Bartlett

Madison T.

X

Madison T.

My name is Madison Tanzillo and I am 9 years old. I came to know Christ when I was seven years old. One night while praying before bedtime with my mom I decided that I wanted to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Mom and I prayed and I accepted Jesus Christ because I want to be in heaven with God. My family has made me want to share the love of Christ and my teachers in KidsWorld have helped me to understand Gods love and the miracles that Jesus has performed to help people. I pray that I can share the love of Christ with others.

Blackberry Creek

Caleb A.

X

Caleb A.

My name is Caleb and I am 10 years old. When I was six years old my mom told me about Jesus and that He died on the cross for my sins. My mom and dad helped me and I prayed that Jesus would forgive my sins and help me make good choices in my life.

Jesus is my Savior and God is my father so I will obey him. He helped me to be brave when I had my tonsils and adenoids removed. Every day I ask God to keep me healthy and safe.

I follow Jesus because, he is my Savior and I want to be in heaven with him forever. I ask him to help me live a good life here on the earth.

I believe being baptized shows people that you have put your faith and trust in Jesus. One way my life will be different because of my choice to follow Jesus is that I’ll be a good big brother to my five siblings.

Mike Bader

X

Mike Bader

Before I completely surrendered my life to Jesus, I was living my life however I wanted. I cared about being popular and fitting in, which included foul language, anger and goofing off. Then one day my two best friends died in a car accident. I was left wondering what did I truly believed in.

A few years later, my sister invited me to church. I heard one of Pastor Jim's sermons and it really moved my heart. I finally believed that Jesus died for my sins, and because of this sacrifice, I owed him my everything. So I confessed my sins to God and chose to live for Him.   

My life has changed a lot since then. I attend church every Sunday. I cleaned up my mouth and let go of my anger. I sing during worship time. I read my Bible and pray daily. I also attend a men's community group. Matthew 22:37 says, "Love God with all your heart, soul and mind." This is a reminder that following God will take every part of me and that is what I plan on giving.

Nancy Falzone

X

Nancy Falzone

Not too long ago I was in my dark place, FULL of sadness and anxiety, it left me feeling hopeless and alone, I was at rock bottom! I found myself sitting on my bed with my dog Bruiser right next  to me. Through my tears, I began screaming out for JESUS, I said to him " I surrender to you whatever  you  want me to, I can’t  do it no more! " I immediately felt his presence, HE HAD GRABBED HOLD OF ME!! Very soon after my sister  and brother  in  law that I had not talked to in 2 years welcomed me with open arms and together we united our family again. At the time, I thought I was being saved from just the situation I was in. Little did I know that after surrendering, the blessings that JESUS would release into my life! My family and friends were amazed at the changes that took place so fast! The light of JESUS love shined through me. It made believers out of many people. To many I tell my story, to others I don't have to they can see it for themselves.Yesterday, I committed myself to getting to know JESUS, TODAY I commit myself to Him  only!! Our KING OF KINGS, OUR LORD AND SAVIOR!!!!

Kaylee H.

X

Kaylee H.

I am 10 years old. When I was four years old, I remember sitting at the diner table and praying for God to come into my life! God is the most important person in my life, because he sent his only son Jesus to earth to die for my sins. I want to show people that they too can get the free gift of eternal life. That is why I'm here today getting baptized.

My life is different because I try to be as honest and honoring to God in all that I say and do. The reason I am up here able to tell you my story is mostly because of my family and close friends who have helped me learn more about Christ.

My favorite verse is Ephesians 6:12-13. This is what it says: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the

spiritual forces of evil in the Heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." This is my favorite verse because it tells me that I can defeat evil, but of course with lots of help from God! Thank you!

Steve Hanson

X

Steve Hanson

My life before I trusted in Jesus was a life of chasing empty dreams. I found my self-worth in my athletic achievements and how well I played or my team played. I was absorbed in my self-image and based my success as a person on how others perceived me.  I was chasing empty dreams!

I can never remember a time in my life where I didn’t believe in Jesus.  I was raised Catholic and always believed in God, however I had no idea how to pursue a relationship with God.  It wasn’t until my oldest kids were in middle school and our family started to attend Blackberry Creek that things started to change. It was during this time of my life that I personally accepted Jesus into my life as my Lord and Savior. Pastor Jim has been a big influence in teaching me how to navigate through the decisions a Christian has to make. I was baptized as an infant and really struggled with being baptized again for many years.

Since I have committed to living a life for Christ I have become a much better father, husband, employee and person. I am much calmer and focused on the TRUE importance of life. My time spent with family and friends is more meaningful. I am a more positive person and enjoy be a positive role model for students that may not be as fortunate as I am.   I am happy to be taking this step of obedience in my faith journey and look forward to what God has in store for me.

Kathy Maier

X

Kathy Maier

I was raised catholic and was always strong in my faith. 19 months ago my youngest daughter was in a bad car accident. She’s had part of her skull removed and is fighting to stay alive today. 15 months ago my oldest daughter lost a 2 year battle with cancer. I was losing my faith fast. I knew I needed God more than ever then.

A co-worker, Luther Sommerville, was a shepherd for me. I was spinning out of control and I was very self destructive. I would go to sleep pleading with God to take my life. I didn’t want to live without my daughter. No matter how stubborn I was, Luther never gave up on me.

I joined a women’s community group and soon after prayed to receive Jesus as my own personal savior while meeting with one of the pastors.

Since then I have been working on reading every day and praying more often. I am working on giving my troubles to God. Letting Him work things out in his time. It’s a struggle for me to not take things back for me to control. I know I need to leave them for him to workout. I have learned more at Christ Community than I did my whole life as a catholic. I believe God used Luther to bring me here. This is where I need to be.

Ken Perz

X

Ken Perz

In the early years of my marriage I feel that I was never really content with the lifestyle we were pursuing. I was following the lifestyles of my friends and family. That was how I lived because that was all I knew.  Then some people from a nearby church introduced us to the gospel and invited us to their church. I was struck by the passion I felt in the sermon that the pastor gave, and it was there on subsequent visits. It was the first time that  I understood that Jesus died for my sins. As I learned that He died for my sins because He loved me, I asked for His forgiveness and asked Him to be my Lord and Savior. Soon afterwards I was part of a small group of young parents who were learning to raise their children with Christian principles. That’s when a whole new world opened up and I felt comfortable in it. Everyday I see the blessings that God has bestowed upon me because I asked Him into my life. I was raised in the Catholic religion and was baptized when I was a baby but today I am being baptized to show my personal commitment to the Lord of my life.

Linda Perz

X

Linda Perz

As a young wife and mother, I felt that church was mostly repetition and ritual and I didn’t understand Jesus’ death on the cross.  When my children were entering their teen years, God blessed me with the friendship of a group of amazing Christian woman who clearly read and studied the Bible, God’s word to us. They knew so much about God’s character and they showed me ways He was working in my life.  During a time of incredibly stressful events, I called out to God for His help and His immediate response was miraculous and unmistakable.  That following Sunday my family began our journey in a bible believing church to discover the truth of Jesus that is taught in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  I learned that Jesus willingly took the punishment that I deserve on that cross.  He is my Lord and He is my Savior and has blessed my family in immeasurable ways.  Although I have trusted Jesus for many years, I have never been baptized as a believer.  I feel so blessed to be able to publicly acknowledge my faith in Jesus in this way.

Our first baptism will take place on the floor this morning. Please remain seated for it then you can stand for the remaining baptisms.

Haleigh Reitz

X

Haleigh Reitz

I grew up believing in God and going to church, but I never truly grasped the reason that we celebrated Easter and why Jesus had to die on the cross.

In middle school, my parents enrolled me in a Baptist school.  God and His story were everywhere, and the pieces I had been missing began to fit together.  I learned how my sin separated me from God, and how grace was given to me through Jesus’ sacrifice.  During 8th grade, I made the decision to give my life to Christ.

As a new follower of Christ, I was fortunate to be surrounded by a community of believers that helped foster my relationship.  In college, I was on my own.  I took the opportunity to find my true identity as a believer.  I grew in Christ like never before.  After getting married, my husband and I were in search of a home church.  By God’s plan, we moved next to Charlie and Joyce Metoyer, who invited us to Blackberry Creek.  We found our way there, joined a Community Group, and because of encouragement and love from others, continue to grow as followers of Christ.  My relationship with Christ is not perfect, but I know that I can always seek God from wherever I stand.  Now, I want to proclaim where my heart lies – with Christ.  

DeKalb

AJ B.

X

AJ B.

I grew up in a family that helped me know God and that Jesus died for my sins. My family and I have spoken about this for as long as I can remember. Once, I read in the Bible that God wanted us to get baptized so it seems clear that is what I should do. It says in Matthew 3, 13-17 that even Jesus wanted to be baptized and that is why I made the decision to follow his lead.

Dakotah Baker

X

Dakotah Baker

I grew up with Jesus in my life and my parents would talk about him. I always thought I was a Christian because everyone around me was.  I attended Christian school and was in Awana. As I got older I realized that it’s not just saying you’re a Christian, it’s acting like a Christian.  Reading the bible, praying, following God’s laws…..that’s what shows you’re a Christian. I started to realize how much I needed Jesus in my life.

My family has always gone to church, but I’ve been paying more attention now and am getting to know Jesus better by reading my Bible.   

I started attending Genesis, our youth group here, and really love learning more about God and his greatness every week.  It makes me a lot happier knowing God is helping and guiding me.  By being baptized and accepting Christ as my Savior, I know that I will be in heaven with him some day. 

I think more people should be going to Awana and Genesis to learn about the greatness of God so they can get baptized and be saved. 

Chuck Berndt

X

Chuck Berndt

On May 3rd, 2015, I found myself sitting at Christ Community Church, a broken man needing a new direction. It was time for me to quit trying to struggle with everything on my own and, for the first time, turn it over to Jesus.

 My wife and I were introduced to Christ Community years before by good friends, Rusty and Tammy Turley. Years later, as I looked for help with my struggles, Christ Community, once again, appeared to me. I attended that service on May 3rd and wept the whole time. During the service, we were given the opportunity to pray our faith in Jesus and I joined in that prayer. Afterwards, I felt I was where I needed to be and that everything was going to get better.

My life has been changed. I now know I can turn to Jesus and pray. I have learned give Him my worries. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”. My family has been attending services and my wife and I have joined a couple’s study group lead by Hung and Jami Nguyen. I am attending Tuesday Care Night at the St. Charles Campus to help me understand my personal struggles. Looking back, I realize just how blessed I am.  I’ve had so many people in my life be the light to show how beautiful it is when we turn our life over to Jesus.

Jennifer Carter

X

Jennifer Carter

Before I trusted Jesus with my life I was rebellious and became a teenage mother. Then my sister, Margaret, introduced me to the Bible as proof that Jesus loves me and paid for all of my sins. I acknowledged my sin because I was quick to anger, disobedient to my parents and selfish.

As I grew older I no longer wanted to be like that, I sat down with Margaret and prayed asking Jesus to forgive me and be the steering wheel of my life.

Since then, my life has changed for the better. I read the Bible with my children, watch what I say, speak positively and respect my parents more.  I still make mistakes, but I know Jesus loves me as the scripture states, ''For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.'' John 3:16.  Following Jesus has been the best decision I've ever made.

Dan Clark

X

Dan Clark

In the past, I asked myself, “Is there or isn't there a God?”  I took all the miracles I received and witnessed for granted. I grew up in a single parent home with two siblings and when times were tough we received food when we needed nourishing and money to pay the bills from out of nowhere.

When I had a family of my own, we took our kids to Sunday school and during holidays, but when our kids got older church just faded away.

I lost my brother 6 years ago and a cousin shortly after to liver failure which made me think about what is after death. Will I see them again? Is there really a heaven?

One day, I took the heaven or hell test and realized I wasn't doing so well in God’s eyes. I was a lier, thief and an adulterer at heart. I didn't like what I had become or the direction I was going. So, I asked God, “What should I do?”  I felt like I needed to go back to church to worship and ask God’s forgiveness and guidance. I attended Christ Community and one Sunday witnessed members giving themselves to Jesus through baptism. It had a profound effect on me and I knew I needed to do the same and trust Jesus to lead me on the path he planned for me.

Since then I have felt much better about myself and the direction I am going. Opportunities have opened up for me in my work life and I feel closer to my family. Thanks be to God.

Benjamin D.

X

Benjamin D.

Before I knew Jesus, I was mean and did not care about anyone other than myself.  I was sad and confused.  I learned about Christ Community through my uncle and began attending KidsWorld.  I learned about Jesus and his awesome teaching about God, the Holy Spirit, and most importantly about his gift of forgiveness.  I wanted to be saved.  I asked Christ to be my Savior when I was 9.  Since then I have been able to leave my troubles in His hands and focus on spreading His good news.  My life is happier since taking Christ as my Savior.  He makes it easier to be a better and more patient brother.  I love being a saved Christian.

Stephanee D.

X

Stephanee D.

I had known about Jesus from a young age, but my family only just came to Christ Community in the past 3 to 4 years.  So, during this time I was about twelve or thirteen and can honestly tell you I hated my school life.  Last year was an especially difficult school year.  Some girls I thought were my friends started calling me names and spreading rumors.  I went into a dark place and began trying to change myself to please them.  Then it hit me!  Why should I change myself for others when I could just be the “me” that I was perfectly created to be by God?

 Since then, I’ve been working hard not to let others drag me down.  Their words should not rule me, God's should.  Others should not tell me what I should do, Jesus should.  Others should not tell me who I am, because I was created to be me.  He has a path for me and I will follow.  I do not care about others' negativity anymore. I give all my worries and anxieties to Him.  I am saved.

Chris Feltz

X

Chris Feltz

Before finding and trusting Jesus, I was lost and unfulfilled.  I needed the word of God.  My wife asked me if I would be interested in looking into Christ Community Church.  I thought, “Why not? What do I have to lose?”  Little did I know I had everything to gain.   I’m gaining the word of God, the message of salvation and redemption and also a new Christ-based family. 

Since hearing the word and fully understanding, I’ve noticed how small I am because of how mighty and powerful God is.  I am more humble now.  God is in control and life couldn’t be better.

Erica France

X

Erica France

Growing up, I always knew who God was but as I got older and life got harder, I started to question my faith and eventually turned my back on it completely. I was bullied through middle school and had to transfer schools. I became angry and depressed and even self harmed at times. After high school I fell in with a bad crowd and got addicted to drinking and drugs.

After a few years I got clean but still struggled with my depression. Then, 15 months ago, I had my beautiful daughter and became a single mom and my whole life was turned upside down. I knew things had to change because my daughter deserved better. I felt a pull in my heart to return to church. My dad's friend, Jeremy Grubbs, invited us to Christ Community Church. A few days later, I prayed to give my life back to God. I told my mom and dad and together we cried because their prayers had been answered. I was born again. My best friend, Alison, and sister Kristen also found Christ around the same time which has brought us closer together. 

Since dedicating my life to Christ I have become a more positive person and I have never been happier.  I don’t worry about the future as much now because I know that my life is in God's hands. He will protect my daughter and I and point us on the right path in life.

Benjamin Lancaster

X

Benjamin Lancaster

God helped me to realize I was not always making good choices in my life.  He has lead me through bad times and has helped me be a kinder person.

I want to tell everyone about Jesus and God because not everyone believes in them.  I want to help them see that everyday something good is happening to somebody because of God and Jesus.

I’m getting baptized to show I have put all my trust in my God and His Church.

Jordan N.

X

Jordan N.

As long as I can remember, I’ve gone to church. I knew all the stories from Sunday school, but had no heart for God.  I quickly learned how to “play church”.

Around 5th grade, after already being baptized, I noticed a hole in my heart. I doubted my faith and desperately tried to repair that hole with things that could never fill it. By 6th grade I had started a four year addiction to pornography. The perverted things I watched were enjoyable for a short time, but then left me cold and bitter. Instead of filling the hole, they only expanded it. My heart was broken and I lost all hope of getting out of this cycle of sin.

Fast forward to my sophomore year of High School. My sister asked if I had read the Bible. I had tried, but found it confusing, boring, and felt I was relearning the same knowledge. After much persuasion, my sister and I plunged into the book of Romans. By the end of the month, I had one marked up book of the Bible, one pen emptied of ink, and one heart completely transformed by the love and grace of God! My self-hate left me and God’s forgiveness took its place. My broken heart was repaired by God’s overwhelming love.

I am so thankful for my journey.  God created a beautiful masterpiece that once was tainted. Romans 8:37-39 says, “… in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels or demons, or things present nor things in the future, nor any powers, neither height or depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Jaly P.

X

Jaly P.

I grew up in a Christian home and attended a Christian preschool. I can't remember a time that I didn't love God! I always did, but the older I got I didn't feel like I had a personal relationship with Him. I started attending Christ Community Church when I was in second grade and started doing a bible study with my family. I was excited to learn about God. Every year I learned more and more. I knew I wanted that personal relationship with Jesus so I asked him to live on the inside of my heart and be Lord of my life.

Joseph P.

X

Joseph P.

I grew up in a home that knows, loves, and learns about Jesus.

I’ve gone to Christ Community Church all of my life.

The summer before 2nd grade, I gave my life to Jesus.  My parents helped me take these steps in my life.

I want to follow Jesus because he is my Savior.

Owen P.

X

Owen P.

I grew up in a Christian household knowing God. I also went to a Christian preschool.  Once I got into public school, the thought of God started to be less of a priority to me. When I was in fourth grade my mom decided to bring me to Christ Community Church. After attending regularly with my mom and step dad, I realized I didn't have to be perfect to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I prayed to Him to be my Lord and Savior and I now let Him lead my life.

Shawnacee P.

X

Shawnacee P.

Growing up, my family and I went to church, but we never really got much out of it. We attended on Sundays and prayed at night, but we didn't actually have a deep, personal relationship with God. We were just going through the motions. We did what we thought we had to do to be “good people” and live “good lives.” I always had a hunger for more than our church was offering, but I didn't know how to satisfy that hunger. I was longing for a more fulfilling relationship with God, but I didn't know how to achieve that.

When I was 12, some major life events caused my parents to search for a new church. It was at this new evangelical church that we learned for the first time the extent of what Jesus did for us. Slowly but surely, each person in my immediate family asked Jesus to come into their lives. I had a slightly difficult time, though. Over the next year, I prayed the prayer multiple times and accepted God's gift, but then I wouldn't feel any different, so I would be terrified I had done something wrong.  Part of my problem was the stories of conversion I had heard were extreme and mine wasn’t. However, in 1 John 5:13, it says “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” Being saved is not about feelings, but about believing.

I also didn’t completely understand the repentance and obeying parts of being saved. However, the moment I invited Jesus into my heart, He started working on me. I’m very stubborn and I had trouble admitting a lot of the things I was doing in my life were actually sin, but God didn’t give up on me and won’t give up on me. My complete surrender to His will took a long time, but I got there and I’m so thankful for His patience. His love for me is unfathomable. I still struggle daily with sin, but with God, I’m able to overcome.

Allie Pontarelli

X

Allie Pontarelli

Going to church ever since I was young has helped me to come to believe that Christ is real. 

In middle school, I realized that I needed Christ.  Growing up, I’ve been involved in church by going to Awana, Genesis, and now HouseGroup.  My leaders have helped strengthen my relationship with God by teaching me more week after week. During Middle School, everything started to make sense and come together.  One night at Genesis, when Eric Chesney was teaching, I understood why Jesus died and what he’s done for us.  I saw my sins and surrendered my life asking Jesus for his forgiveness.  Since then, I’ve been growing more in my relationship with Christ. 

This summer I went on a Go Team trip to serve at River Woods Camp. Weeks leading up to this trip, I started getting nervous and unsure if this was what I was supposed to do. So, I prayed about it.  God showed me that I needed to go.  I put my trust in him.  That’s all I needed to do and I had nothing to worry about.  Jeremiah 17:7 says, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.”

Cassandra W.

X

Cassandra W.

When I was little I got really mad and sad. I always forgot about Jesus and felt empty. I did not understand baptism. Then in 6th grade I started going to Genesis, our Middle School youth group. I also went to Silver Birch Ranch with my sister, Courtney, who was a leader there. During the camp’s worship service I put my hands up and cried while confessing my sins. The pastor told all of us who asked Jesus to be their Savior to put our names on a rock.  Courtney asked me, "Why did you write your name on a rock?"  I responded, "I committed my life to Jesus for real because you inspired my heart."

July 8th, 2015 my heart was no longer empty, I had Jesus in me. Since that night I am a lot kinder and happier knowing Jesus has my back. Silver Birch Ranch is a great camp that helped me make a decision that will impact me forever. I am so confident in my faith that I would walk up to a stranger and say, “I am a proud Christian with strong faith and love in Jesus.” Romans 10: 9-10 says, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” That is exactly what I did.

Kim Zell

X

Kim Zell

Before I trusted Christ I had a lot of anxiety and fear. I felt guilty about my past sins and didn't feel worthy of his love.

As a middle schooler my parents took me to church and I learned about Christ and his salvation, but I hadn't fully committed until the past few years.  I've finally realized that He is the way, the only way to live free of guilt and fear.

Since finally committing and following his principles I'm free of my past mistakes. I feel closer to him and have peace and joy knowing that I'm not alone. 

Joshua 1:9 says, “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

St. Charles

Eli A.

X

Eli A.

Before I knew Jesus, I was trusting in popularity, my possessions, and sports.  When things weren't going right, I knew I needed God. When I was trusting in those things, I knew about God. I just didn't have a relationship with Him. I was going to church, singing and talking about God but at school, I didn't live up to it.  

One day at home, my brother called my mom into his room and told her he wanted to put his faith in Jesus. Since I hadn't put my faith in Jesus yet, I thought that was cool so I called her in my room and talked to her about it. After our talk I asked her to pray with me. I asked Him to forgive my sins, save me and make me a new person.  

Ever since that day,I've been a different person. I pray every day and am reading my way through the Bible.I ask God to forgive me of the sins I committed everyday. Every week, I try to live as a child of God in school and obey the commands He has given me. I really meant what I said. God then called me to serve at Christ Community, so I now work with KidsWorld. I know that doesn't mean I'm perfect but at least I can call myself a Child of God.

Saeed Ararinesh

X

Saeed Ararinesh

In my homeland country of Iran, the people are forced to be Muslims. What caused me to view another religion is that I wanted to have the freedom of choosing what religion I wanted to follow. After doing all my studies, I decided that I wanted to become a Christian and follow Jesus.

When I was in Iran, a few good friends of mine were Christians. I really enjoyed their lifestyle of having Jesus in their life. One thing that I really liked is how they talked about Christianity and their views on how their life had changed ever since they started to live the life that they wanted to live with Christ. It was in 2012 that I was learning about Christianity when I decided that I wanted to live with Christ in me. I also knew that I would find more peace within myself when I became a Christian.

Ever since I accepted Christ in my life, I have been able to find more peace spiritually and mentally. I also knew that if I accept Jesus in my life, that he would be able to guide me in the right direction. One other way that Jesus has changed my life is that he has shown me the way of resisting sin and live a happy healthy life going forward. I also know that Jesus will help me more in my life to find a balance between work and family.     

Alestina B.

X

Alestina B.

My name is Alestina Ballines I am 9 years old. I have grown up going to church and knowing God. I truly believe Jesus died for my sins. God helped me when I had the flu. When I was sick, I prayed and prayed. When we went to the hospital, the nurse gave me two shots. I was scared so I prayed some more. Then two days later, I was better! I thanked God for helping me get better.

I want to get baptized because it’s good to get baptized. Jesus got baptized and wants us to get baptized too. When I get older, I’m going to help out with watching the babies at church. I invite my friends to AWANA and hope one day to bring all my friends to church (if I can bring all my friends), and tell more people about God!

That’s my story. What’s yours?

 

Vicente B.

X

Vicente B.

I needed a savior to separate myself from my bad choices. I needed a clean slate. I didn’t like the way I was sinning. Sin, after sin, after sin, I realized I needed to put my faith and trust in Jesus. I was in 5th grade in KidsWorld, and I heard Pastor Randy talking about baptism and putting our faith in Jesus and how important it was. That week in Awana, Mr. Ken, my leader, was reading the Bible and he read John 3:16. I’ve heard that bible verse many times before, but for some reason Jesus helped me to really see it for what it was. I think the Holy Spirit was talking to me and I committed my life to the Lord.

Since that day I have been praying, reading my bible, and listening to God. He has helped me to stop sinning. I have been trying to spread God’s word to my friends by inviting people to church. I go to Genesis to learn more about God and to spend time with my friends and Mr. Ken, my leader. I have served at 2nd Saturday, with my family, and plan to do that more in the future. I hope to be able to serve in KidsWorld in the future too. I love that I am getting baptized! I want to make a declaration to show everybody that I obey; I follow, trust, and believe God. One of my favorite bible verses is John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, He gave his one and only son for whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” I like that bible verse because Jesus died on the cross for us to take away our sins and to be our Savior, and God loved us so much that he sent his son. I want Jesus to be my Savior because I love him I want to show everybody that I love God and Jesus.

Toni Boezio

X

Toni Boezio

Before I knew Jesus' love, I was living a selfish life of sin that was solely focused on self-satisfaction and self-centered goals.  I felt as though I had no other purpose in my life than to satisfy wants and desires with material objects and status achievements. I didn't realize I was missing something in my life until I started coming to Christ Community Church and felt this pull to keep coming back.

My great friend Alyssa gave me a NIV Study Bible, and after months of hearing Pastor Jim speak about having a relationship with Jesus, I decided to start reading the Bible. When I started to study God's Word, I felt a peace come over me. There were so many times when I would read the Bible and it was like it was speaking directly to me and the situations in my life at that moment. It was then I surrendered my life to Christ and asked him to help me have courage to trust in him and accept his gift of grace and forgiveness that he died on the cross to give. Since accepting Jesus my life has changed, my attitude has changed, I'm no longer quick to anger, I am much more patient and kind, and I have less worry in my life. I have learned to lean on Jesus and trust him more and more everyday. Isaiah 41:10 says “Fear not, for I am with you” and that clear message is what to focus on: that I am never alone, and Jesus loves me.

Agata Bottorff

X

Agata Bottorff

Before I accepted Christ, I lived in self-created denial that I was proving to the world that I'm perfect in every way. My own version of love led me to broken friendships, bad relationships, and a divorce which resulted in addiction, depression, and hopelessness. In this darkness, I saw the light. In this lonely and silent place, I heard the loving voice of Christ. In the coldness of the world, I felt the warm touch of God and true Christ followers coming into my life.

One Sunday during church, God spoke clearly to me,  I heard exactly what was going in my life and it felt as if everybody knew it was me. I also heard resolution from John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

A few days later, I went down on my knees, cried out to Lord, confessed I was a sinner, begged for forgiveness and asked Jesus to take control over my life. It was first day of a new life for me as a Christian, I was healed both spiritually and mentally. That was the last day I took medicine for depression. Today, my life has a meaning, I have a purpose to wake up each morning. Every day is filled with God's love and grace which reminds me how perfect our father is and that I can only try to be perfect by following Jesus Christ. God brought a Christian husband into my life. Douglas and I made Christ a pillar of our home, we pray and read bible together and recently celebrated our third anniversary. I had privilege to serve as an Awana leader and joined a women’s bible study which had a great impact in growing in faith. If you ask my children how they see me, they will tell you that I`m a mom who is Christian, loves her church, and enjoys praising the Lord.

Ben C.

X

Ben C.

In 6th grade at Silver Birch Ranch, I spoke to my cabin leader, just the two of us. I told him I've been feeling closer to Christ and I wanted to surrender my life to Christ. Then he said a prayer like this: "I hope you shine your light on Ben and show him your glory." Right then, then the outside lights went on and we felt they were shining right on me. It was amazing to both of us!

In 7th grade at Silver Birch Ranch, I recommitted myself to Christ with my assistant cabin leader, Ransom. We said a prayer together outside, then went into the chapel where everyone else was singing. I was brought to tears as I was praising God as hard as I could. I had felt all the weight on my chest had been released.

Since then, I pray daily and am seeking to learn more about God. I more clearly know when I am doing wrong and want to do what's right and pleasing to God. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves,  it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.”  I like this Bible verse because it says that all we need to do is believe Jesus died for our sins and through faith and grace we will be saved and have eternal life in heaven. I feel grateful Jesus loved us so much to die for us.

Lucy C.

X

Lucy C.

My name is Lucy and I am 9 years old. I grew up in a home centered around Jesus. When I was 7, I asked God to lead me and gave my heart to him. I want to go to Heaven to be with Jesus one day so it was important to ask God to be my leader. He protects and heals me when I need it the most. I got my foot stuck in an escalator and needed stitches. I was so scared, but God was with me the whole time. I am excited to follow him daily.

Molly C.

X

Molly C.

My name is Molly and I am 10 years old, and I have known who Jesus is my whole life, but my journey to Christ started at 5 years old. That’s when I started attending Christ Community Church. Ever since then, I have felt a feeling inside of me that brings my light, energy, and most of all, happiness.

When I was 6, I found out my dad was moving to Washington. Just a few months ago I found out my dad is getting married, to someone I didn’t know. All of a sudden, I wasn’t feeling that feeling of light inside of me anymore. It felt like the Holy Spirit left me, but really that’s when God was working the most. I prayed to God, hoping he’d answer, but he did more than that. He gave me so much joy and comfort that I thought it was a dream. God was working within me.

God loves us all so much that he hears our prayers. Whenever I pray for happiness or patience, he doesn't just give you happiness or patience. He gives you the opportunity to be patient or to be happy.

I want to be baptized because I want the opportunity to show that I am part of the body of Christ. I want to be in God’s family up in heaven even if it means I would never watch Full House again. Everyone--my mom, my KidsWorld leaders, my Camp Commotion leaders, my AWANA leaders--they all love and encourage me so much, and I love them too, but not as much as I love my Leader, my Friend, my Hope, and my Heavenly Father loves me.

Mark Claypool

X

Mark Claypool

In 5th grade, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior at a neighbor’s summer Bible school camp. While Jesus has never once left me, I’ve often strayed from him in many ways.  I’ve often lived life by my terms and when that doesn’t work, it seems my last resort is getting on my knees and asking God to fix things. I'm prone to making my own plans and asking God to bless them, when, in fact, it should be the other way around. It has taken multiple failures of this approach for me to finally get it.  

Five years ago, over an 18 month period, I experienced the end of a 30-year marriage that tore me up inside. I also lost both my mother and sister. Without God, I would never have been able to survive.

I live my life in a different way now, knowing that he has always been there with me. Each day takes on meaning, knowing his presence is there with me. 2 Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Jesus was always there with open arms waiting for me, but I have resisted publically proclaiming that faith through baptism, that is, until today, and I thank my wife Julie for helping me realize that.

Matt Crawford

X

Matt Crawford

Before my walk with Jesus, I led a self-centered life devoted to meeting my own needs while protecting what I thought I deserved. In doing so, the full weight and stress of life was completely my myself and I was struggling. Peace was rare and joy fleeting.

My wife and I started attending services at Christ Community Church shortly after getting married. I was skeptical at first, but more and more felt Pastor Jim speaking directly to me through his sermons.The Gospel message became clear and I finally understood what Jesus did for me on the cross.One Sunday morning, prior to participating in communion, I prayed that Jesus would be my Lord, forgive me for my sins, and that I would do my best to honor him with my life.

There is no doubt I’m a different person today. The Bible has become my compass and it means everything to me to be a godly leader at home. Volunteering as a Community Group leader and Awana leader has put me in a position to see God answer countless prayers. I still struggle with being self-centered, but I take comfort in Paul’s direction in Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Suzanne Crotty

X

Suzanne Crotty

In my twenties, I worked at a nursing home. I would ask my Christian co-workers questions about their faith. I knew I wanted what they had, faith, love, joy, understanding, and purpose through God. They told me to pray and I did, but I didn't feel Christ come into my life until one day, crying out, I said a heartfelt prayer with Billy Graham on the TV while I stood in my kitchen.

I think God waited until I really meant it. Then my life changed immediately. I was filled with enormous love and joy! I was blind to God's word but then I could see and understand God's word. I was so excited and thirsty for God's word. I figured out the truth that I was blind to before. As I am writing this, John 14:6 comes to my mind, “Jesus answered, "I am the way, and the truth,  and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. I love how Christ talks to me.”

I became a better wife and no longer expected my husband to meet my every need but instead focused on my husband's needs and what I can give others through God's love.  I also learned how to love the unlovable and to pray for my enemies.

I have taught my children about Christ's love and pray with them and pray for them, just as my mother did for me. I have been through many trials in my life. My husband has Huntington's disease and I still have three children at home. Since my husband became sick, I have been struggling with various health issues as well. They say it's a miracle I'm still here. I know many people go through many things in life. I just know I would not have been able to get through life's trials alone without Christ by my side. I really don't know how people get through life without Christ. I am extremely blessed! Christ Community Church has been a huge blessing to my family and I!

Monica DelMedico

X

Monica DelMedico

My name is Monica DelMedico and I am a child of God. I have always know Jesus was in my life, even as a very small child. My mother is a great example of being a faithful servant to God by raising six children and teaching us the importance of accepting and following God in our lives. Becoming a mother to my son Michael in 1981 was the changing factor that opened my heart to God. That event made me want to be a good example of what a Christ follower should be. I now have a daughter-in-law and the goal is even greater. I now understand the role of parenting for what God intended it to be. I was drenched in selfishness, it was all about me...life was a very lonely place.

In 2006, life took a frightening turn for the worse. A simple appendix operation turned into a serious illness and I was very sick for months. I turned to God and he carried me.

The day I went back to work, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and was down for the next year. I turned to God and he continued to carry me. In 2009, my husband Mike died suddenly and life as I knew it stopped. I turned to God and he still carried me. In 2013, I became ill again from pneumonia and was sick for another long period of time. I turned to God and he carried me.

I never asked God "why" questions. I knew he would never leave me. I did ask him to show me what I was supposed to be learning from all of these crisis in my life. His answer came quickly..."To know myself and love myself" because he knew what I didn't. My favorite passage from the Bible is I Corinthians 13..."Three things will last forever - faith, hope, and love, and the greatest is love.” God took me to the lowest points in my life to teach me love, he knew that was the only way to teach me. He gave me his love, the love of family and friends and even strangers during trying times. The places of my greatest pain and tears has been the place of God's greatest victory. I am healthy now...living strong, working everyday to be an example of a Christ follower.

I choose today to be bold and give a public display of my choice to walk with Jesus. I pray to know his will for me and be ready to listen when he calls. I pray for tools like the armor and knowledge of Christ to avoid sin and temptation and the strength and courage to carry out his awesome plan for me. God's love and grace are enough for me. I am his loving child and he is my loving father.

Lorraine Figgins

X

Lorraine Figgins

I was not born into a spiritual family and we never talked about God. My mom died when I was eight years old and my dad worked many hours, leaving me alone a lot. Because of that, I was always looking for approval. My decisions growing up were based on the opinions of others. I often tried to please the people in my life in order to be liked.

I spent most of my life searching for something, but not really understanding what I was living for. It wasn’t until my forties, when I heard the message of a TV evangelist, that I was touched by the truth: God is with us from birth and he had been waiting for me to allow him to guide and work in my life. I realized living my life may always be a struggle, but how I choose to handle that is my choice. God loves me and I am not forgotten. He will lift me when I fall. That day I prayed the sinner’s prayer and accepted Christ into my life.

For many years after I came to know Christ, I thought baptism was just a ritual for the eyes of men. But now in my seventies, I want to be baptized as a public sign of my submission and commitment to God. Jesus Christ is my support and guidance, so I want to be his representative to the world. I want it to be obvious God is doing his work through me. Through being baptized, I will prayerfully re-affirm my vow to be in relationship with him.

Dennis Fudala

X

Dennis Fudala

In November 2014, I became involved in a domestic situation with my wife. I had been forced to leave my home and family. I knew I needed help and I turned to Jesus for that help; I knew he was the only one that could provide it. I reached out to my police friends for help through the Fellowship of Christian Police Officers. I thank my friends like Dino Heckerman, Mike Marchese, and Mike Hurn!

My life is still so much a work in progress. I now know that there is no happiness without my Lord Jesus Christ there are many that need to know him and I hope I will be able to bring some souls to him as I was brought to him.

Andrew G.

X

Andrew G.

When I was 7 months old I got baptized, but it wasn’t my decision. I made my decision about a month ago because I prayed that I could live for God and not the world. My family and all the people at Christ Community Church helped me make this decision. When I was growing up my family didn’t go to church that much and I didn’t really care about that decision. Until one day we went to church and it just became a big part of my life. I have learned a lot about God and Jesus and I want to live for them because they are my saviors and I love them more than anything and that is why I want to get baptized.

Grace G.

X

Grace G.

When I was younger, I was baptized as an infant. When I was little, my mom was somewhat religious and went to church from time to time, while my dad wasn’t really religious. As I got older, my family and I went to church on holidays, but never regularly. I believed in God but never really understood his gift of grace.

When I was in 3rd grade, a neighbor invited us to Christ Community Church. We attended a few times until we started going weekly with their family. After a while, we stopped going with their family but still attended weekly. In December of 2014, I went to Genesis for the first time. I had so much fun that I went every week after that. After going to Genesis, I surrendered my life to Christ.

Now after surrendering my life to Christ, I know a lot more and pray regularly. This past summer I went to a Christian camp called Lake Geneva Youth Camp in Lake Geneva. That week was all about shining your light through Jesus. We learned a weekly verse that has now become my favorite; “In the past you were full of darkness, but now you are full of light in the Lord. So live like children who belong to the light. Light brings every kind of goodness, right living, and truth. Try to learn what pleases the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8-10

Jodi Gassmann

X

Jodi Gassmann

I grew up in a Lutheran household where we attended church every Sunday, but our religion didn’t go much beyond church attendance. After my mom passed away, my dad became very angry and rejected the church. With no one to hold me accountable and a weak faith of my own, I also stopped going. While I still believed in God, I never had a close relationship with him. I would attend a church every once in awhile, and got married in a Methodist church. Both of my children were baptized in Lutheran churches because I felt it was the right thing to do.

We attended random churches sporadically with the kids until my very good friend, Keri Bush, asked me to attend Christ Community Church with her. We didn’t attend consistently at first, but when we didn’t go I missed it and almost felt a sadness. I saw a joy in people that I didn’t have. The feeling grew stronger and that’s when I knew it was time to stop worrying about my agenda and live for God’s. I surrendered my life to Christ one Sunday and wanted to go public! I still have lots of things to work on in my life but “Jesus looked at them and said, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

Laura Gilliam

X

Laura Gilliam

I was baptized in the old traditional Episcopal church, but had only attended church on a few occasions throughout my life. I was never able to connect with church, or religion and I never understood scripture. I always thought I believed in God, but never really knew why. I couldn’t connect the dots. So, I simply lived my life, my way, without any godly foundation.

By 2011, my marriage of more than 20 years was coming to an end. My former spouse, had, for most of our marriage, been living a life of darkness, buried in alcohol and adultery.My anger, bitterness, and distrust only added to the demise. My children and I were devastated. I was depressed, anxious all the time, and I was exhausted. I was disturbed by all of the negativity that surrounded me, and I was tired of it controlling my life. I found myself wondering if there was more to life than this, and believed in my heart that there just had to be.

I found a Bible version that I could understand and started reading. I found refuge in the words that were laid before me, and was surprised at how many truths I had uncovered there. I eventually noticed that while I was in those pages, I was at peace, but wanted more. I wanted to go to church. I wanted to be a part of something that was bigger than me.

One day, my neighbors, Ed and Sandi Cook, who are members here at Christ Community, stopped by to express their condolences at the passing of an in-law, and during the conversation, I asked if they were still attending church regularly and of course the answer was yes, followed by an open invitation to join them. I hesitated, but felt an inner nudge, and realizing that this was a positive thing, and something that I had wanted, I took a breath, submitted to the nudge, and put one foot forward, agreeing to join them the following Sunday, where I was warmly welcomed by them, and their great group of friends.

Within a few days, I was attending the first day of the winter Alpha course, which reaffirmed my thoughts relating to God and Jesus.  There I met Delores Dowling, who got me involved with volunteer work at the church. I was looking for some positivity in my life and here it is, right here at Christ Community! God heard my prayer and answered. While my circumstances have not changed, I believe that I have.  I now know that I am a child of God, who is always under construction, constantly growing and constantly changing.  I want to be a new creature in Christ, washing away the old and making me new. God didn’t save my marriage.  He chose to save me instead.

I have been blessed, and I am a sinner who does not deserve such kindness (this is his GRACE). My hope and prayer is that my children will follow me, and that I will make them, and our Lord proud. On Thursday, October 15, 2015,  I officially gave my life to Christ. He is my strength and my refuge.

Christa H.

X

Christa H.

Before I truly trusted in Jesus, I relied on temporary things as my source of happiness. For example, I found joy in materialistic things like clothes, money, and a lot of stuff I didn’t need but wanted because I always felt like something was missing in my life. I also relied heavily on sports to distract me from the reality of my problem. Playing soccer and volleyball all the time definitely distracted me from what was truly important.

Then, I went to Christ Community’s middle school camp at Silver Birch Ranch. It was there that I began to identify my faults and recognize the importance of having a strong relationship with God. I recognized the biggest sins in my life: self-centeredness and pride. I decided to ask God for a fresh start, and shortly after committed my life to him.

Since then, I have had a strong relationship with Christ, and am going public by being baptized. I have recognized my sin and am constantly working on it. I enjoy going to church and worshiping every weekend to keep my relationship with Jesus strong. I also plan on attending camp again this year which is a great experience and an opportunity to continually connect with God.

As Romans 10: 9-10 states, "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.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."

Michelle Heisler

X

Michelle Heisler

Before I surrendered to Jesus, I had a gaping hole in my life. Even when things seemed to be going pretty well, I still felt so empty. I was aching to feel loved for who I am, but I carried around so much guilt and shame for my sins that I didn't feel worthy of God's love. I spent my whole life relying only on myself and I was utterly burnt out.

In 2005, I met Sheri Brown, and she invited me to come to Christ Community Church. For the first time, the Word of God was being presented to me in a way that made sense. However, my feelings of guilt and shame were deeply rooted and I felt that I had to fix myself before I could be worthy of God's unconditional love and acceptance. Unfortunately, I kept sinning. My strength alone was not enough and I was never going to be good enough. I was exhausted.

On November 30, 2014, the topic of the sermon was "Freedom from Guilt." After that message, I knew in my heart that God's love is a gift and I would never be able to earn it. By holding on to my guilt, I was dishonoring all that Jesus had done for me on the cross. I also knew that I couldn't continue to live one more day on my strength and abilities alone and that I needed to put my trust in God and His plans. That day I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ.

I now know that God loves me unconditionally despite my sins, and that he has a plan for good with my life. I know that I'm not promised a perfect life and that I will struggle, but I'm at peace with that fact because I know I am not alone and there is a greater purpose. He is my best friend and will never leave me. Because of his example and love, I am able to love people in ways I never thought possible. Although I still sometimes struggle with guilt and trusting God, I have found the inner peace I have been searching for my whole life. I now know the truth: I am loved by God and I am not alone. I'm so excited to see how God will use me to carry out his plans.

Madeline K.

X

Madeline K.

My name is Madeline and I am 10 years old. I was baptized when I was a baby in the Catholic church because it was important to my grandparents. My parents then took our family to a Bible-based church which was Christ Community Church.

Each summer, I went to Hot U camp at the church. It was my third year at camp that I truly understood I was saved by Jesus. Now I want to be baptized because I want to show my commitment to Christ publicly. Now, I look forward to sharing my story and hopefully inspiring others to take this step as well.

J.T. L.

X

J.T. L.

My name is J.T. and I am eleven years old.  I have grown up knowing who God is and going to church.  When I was seven, I prayed a prayer and felt that Jesus was inside me.  Ever since I prayed that, I have been wanting to get baptized.  Jesus is my Lord and Savior and I want to get baptized to show everyone that I have put my faith in Jesus.

Lou L.

X

Lou L.

My name is Lou and I am 9 years old. I was actually hating church and thinking there was not much purpose when my dad asked me if I wanted to say a special prayer. So I just wanted to get it over with. But when I said the prayer, I felt different, like Jesus was actually with me. I know I can trust God to get me through hard times, and he loves me no matter what. Jesus has done countless things in my life.  He has given me gifts and abilities, just a couple of the things he has made me are smart and athletic. He has given me a loving family who trust and obey him. I want to follow Jesus because I know he died for me and saved me. I know he’ll forgive me when I sin.

A lot of people have helped me take these steps to baptism. Mostly my parents and pastors. They pray for me and with me, and teach me about what Jesus has done. Being baptized for me means declaring that I have been saved, because of my faith and trust in Jesus.  My life is different because I understand the purpose of the church. I know that I will be different now because Jesus lives on the inside now and I know that all I have to do is pray and ask God for help in any situation.  

I know that I will never be perfect but that I will always be loved By God and that gives me peace.

Alexis M.

X

Alexis M.

I was raised in a Catholic home, but was never very religious. I went to church on Sundays and listened to stories about a man named Jesus, but that is all they were to me at the time: stories. Going through adolescence, I struggled with self-identity and self-worth; I was young and very confused over what the purpose of my life was and who I was supposed to be.

At the same time, my family had begun exploring different churches, and one day ended up at Christ Community Church. Immediately, I felt at home. I'd began hearing about having a personal relationship with Jesus. This was incredibly odd to me. Before attending the church, I'd never even thought about having anything personal between me and Christ. I wanted it, then and there I knew what had been missing.

The more we attended Christ Community Church, the more I dived into scripture, prayer, and connecting with the community around me. The feeling was unbelievable; the more I grew spiritually, the more I could feel the distance closing between me and God. I began to understand that God wanted me here. It was no coincidence that my family ended up at Christ Community Church. The drive that I felt to become closer and closer to him gave me a feeling of purpose. I found my life when I laid it down to him, and that is something I don't ever want to give up.

I know now my calling is to spread my faith to those who are unaware that God is calling them, and welcoming them with open arms because that is exactly where I was before I truly accepted Christ into my life. He tells us, "I stand at the door and knock" (Revelation 3:20), and now I feel beyond ready to make a public declaration that I've let him in for good.

Richard Michalec

X

Richard Michalec

I was baptized as an infant. It was my parents decision to have me baptized. Now I am making that decision for myself to declare what God has done in my life.

I know now what sin is how it affects my life. Surrendering my life to Christ is the way to conquer sin and one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Reading my bible is a way to build on my relationship with Christ as my personal Savior.

I raised my children as Christ followers and they are raising theirs the same. I will continue following Christ's word and be glad for it.

Fraser Mirrielees

X

Fraser Mirrielees

Without Christ as the center of my life, it felt as if something was missing; my soul felt incomplete and unsettled. I needed something that the world was not providing for me. At times I felt God’s presence in my life and I knew he existed, yet I didn't truly understand God or how to connect with him in a meaningful way, nor how to rely on God to guide my daily life.

I then sought understanding through God's word (the beginning of my Christian journey) by reading the Bible cover to cover, then choosing to ask Christ to be my Lord and Savior. I have continued to seek a deeper understanding of God’s will for me. I work to be more Christ-like every day, realizing I have much to accomplish in order to do so.

Baptism is another step in my Christian journey lead by an internal prompting to move closer to God. Baptism is taking another step of faith and another step toward God working his will through me.

Bonnie Natanek

X

Bonnie Natanek

I have been a born again Christian for many years.  After attending a bible study in the home of my dear friend, Shirley Brown, I accepted the Lord in February of 1973.  I attended a small bible church and became very active in the congregation including Sunday school classes, nursery, and women’s groups.  Because of “stage fright” and not being pushed toward baptism, I never fulfilled the declaration being saved.  It has always been in my heart that someday this would be completed.  After attending Christ Community Church for the last several years and watching and praying for the baptism participants, I finally realized that this was the time.

I have never doubted that I have had Christ in my life all these years and that I would live with Him in eternity, but now I need to step out of my comfort zone and be bold and obedient and finish what God started many years ago. John 14:6  Jesus told him, “I am the Way—yes, and the Truth and the Life.  No one can get to the Father except by means of me.“

Tom Natanek

X

Tom Natanek

As a child, I was raised Roman Catholic.  I attended eight years of religious school and always knew of Jesus. In high school and college, I still attended church and felt I was following God’s directions.  

During the wedding planning with my future wife, we discussed the way we would raise our children and continue our faith.  We decided to join a bible church and we were led by many strong Christians.  After a bible study on Revelations, I realized that that I needed to accept Jesus into my life.  So in 1973, I asked Jesus into my life and prayed with a friend Reverend Don Brown. My life changed after that. I was attending a Sunday adult bible study, worked as Awana leader, and other church related activities.  We raised our children to know Jesus and worked to be good examples for them.  

After moving to Geneva and searching for a new church,  we chose Christ Community Church.  It was there I realized that baptism is a key step in continuing Christian growth and demonstrating my love for Jesus.  

Chrissy Park

X

Chrissy Park

I claimed to be a believer for a long time, but my actions did not show this. I went through life, got angry, and not trusting God when my son had stage 4 thyroid cancer at the age of 33. One thing lead to another and things didn’t go well at all. I hated myself and blamed everyone including God.

I wanted to die many times. Then I met a lady through my husband’s church. She always talked to me about the true love from God and about Jesus. I slowly realized, God is in control and Jesus died for all my sins. I needed to surrender, all of my trust to Jesus, and put my faith in Him alone.

Since then, my life has truly changed. I started going to Christ Community Church this year. I still have my day to day struggles, but with His love and guidance, I will persevere and tackle each day. He is my Lord and Savior and the source of my salvation. I am finally getting baptized to declare that I have surrendered my life!

Reagan R.

X

Reagan R.

I grew up in a Christian home. I was four years old, doing a nightly devotion with my dad, when he told me that I needed to accept Jesus Christ into my heart, to receive him as my Lord and Savior if I wanted to have eternal life and to know him personally. I wanted eternal life and I wanted a personal relationship with God, so I accepted him, that night. I do not know what my life would be like without Christ.

Ever since, my walk with Christ has been a journey. It has not been easy, but God has helped me through the tough times. As I get older, my struggles are becoming more difficult. I look to God for help, and he gives me strength in my time of need. I am choosing to be baptized because it is what God calls us to do as Christians. God has put this on my heart and I want to obey him.

Alek S.

X

Alek S.

My name is Alek and I am nine years old. I have grown up in a Christian family and as a baby, I was dedicated to God by my parents and baptized in Serbia. I know they wanted me at a young age to obey God.

I have always loved God. I have had to make tough decisions but God guided me the whole way. So now I am doing what I have always wanted to do which is get baptized. I want to get baptized and I want to have God as a friend and the holy spirit inside me.

 

Brian Schmit

X

Brian Schmit

God has always been apart of my life. I can remember God being in my life from an early age even though my parents had me baptized as an infant. About 5 years ago, I realized that I was merely a bystander in faith and was not giving myself fully to Him. My wife, Rebekah, and I were searching for more of a challenge in our relationship with Chris and with the help of Kris and Laura Heitzig, we were introduced to Christ Community Church. The pure joy and excitement we encountered walking in the doors was truly unbelievable. I wanted to be an active participant in my faith after witnessing others giving themselves fully. Since this move to Christ Community Church, my wife and I have joined a community group, we pray with our kids daily, and I am jumping into the Bible eager to learn more. 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." This is my declaration and I am making my own decision telling people that I am saved as John 3:15 says "that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him."

Rebekah Schmit

X

Rebekah Schmit

I grew up going to church and going to a private Christian school.  Around the age of five, I accepted Jesus in my heart.  I had all the tools to live a godly life and follow him through many examples surrounding me.  Thinking back now, I have always believed in Jesus but that doesn’t mean that I have always lived a Christian lifestyle.  Throughout high school I knew all the Bible stories and took a Bible class but it seemed that I just went through the motions of a Christian lifestyle rather than truly knowing and understanding what it meant to have a relationship with him.  I quickly drifted apart from God throughout college and was making the wrong choices day after day.  I only went to church when I came home from school because it was expected, I didn’t go because I wanted to. I would find myself praying to God only when I needed something.

Throughout my early twenties, I always had this voice in the back of my head urging me to find a church home but when it came down to it, I went after my own selfish desires and continued to try and have sole control over my life.   Shortly after I was married, the voice was getting stronger and stronger about really getting me back to church and to God.  The desire seemed to be there but the actual actions seemed harder to manage.  We were pregnant with our first child and I would say God used him as a tool to open up my heart.  I had such a desire for him to grow up in the church and have faith in Christ that I felt myself wanting more and more.  I knew our family needed Jesus to be at the center of it.

We began going to church regularly which is when I allowed myself to hear God knocking on the door.  After a couple of years we decided to change churches and we started attending Christ Community Church.  Within these past couple of years I have recommitted my life to Christ with a true understanding of what a relationship with Jesus is really about.  My husband and I have joined a community group within the last year.  The change I feel in myself over the last couple years is well beyond what I even knew was possible.  When I feel anxious or have fear over something I have really learned what it is to lean on God and give him the control over situations.  A verse that has stuck with me throughout all my life and means more today that it did growing up is Proverbs 3:5-8: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.  Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.  Instead, fear the Lord and turn your back on evil.  Then you will gain renewed health and vitality.”

Maine T.

X

Maine T.

My name is Maine and I am 9 1/2 years old.  I grew up in a Christian home, hearing all about Jesus from my mom and dad.  I prayed a prayer, putting my faith and trust in Jesus, when I was in the car a few years ago.  I want to follow Jesus because I believe he is Lord and I want to live with him in heaven forever.  I decided to get baptized because it’s what Jesus commanded us and I want to show people I’m following him.

Jeff Turk

X

Jeff Turk

I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior later in life during my mid-fifties.  Prior to that, life was good but not great.  I claimed to be a Christian and attended church semi-regularly.  It seemed though, that every aspect of life, was a chore.  It could be work, projects around the house, the kid’s activities, and basically any of life’s responsibilities.  I felt as if I could just get the current task done, then I could do something that would make me happy.  Life was full of worry, irritation, envy, anger and anxiety.

When our youngest daughter was in high school, she attended Mosaic with some friends.  She liked Christ Community Church and suggested that we attend.   We started attending occasionally and then more and more frequently.  Over the course of two or three years, I clearly internalized the message of surrendering and making Jesus my Lord and Savior.  I relinquished the throne of my life slowly, one step at a time.  First came regular church attendance, which lead to regular bible reading, which lead us to a couple’s community group, Financial Peace University, tithing, serving, and finally a men’s group firmly grounded in Christ.  

I don’t recall any particular turning point that initiated a complete surrender.   Very simply, the more I walked in obedience and followed His will, the more joy filled my life became.  I did not miss the past-times I left behind.  Rather, I found peace and joy like I had never experienced.  In the end, it was the focus of my life that  was changed, rather than my circumstances. At present, my relationship with our children is more cherished, the frustrations of life are more manageable, but the greatest joy is the strong bond that has formed with my wife, the bond of a marriage firmly grounded in Christ. I know it was the Holy Spirit that led us to Christ Community Church, opened my ears and softened my heart.  I was baptized as a child but know that through this public declaration, I am being genuinely obedient to Christ.

Lynne Turk

X

Lynne Turk

My life before I embraced Christ was a blissful life, but one of mediocrity. I think it sometimes is more difficult to leave a life that’s mediocre, than one that contains extreme voids.  I was too comfortable to risk changing anything, and yet lacking the joy and fulfillment of a life, lived beyond one’s wildest dreams. This was a wasted life.

Children often open our eyes to new and daring experiences. They make us leap out of our comfort zone, into uncharted territory and this was the case for us.  Our family had attended  a church regularly, for decades, based on duty rather than desire.  We sat in church week after week, listening to rituals and sermons, and all the time, never applying what we heard on the altar to our lives during week. It was a struggle, every Sunday to get our teenagers to accompany us. Then one fall, our youngest daughter after having attended a Mosaic function with a friend, began begging us to attend Christ Community Church. Yes, a teenager actually asking to go to church. She was so interested in being part of the youth programs, that we begrudging attended a Sunday service at Christ Community, and what we uncovered was startling.  We discovered a community of believers, that were accepting of our struggles and willing to be vulnerable in regards to theirs.   We found people that deeply cared for the disadvantaged, gave up lucrative jobs to serve the church, spent Sunday evenings feeding the homeless, Saturdays each month helping complete strangers, and spent their vacations in a foreign land, so that others could know about Jesus. This was a surreal experience, but was it genuine?  The genuine actions of so many members of Christ Community Church, opened our eyes to what a Christ-filled life could look like.  It gave us vision to embrace a life of joy and serving, by saying “yes” to God and “no” to this comfortable, mediocre life we were leading.  Thus began our journey of reading the Bible and the courage to live it out.  God reached our hearts through the pleas of our daughter.

Our family is on a continuous path of discovery, and through every experience, we feel peace. The peace of knowing that we are where God needs us to be, and not necessarily where we had hoped to be. We will embrace the mountains we climb and the valleys we go through, in order to show the glory of God to others, and that is the purpose of this life. Like everyone walking on this planet, we will experience great joys, deep sorrow and eventually death.  Yet we know that during these times, we won’t be alone. God will always be there, daring us to take one more step of faith, one more journey and one more display of His Glory.  I know God is taking our family to places that we would never have gone to without him.  He is stretching us, and yes sometimes stretching is uncomfortable, in fact very uncomfortable, but in the end it so worth it.

Brittany Weber

X

Brittany Weber

Before I knew The Lord, I felt as though something was always missing in my life. I constantly wanted more until one day I had nothing at all. I was completely empty. I was told to read the book “Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. I remember feeling overwhelmed with fulfillment. I also felt extreme guilt about the way I had been living in darkness, hiding behind the college scene and making poor choices. I quickly learned that I have an actual purpose to this life I live and that only God can fill my emptiness. I asked God to forgive me for living the first 21 years of my life so selfishly and I begged Him to take control of my life from that day forward. John 14:8 says; ‘If God is all you have, you have all you need.’

It has now been two years since I decided to follow Jesus, and I can honestly say I have never been happier. I have a boyfriend who encourages me daily to be more like Jesus and who respects our decision to not engage in premarital sex. I am part of a women’s community group here at Christ Community Church in which I have grown amazing friendships and mentors. Most recently, God has provided me with a lovely Christian home as a live-in nanny as I finish up my last year of nursing school! Although it seems on paper, my Christian walk is not all rainbows and butterflies. I have bad days, sad days, and tempting days but with the Lord by my side, I get through it all.

Craig Weiss

X

Craig Weiss

Before I knew Jesus as my Savior, I was selfish and only concerned with my own little world, self gain, and what I could get.  Although I still struggle with these thoughts and tendencies, I am excited to focus my life and ambitions on the things that Jesus has in store for and wants for me.  My walk with Jesus has been a bumpy one on my part. I accepted Christ into my life when I was 15 years old.  Back then, I really struggled with temptation, trying to be perfect, self doubt, and constant worry.  I lost my way and floundered spiritually.  

I felt heavily conflicted because I wanted to fully rely on Jesus for everything.  I am now 31 years old and I am so thankful to Jesus for his faithfulness and love for me!  I have found comfort in Psalm 103:12 “As far as the East is from the West, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”  Jesus has brought me to this point in my life to trust in him, to allow him to correct me and direct me in my life.  His love has changed me and I believe it will continue to help me be a faithful follower, better husband, more patient father, boss, and friend.  Through this transition, I feel like I have become less selfish and willing to take a stand for Jesus.  He laid done his life for me and I am forever indebted to Jesus for that.

Mark Wissing

X

Mark Wissing

I was baptized as an infant, confirmed in the Lutheran Church at 13 years old, always believed in God, and felt that I was a Christian. Even though I would pray often I was not placing my faith in Christ and following Jesus.

My father died a couple years ago and I grew much closer to my step mother. Mom loves talking about the Lord and the Bible. Mom helped to open the eyes to my heart so I could see the Lord and I accepted Christ into my life from her good example.

In the last few years, I have tried to obey the Lord and have been reading the Bible and practicing a daily devotion. Today I see how Jesus is in every part of my life. I have many struggles, yet I have many prayers ahead of me. Mom wanted to be baptized as an adult and asked me to join her. I am very excited to be publicly demonstrating my faith in Christ through baptism. To God Be The Glory!

Norma Wissing

X

Norma Wissing

My parents loved Jesus. My mother was my role model and I wanted what she had, which was a joyous nature, the love for God, and a calm peace.

At 12 years old, at a Barrington camp meeting, I asked Jesus into my heart, and He became my personal Savior. I am eternally grateful that Jesus loved me enough to die for me. Now He is with me wherever I go. Later, Jesus sent Charlotte O'Donnell into my life. She encouraged me to turn to scripture for all problems. I memorized scripture so that I'd have a ready answer.

Reading scripture and praying became my way of life. During my marriage, my faith in Jesus and God's Word got me through many difficulties and allowed me to be a witness to my children and husband. Now that I'm by myself, I am visiting sick people, singing in the choir, helping more at church, and growing in the fellowship I now have with 17 godly women in weekly Bible Study. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3: 5 & 6

Robert Z.

X

Robert Z.

Since I was born, I was raised by a Christian family, so I knew the truth about Christ. But, there was a difference between believing it yourself and hearing someone talk about it. I was taught that God was real, but I was sometimes skeptical because I hadn’t witnessed a miracle first-hand. That changed as soon as I entered fourth grade. I had seen and heard about the work of Christ in the world, but I never really realized what God was doing in my life until I entered fourth grade. It was then that I first saw how blessed I was to have an encouraging community of fellow Christians and have a family that doesn’t have any abusive or alcoholic parents, and that I should be a little more grateful for that fact.

Now, since I met Christ, I go to him for help when I am in tough times, and try to pray many times during the day to keep the bond strong between Jesus and I. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for me, and I want to get baptized as a sign that I acknowledge that and I want to follow him.