This October, a diverse group of people are publicly declaring their faith through baptism at Christ Community Church. Each of them has a story to tell of how they came to know and walk with Jesus Christ.
Their stories are powerful and life-changing. What's YOUR story?
Blackberry Creek Campus
St. Charles Campus
Their stories are powerful and life-changing. What's YOUR story?
Blackberry Creek Campus
|Javier Burgos||My faith journey started during my youth while living in the city of Chicago. My family and I attended Catholic mass/worship at Saint Boniface Catholic Church in what is now called “East Village”. Father Gene a priest at the church shaped my early faith with God and Jesus Christ.
Through my journey, God and Christ our Lord have always accompanied me but it was not until my beautiful and wonderful wife (Susan Burgos) introduced me to Christ Community Church over ten years ago that I truly started to understand what the Lord was calling me to do. I now can fully appreciate and understand the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ dying on the cross.
I can truly say my life has changed. Today, I surrender my soul, my faith and my spirit to the Lord for him to guide me and allow me to work with his purpose in my life. I know there will still be trials and tribulations, but I am better prepared to face these trials and tribulations with my faith and trust in the Lord. The Lord has prepared me to be a better husband, father, son, brother, boss and overall person. Psalm 144:1 says, “Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” I am a warrior for our LORD ready to fight the battle.
|Addison Metoyer||I can’t remember my life before Christ. I was baptized when I was an infant. I didn't understand what that meant and it wasn't my decision. I am thankful my parents wanted me to live a life in Christ.
I was in 1st grade and my Dad told me how it feels to give your life to God. I told my dad I wanted to follow God. That day I said prayer to God telling Him I wanted to follow Him.
Cesar and Andrea Chavez were my KidsWorld teachers and a huge influence on me. In KidsWorld they taught me more about God. They encouraged me and made learning about God interesting and fun.
As I grow I love serving with my mom at church and going to church events. I ask others if they go to church and talk to them about God. I tell them how much I love our church because you can come however you are. Recently I learned from Russ Piszczek another KidsWorld teacher, how to pray for others using Psalms 67:1, “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us.” I like how I can put any name in place of the word us.
Because of all the great people God has put into my life I have decided I want to teach other people about God. I am a helper in KidsWorld and I am excited to live the rest of my life for Christ and I pray that God uses me to influence others.
|Dakota Shatters||My grandparents Oma and Poppa and my mom started to show me I needed Christ by bringing me to Awana and my mom brought me to Christ Community Church. Through my learning I have realized I needed Christ in my life.
When I was in the car one day I heard a song about praying to Jesus in our heart and so I asked my Mom what it was about and she explained to me what it meant to ask Jesus to be our Savior. So I asked my mom if I could do that-so we prayed together.
I feel that I'm a better person because I follow Christ. When I want to do something wrong Christ leads me in the right path. When I pray it makes me feel better knowing Christ is in my life, I know I can behave and act more like he wants me to. I took Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I now know I will be with him forever!
|Carter Solgos||Because I grew up in a Christian home, I feel like I have always known Jesus. I was born with a heart defect, and I think Jesus knew I needed him since I was a baby, because He needed to protect me during my surgeries. Jesus has helped me to be brave and calm during my surgeries and all my medical tests and appointments.
When I was 8 years old, my mom and dad took me for healing prayer with the elders of our church. I was about to have another big heart surgery! My mom and dad talked to me in the car on the way there about Jesus and how he died for my sins so I could go to heaven. I knew what they were telling me was true. I can say for sure, that from that point on, Jesus is my Savior and I will go to heaven when I die.
My favorite Bible verse is Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I know that I don’t need to worry because God is with me and He is with you too. Jesus is my ultimate superhero!
|Therese Solgos||When I lived with my birth mom in Burkina Faso as a young girl, I was very, very sick. I had a serious heart problem and was very sick with malaria. Many times I could have died, but I now believe Jesus saved my life.
When I was six years old, I had to live in an orphanage. I was so sad because I wanted to live with my family, but that was not possible for many reasons I could not understand. It was this sadness in my heart that showed me my need for Jesus.
In December of 2008, when I was 8 years old, I asked Jesus to be my savior at a Christmas event for sponsored children at my orphanage. We had made colorful bracelets that explained the story of salvation, and later that night, when some short- term missionaries invited me to pray and ask Jesus to be my savior- I did!
Now I have a totally new life. In 2010 I was adopted into my new family. I had my heart surgery so now I can run and play sports without getting sick.
My name Therese means “harvester”. My birth mom gave me that name. My middle name is Evangeline, and my adoptive mom gave me that name. God has given me a big story to tell. I want to use my story so many people can know God, too.
|Laura Weir||I grew up in a small Methodist church where I was baptized as an infant. I always thought it was enough to believe in God and live what I thought was a life of Christ-like characteristics. Just over a year ago, I was invited to CCC by Jen Sternberg. Little did I know the amount of peace and strength that would come flowing into my life over the next year when I most expected overwhelming chaos based on current life events!
One Sunday at the closing of a service, Jon Culver asked us to share what we expected to see in Heaven. I did NOT have an answer! I was so wrapped up in my own brokenness and the here and now of everyday affairs that I had failed to seek a personal relationship with the Lord all those years. This eventually led me to receive Christ’s forgiveness for myself.
I have been welcomed into two Community Groups where I’ve been guided in developing a relationship with Christ through scripture, prayer, accountability, encouragement, and of course, love and grace.
Each day as I grow in His word, I am awestruck by the power and hope in putting my trust and faith in God!
|David Barner|| After much pondering throughout the years, I came to the conclusion that it is way beyond coincidence and chance how our universe exists in all its splendor and perfect harmony and that without Christ our life is self-centered and without purpose.
Ever since I can remember, I used to wonder about the validity and origin of GOD and why we came to be. I was raised in a traditional Lutheran background and was even baptized as a baby. However, none of that ever held any real or meaningful significance to me. Especially since there was a plethora of religions out there that all seemed to hold their own unique perspective on life and how to live it.
Two pivotal moments which stands out towards my walk towards accepting Christ was when I was in college there was a debate between faculty members on the truth behind Creation vs. Evolution. That started me thinking that even highly educated people believed in GOD. The other, was when my Brother-in-Law took me to a Church event about 28 years ago. It involved a group of men, called the Power Team, who did feats of strength in the name of Jesus. It was then that I realized that even powerful men feared the Lord and accepting Christ was independent of how smart you are or capabilities you have.
After college, I married a wonderful woman who was raised by a strong Christian family. I have been blessed by their influence and more importantly by how my wife lives her life through Christ’s grace.
I accepted Christ about 13 years ago during an Easter Service. However, today I want to publicly affirm my faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ!
Although far from perfect, I now try to live my own life in a way that tries to please GOD and have a much better appreciation for the Bible being life’s manual that HE provided us. Life has purpose and meaning for me to honor GOD and I now am emboldened to acknowledge and share my faith with others. I approach life with far less fear and concern since I know that it is GOD’s will be done!
|Emma Barner||I had a hard time understanding God as a kid, and doubted His existence. I didn't understand how so many bad things could happen to people. Eventually I came to understand that it wasn't God who actually did evil things, it was a combination of sin and the influence of the Devil. I also struggled with a sense of purpose in life. I always had this anger, selfishness, judgement, pride, and hatred just built up around my heart. I would always blame God for everything, but he still loved me no matter what I did or what I said. That's just a little sliver of his love for us!
One day, I just recognized his love, and how he does everything for a purpose, and he doesn't put us through a challenge that we can't handle; because we can handle anything through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. I prayed that night at my bedside, with many tears in my eyes; because I had accepted Christ into my life, and asked for his forgiveness. I felt instantly forgiven, and just so cared for because God loves us unconditionally!
Since then, I've become more informed of His word, more wise, just an overall true follower of Christ! I'm a princess of my Almighty, Father God!
|Samuel Barner||Hi, my name is Sam Barner. I am 9 years old and I am in 4th Grade.
I put my faith in Jesus Christ to forgive my sins and I want to have a true relationship with GOD.
My Mom and Dad are so joyful for me! They say that I am a really good runner and that I have a great beginning with Jesus and that it is very important for me to finish the race I started with Jesus in my life.
|Ed Bauler||I grew up in Chicago and went to Catholic schools. I was a Catholic for many years but I fell away. I lost my wife of 42 yrs in feb 2014. I got depressed and turned to gambling . We lived in Las Vegas. I moved from Vegas to il to be with my son.
I met a woman who took me to her church, Christ Community. Her name is Donna. I realized that I was not living right and needed help to change. I gave my life to Jesus and now I am a changed man. No more gambling. No more depression. I now know that I need Jesus to be the center of my life.
|DeeDee Beran||I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools until college. I always believe in God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit however, most of my background focused on God…the songs we sang, the prayers we prayed. I always loved to pray but I did not really understand Jesus. I mean I understand He died on the cross and rose and it was for our sins…but I really did not get it. I always felt God protected and provided for me and have numerous examples in my life.
My best friend was raised were Jesus was the focus. I questioned why, when she prayed, she would end her prayers...”we ask this in Jesus name”. I was interested and determined to understand. She was so confident in her salvation, and I was still believing that I was unworthy, if I behaved well, then God would accept me into heaven. So after meeting with two different pastors, questioning, reading the bible, praying and joining a womens group I soon was ending my prayers…”requesting in Jesus name”
In the early morning of June 14th this year I went to the emergency room. I was told I needed my
gallbladder out. After a few test I was quickly informed I had advanced Ovarian Cancer. Within hours my husband and I and my best friend were meeting with an oncologist setting up my plans for chemotherapy. Five A.M. the morning of surgery I went into my bathroom, held up my bible and said,”God I do not even have to explained to you why I ask this, but I need a direct word from you.”
I opened my bible and my eyes landed at Mark 5 30:34…the last line reads: “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” I was amazed and thankful. I read it several times and said. “Seriously, I know I do not have to explain myself to you, but did I get this right? You know me and I just want to be sure I’m getting this right.” I again opened the bible and my eyes landed onJeremiah 33:6 which says: “Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal.” I read each verse several times and was amazed that my request for a direct message was given to me. When my husband woke I told him what had happened and stated with full assurance that I did not have cancer. To the Doctors amazement, when they opened me up they said my organs were pristine and removed my
tumors. No Cancer. During my recovery in my great pain, I simple would say. “Thank you Jesus”…I finally understand. Baptism to me is a way to say Thank you… I finally get it…It is a beginning of new and deeper relationship with Jesus. I finally know where I’m going!
|Connor Bettini||Before I trusted in Jesus, I felt lost, temptation and sin got the best of me, and I didn’t fully understand the purpose of life. I have always grown up in a home and community with strong Christian faith, always being encouraged and shown the sacrifice God made to wash away my sins. I was baptized as a baby but now understand that wasn’t my decision.
As I got older I started to understand how we can’t just say we are Christian and get into heaven, I had to make my own decision of what I believe and how I can show my faith. So, when I was 10 years old, I went to a Christian summer camp, there my leader tried to connect with us one-on-one and help us understand what Jesus did for us and how we need to represent him through ourselves. Later that week, I surrendered my life to Christ.
Since then, I’ve tried to show others what Jesus did for us and show God-like qualities through myself. However, not too long ago, my cousin Alex graduated high school and joined the U. S. Army. We have written to each other and have realized that through the pain and hardship of boot-camp, Alex has grown so much closer to God and has built a stronger relationship with him. I noticed how greatly his relationship has changed him as a person and as a Christ follower, and I wanted the same in my life. I realized my relationship with Christ needs some reinforcing, being baptized now is my way of publicy showing that I understand and want to follow Christ and have made my decision about what I believe.
|Heather Bettini||I was completely blessed to grow up in a household where God’s love was taught and modeled. I can’t even remember a time when I didn’t know God and that He loved me. Not to say that I never questioned or wandered from Him, but my parents and grandparents shared not only teachings from the bible, but also stories of their own faith which provided testimony for me to understand even more about God. I would say that God was always in my head.
After getting married and having children of our own, I realized how much I need to have a relationship with Jesus. Grace Community Church (Indiana) and Christ Community Church have taught me how to prioritize that relationship and how to grow closer to God. This transformation of having God in my heart and not just my head has happened over the years through teachings in several different women’s small groups and the sermons at church services. There is a desire to want to grow further in a relationship with Him. As a parent of four children, I have grown to understand the importance of teaching, showing and sharing my relationship with God with them as well.
I am excited to finally show my acceptance of Jesus as my savior through my baptism and have it marked as a day that I was able to make this statement publicly.
|Michael Bettini||As a child, I always knew of Jesus and believed I should follow His teachings but because it was the right thing to do not because I truly felt it. I was raised in a home that had mixed views on God. On one side, my mother was a very devout Christian and tried to instill in me a strong belief in God. On the other side, my father had so many challenges in life that he wondered how there could be a God that would allow certain things to happen and turned his back on God. With that upbringing, I believed in God but I also thought that I was in control of what happened in my life and I could create outcomes by working hard and doing the right thing.
It wasn’t until I met my wife and began my own family that I realized that I was not in control. After a period as a young adult where I wasn’t attending church regularly, we began to attend worship every week and this time I found myself paying more attention to God’s message and how to apply it to my life. I realized that I wasn’t prioritizing God and was definitely still living life for myself. My heart became more open to God and I learned that good works alone was not enough to achieve salvation. For a guy that always thought he was in control, this was a very important realization. It was at this point that I understood how important a relationship with God is and that, despite my sins of the past, I could be forgiven by accepting Jesus as my savior.
I am excited to make the choice to be baptized and to show everyone that I have accepted Jesus into my heart. I believe this is the start of a new chapter of my life and plan to continue to build my relationship with God. Whatever challenges lie ahead, I know with Jesus at my side, I can get through anything!
|Sophia Bettini||Before I trusted in Jesus, I always thought of church as a routine. I knew why we were going, but I didn’t understand fully. My parents Heather and Michael Bettini would always say “what would Jesus do?” I could answer their question but I didn’t mean it, I was putting myself before others.
Then when I was in fourth grade we went to Christ Community for the first time. I saw how people were getting baptized. I also started to REALLY listen in church, to REALLY understand what was going on. I had realized that a bunch of my friends from school went to Christ Community also such as my best friend Makenna Sutherland, they got me into stuff like Awana and Genesis. What baptism means to me is that you are truly asking God to forgive you, to be your savior, and to give you a fresh start. I want to be baptized because I want to ask God to forgive me of my sins and start fresh with a better and closer relationship with God. Christ Community really changed my perspective on what going to church really meant.
Since then going to church has affected me more. I have joined a youth group called Genesis. I know what the pastors are saying, and I can understand why Jesus died for our sins. I also know that I will never be sinless, but I can sin less and less. Not only that but I can truly understand what Ephesians 2:8 means “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
|Anna Bourne||I was born in a Christian home and my parents taught me about Jesus. When I was four, I understood that I needed Jesus. I remember my mom praying with me on the couch and after that I knew I belonged to Jesus.
God has helped me to be a better person. The longer I'm a Christian, the more He helps me. I'm very glad that I trusted Jesus as my Savior. Since that time I have been committed to God and serving Him. I love Him so much! I am getting baptized because I want everyone to know I am a Christian. God is calling me to help spread the word.
|Brad Busch||I started attending Christ Community Church 22 years ago, but after high school I drifted away from God and stopped attending. Doing things my way cost me a lot of lost time that I can’t get back and it hurt my marriage and relationship with my family. But God never gave up on me.
I woke up one day, tired of trying to do things my way. I have had many ups and downs in my lifetime, and I know with all my heart that the only thing that kept me moving forward was my relationship with the Lord. I finally reached a point where I understand and acknowledged that I need Christ and a church family in my life full-time.
I want to set an example for my son, nieces and nephews, not only my words of advice to them, but through my actions as a Christian man. I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and the burdens that I carried disappeared. This is a very important next step in that relationship and I praise Him for putting it on my heart to finally acknowledge our relationship through baptism.
|Melissa Busch||I was raised in a Catholic church, baptized as an infant, received first communion, and confirmation. I was even married in the Catholic church. But throughout my late teenage and early young adult life I had only made time for God and the church when it was convenient for me. Looking back, I would try to find happiness by the number of possessions, I would seek relationships to fill the emptiness in my life and in turn lead to adultery, I would allow the anxiety of my fears to control my life, I would drown my sadness, insecurity, loneliness with alcohol or food, I would allow anger and resentment to push away and hurt the ones I loved most.
This past Easter I fully understood that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty of my sins and I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior.
My life has not been the same and I put Him first before everything and have been looking forward to making the outward expression of Baptism to share the amazing inward change that has changed my life forever. I know I will face temptation and trials but God will not forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:8) and by having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ I acknowledge Him and He will make my paths straight (Proverbs 3:6).
|Andrew Conrad||My name is Andrew Conrad. I was baptized as an infant but over the last few years I’ve enjoyed learning more about Jesus through reading my Bible and from my Mom and Dad teaching me more about him. Even though I’m only ten years old, I still do bad things and I’m learning to rely more on Jesus rather than myself. It makes me happy to think that Jesus would die on the cross for my sins and through baptism I am choosing to make him my king and savior.
At basketball summer camp Pastor Mike Hurn explained that in order to follow Jesus you needed to move him from your head into your heart. I am ready to take this step through baptism. I love listening to Christian music and my favorite song is called “Waterfall”, I love this song because it reminds about how God’s love is like a waterfall and it never stops. I like what the Apostle John says in John 1:2-3 which talks about how God made everything through Jesus, isn’t that awesome! After today through my decision to be baptized I want to be more obedient to God, and I plan on telling more people on how Jesus has changed me.
|Jacquelyn Dethrow||From the beginning, everyone around me knew that I had a rebellious streak. The story was that I came out of the womb with a curly-headed mess of hair and a hyperactive way of doing things. It was easy to see that I was an offspring of Adam and I followed after the same story line- I was a sinner.
At the age of seven my biological sister Rachel and I had begun going to a Christian school because she had been experiencing bullying by her classmates. I believe as of this day, that this was the beginning of what we would call a series of divine experiences that propelled me into understanding of Jesus, the story of his redemption for mankind and the Kingdom of God. Long story short, I had confessed Jesus as Lord, had an experience in speaking in tongues. And these experiences kept me believing in God but not understanding that I had to become an active participant in helping to fulfill his will in my life.
In high school, I entered into the world of peer pressure and begun drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, and not fulfilling God's will in my life in any way. I had gotten to the point where I had been more motivated by other people's opinions of me and not knowing how toxic it was. I was also getting deceived by other people's philosophies as well and straying from the Lord's word. I began to look at life as alot of 'grey areas' and that there could be no divine truth, in contrast to what God has shown me in the previous years of my life. I was also compromising my convictions and becoming very cynical and I had gotten to the point where I was more happy communicating with people who saw negativity as the way of looking at the world, instead of how Jesus did.
Then there came the God-shaped void everyone came talking about. I had begun a way of fulfilling what my flesh wanted instead of my spirit and I sought after every direction but God.
Then I quit everything, everyone, and just sat in my room for a year or two and just started reading his word. It was the best decision of my life!
I was feeling an absolute tug from God, I wanted to quit my sins. Then he began showing me what the Gospel message really meant. What his dying on the cross, resurrection, and his grace meant. I became one under his grace and out of the law. I experienced the power of his resurrection and the kingdom of God!
God emptied me, and filled me.
Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.27 "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
|Lynn Dosedel||I have had faith in Jesus Christ since I was a child, yet always wanted to make a visible demonstration to the world that I have dedicated my life to God through baptism.
My mother showed me the power of prayer and the wisdom of the word of God through the Holy Bible, she introduced me to Church when I was a child. As I got older, my resolve to follow Jesus Christ grew stronger and I committed my whole life to Him in every way.
Following the word of Jesus Christ has taught me how to live a spiritually enriched life through good times and bad. I feel grateful for God's love as He teaches me how to live completely and share that love with the world around me.
|Taylor Forsyth||I didn’t grow up a Christian. Jesus was a name, that’s all my mind knew. However, my heart has always faintly whispered, “There is more.”
One Sunday, my sister Krystle invited me to church. The minute worship began, I wanted to cry. I held back the tears in embarrassment and refused to sing in order to keep my composure. I left with a strong desire to return. The following week, during worship, I let go. As I gave my life and sang out to the Lord, I let tears stream endlessly down my face. In that deepest moment of sorrow, I felt the most profound feeling of peace. Roman’s 10: 9 states that If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Today, many of my circumstances are still the same, but God has given me a strong desire to love him, others and life. He has given me a community group to belong, opportunities each day to effortlessly encourage and reach out to others and has filled my heart with joy. He has released me from previous negative attitudes and has restored me to view the world in the light of his love.
|Sophia Hastert||I grew up in a Christian family and I was raised to read the Bible.
We go to church and over the past few years at Christ Community Church I have come to know Jesus better. My mom got baptized while she was pregnant with me. My dad was baptized as a baby but wanted to make the choice to be baptized with my mom.
I am going to grow in my faith in Jesus every day. My very close friend was recently baptized which inspired me also.
|Emma Hrdlick||My name is Emma Hrdlick and I am getting baptized because I want to tell people about the good news of Jesus and I’m going into a new life with Jesus.
I first thought about this when Pastor Randy talked to us about how we can go to Heaven. On October 1st, after AWANA I came home and talked to my mom about following Jesus and knelt down by my bed and prayed. Randy, mom, and dad helped me to make this decision.
I was coloring a creation poster for AWANA and said to my mom, “Hey, I think it will be cool to get baptized because when I die I will go into Heaven.” I am going to read the Bible more often. I know I am a sinner. Once I didn’t turn off a video game when mom told me to.
I want to go to Heaven because I want to see Jesus. When I am afraid I tell myself God is always with me over and over.
|Evan Jacobsen||I grew up in a Christian family.My mom has always had a very strong Christian faith and taught me about it from the day I was born. I was always intrigued by the Easter story and how Jesus had died on the cross for our sins and then how he rose up from the grave.
Even then at the young age of five I knew that I needed Jesus in my life and I wanted to know that Jesus was always with me. I made the decision to ask Him to forgive me of my sins and be my Savior. I asked Him to come live in my heart.
Through going to Genesis and to church and also reading my Bible my faith has grown stronger. I want to be baptized because I want everyone to know that I want to live my life for Jesus. I am so thankful for God giving me such a great Christian family. I am so excited to find out what God has in store for my in my future. No matter what I do in my life though I know that I will be serving God one way or another.
|Jason Jerozal||My family moved to Geneva when I was 4 ½. We started to go to Christ Community Church, and I became more interested in following Jesus because I was learning what He did for His people, and learning Bible lessons. I heard how Jesus died on the cross to take away people’s sins if they believe He did that. Jesus is God and the Creator of the earth.
When I was 5, we were driving home from Home Depot and I asked my mom if I could be a Jesus follower. When we got home, me, my mom and dad prayed. I think I prayed (I don’t remember the exact words): “ I want to believe in you Jesus. Can you please forgive my sin and help me follow You”. After we prayed we had a celebration at home. We had red velvet cupcakes because red reminds us of the blood he shed for us, and the white icing reminds us that Him shedding His blood takes away our sin and makes us white as snow.
Since then I have become stronger in my faith. This happened from going to church, reading the Bible, praising God singing at church, and going to Christian summer camps. This past summer at camp Honeyrock, seeing my cabin leaders’ faith, it was inspiring to me. I want to be able to be a role model to other kids to show that I believe in Jesus. Being baptized means a lot to me and it’s important because I’d like to be baptized before going on a missions trip. I also want to be baptized because it’s important in showing how strong my belief in Jesus is, that I want to follow Him the whole rest of my life. I want to learn to serve more, so I’m going to go on a short missions trip to Nicaragua in January. I think it will be cool to let kids there know about Jesus and that I have been baptized and am following Him too.
|Jack Jones||I've grown up in the Christian church my whole life, but my story begins when I was in kindergarten. I remember that there was a boy in my kindergarten class that would swear all the time. I told my mom about him, and she simply said, “Maybe he doesn't have Jesus in his heart!” “I think we should pray for him.”
So that night when we went to bed, we prayed for the little boy and then she asked me, “Do you know that you need Jesus too?” So that night, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, right there in my bed, with my mom’s help with what to say. After surrendering my life to Christ at age 5, the first thing I said afterwards was “I’m so excited! I can’t wait to tell Abba” (My grandmother).
Ever since then, I've attended KidsWorld, Genesis, and am now in House Group. I try every day to set an example for others as to what a good Christian high schooler is like, as John 14:6 says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” I’m never afraid to share that news with any of my friends, and I will always seek to learn more about my savior, Jesus Christ.
|Sommer Jones||I was 5 years old and having devotions with my family. We were reading out of a children’s bible about the Easter story. My mom was tucking me into bed and asked if I wanted to accept Jesus into my heart. I said yes and then we prayed a prayer and I accepted him into my heart. After we were done, I turned to my mom and said “mom, I feel like I’m swinging!”.
Since that day, I’ve tried to live so that others will see Jesus through me. Everyday, I pray and try to become closer to the Lord. I’ve become involved in Genesis, which caused me to go to Silver Birch Ranch in Wisconsin. From SBR, I’ve become even MORE involved with Christ, which has lead me to be baptized.
|Sarah Knox||I grew up in a Christian family, so I have been surrounded by God and the church from the very beginning. But I never had a personal relationship with Jesus until I started high school. I just followed through the motions of doing “Christian things” that I thought you were supposed to do. When I was in middle school, I went through a tough time with my friends. As a result, I started becoming friends with the wrong people; people who were not good for me. At this point in my life I was straying from God, and became angry with Him because my life was falling apart.
At my lowest point when I was feeling lost, God drew me in. My friend Shyla Pritz invited me to Genesis and I instantly fell in love with it. That Summer I decided to go to Silver Birch Ranch (SBR), a church camp in Wisconsin. At first I was very nervous because I had grown so far from God in the last year. I ended up having a blast and grew so close to Jesus. I surrendered myself to God. I confessed that I was a sinner and that I was trying to find life in other things instead of God. I acknowledged that God sent Jesus to die on the cross so that I could be saved from my sin and have eternal life. Attending this camp completely changed my life.
Jesus has showed me that being a “Christian” is not just about doing good things. He made it clear to me that I do not have to earn my salvation for His love. He has given me fulfillment, purpose, and joy. I am not perfect and I still mess up, but God loves me despite my flaws and imperfections. And when the things I was pursuing before continually let me down, God never once left me. He has shown Himself to me in his word. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” God loved me at my lowest point and he rescued me from myself and eternal separation from Him.
|Kayla Kramer||My parents have always taught me who Jesus is and how much He loves me. When I was 5, I realized that I was a sinner. My mom and I were doing my Bible lesson for the day. I had heard that Jesus died for me before, but for some reason it was different this day. I realized that I needed Jesus to save me from my sins.
I prayed that day to ask Jesus to forgive me for what I have done. Later on that day, we realized that my mom had done the wrong lesson. It showed me that God chose me on that specific day to become His child.
God has shown me that when I need help, He will be there to help me through any situation. I love being in Genesis with other girls my age learning about God. I look to Jesus to show me how to listen to my parents, and be nice to my brothers and sisters. I'm excited to see all that God has planned for my life!
|Amanda Landry||I was introduced to Christ at an early age. I attended a Christian preschool/elementary school and would occasionally attend the chapel with my parents on weekends however I wouldn’t say that I ever truly had a relationship with God. I had an understanding of who God was, that he sent Jesus to die for our sins, and that one day he would return. After my parents divorced and my mother remarried we relocated and I was placed into a public school. I don’t exactly remember the point where I no longer wanted a relationship with God but I do know that at some point in my younger years I stopped believing. I can remember myself questioning my life and purpose for living then coming to the conclusion that it was pointless. As I grew into my teen years and into adulthood the choices I made were only for self-satisfaction. I surrounded myself with people who did not believe in God, eventually leading me into experimenting with drugs, drinking, and partying. I got myself into a very uncomfortable situation in my life and that is when I realized that the path I was leading was not the path I wanted to be on.
After my parents relocated to Illinois in 2012 they suggested that I moved back home to be with them and to get back onto my feet. I turned down the offer for months because I refused to let go of the life I had however In November of 2012 I made the difficult decision to move home. Soon after, my mom introduced me to my now best friend Ashley Priegel. God has used her in tremendous ways in my life and I don’t know where I would stand in my faith if she did not invite me to attend a service at CCC for the first time and then encouraging me to better my relationship with Christ. I was extremely uncomfortable at first but thankfully I continued to push myself to go and even made the choice to try out a community group called crave with Ashley and her brother Luke. I was still just testing it out for some time and did not devote my life to Christ until I heard a sermon by Matt Chandler called “Jesus wants the rose”. It truly opened up my heart to God’s love and I finally said a prayer giving my life over and surrendering everything to him.
I am amazed by the changes God has made in my life and I can see how he impacts me every day. Since I have given my life over I attend church weekly with my family and Ashley’s family, which includes my fiancé Ryan Priegel, and I constantly seek a closer relationship with Christ. I am continuing to grow in my faith and am blessed for the family and friends that he has placed in my life. God is my light and after being in the dark for so long I have finally found my way back to him. I know I will have struggles ahead of me but through prayer and scripture I can overcome and be the woman God intended for me to be. Proverbs 3:5-6 “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.”
|Wedge Lazenby||Hello, my name is Wedge Lazenby. Before I put my trust in Christ I was really reliant on my parents and other people around me for teaching me how to grow up.
All of that changed during last years Silver Birch Ranch summer camp. I had left my parents help and encountered my own problem. At this point I put my all trust in God. After I got home, I picked up the bible and opened up to a random chapter and read it. It taught me that there are going to be more lessons to learn from and God is the one who planned them all out. That is why I have decided to put my faith in Jesus being my Lord and Savior.
Since then I have been attending church more often and have been growing a lot closer to God then I have ever imagined. I have been making more Christian friends and they have a lot of cool faith stories like mine.
|Mary Leatherman||I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic school. There I
learned that Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I did have a
relationship with Jesus, but it was a selfish one on my part,
and did not extend very far in my behavior, especially during
early adulthood. As I got older I turned to my Father only
when I needed comfort, mercy, grace.
Over the past few years, through regular attendance at CCC, my wonderful
women's community group, the influence of my daughter
Kelly, and a few trials, I've realized that I am desperate and
broken, selfish and proud and angry, and not at all in control.
I find peace now when I surrender to God's will. I know that I
exist to serve God: to worship, to give, to serve, to obey.
|Marie Lotta||Before I trusted Jesus, I never really considered what my actions said about me, and the farthest I would ever look into the future was to see when a paper was due.
But one day, my dad and I got into a fight. I then realized that I didn’t want to live the life I was living anymore; I wanted a clean slate. I realized that I don’t control my life, God does. I prayed that Jesus would forgive me of my sins and that I could finally become the person that He intended me to be.
Since then, I think about my actions more, I try to bring Jesus into the conversation at school, and even though I make plenty of mistakes, I try to follow in the footsteps of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I don’t want to follow what the rest of the world does, but instead follow the path God created for me. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
|Kerin Martini||Ever since I was a little girl I have always believed in the Lord. However other things always fell to be more important. I would chose to spend my time being entertained by my friends and worried about what they thought of me, or by having the latest and greatest clothing. It wasn’t until when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time that I realized my life needed a big change. It needed a deeper meaning.
My mom was always a good role model for her children but it was the greatest experience for me to watch her live not only with Jesus on her mind but also in her heart. I wanted nothing more than to be close to my mom and live my life like her. I too wanted to live with him in my heart, and feel the warmth and fullness that she felt. The only way I knew how to do this was to attend church, so that is what I did. With the guidance of the services I attended, the readings that I studied, and the prayers that I prayed that I found that I must surrender myself to Jesus Christ. On January 29th 2013, my mom passed away. Although the day is forever a sad day in my head, the experience of seeing God’s work and watching the power of prayer was forever a life changing experience. That day confirmed for me that surrendering myself to Jesus and having him live in my heart would bring me to the greatest place. I left the hospital that night with a new light in life, and promising that I too would live the rest of my life with Jesus.
Since then I have enjoyed more services at Christ Community and meeting fellow followers of Jesus. I have attended multiple Baptisms for friends, and now I am very happy to take this physical step myself and be baptized.
|Kathy McGinley||I was raised as a Methodist and attended church and Sunday School as a child. I knew that Jesus died on the cross but I didn’t understand why. Fifteen years ago, two women, Holly Lueders and Leah Kennetz, came into my life and would ask me, “Are you saved?” I used to laugh at that phrase, but now I understand. As the scripture reads in John 10:9, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.”
Before my husband, Mike, and I married, I prayed that he would ask me to marry him (dating for four years at that time). My Mom, who was very religious, told me to just tell God that I am putting my life in his hands and that I trust Him to do what is best. Mike proposed ten months later and we have been married for twenty years now. My Mom passed away in 2009 and my younger brother, Billy, died suddenly in October 2011.
We (Mike, my daughter, Annette and I) had just moved to Saint Charles in October 2011 and I had no friends in my new community. I found myself feeling guilty for still being alive. A few weeks later, one of our neighbors, Sue Savage and her daughter, Emma, stopped by our house and handed us an invitation to the summer Vacation Bible School program here at CCC. That invitation changed my life. Another neighbor, Corina Guzman, took Annette to Awana on Wednesday nights when I at work. When Annette came home from Awana Camp last summer, she told me that she asked God to forgive her sins and gave her life to him. She asked me if I had ever done the same. I embarrassingly said, “No.” She took my hands and told me to ask God to forgive my sins. I did. Then she said, “Repeat after me, ‘God, I believe that your Son, Jesus, died on the cross to save me from my sins and I give my life to you’”. As I was crying, I repeated. Annette is an inspiration to me!
Since attending CCC, Pastor Jim has explained why Jesus died on the cross and the sacrifice both Jesus and God have made to give us all grace and mercy. At the Easter 2013 service, Pastor Jim asked the congregation to start using Scripture Union’s five year Bible reading plan. I have not missed one day of Bible reading and look forward to this time spent with God every night. I have also read Pastor Jim’s Bible Savvy which opened my eyes to interpreting the Bible. I joined a Community Group in September 2013 led by Deanna Gage who has so much wisdom, which has helped me be a better wife and mother! These wonderful women in my Community Group have helped me grow spiritually and when one of our member’s (Julie Norkus) was baptized recently, interest was sparked! God has now given me an obedient heart to happily serve in the nursery and with KidsHope! Thank you CCC!
|Stephen Nguyen||As I went to church with my mom, I began to hear the words in the Bible clearly. I realized that I am a sinner. Nothing I did could have made me a better person according to GOD’s eyes.
I learned that Jesus was the only thing that could fill the emptiness in my heart. He was the only one that could replace all my needs. Most importantly, He was the only way to be with GOD. Jesus’s death on the cross erased my sins and took away my dissatisfaction in life. I didn’t want to be shut out of GOD’s kingdom, and I knew that my only salvation was through Jesus Christ.
Since putting my faith and trust in Jesus, I have the Holy Spirit in me, who helps me to see the world differently. Everywhere I go, it is a spiritual battle. My eyes and ears are open to my surroundings. I pray for the armor of GOD every morning to take on this spiritual battle. I have learned to be satisfied with whatever GOD has given me. Jesus fills me completely, and everything that I do is to worship Him. I look forward to the baptism at Christ Community Church because I feel ready. I hope to spread the news of Jesus to my friends.
|Noah Nicholas||My name is Noah Nicholas I am 13 years old and before I was a christian I was a terrible person. I disrespected everyone and obeyed nobody.
I met God when I went up to a christian boarding school up in Wisconsin. The christian boarding school that I went to is called Victory Academy for Boys. It is a great school for teaching kids about Christ and how to respect others and obey your parents. The main video that we watched that led me to Christ is Kent Hovind. He really inspired me to believe in myself and that God will help me through that journey.
Without God I would still be that rotten little kid who had no friends and hated everyone. If I wouldn't have been bad I would probably never would have found Christ but in the same time I still did a lot of terrible things to a lot of people. I truly think that I have changed from this experience to a better person in life. I plan to continue my journey with Christ to show people the right way.
|Bethany Nielsen||I am being raised by my mom and dad, who are both followers of Jesus. Since I was born, they have told me, taught me and shown me the importance of God's Son Jesus and what He did on the cross. When I was 3 years old, I knew I wanted to have Jesus take away my sin. This was made clear to me when I talked to my mom and dad. I asked Jesus to pay for my sin and begin a relationship with me.
Recently, I have been struggling with anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. Because "God so loved the world, He gave His only son, Jesus, that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life". I believe Jesus paid my penalty for my sin and now I can look forward to eternity with Him. Also, I know Jesus carries me when I am anxious and He has put several Christ followers in my life to help me to keep focused on Him. Mrs. Sutton, my teacher, Miss Bennett, my voice teacher, Catherine, my Genesis small group leader, my mom and dad are just a few people God has put in my life.
I know God takes care of every detail of my life such as what school I go to, who is my teacher and even those in my family. :D Praise God for His Love! Phillippians 4 : 6, 7 " Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
|Grant Petro|| I am so thankful that my parents love Jesus and have been talking to me about Him since I was little. I love going to KidsWorld and Awana and learning about Jesus.
I accepted Christ on November 12, 2009. I have a vague recollection of sitting on my bed and my mom and dad smiling a lot. I thanked God for dying on the cross for my sins and asked Him to come into my heart. I want to go to Heaven, and I don’t want to live with the fear of Hell. Before getting baptized you are dirty with sin and after, you are cleansed of your sin. It is also a public showing of your faith.
I will try to do my best to not sin and love others more than myself. I will also put Jesus first in my life and serve others and do my best to please God.
|Ashley Priegel||Growing up, going to church was a very sporadic occurrence for me. My parents told me about Jesus, and I knew I was supposed to believe in Him – and so I just did. I never fully grasped what that meant though, and surely never had a relationship with God. Slowly, going to church started fading out, and God was a thought that rarely ever crossed my mind. Fast-forward to my late teen/early 20 years – I was headed down a very destructive path. To say my life was displeasing to God would be an understatement: lots of partying, drinking, drugs, sinful and harmful decisions, and several friends of mine even lost their lives to drugs. At one point, I sat by my cousin’s hospital bed as he clung to life after an overdose and doctors told us prepare our final goodbyes, that there was no way he was going to survive. Today, however, he is alive; according to doctors he’s a “medical miracle.” His second chance at life really caused me to look at what my life had become; I started to question what I was doing and where my life was headed.
Come graduation, my dad suggested I move back home in Illinois. Realizing I was broke, jobless, and on a path going nowhere good, I took him up on his offer. My younger brother was attending Crave on a weekly basis, and continually asked that I join him. I was hesitant at first because I was leading a very shameful and sinful life, and the last thing I wanted was to be judged. Eventually I started going, and very slowly started opening up. The friends I made through Crave accepted me as I was and continually showed me Christ's love. They all encouraged me to eagerly seek God with all of my heart, and ask for forgiveness of my sins. Around this time I had also met my now best friend, and future sister-in-law, Amanda, and she started attending Crave as well. She and I share similar stories, and God used her tremendously to help me overcome my past and help guide me to Him. I remember looking at all these people God placed in my life, all guiding me towards a life with Him. It is then that I accepted Christ into my heart as my Lord and Savior.
Since then, God’s work in my life is noticeable; I give with a happy heart, serve in the name of Jesus, and rely on prayer as a source of strength and guidance. Life hasn't been perfect or easy since I've become a Christian, and I certainly don't expect it to be. Hebrews 6:19 states; "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain." Now, when I face challenges in life, my soul is calm and I am confident because I have God, with a hope that is anchored firmly in Heaven. I realize that the choices I made in the past are exactly what has brought me to this point in life. I also know that God will continually give me challenges to shape me into the woman He wants me to become. I used to think I controlled my life, and now I am glad to say that God has all the control in my life.
|Barbara Priegel||I was raised in a family that believed in God, so I believed in God and learned about God from little on. One of my family’s beliefs was to baptize babies, so I was baptized as an infant. In my early 20’s I started attending a Christian, Non-denominational church. That is where I heard, for the first time, that God wants us to have a personal relationship with him. When I met my now husband, we both attended that church and were married there. It was in one of our pre-marital classes that we both accepted Christ.
If I did not know the love of Christ, I know my life would not be as blessed as it is today. As a Christian, I relate to situations and people differently. I accept things that others have trouble accepting, and I just know that I’m a better person than I would be otherwise because I have God and the Holy Spirit in me.
For a long time I felt that because I had been baptized as a baby, I needn’t do it as an adult. My view of that has changed. Now, I feel strongly that the act of baptism by submersion unites me with Christ and other believers. I want to always be growing in my faith, and showing that to others. So it is important that I do this as an adult because I now know and understand the meaning and purpose of baptism. I love the bible verse Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and I feel that being baptized is something I can do to strengthen my faith in Christ Jesus.
|Grace Priegel||I am 11 years old and I was born in China. I am very happy that God told my parents to come to China to adopt me, and bring me back to live with them. I am very thankful for the family God picked for me. I really don’t remember a time that I didn’t believe in Jesus, or not going to church and learning about Him.
I also can’t recall the exact time and place I first accepted Jesus as my Savior, I feel like he’s been my Savior my whole life. I want to let God lead me where he wants me, and I know if I follow Jesus it will be in the right direction and I will live a happy life.
I know my life with Him will not always be easy, I know that I’m sinful in nature, but I also know that when I ask God for forgiveness, he forgives me. I’ve been going to Awana for 3 years and Christ Community Church for even longer; I like to see how learning about God changes my friends and me. I am thankful for my family and all the leaders that help me learn about Jesus. I’m excited to see how God will use me in my life. John 3:16 is my favorite verse: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I want to get baptized as a way to show everyone that I want to follow Jesus.
|Jim Priegel||During my childhood years my family occasionally attended a neighborhood church, but when we moved as I was entering middle school, we stopped attending church at all. From those days all the way through college, the only time I remember being in a church was for weddings or funerals. I had minimal knowledge of God and don’t remember having any desire or feeling any need to seek God, he was just not a part of my life.
I worked at department store during my college years; that is where I met Barb, the woman that I would share my life with. Our relationship grew and after a couple years, I proposed to her and she accepted. It was during this time that my spiritual journey really got started.
Shortly after I graduated college and got my first real job, I worked with a gentleman named Oscar Johnson, who along with my wife, have been the most influential people in me accepting Christ. Oscar was constantly after me, asking me if I went to church, he was always talking about Jesus and what he had done in his life, inviting me to his church, and on Christian retreats. Prior to us meeting, Barb had started attending a large non-denominational Christian church, which I started to occasionally attend with her. It is during this time that I really for the first time in my life started to think seriously about God and faith. After we were engaged, we wanted to be married at the church. We were required to take pre-marital classes and during one of those, the pastor who was going to marry us asked if either of us had formally accepted Christ as our savior. When we both said we hadn’t, he asked us if we were ready to and we both said we were and he led both Barb and I to Christ.
Since that day, my journey as a Christian has had many ups and downs; there have been good seasons where I was growing in my faith, but far too many where my faith has not been a priority. As I look back now and reflect, over the last 29 years of my walk, I would characterize myself much of that time as a “casual Christian.” I have been a Christian when it has fit into what I was doing, but many times, to the outside world I would not have looked like a Christ follower at all. Too often God has been replaced in my life by work and the identity I have gained through it or other obstacles that have derailed me such as, alcohol, sexual sin, materialism, sports or a myriad of other things that I have let drift into my life and distract me from fulfilling God’s purpose for my life. During my journey, even the years of mediocre faith, God has been so faithful and continues to bless my family and myself in so many ways. My wife and I have three beautiful healthy grown biological children, and 10 years ago God spoke to my wife and told her he wanted us to adopt another child and he placed our daughter, Grace, in our lives, forever changing our family, she has been an unbelievable blessing to us and I am so grateful that we listened to God’s calling.
I am so honored that I am able to get baptized with my wife, all four of my children, and my future daughter-in-law. My desire in getting baptized is to publically draw a line in the sand and start living out my faith the way God wants me to and to stop doing things the way I want. I look forward to what God has in store for my family and me!!
|Ryan Priegel||I don’t remember at time in my life where I didn’t believe in Jesus. I was baptized as a baby and accepted Christ as a youth. However I have not always lived a Christ-driven life. When I was a child we attended Elmbrook Church in Brookfield WI. Christ Community Church, reminds me a lot of the church I grew up in. During middle school and high school my personal life and my relationship with Christ were on different tracks. I felt like I knew everything I needed to know and that I was invincible. I felt I didn’t need God and I could do anything by myself. During this time I still believed in Jesus however I didn’t feel like I had to go to church to define my faith.
It was not until I changed careers and moved back home that I considered attending church again. My family would consistently ask me every Sunday if I would like to attend church with them. During this time I also meet my fiancée, Amanda. Without my family and my fiancée, I would not have the relationship with Christ that I currently have.
Since refocusing on Christ I have seen many changes in my life. I do not get angry as fast as I used to, my relationship with my coworkers is better, and I am learning that everything is not always about me now. I know that I am not perfect, however, I have asked Jesus to take control and my life is his. My fiancée and I attend church regularly. My entire family and Amanda’s family began attending the Financial Peace University class. We are learning about living like no one else, so that later we can live like no one else. I fully understand that I am not a perfect person and that I’m a sinner. I have surrendered my life to him and when I admit to my sin and ask for forgiveness, he will forgive me. I cannot wait to see the path Jesus has for me.
|Katie Russom||Before I came back to the church and focusing more on the teachings of Jesus, I found myself anxious and down much of the time. I started attending Christ Community regularly about a year ago. At first I was hesitant about going. It was very much a different experience than the church I grew up in.
There was never a defining moment that led to the trust I have in Jesus to strengthen and my eyes to open to the bad in my life. I am grateful to give that credit to the way Jesus used the church, my family and my career to renew my faith.
Since I put my faith in Jesus, I found myself more loving to those in my life. I focus more on the time I spend with my kids and family and enjoy every minute of it. I have more energy and more will to be the leader I need to be at work. I pray more regularly. I give more freely. I read the Bible more diligently. I hear and put into action the words of Jesus. My life has taken a turn for the best now that I put my trust in God.
|Carly Topf||Hi my name is Carly Topf, I am 12 years old and this is my testimony. When I was very little my mom, my sister, and I would go to church every Sunday. During elementary school my neighbor Mrs. Chrissy invited me to come with her and her daughters to Awana on Wednesday nights. There I learned who GOD is and how He has made every one us with a special purpose. I always wondered what my special purpose was until I went to Silver Birch Ranch this summer.
At SBR I learned so much about GOD and our relationship grew and grew and grew. At SBR I talked with my cabin leader, Mrs. Anita about how I am an ambassador for Christ. That made a huge impression on me. At SBR we worshipped every day as a group and it felt really good. I felt like God is real and He is here now. There I knew I wanted to be baptized again so I could share the joy He brought me.
As an ambassador, I have a job of spending the joy and the message of believing He died for me so I can live. I want to spread His Word. I have even been talking with my family and teaching them what I know about God. My family supports me and they are happy for my decision to be baptized. I have chosen to be baptized because of what Jesus did for me on the cross. Jesus died to pay the penalty of my sins and he has given me a wonderful gift life. Now I want to show the people that I accept the gift.
|Mackenzie Tripoli||Hi my name is Mackenzie Tripoli and this is my Faith Story. Over the past couple of months I have been thinking about getting baptized. I have broken God’s commandments by making the wrong choice. During that time I didn’t care what God had to say and I kept thinking to myself that I wouldn’t get in trouble. After doing those wrong choices I was so mad at God that I could never trust him. But then with the help of my family I started going to Church every Wednesdays and Sundays.
I realized that all the wrong choices I made were not leading me to the right path to Jesus and that I was getting pushed away from him. I knew Jesus was watching and he showed me signs that I could be a better person. An example of how Jesus showed me signs would be like a couple days after what I have done I was walking out of the store and on the floor I saw a Rose Marry key chain. I knew that I needed Jesus as my savior to show me and help me go on the right path so that I can follow and be more like him. Jesus has died for our sins and rose to new life so that we can be forgiven through our sins and be healed for the things we go through and what we are going through.
I know that Jesus himself has healed me because of what I was going through and that I was upset after a while. Knowing that Jesus is there helping me and leading me to the right path I now know that because of him he was walking to the top of the mountain holding the cross and dying for our sins to be forgiven. I have been happier that I know I have family members like my mom Charisse Ramos, my step father Gustavo Ramos, and my grandma Cindy Tripoli can help me be on the right path to follow Jesus and do what he does.
|Ashley Valinskas||I grew up catholic but never really attended church regularly and definitely didn’t have a relationship with Christ. I knew about him, but not who he was.
My mom’s friend Kylie had invited her to Christ Community one Sunday and soon after she started to take us. Church was finally something I looked forward to. Once school had started I began attending Genesis on a regular basis. I fell in love with it and how much I learned about God and who he was. There was one night in particular where Pete said that if we wanted to surrender our lives to Christ we should stay after he was done in large group. I stayed for two reasons. I was curious, but I also knew Jesus was my Savior and I wanted to make my own decision to be a Christ follower.
That was in 6th grade. Now I’m a sophomore and couldn’t be happier with where I am. I started reading the bible more and praying whenever I could. I look forward to church and love attending Housegroup just as much as Genesis. I’ve had a rocky couple of years since then, but God didn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle. I knew He was there the whole way and I know for a fact the He will never leave my side.
|Jennifer Valinskas||Before I trusted in Jesus, church was not a priority. I grew up catholic and knew about Jesus, but never really understood how to have a relationship with Him. When my husband and I had lost our second child that was stillborn I started to feel empty, lost in faith, and confused in religion. I started to ask questions about the Bible and on how to be more educated and understand about religion and Jesus Christ. My Mother-in-Law, Angela has faith and the Holy Spirit is in her heart. She was an inspiration in my journey to investigate and search for answers.
A friend, Kylie Johnson invited me to Christ Community and while I was standing in worship I felt this overwhelming feeling inside and felt others joy in worshipping the Lord through song. When scripture was taught, I felt like the message was meant for me. I saw the change in my family who now loved to go to church and kidsworld. They too were touched by Christ in their own ways which touched my heart. Soon I joined a Community group where I met a very special person, Anita Turi, who one day led me outside the group to pray for me and I asked the Holy Spirit to enter into my heart. I felt something change in me that day. I started not to feel so empty and lost anymore. I could see myself beginning to understand on how to start to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Through Christ I've seen changes in my marriage, my kids and especially myself trusting in Jesus more every day. My girls and I love going to services together every Sunday. My son loves kidsworld and has learned so much. He helps us pray every night at dinner. I belong to a woman's community group that supports me in my relationship with Jesus. I know that there is a lot of learning ahead of me and I know that Jesus my savior will be right along side me guiding me.
|Megan Valinskas||Before I trusted in Jesus, I thought that Church was really boring.
My mom also thought it was boring so we never really
went. I was in CCD before I started going to Christ
Community and I always got in trouble for not doing my
Then my mom’s friend introduced us to Christ
Community Church and the next thing I knew, I was enrolled in kidsworld and
learning about God in a whole new way. In 3rd grade, I
started going to awana . Then in 6th grade genesis, I
started to realize that Jesus was my Savior. I knew that
Jesus was the one that died for all of my sins. That was
when I really got involved with church.
Since then, everything felt like it changed. I started to want to go to
church. Every Sunday, my mom, my sister, and I all go to
church together. I try to go to genesis every week and try
to pray every night. Every night I ask God for forgiveness
of my sins. I am certain that all my sins are forgiven.
|Nancy Van Den Akker||I admit that I am a sinner by nature. Personal and family trials had drained me of hope and left me feeling a state of "aloneness".
I could no longer rely on my own understanding and needed God’s word close to my heart. So through baptism, I am surrendering to God as I acknowledge His right to carry His plan for me. To mold me, shape me, and transform me for His purpose.
John 17:3 And this is the way to have eternal life-to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.
|Amy Vasilopoulos||I have lived in a Christian family all my life, so I can’t really remember what my life was like before I knew Jesus. I was in first grade when I prayed the prayer that asked Jesus to be the king of my life at Awanas. After that, I always thought, maybe God didn’t hear me, what if he doesn’t let me into heaven because he forgets about my promise I made to him? Because of this, every time I was at church and given the chance to pray that specific prayer, I prayed it.
At the baptism class I took about a week ago, somebody asked Pete if you ever had to re-commit your promise to God. It was then that I realized that God could never forget my promise.
If I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior, he will be exactly that for the rest of my life. Romans 10:9 says “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” Although I have always believed in God, that was exactly what I needed to hear to realize that baptism is the next step for me.
|Mark Wilson||My original lifestyle focused on my own pleasure and winning for winning's sake. The death of a loved one and reflection on my misused talents made me change to a career that served others for the last 25 years. However, I still had anger in my heart and knew something was missing.
A co-worker, Amber Speakman, whose grace inspired me, prayed with me and encouraged me to explore a relationship with Christ. I visited several churches and from the first service at Christ Community Church I felt relevance to my life and hope. Joining a new Bible study group brought Ken Olson, Jeff Deitz and Jeff Kellenberger into my life and finally opened my heart to the Bible. Their words and caring are helping me forgive, find joy in God’s works and realized I can believe in Jesus and be saved.
I now know that “we are created in Christ to do good works which God created us to do” (Ephesians 2:10) and want to show my commitment to my new life following Christ through baptism - “if we died with Christ we believe we will also live with him” (Romans 6:8).
|Sue Wilson||When I was a small child, I was raised in the Lutheran faith. I was baptized as an infant, attended church and was confirmed but Jesus was never personal to me.
My husband and I have started coming to CCC recently. I have been involved with the '12 program' at Care Night. Through this I now have a better understanding of what a personal relationship with Christ looks like and my responsibility to follow Him. Baptism is my public announcement of my belief and personal relationship with Christ.
Living with Jesus as my Lord has given me a better understanding of the extent of God's love for us (John 3:16) and means I no longer need to go through life being superficial. With His help, I can be more purposeful each day.
A quote by Linda Toupin illustrates this purposefulness with which I want to live for Christ each day. "This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good, but what I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something that I have traded for it. I want it to be gain and not loss; good and not evil; success and not failure; in order that I shall not regret the price I have paid for it."