youngest of 5 children. We emigrated to England when I was 3 years old.

In England was the first exposure to the Bible and Jesus. However my family were Sikhs, so I was raised as a Sikh.

At 50 I had a triple heart bypass and 3 months later a major stoke. We finally moved to Kelowna in 2008 and a year later I had pancreatitis and was in a coma for a month. I was lucky to be alive. However my personality had changed. 

We started a restaurant with no experience and made it the best award wining Indian Restaurant in the Okanagan. Over the 6 years my personality deteriorated and I alienated my family and wife. I used profanity, short tempered, feeling everyone was working against me. I was intolerable to be honest.

 

Jesus and I

I ended up, against common sense, buying another restaurant.  After a few months the business deteriorated and no matter what I did I could not win the community. I lost all my savings. Then I hit the lowest point of my life – broken family, failing business, not friends, no savings. I became suicidal and depressed. That night driving back home I cried all the way and I prayed the best I could in the car to Jesus. I prayed with my heart and soul. I got home and went to bed.  In bed I prayed and then acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God and that He was resurrected after 3 days. I acknowledged he died for my sins. That night I went though as many sins as I could recall and begged for forgiveness. I slept peacefully for the first time in years.

Next morning I woke up a changed man. I knew in my heart to stop immediately any use of profanity, curb my temper, turn the other cheek, not drink, forgive those who trespass against me and the list goes on. I did a 180 degree turn of my life. My family had noticed the change and we are back together. I hid the fact that I was a Christian from them. 

A month later I acknowledged to my family I was a Christian. Their initial reaction was I am going though another one of my phases. 

I personally could not get enough of the Bible. I read the New Testament from Mathew through to Revelations. Then I started from Genesis right though to Revelations again. In my car I have an audio book of the bible and listen everyday to it.

Things got better but God had other plans and tested my faith. The business deteriorated and I used my pension to ensure my staff had a job to come to. 

I reached out to many Pastors and only one replied. Pastor Mike. We arranged to meet for coffee. He changed my life and directed me closer to Jesus. 

 

Jesus my Saviour.

Pastor Mike invited me to Church and I was scared to be honest. A brown guy going to a Christian Church. Pastor Mike introduced me to the staff of KGF.

Finally I got the courage to go to Church on a Sunday. All greeted me with so much love and joy. One in particular who stands out is Mary. She is a true blessing. She guides me and shows genuine sincerity and love.

Several months ago I lost everything. Not once during this time did I lose faith. My love for Jesus increased. I had never blamed Jesus for my failure. I kept my faith in Him. I proved to myself this was not a phase I was going through. It was for real.

I have found Jesus and know that He loves me. I have found a home at KGF and know I am loved. At KFG I also have found a family.

This makes me the richest man alive!

Thank you Jesus for saving me when this sheep was lost for so long.

Thursday, 17 November 2016 11:24

Todd R.

I wasn't raised in a Christian home but my grandmother took me to church when I was five. For a time, my parents had us kids in Sunday school because the church offered a convenient pick-up and drop-off service. To this day I can still sing the songs I learned at such an impressionable age.

Although I belong to a loving family, during my elementary and adolescent years I struggled with self-acceptance mainly because my two older brothers were very different from me: Athletic and very popular. I was more into academics and electronics and had troubles making friends after our family moved across the country when I was in the fifth grade.

The onset of puberty brought a whole new round of challenges including cystic acne and weight gain, which led me to reject my body causing identity issues and disorientation. In my early twenties I became sexually promiscuous and very adventurous in my efforts to gain acceptance and validation of the broken pieces of me that I so desperately wanted to put together.

Up until this time my view of religion was that there was nothing wrong with it for those who needed that kind of support. But it wasn't for me... sure I had problems, but I wasn't THAT desperate.

I was soon introduced to the bar scene and every weekend I was drinking too much and searching for hookups. One night I was talking to a couple of guys who told me they were in a group who met every week to talk about their stuff. They said this group was helping them to understand the reasons for their sexually-charged struggles and the power of addiction. They invited me to join them for a meeting and some of what they were saying was making sense to me. So I went and I can remember that meeting like it was just yesterday.

I look around the cramped room and notice the wide variety of people who all want something different for themselves. The leader presents a little talk about something called a "step" and then one by one everyone shares about their week. I am amazed at how honest everyone is; some of what I hear is a little frightening. I start to feel like maybe I don't have it so bad. It's time to pray and since I don't know what prayer is or how to do it; my friend tells me that I can just listen. So I listen to their words and I get that they are all talking to "God". And it's obvious it makes them feel better and this is surprisingly comfortable for me. The meeting ends and someone offers a hug and I gratefully accept. And with that it's time to go and I am invited to return next week. I decide that I will.

These meetings continue for months and each time I feel like I am gaining understanding about my feelings and struggles. It's like a giant jigsaw puzzle is coming together piece by piece and I am very encouraged. My friend invites me to his church and we join the choir. Honestly, the choir is the main reason I go every week because I have troubles staying awake that early on a Sunday morning and the minister isn't a very dynamic speaker.

Unfortunately my addictions are strong and my struggles continue, and on occasion I act out on them. But one day at work after a very rough night on the town, I have a heaviness in my chest that I had never felt before. In a very unlikely place (a bathroom stall) I am overwhelmed with shame and guilt for my actions the night before and I begin to cry. As the tears stream down my face, I talk with God and I ask Him to forgive me. I ask for His help. He says yes. I say yes. Then I go back to work.

I continued with this drop-in group for two years and then spent two years in a more intensive weekly program. I found a different church with an excellent teaching pastor and a vibrant choral program that pulled me in again. 

One night at home I had another unusual moment with God through an unlikely song. I am listening to a Shania Twain album and during the song "From This Moment" God begins to speak to my heart. The lyrics in the song wash over me and as the tears fall I sing to God and He to me in this duet.

(I do swear that I'll always be there.

I'd give anything and everything and I will always care.

Through weakness and strength, happiness and sorrow,

for better for worse, I will love you with

every beat of my heart.)

From this moment life has begun

From this moment you are the one

Right beside you is where I belong

From this moment on

 

From this moment I have been blessed

I live only for your happiness

And for your love I'd give my last breath

From this moment on

 

I give my hand to you with all my heart

Can't wait to live my life with you, can't wait to start

You and I will never be apart

My dreams came true because of you

 

From this moment as long as I live

I will love you, I promise you this

There is nothing I wouldn't give

From this moment on

 

You're the reason I believe in love

And you're the answer to my prayers from up above

All we need is just the two of us

My dreams came true because of you

 

From this moment as long as I live

I will love you, I promise you this

There is nothing I wouldn't give

From this moment

I will love you as long as I live

From this moment on 

 

I decide then and there that I am totally at peace with spending the rest of my days as a single man in love with God and desperate to serve Him.

The following summer I am at a conference at Wheaton College just outside Chicago. I am involved in leadership as a consultant and I have created a new team position that requires a lot of one-on-one time with the volunteer in this position. As we spend more and more time together, it becomes clear that God is up to something VERY surprising. I tell my roommate one night that I think she might be "the one". She agrees to keep in touch after the conference and returns to Los Angeles while I return to Calgary.

Three months of endless email and phone calls and I visit her in L.A. -- I come prepared. After one final confirmation checkin with God, I get the green light and I propose. She is VERY surprised and after the shock, she says YES! We are married five months later and while our personalities are nearly polar opposites, there is no doubt at all that we are made for each other. And we are together in God's perfectly divine timing. 

I still believe that marriage is not for everyone. And I wouldn't suggest marriage unless you can first be at peace without it, and second, you both (and those who know you) are convinced that God is putting you together. For me, knowing this has pulled us through the unavoidable challenges of life. There is no Plan B for either of us. So this means we work it out, with Him and in Him. Until He calls us Home. 

By God's Grace, I was merely whole enough to get married and my love for my wife grows day by day as He reveals the true gift she is to my walk. My faith is deeper than ever and I have revived my Gifts of teaching and helping to finally fulfill my Calling. God is so faithful! In the meantime, the journey to wholeness continues on this side of Heaven.

The Sunday School song returns once again... my cup is full and running over. Indeed!

Thursday, 17 November 2016 11:22

Kiah

God has taken away the things I used to define myself as in order to bring me to a place where who I am is defined solely by him and therefore all of my value and worth and purpose is too.  

Along with losing my old identity came a loss of confidence; not knowing exactly who I was anymore or what my life would look like having God in complete control felt amazing but a little scary too. Now I feel like He is showing me that I don't need to have any fear or anxiety about my future because he knew the plans he had for me even before I was born and whatever my future holds he is looking out for me and wants the very best for my life. 

It is a peaceful thought knowing that the God of this world, the creator of the universe, cares about me and has a purpose for me in this life. Even when the odds aren't in my favor I can rest knowing that God has complete control over every situation and if he wants something to happen he will make it happen; I don't have to worry about taking things into my own hands and needing to get through things on my own. 

I am excited to take this next step in faith with God and use it as a tangible reminder of my commitment to let Him take over my life and lead me along the path he has planned. 

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