Bartlett

Bright Agumi

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Bright Agumi

I have been a Christian since early childhood but I often treated God like Santa Claus. When I needed something I would run to him, and then after I got what I needed I would go back to my old ways until I needed something again. 

After I had my son, I came to a realization that this wasn’t a good way to bring him up. So l decided to seek a hot faith rather than being cold or lukewarm as a means to set the right example. So I'm starting from scratch again and doing things the right way. Getting baptized today shows that Jesus is the Lord of my life.

Chuck Mattingly

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Chuck Mattingly

When my late wife was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I lost hope and hated God for allowing her illness. After a while, I knew I had to turn to something other than self-destruction and drowning my sorrows.

My neighbor Stuart Ruch, a bishop and pastor at the Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, always tried to get me back to Jesus. As I tried to find companionship, I would ask my dates if they went to church and most often they didn't or were atheists. Then I met Marina. I believe she was sent to me by God. She mentioned that if we were to have a relationship, I must attend church with her. I immediately started attending and serving at Christ Community Church.

Since then, my life has changed so much. I enjoy serving God. Overall, I'm much happier. I feel more fulfilled now that I’ve given my life to Christ. I look forward to getting more involved with the church through serving and going on GO Teams. Marina and I are now married and pray together regularly. I'm really looking forward to the rest of my life with God here on earth and then eternal life with him.

Kevin Small

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Kevin Small

I was raised in the Catholic faith, attended Catholic Schools, and considered myself to be a strong Christian. However, most of my life, I felt I was just going through the motions of my faith. In fact, I knew I acted in a self-centered manner and I was sure I was displeasing to God. One day, I asked Jesus to save me from my sins and addictions. He answered my plea, and I emerged with a new look on life. From then on, I was determined to explore a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God. I can honestly say that I was now seeking a life centered on Jesus.

My wife and I agreed that we wanted to find a new church. Around that same time, Christ Community

Church opened the Bartlett Campus at the Bartlett Community Center across from our home. My wife, son, and I were there on opening day and we all loved it. My eyes were opened the more I became involved with this community and I wanted people from this church and Jesus in my life. From ushering at weekly services, to attending a Men’s Bible study, to hosting the Mosaic House Group in our home each week, Jesus is now a major part of my life. In the book of Acts, Peter says “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Today is a public sign that I have repented and asked forgiveness for my sins – that I have committed my life to Jesus.

Pat Tanzillo

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Pat Tanzillo

My story is simple and I cannot say that I had a dramatic experience in my life to change me. What I can say is that that Christ transforming me was directly influenced by the people he placed in my life such as my wife and children. Christ surrounded me with people who revealed his love to me, and in doing so, answered my prayers. I am very grateful for the people in this church: the leadership, the people that serve our church and the great group of men in my men’s community group, who have helped me grow in Christ.

A scripture that is meaningful to me is Mathew 7:13 which says “enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”

These are some of the changes that Christ has made in my life:

- I heard about God, now I listen to God.

- I learned how to forget, now I have learned how to forgive.

- I felt sorry for people in need, now I have compassion for people.

- I always had friends, now I have friendships.

- I used to have inspirations of heaven, now I truly understand what being saved is all about.

Blackberry Creek

Mandy Morrison

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Mandy Morrison

I have been learning about God and praying to God since I first started school as a little girl. Over the years, my faith has been slowly growing.  After my dad passed away from colon cancer five years ago, I decided to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  

I had confessed my sin and asked him to be my Savior early on, but now I really started to strengthen my faith because for the first time, it mattered to me if someone made it into heaven.  I began to invest more time into my spiritual growth.  I started reading the Bible. We started attending church as a family.  

My husband and I started working hard at being positive role models for our children through family prayer time and giving to others. We began to include them in decisions to give through Samaritan’s Purse. I joined the Meals Team here at Christ Community.  

I have made it a priority in my life to try to listen to God’s plan for me.  As a result, I have a more positive outlook on life, feel less anxiety, and have more courage to try new things.

Todd Morrison

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Todd Morrison

I attended church when I was a child, but during and after college I started to disconnect from God and the church.  I focused more on advancing my career and my job which, in a way, became my god.

My darkest time was when I faced losing my job while my wife was pregnant with our third child. We were struggling financially.  Because my job was the focus of my life, I was devastated and in a situation where I had nowhere to turn. One night, when I felt it all slipping away, I decided to genuinely talk to God and committed to putting all of my faith in him.  I started to attend church and pray to God regularly.  Good things started entering my life and I found a new job relatively quickly.

Since surrendering to God and putting Him before my career, I have grown spiritually.  I now attend Christ Community regularly, read the Bible daily, and even traveled on a recent GO Team mission trip.

I believe my life has been blessed greatly since I have genuinely put my faith in God and have been obedient through church, prayer, and service.

Kristina Rome

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Kristina Rome

After going through so much pain and loss in high school, I hit my breaking point. Losing my Aunt made me curse and denounce the Lord in my first year of college.

In 2014, I met Jake at Waubonsee Community College.  It didn't take long to become friends and eventually start dating.  He had to convince me to go back to church, especially since he was playing the drums on Good Friday.  The unique part of the service was dipping my hand in red paint to leave a handprint on a cross in front of the pews.  As I let my painted hand rest on the cross, I felt God move through me.  Walking back to my seat, the tears started.  I sobbed and begged for the Lord's forgiveness.  When I left, I no longer had burdens and the void in my heart was filled.


With renewed faith and devotion, getting baptized again is a step of affirmation in my relationship with God.  Finding Christ Community Church is a sign that I was always welcome home. Now I use my gifts for what I have been put on Earth by God for: to help others.

DeKalb

Randy Coppert

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Randy Coppert

I gave my life to Christ at the age of 12. After graduation, I went my own way with little regard to Jesus. Because my parents had me baptized as an infant I have long thought there was no need for me to be baptized again. I always thought my walk with Jesus was between him and me.

I knew he loved me and always has, but the more I attended Christ community Church and learn what the Bible says about baptism, the stronger I felt a need for me to go public and be baptized as a believer. Even though I knew I needed to, I struggled with shame and embarrassment that I hadn’t made this decision before now. I know that God has forgiven me and has now given me the courage to come forward.

Cody D.

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Cody D.

I’ve always had people to teach me how to know Christ. My mom and dad and the teachers in KidsWorld have been my biggest influences. One night, while lying in my bed, I was praying to God and asked him to be my Lord and Savior.

Ever since I was in Kindergarten, I have had a desire to serve God. I was so excited this year to be able to serve in KidsWorld for the first time as a youth helper. I love to play with the younger and older preschool kids. It gives me great joy to see the younger kids having fun and to be part of God’s plan.

I am excited to know what God’s plan is for me. I have been telling my parents for a while now that I hope to go on a mission trip so I can, one day, tell other people about God.

Jersey D.

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Jersey D.

I have been going to church since I was very young and started Awana in third grade. Jesus has changed my life. He has removed bad influences from my life and forgave me of my sin.

My mom has guided me through this path to Christ. I want to get baptized because that's what Jesus wants us to do. Being baptized is deciding to publicly declare that I live for Jesus, have asked for his forgiveness, and started a new life with him. I really want to go to heaven someday so I can be with God forever.

I'm now part of the family of everyone who has gotten baptized. I've honestly known God for as long as I can remember and always thought that I was already very close to him, but I want to continually grow closer to him.

Trevor D.

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Trevor D.

I’ve known about Jesus for as long as I can remember, but he never really meant anything to me. Church was just one more thing that I had to do over my weekend.

After a few years of going to church, my mom asked me if I wanted to go to Genesis, our Middle School youth group. I said I didn't want to but she still kept asking and asking if I wanted to go. Then finally, I decided I would go to Genesis in seventh grade. On my first day, I was nervous, but ended up meeting a friend from school and he told me about Silver Birch Ranch, a camp for youth. I decided I would go.  After a day at chapel, I saw how Jesus had affected many of the kids’ lives and realized how much I wanted to have him in my life. That night, I asked Jesus to forgive me for my sins. Afterwards, Jesus started changing my life. He helped me remove things that caused me a lot of worry and stress so I could spend more time learning about him at church and Mosaic.

I know there will still be struggles in life, but I trust that Jesus will help me overcome them and lead me down the right path.

Steve Diedrich

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Steve Diedrich

I grew up in a Christian family who taught me about Jesus; that he died on the cross and rose from the dead to make salvation available to me. I have always believed in that, but it has not always been an important part of my life. As a young adult, I was mainly concerned with I wanted to do and I wasn’t really thinking about obeying God.  After getting married and starting a family, I knew I needed to make God and Jesus a more important part of my life so I could be a better example for my kids.

I can remember very clearly one Sunday morning sitting in a Bible study class. Our leader cautioned us that if we really wanted to learn more about the Bible and what it says, we better be prepared to make some changes, because the more we learn about God and the more we get to know him, more obedience would be required of us. He talked about Luke 12:48 that says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked”.  I realized that I had been given and entrusted with much. From that point forward, I knew that I needed to pursue a relationship with God.  It was time to move beyond faith, and take the next step in my walk with Jesus.

Today, I want to take another step of obedience and work harder at sharing the love of Jesus with others.  A scripture verse that I have been carrying in my head each day comes from Romans 1:16:  “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”

Nancy Hicks

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Nancy Hicks

After ending 18 years of an abusive marriage, I was going down the wrong path in life.  I had already drifted away from my faith.  

One day my friend, Krystle Forsyth, asked me to go with her to Christ Community Church.  I felt as though the services were reaching out to me and opened my eyes to see things more clearly in my life.

As I was lying in bed one evening, I sat up in the middle of the night and realized it was time to start changing my life.  I surrendered myself to Jesus and asked him to forgive my sins and take control of my life.

Since then, I can see my life has made a turn for the better. I have begun praying every day. I have been volunteering my time to help people in need and pray with them. Helping in the community has been a great healing process. 

Bryson L.

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Bryson L.

I have been raised in a Christian family. My mom, dad, and family have set a wonderful example for me. Therefore, I have made the decision to make Christ my Lord and Savior. God has put this in my heart to do sooner rather than later so I can constantly be growing closer to his spirit rather than drifting away.

I have gone to Lake Geneva youth camp for the past four years and each time I’ve been drawn closer to God’s Word. I knelt down before the cross and have accepted Jesus in my heart and life. I know that there will be tough times but from this day forward, I dedicate my life to Jesus. He has forgiven me and strengthened me to live for him.

Kevin M.

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Kevin M.

My name is Kevin and I am 10 years old. I started going to KidsWorld in first grade. I know Jesus died for my sins. I trust Jesus to take care of me, and I love Him. I want to be baptized because I want to tell everyone that I am born again in God’s eyes. I really like Psalm 27:4, which says, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life…”

Mallory M.

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Mallory M.

My name is Mallory and I am 12 years old. I started coming to Christ Community Church when I was in third grade. I felt uncomfortable getting baptized in front of a big crowd, and I am still very nervous, but I have been asking God to help me feel like it will be okay. I follow Jesus because he died for my sins, and I love him very much. I want to be baptized to show I have a clean heart and obey Jesus.

Adam M.D.

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Adam M.D.

I’ve been coming to church my whole life, but when I was a little kid I didn't understand the stories in the Bible. I thought they were fairy tales, but now I get it.

Christ died for my sins and God is the King of kings. Not everybody will get to go to heaven if they don’t trust in and obey Jesus. I will strive to let others know the Good News of who God is. I'm so glad I can go to Jesus and that I am forgiven.

This is why I want to be baptized to show that young people can know and love Jesus.

Phillip Maillefer

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Phillip Maillefer

I grew up in a Christian home and understood faith at an early age. However, when I was very young, I told everyone that I believed in Christ and had accepted him as my Savior without it being true. I constantly lived with a nagging feeling because I knew everything I said, did, and thought was revolving around a lie.

One day, I said enough is enough. When I was around 7, I went to my room, kneeled at my bed, and truly accepted Jesus into my life. I felt a rush of peace take over me as the guilt left.

However, because I had lived like I believed in him, my life didn’t change, so much so, my parents didn’t even know. Unfortunately, because of this, I didn’t think baptism was necessary since I had always kind of believed. I see now that this was a huge mistake. God calls us to publicly display our faith. A mission trip to Brazil in the summer led me wanting to be baptized.

Now I am eager to pursue God with another fresh start, free of shame and guilt. To be a light to the world around me through my actions, words, and thoughts. To do what he called me to do long ago and to live my life eternally for him.

Craig Malone

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Craig Malone

I attended different Christian churches with my mother growing up.  We stopped attending for various reasons, but before we did, I learned about God and Jesus, heard some bible stories, and figured I knew what was expected of me to be a Christian. Through my teens and twenties, I continued to believe that I knew enough already and didn't need to attend church to be the person that God wanted me to be.

After marriage and becoming a father, my wife wanted to seek out a church and found Christ Community Church. I started attending services along with the rest of my family. I listened to the messages and soon learned that I needed to be a more active participant to have the spiritual growth I desire and that God desires from me.  As I continued attending regularly, I became more active in the church as well, serving on Second Saturdays, at Awana, and with the Tech Team during services.

I am choosing to be baptized to show my commitment to following Jesus Christ, growing in my faith, and trying to live my life in a manner that is a servant of God.

Mackenzie Repeta

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Mackenzie Repeta

Some people go throughout their entire life without knowing God’s love. This is why I'm getting baptized. I want to share God’s love with the world. God has been there for me my entire life, but he has truly been here for me this year. He has helped me through many difficult times and helped me find myself. Now, I found that I want to dedicate my life to the Lord. I accepted Jesus into my heart at a young age, but now our connection has blossomed into a garden. I hope my relationship continues to grow.

Melissa S.

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Melissa S.

Before I trusted in Jesus, I worried too much about worldly problems. I was more concerned about what others thought about me than how I felt about myself.

I was invited to the Hub and HouseGroup by my friend Allie Pontarelli. We went on the winter retreat together and my eyes were opened. I realized it doesn’t matter what others think because I was made in the image of God and he put me here for a reason. It was then that I placed my trust in Jesus to help me overcome the sin in my life.

I attend HouseGroup every week and keep learning more about God. I know there will be rough times, but I can pray for strength to get through. God put each one of us here for a reason and we can find peace in knowing he has grand plans for us. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

St. Charles

Emmanuel Alejandro

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Emmanuel Alejandro

Growing up in a traditional religion, my relationship with Christ was distant. Adhering to dogmatic practices seemed more important.  I needed more.

When I met my wife, Mishea, while in college, she helped show me that being closer to Christ was possible.  That is eventually what led us to start going to Christ Community.  I saw that my sins of anger and materialism could be forgiven through Christ. I trusted my life to him.  Now blessed with a family of our own, I want to help instill a stronger Christian foundation for our home.

Since choosing a relationship with Christ, life has more peace and clarity.  My family and I pray together every day. The bond that I have with my wife and two sons has been strengthened by a deeper love. I no longer feel overwhelmed by indulging myself in possessions.  According to 2 Corinthians 5:17, 'anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being, the old is gone, and the new has come.'   

Amina B.

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Amina B.

I was born and raised into a very cultural Muslim family with many strict roles. Islam to me didn't make any sense, but I had no choice but to believe in it. I always had a very strong feeling that there was something wrong, that I was doing something wrong related to my religion. I thought “I'm just far from Allah and there should be a relationship between us.” I grew up religious trying to find the lost godly relationship that I never even believed existed while suffering from the way I was treated--always looking for a way out, a prayer to be answered, but there was nothing. I called out to Allah for help for years, but there was nothing.

I was always curious about Christ and always had the strong feeling that Jesus is more than just a prophet like Muslims believe. My curiosity grew as my hope and faith in Allah gave up, and the way I was treated got worse. There was no hope, no faith. My wish of being free and my curiosity in Christ was all I had. So I risked my life, went against Islam and my family and everyone that knew me. I called out to Jesus for help: "Dear Lord Jesus, you know what I'm going through and what I've gone through, if you are the true and only God then save me, help me, free me, guide me into your lights....Amen."

Less than a month later, I was free, happy, and blessed with everyone and everything around me and Jesus welcomed me into a blessed family. Now that I am experiencing Christ just like I prayed to God to guide me into his light, I've come to recognize Jesus as my God and Savior and I've chosen to follow him as the King of my life.

Jesse B.

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Jesse B.

I asked God to forgive me and lead me when I was in 1st grade. I asked him with a prayer. God has given us many great talents and so we should praise him for his generosity. I want to follow Jesus for this very reason. My parents and God himself have helped me take the steps to getting baptized. Being baptized to me means declaring that I am now closer to God and he is the Lord of my life. My life is different now that I have accepted Christ because I will know that God will be there to lead me through everything.

Sephora B.

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Sephora B.

I grew up in church. My parents first brought me to church when I was an infant and dedicated me before I was one year old.  My parents and my KidsWorld teachers were a great influence on my decision to become a believer of Christ, but it was my personal decision to follow Him.  I became a believer when I fully understood what Jesus did for me on the cross - that was probably around 3rd of 4th grade.  

In the last few years, I have been learning more and growing in my faith.  If it were not for my faith, I wouldn’t be the person I am today: I wouldn’t have God to turn to and pray when I need help for my struggles and doubts.  Because of my faith, I have become more forgiving and kind.

I am ready to take the next step to declare my faith publicly by being baptized.  I want to thank Jesus for what he did for me and for giving me eternal life.  I also want to thank my parents and church leaders for helping me understand my faith.  

Laura Binning

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Laura Binning

I have always known of Christ but never had a personal relationship with him.  I quieted my guilty conscience by comparing myself to others.  If other “good” Christians didn’t go to church and study the Bible then I’m probably safe. The early death of my mother, the financial market crashing, and watching marriages fail and families being torn apart made me finally pause in my selfish, godless life.  

After coming to Christ Community Church, I remember nudging my husband when people were swaying to the worship music and raising their hands in the air.  These people were crazy, but I secretly wanted to be crazy like them.  They were beautiful, smiling, magnetic people when the world outside was so painful.  The messages from the pastors were so amazing and taught directly from the Bible that we kept coming back.  We became regulars.

Pastor Jim kept saying to everyone to read the Bible. It felt like too big of a job for me, but pastor Jim was persistent. He finally convinced me when he said to read through even when you’re reading something you don’t understand, just keep reading because it’s like a great novel but about actual history. It was through going to church and reading the Bible that I trust Christ with my life.

Words can’t describe how many times we have seen our life become easier. The more we obeyed God’s prompting the more life just seemed more tolerable and actually joyful. The whole family just became more workable, patient, kind and lovely.  My wonderful, busy husband was so willing to serve that we started working at the Cup O’ Joy with our family. Our family opened our home for Safe Families kids. Our kids started playing music for middle school worship band and then one even moved on to some weekend services.  We became one of the High School house groups for Mosaic. We keep getting prompted by God to serve in various ways and it’s been fun and rewarding but it’s also helped keep our family focusing a little less on ourselves.

In the Fall of 2014 God prompted us to do foster care. Three days after receiving the foster license the Fall of 2015, we got a call about a 17 year old that needed at home.  Without going into her tragic to amazing story, this lovely girl has been such a blessing to our family.  Our three boys love their new sister and she has become family as if she’s been with us since birth. She simply was meant to be our girl.  After her careful consideration, she decided to be baptized. She knew my husband and I were baptized as infants and asked if we would want to do it with her as adults.  God has been putting baptism on my heart for years and now I get to do it with my husband and my new daughter, how perfect.

Tim Binning

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Tim Binning

I was baptized as a baby but we really didn't attend church much as a child.  Once I was married and we had children my wife Laura and I attended church with the kids on occasion but still never really learned about or followed Christ.  When we  moved to St. Charles in 2005 Laura and I decided we wanted to “church shop” for a place to attend worship service as a family.  The 1st time we came to Christ Community Church we were a little intimidated but we both loved the fact that there was a message being taught right from scripture.  We decided to come back for the message and we have been coming ever since. The pastors always encouraged reading the Bible.  I have never been much of a reader but Laura started reading it so I thought I would too.  

It took me about a year and a half but I read the entire Bible.  The more I read the more I realized how much I loved God and that I wanted a relationship with Him.  I finished reading the Bible for the first time on an airplane on the way to the Czech Republic for a missions trip with my oldest son Parker.  Since inviting Christ into my life I feel constantly prompted to live for Christ.  We have taken children into our home and recently we were blessed with a foster daughter.  I have prayed many times for Jesus to come into my life and to give me strength & guidance to do more.  The more I ask for Jesus to come into my life the more I feel He is changing me from the inside.  Life can be incredibly stressful at times but the comfort of knowing Christ makes the stress easier to manage as I know God is in control.  God is great!

Natalie Buratczuk

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Natalie Buratczuk

I always knew who Christ was but never had a personal relationship with Him. I was christened when I was a baby, but, I want to invest in my relationship with Christ and ask him to guide me through my life.

I started going to my previous church when I was a few months old until I was eight.  We moved to Illinois and searched for a new church and found Christ Community. It was there that I trusted Jesus with my life. God has been with me everyday and I want that to continue for a lifetime.

Theresa Buratczuk

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Theresa Buratczuk

I was raised in the church, attended Sunday school, confirmation, and served the church and others in various ways.  In college, like many, I began living more selfishly, leaving God out of the equation.  My belief in Christ did not change, but I did not include him in my life or decisions at that time.  

When I met my husband, I knew Christ had not forgotten me as he provided me with a partner that loved and cherished me as much as I did him.  It was important to both of us to make sure God was at the center of our marriage and family.  But, I can honestly say, it wasn’t until the birth of my first child that I had any idea how much God loved me.  I loved this little girl with all of my being from the moment I saw her sweet face and realized that what I feel for her is only a drop in the ocean compared to the love God has for us. That was the moment I decided to trust my life to Christ.

I have been humbled and in awe of God ever since.  There is nobody I trust more with my life than Christ. I will continue to include God in my daily decisions, praise him for all the blessings he provides, pray for my family and others, and strive to teach my children about Christ and include him in their lives everyday.  I plan to continue to grow in my relationship with God, learn more from his word, and continue to be a lifelong believer in Christ.

Mia C.

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Mia C.

When I was a little kid, I thought being a Christian was simply going to church and reading the bible. I never lived for Christ, but instead, I lived for myself.

Then, in sixth grade, I began to attend Genesis, and my whole world was changed. That first sermon I attended focused on selfishness, and it opened my heart to who God really is. I realized that we were put on the earth to live in the name of the Lord, and was able to recognize the transgressions in my life. That was the day I decided to trust Jesus with my life.

Since then, I've been able to feel God working in my life. I have been able to discuss my faith with my family more, and have been able to connect with others on a more spiritual level. I have began to find my place in this world with God by my side, and will now continue to grow my faith. As Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Hilda Cannon

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Hilda Cannon

I grew up in the Catholic faith and attended church every Sunday. At age nine, I was molested by a stranger and unfortunately didn’t get justice. Anger kept growing in my heart as I grow older. That anger heavily influenced my choices in my life and relationships.

In early 2000, I was tempted to hurt myself. I was looking for utility knife but found a Bible in the drawer. I realized that God is always with me but I was prideful putting God aside and put myself in control. I cried out to God for help and forgiveness. That night, I felt His presence and it changed my life as I came across at Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have made for you,” says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster to give you a future and hope.”

God continues revealing himself to me. A Christian friend, who happened to be my supervisor at work, invited me to her church. Eventually, I committed my life to Christ.  In 2007, I met my husband, a single father raising a 12-year-old daughter. Our faith led us closer to God. We got married in 2008, two years later we were blessed with a son.

Four years ago, we found Christ Community Church. My husband kept on asking me to get baptized but stage fright stopped me from doing so. One service, the pastor was preaching about forgiveness. In that moment, I surrendered to God all hatred and anger inside my heart and asked his forgiveness. If God forgives my sins then who am I not to forgive others even if that person is the one hurt me the most. I know God doesn’t give up on me, I met Pastor Jym Kay at work! After several invitations I made my decision to get baptized to show my obedience to my Savior Jesus Christ!

Tara Carlson

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Tara Carlson

I've lived 30 years never knowing Jesus until recently. I didn't grow up in a Christian home, I didn't grow up as anything, just an Allen, my family name.  I remember as a little girl I had found a children's bible that I would read in secret in my closet and as I got older printing off prayers from the internet and secretly praying them before bed. Soon after, I was looking up spells of witchcraft or buying Buddha statues. I had a thirst for something, but I had no idea what would or could quench me. At 15, I lost my Dad to heart disease, this was a turning point. Not in my faith story, but in my abandonment. I soon turned to drugs and boys. I desperately started clenching to any temporary moment of happiness. I was in the darkness, completely lost and alone. As I got older into my 20's, I experienced the darkest days of my life, so dark in fact that I collapsed on the floor in fear. I woke up the next day and decided to change my life. And, I did! All on my own, or that's what I thought.

I knew about Jesus, and his promise. I knew people who believed in him, and shared their faith with me. But, to me those people were weak. God was a crutch I didn't need. I had seen the darkness and I came out of it all on my own. And that's what it was, my ability to change my circumstances. I started coming to Christ Community Church almost a year and half ago. My now husband is a follower of Christ and together we started attending church here. I knew there was something different about this church. I saw so many people believe in Jesus, but I never thought I could ever genuinely believe. Sure, Jesus was a great man, a man who at the very least was a good role model. And, then came Clayton Kennon. And his blessing, you know what one I'm talking about. For the first time in my life I felt the love of Jesus. For the first time I saw that it was never "me" that got me through my dark times. It was Jesus! He loved me before I ever loved him. He made sure that through all the trauma my heart would stay whole so that it could hold him in it.

Here I am a 30 year old mom and wife. It is through my eyes as a mother that I understood Jesus' love for me. In knowing that when I ask my children to look both ways or eat their vegetables, it is because I love them. It's through this that I was able to trust Jesus as my Lord. God is my Father. I am his daughter. Jesus’ death was for me. His life is my life. In Isaiah 65:8 This is what the Lord says "As when juice is still found in a cluster of grapes and people say, 'Don't destroy it, there is still a blessing in it'. God saw what could be, what would be and the blessing is real. Jesus is my Lord my Savior and oh what a Savior!

Rachel Cassara

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Rachel Cassara

Before I trusted in Jesus, I took pride in being “independent” and tried to handle difficult situations in life on my own.

Then, when I was in elementary school, God opened my eyes to the fact that I wasn’t as free as I’d thought because my human nature tended towards anger, impatience, selfishness and pride. However, I also learned that Jesus loved me so much that He’d died for my sins and as a result, I could have a personal, eternal relationship with Him. So I decided to trust Christ with my life.

Since then, my life has definitely changed. I have ongoing conversations with God throughout each day - some days it’s requests for grace in difficult or stressful situations, and most days it’s thankfulness for the amazing people and blessings He’s placed in my life. I’ve also joined a wonderful 20’s Community Group at Christ Community Church. I’m the farthest thing from perfect, but with God’s help I now strive to live by 1 Corinthians 6:20: “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Barb Castle

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Barb Castle

Being raised Catholic, I thought I was prepared to overcome the battles life had in store for me. Eventually, I realized my lack of biblical knowledge and faith were causing me to live a defeated life. I had sinned and Jesus was not as important as my path and possessions, and what people thought of me. I needed to make a paradigm shift--with a new commitment to my faith and to build trust in Jesus. It was a difficult time because my husband and I were unable to have a child and we had just moved to Elgin. I prayed to Jesus to steer me in the right direction. While searching for a new church I was asked, “Are you certain you will go to Heaven?” It stunned me because I was unsure. I believe this was Jesus reaching out to me.

In my quest to find a church home, I attended my first service at Christ Community Church. Pastor Jim’s truthful words about Jesus dying for our sins because he loved me resonated with me immediately. I knew this would be the beginning of my spiritual journey and commitment to live my life with God. I began devoting myself to daily prayer, confessed my sins and surrendered my life to Christ. It was then that I received His blessing in my heart. God showed me the power of the Lord right before my eyes.  

My life forever changed that day. God blessed us with two beautiful daughters and my faith has grown. Although I have a long way to go with more battles to conquer, it is with God’s strength that I will be victorious. In Romans 8:37, God gives us an amazing promise of victory, it says, “Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him who loved us.” I am here today because of my family. My daughter Mia asked me to be baptized with her just 4 days before her 14th birthday. I am so proud we can share in this celebration of God’s love and grow in a purposeful life of faith together.

Brianna Cole

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Brianna Cole

I was raised in a Christian home and recall asking Jesus into my heart years ago. However, I continued to deal with anxiety and uncertainty about what the future might hold and attempted to take my life into my own hands. I was overly concerned about gaining the approval of others rather than pleasing God and failed to fully put my trust in him.

Through attending Christ Community Church with my husband, Jeff, and our conversations that followed every message, I gained a better understanding of what it truly means to give your life to Christ. After a friend lost her new husband unexpectedly, I was astounded by the strength that God provided her and her perpetual trust in God, despite the agony she was experiencing. My sin was exposed to me and I saw my distrust and selfishness. I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and take control of my life.

Since then, I have felt a deeper, more meaningful relationship with God. My marriage has become stronger as my husband and I continue our relationship with one another with God at the center. I feel safe and protected knowing that Jesus Christ is leading my life. Isaiah 41:10 says, ‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’

Kathy Coleman

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Kathy Coleman

I grew up in a Lutheran home where we attended church every Sunday. Both of my parents served the church faithfully, but looking back our spirituality didn’t go much beyond that.  I later baptized both of my children in the Lutheran church and attended regularly with them even though my husband did not. Again looking back, I realize that none of us really had a relationship with God.

As the years went by and my children drifted away from church and organized religion, I started feeling frustrated toward church as if something was missing. My husband and I visited different churches together and eventually found ourselves coming regularly to Christ Community Church. We met a lot of people we knew and shared stories of how we all came here. We found that our stories had a lot in common. We joined a couple's community group and it is there that our faith started to blossom even more.

I struggled with the idea of being baptized again and it’s only been recently that I have felt the internal desire to take this step. I feel it’s a way of God working His will through me and part of my daily prayer is for God to be seen through my words and actions. I look forward to a stronger relationship with Him as I learn to listen for His plans for me.

Holly Degraf

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Holly Degraf

When my mother died, I hated God. I started going off the path. Doing things that I knew was wrong. I got angry and then I started to push people out of my life and putting myself down. I knew this is not who I wanted to be. After I met two girls at church, I started to realize that I needed to change. I started going to church more and separating myself from negative people and spending time with people who have the faith that I lost.

In August 2015, I had enough. I saw myself in the mirror and realized I had pushed too many people away. I went to the forest preserve and started talking to God and told him that I needed him. I told God that I was ready and I surrendered my life to him and felt so much lighter.

Since then, I have brought many people to church. I understand more and feel different with him in my life, I don’t feel so alone. Because of my faith, I feel more hope and joy. I’m looking forward to a new and successful life now that I have Christ in my life!

Hoyt Ellspermann

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Hoyt Ellspermann

Before Jesus, I was materialistic, selfish, and habitually sinful.  I believed I was in full control of my own life - not only could I fix my own problems, I arrogantly believed all of my successes were entirely my doing. For my entire life, I attended Catholic mass on a weekly basis - largely out of tradition with minimal impact on my life.  Then I was invited to Christ Community Church by Joe Slawek.  Here, I heard the Bible explained in a way that brought me to tears every time I attended but couldn't explain why.

Pastor Jim finally gave me the answer during the "Dinner in a Hostile World" series when it was explained that the Holy Spirit's role in my life could either be that of a Personal Advocate or a Prosecuting Attorney.  The Holy Spirit was trying to be my advocate and revealed the reality of my sins and the true problems they were causing.  I recognized that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ" (Romans 6:23).  I prayed the prayer of surrender and my life was transformed almost immediately.  

The Holy Spirit made the Bible come come alive in my life with chapter, verse, and explanations by the pastors sticking with me throughout the week.  Since then, the intimacy and happiness in my marriage has transformed in a way that is hard to put into words, I've enjoyed incredible success at work affording us the opportunity to be generous and charitable, we've joined a community group, and I volunteer my time weekly in KidsWorld.

Bella F.

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Bella F.

I have come to church ever since I was little.  God has always been an important part of my family, and at home we pray together regularly.  As I grew older, my relationship with God grew stronger. I began to pray and worship more often.  

In third grade, I decided to give my life to Christ by asking Jesus into my heart.  After that, I just grew stronger in Christ.  Once I was old enough to do Genesis (the middle school Bible study on Wednesdays), I wanted to be baptized to show my belief in God and Jesus even more.  My favorite scripture from the Bible is “The spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:29  This is a promise of our relationship with God as our father and we are the children.

Renee Fanjon Sypolt

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Renee Fanjon Sypolt

I was born in Chicago, but grew up in Mexico with my grandmother and my real mother.  I was never told she was my real mother, and she later married and left the house.  I was very lonely growing up, but I always felt God’s support.  I was baptized Catholic, as well as had my first communion and confirmation in our catholic church in Mexico.  I also went to a Jesuit High school and attended retreats. My relationship with Jesus kept growing.  I had a difficult and lonely childhood, but I always felt Jesus’ love and protection!  When I moved back to Chicago for college I still attended church but after college I found myself drifting away from the church and most importantly from Jesus. I had not found another church in my new neighborhood and had stopped looking and had stopped praying too.  I put material things, partying with friends and traveling as my priorities with no time for God.  Soon I became lost in a world without boundaries and full of sin that was truly empty and superficial.

Years later, after I was married and had kids, my in-laws found Christ Community Church and invited us to go.  At first, it was a shock to me coming from a Catholic church. Church was like a party!  A huge celebration. I was alarmed and had a hard time getting past that at first.  I wasn’t sure I could consider it my church for a while but it took my son Brian, pushing us to attend more often (he had gone to Silver Birch Summer Camp with the church and just fallen in love with Jesus and the church itself).  I had to admit to myself that every time I went I learned something new and great about Jesus!  I have learned to LOVE the worship, yes, we SHOULD be celebrating JESUS!.   It did not take long for me to confess to Jesus and run back to him!  Surrendering myself to him again was easy,  I had missed him all those years that I pushed him away!

Samantha Forwell

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Samantha Forwell

Before I trusted in Christ, my life was traumatic. At that age of 12, I was introduced to foster care. Before that, I had a lot of problems. I was taken from my biological mom at the age of 2 and went to live with my sister until the age of 12. At the age 11, I started to self-harm and had suicidal thoughts and was hospitalized many times. When I went to live with the family, I was introduced to the church. I had to go with them at first, and I was not for it at all. Then I started to warm up to it a little bit.

The day I made my decision to follow Christ, I was not planning on doing so. I attended a WOW weekend, and Sadie Robinson was there. I listened to her story and it made me cry. Her story was kind of like mine. So, the Pastor closed with a special prayer, and the prayer was for people who had not surrendered their life to Christ. So when he asked for anybody to stand up if they were surrendering their life to Christ, I did. Then I went to the Welcome Center and got my Next Steps Packet.

Since then, my life has still been hard and I still have some of those problems, but my life is better. I am in a small group and I am still learning to bring my problems to God and that no matter what, He loves me. My life has changed for the better.

Daniel G.

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Daniel G.

As a kid, I was raised with prayer from my mom and my Aunt and Uncle, but I never really knew anything about Christianity.  I never acted like a Christian. Things like sports and personal items were more important than a relationship with God at that point in my life.

The summer before 6th grade started, one of my best friends, Gavin Trcka, and his mom invited me to go Genesis. I went two or three times and decided that I didn't like it, I didn't want to go. But thanks to my mom pushing me to try it one more time, I kept going. I came to love it. I went to camp that year and that experience totally changed my view on my life and how I'd lived.

Ever since 6th grade, I go to church more often, I pray every night and walk with Jesus every day. I am aware of my daily sins, but as 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."

Grace G.

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Grace G.

I have been going to Christ Community all my life. I grew up in Kidsworld learning about God and I loved singing the worship music. The former worship leader in Kidsworld, James Pomeroy, always used to listen to what was going on in my life. He felt like one of my family members because he would listen to my struggles and pray for me.  I could tell he really cared about me.

I really don't remember when I actually put my faith and trust in Jesus. I had listened in Kidsworld and then watched the baptisms.. So, I came to my mom one night and told her about my interest in giving my heart to Christ. We prayed to God and I gave my life to Christ. When we finished prayer, I really didn't feel anything different. In fifth grade, I started to realize that I was different that other kids. I had told my mom that when I said the prayer, I was hoping for a miracle, sort of a healing or a good feeling afterwards.

    When I was four, I had a horrible stroke and was paralyzed on my left side and afterwards had seizures. I have gone through a lot of pain and suffering. Along with a lot of testing, too. Ten years later, I had brain surgery to stop my seizures. And now I haven't had a single seizure since! At that point, I realized that God had given me a big miracle. I praise him for it everyday. He also gave me a gift, he gave me the gift of support. I can't even count how many people who support me! Even though I am still troubled at times, I thank God for all his gifts and blessings that he's given me. I know he will always be by my side through my hardships, and I know that I can always trust him in good and bad situations.

Margarita Gomez Alejandro

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Margarita Gomez Alejandro

Before trusting fully in Jesus, I wasted so much time being anxiety stricken from worry about the unavoidable aspects of life like uncertainty, failure, and death.

Then, I was blessed with a family of my own. I did not want to approach being a wife and mother with a self-inflicted victim mentality as a result of my unstable childhood. My brother Joel was a continuous source of support throughout my life and shared his love of Jesus with me and continuously prayed for me and my family. He introduced me to who Jesus was and I accepted Christ.

After establishing a personal relationship with Christ, my life feels peaceful. I don't need to be so concerned with wishing my past had been different or gaining approval of people. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. We are saved by His grace. Romans 8:31 states, 'In view of all this, what can we say? If God is with us, who can be against us? Certainly not God, who did not even hold back his own Son, but offered him for us all. He gave us his son - will he not also freely give us all things?'.

Sophia Hopkins

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Sophia Hopkins

Before I put my trust in Jesus, I found church boring. When I would go to church on Sunday I would just go through the motions.

When I realized that I could use my talents to really engage in my church, that's when I really got interested. I started performing in the annual Christmas plays and learning about missions trips and I was hooked. I started paying attention to the stories told in service and singing out during worship. One day after service my grandma asked me if I was ready to give my life to Christ, we prayed together and I went home excited to tell my mom.

Since giving my life to Christ I have moved from a public school where I learned to always treat others with love, to a private Christian school where I have grown in my knowledge of God’s goodness. I have been surrounded by so many people who know Christ as their savior and this has been so beneficial to me. All my new friends have helped me be a better person carry myself in a more Christ like way.  All the adults in my life, especially my parents, have helped lead me in my walk with Christ.

Trey Hossli

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Trey Hossli

I was raised going to church every weekend. When I was in 4th grade my parents got divorced and we stopped going to church.

Later than year a friend invited me to Awana at Christ Community Church and I liked it. That summer, my parents signed me up for summer camp. At camp I finally understood who Jesus was and what he did for me on the cross. That week I made Jesus my Savior. When I got home from camp I asked my parents if we could start going to church again. We went to our old church but it just wasn't the same. I also started going to Genesis and then me, my brother and my dad went to the Fuel Men's Breakfast together. After that we decided to make Christ Community Church our church.

Now I go to Genesis every week and my whole family comes to church together on the weekends. I keep praying for my parents and for my family to get put back together. So far, things are getting better. That's a plus!

David J.

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David J.

I have been a follower of Christ my entire life. When I was little, I was baptized at a Presbyterian Church, but I didn’t feel like I was fully committed to Christ until my parents brought us to Christ Community. That changed my whole perspective on Christ. I noticed Pastor Jim would often talk about the importance of baptism--that he’d recommend it if you’ve never been baptised. I didn’t think that I was part of that group of people because I’ve been baptized before, but then one day my sister said that she wanted to be baptized again. I didn’t know that you could do that! From then, I started paying attention more when Pastor Jim was talking about being baptized.

One night in Genesis, Pastor Pete Sutton gave a prayer which I felt was directed to me. It was about giving your life to Christ. On that night, I gave my life to Christ. When the next baptism class came around I decided to go to it. Since I decided I was going to give my life to Christ, everything has been going so much better than it was before. I have joined the greeting group at our church and I plan on going on a Reach trip soon. I know there will be hard times still yet to come, but with God, I can overcome them all.

Ava K.

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Ava K.

My name is Ava and I am 11 years old. I grew up learning about God, and hearing that he was my Savior. One night, I was at church for Awana. The person on stage was talking about Jesus dying for us and about beginning a real relationship with Jesus. They said they would say a prayer and that if we had never prayed it and wanted to put our faith in Jesus, to pray it with them. As I prayed the prayer, and was saying the words, I felt something, like a tug on my heart. I felt that I should take the next step in following Jesus and get baptized.

I waited a year, to make sure I was ready and knew what getting baptized really meant. And now I am deciding to follow Jesus. I’m ready to help the world. Jesus is telling me to do this so I am going to obey him. I feel like he led me here, and I can’t wait to help in KidsWorld!

Aaron Kennedy

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Aaron Kennedy

I was raised in a Christian household; we would go to church every Sunday. We stopped going to church when I was only 9 years old because we moved. After that, I never really thought about church or Christ. After my dad passed away in 2007, I started to fall into a pit of drugs and other activities that were not good for my health.

When I was 23, I met my girlfriend, Tiffany Stawicki. Slowly, with help from my mom, Beverly Kennedy, I started making my way back to God. It took me a while to get comfortable but once I did, I loved being back in church. After attending weekend services, I found myself wanting to know more about God and Jesus as my savior. I wasn’t sure at first; I was kicking the tires but more and more I felt myself moving closer to God. About a year went by before I surrendered to Christ and picked up a Next Steps packet.

After I started attending Christ Community regularly, I found myself to be happier and more alive inside. I felt a complete change in my heart and mind as to who I was. Each day, I am growing closer and closer to Jesus and now I have decided to announce publicly that I am a believer in Christ.  

Keith Laug

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Keith Laug

I have always known about Jesus Christ. What I never understood was the message that Jesus was patiently waiting on me.  I had always been a man in control in the belief that I was doing right. I defined myself in my roles of, husband, father, son, brother, grandfather, employee and as his servant. I stepped away from my calling through sin and selfishness.  I failed to love and live unconditionally. People kept telling me that I wasn’t listening.  In Sept of 2014, I dropped to my knees and I prayed to God to help me hear.  

In my call for help I found myself at the doorstep of Christ Community Church.  At the very first service I heard that Christ loved me unconditionally and died for me.  That reminder glorified my faith and renewed my hope. Last year, a brother, Steve, witnessed my prayer for Jesus to save me. That however, was only the beginning of my humility.  For months, I continued to shake my fist at God asking why he would choose to take everything from me. The consequences of my sin resulted in the loss of my wife’s trust and of my family’s love. I lamented, “Ok God, so I’ve confessed.  I’ve repented.  Why won’t you just make things right and restore?” It wasn’t until I heard the ministry of a Will, a Christ follower, that God doesn’t want me to bind my shame to my repentance.  I now carry forward in the forgiveness of self and in his grace that I’ve been granted an opportunity to use my repentance in the gift of renewal.

Today, I am to be baptized. I am honored that this family Christ Community bears witness. Thanks to Frank, Jeremy, Jeff and all of those who have cared and loved. My work has only begun. I have grown patient in this life long journey.  I feel my heart being filled with unconditional love. I hold onto all hope that my beloved family will someday allow witness of my commitment.

Roxanne LeMans

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Roxanne LeMans

Before I trusted in Christ, my world revolved around myself and self-medication. Then I started paying attention to Pastor Clayton's Heroes series over the Summer at Christ Community Church. It finally hit me that the only hero I needed in my life was Jesus. I confessed my anger, sadness, and idolatry over to God and asked Him to take over my life.

Since then I have hope for the future. I pray and talk to God all day everyday. My son and I attend church every week and I am involved with Care Night every Tuesday. Everyday is a struggle with sin, but "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength". Philippians 4:13

Kathi Livingston

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Kathi Livingston

I gave my life to Christ several years ago but was never baptized. In the last year I’ve grown in my faith and understanding, and want to dedicate my life to serving the Lord and show that by being baptized.

Almost two years ago, I lost my husband of 54 years when he was tragically involved in a hit and run accident while he was walking in our neighborhood. In the next six months, I moved from my long time home and retired from a job of serving which I loved. Even though I moved to be closer to my family, I felt depressed, anxious, frightened, and very unhappy. I begged of help. I began a time of intense praying, reading, and studying my bible but I still remained so very unhappy. Then I found Christ Community Church and began attending services on Sunday mornings and visited with Pastor Clayton in the Welcome Center. He prayed with me and reminded me that my circumstances were seasonal.

This helped so much and I began to feel better. I began to feel my prayers were being answered and I was climbing out of the pit of depression. Psalm 34 has been a great help to me. I thank the Lord for my time of grief. It has led me to His love and  His presence in my life to a far greater degree. I know I have a friend in Jesus.

Zac M.

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Zac M.

I have been raised in a Christian home and I have heard about God and Jesus my whole life.  My parents and grandparents shared the Bible with me and I went to church on a regular basis.

I believe I really understood God’s Word when I started attending Wheaton Christian Grammar school in 5th grade. We read the Bible every day and discussed the material in great detail.  That year I talked with my parents and they told me how I could pray to Jesus and accept Him as my personal Savior.  I accepted that I wasn’t worthy to deserve eternal life but through Jesus I am able to.  

Ever since I prayed that prayer I have been a more positive person and I enjoy learning more about what God’s plans are for me.  I have decided to get baptized because I want to publicly show that I have committed my life to Christ and I am blessed to have a personal relationship with Him.

Linnea Mason

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Linnea Mason

Before I came to know Jesus and his grace for me, I was always concerned with what other people thought of me.  I struggled to find the joy in life on a daily basis.

Then while living in North Carolina, I was invited to church by some of our military friends Chad and Mandy.  Slowly, I started my walk with Christ.  I was not an “overnight Christian”.  Learning to love Jesus was a process for me.  I started to attend church on a weekly basis and it took almost two years for me to comprehend who Jesus was and what he is doing in my life.  After moving from North Carolina to St. Charles, we continued to attend church on a regular basis at Christ Community, which happened to be the church my husband attended as a middle and high schooler.  We joined a couple's community group and I began to read God's word on a regular basis.

Since starting my walk with Jesus I am definitely a more joyful person.  I can say without a doubt that I see life differently.  I still have struggles, but I no longer see my hardships as “life out to get me”.  I view them as challenges I can overcome with Jesus by my side.  I have come to realize that life is not all about me and my happiness, but through this journey I have become less selfish and my joyful.

Julia Matheny

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Julia Matheny

My name is Julia Matheny and I am ten years old.  My whole life I have been surrounded by Christians.  My family, friends and even my school are all Christians.  God to me is my creator, my refuge, my strength, the way, the truth and life.  God has given me so much like my wonderful parents, food, water, shelter and most importantly a Christian childhood.  I want to be baptized because I have accepted the Lord to be my Savior, and baptism is God’s plan for sharing this news with other people.  In good times and in bad times, I am learning about all of the promises God has in store for me, and it makes me a happier person.  I am very excited to get baptized and share this special day with my family.

Luke Matheny

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Luke Matheny

I have grown up in the church my entire life. I can strongly say that the best gift I have been given is having a relationship with God. Most people, including myself, don’t thank our parents for teaching us about Christ when we were young, but it is so important.

I am really excited and looking forward to being baptized. I want to publicly show that I have accepted Christ as my Savior and show this commitment in front of my peers.  I’ve seen a lot of my friends get baptized and I have wanted to do it but never got the opportunity. I am very happy that I am getting the chance to publicly commit my life to Christ.

Christ is changing my life in a lot of different areas. From school to sports, I’m starting to notice how I am making better choices that honor God.  I go to a private school so it’s pretty easy to talk and behave like a Christian, but on my sports teams I am surrounded by non-Christians so it is harder to talk about my faith. I try to invite those friends to church when they sleep over at my house so they get an opportunity to hear about God.  Serving God with the gifts He has given me is definitely something I strive to do every day.

Joe Nowak

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Joe Nowak

Before coming to know Christ, I spent my life relying on worldly things to make me feel fulfilled and comfortable. I only cared about what mattered most to me and I yet I still wasn't a happy person. I had an understanding of religion, but not true faith or a personal relationship with Jesus.

My mom and my sister told me about Christ Community Church and how relative the topics were to their lives. I started going to services regularly with them and over time, the messages really grew on me and I began to grow spiritually. I began praying and reading the Bible regularly and could not deny the fact that there will always be sin in my life and the only answer was to put my faith and trust in Jesus to overcome it. Ephesians 2:8 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."

I have been walking with Christ for six years. Since then, I have joined several community groups, started reading daily devotions, and volunteered with the church. It was not only until recently I decided to get baptized because I was baptized as a child and didn't see the difference. This time however, I am doing it because it is my choice and I have made the decision to follow Jesus.

Claire P.

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Claire P.

Before I came to know Jesus, I was living a life that was focused on myself and the tangibles that were in front of me, but I wasn't satisfied by these earthly things.

By attending Genesis, House Group, and summer camp, I was impacted by listening to messages geared towards topics that were relevant in my life. I wanted to live a life where I would be able to face everyday temptations with God by my side. During my second summer at camp, Bobby Jackson asked us to make an outward sign if we had made God our Savior, by leaving worship to tie our bandanas on a cross. I felt so humbled and in awe of everything that God has done in my life that I rushed out to tie on my bandana on the cross. It was honestly one of the most amazing feelings that I have ever experienced. It was that moment that I trusted Christ with my life.

After giving my life to Jesus, I began to pray and read the Bible on a daily basis. This had a direct impact on how I felt on the inside as well as how I treated others. I downloaded worship music onto my phone which quickly became my go-to playlist. I became a more compassionate and understanding person in knowing that I had been saved, and I was more confident sharing my faith with others.

Grace P.

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Grace P.

I am 10 years old. I have grown up in a Christian home my whole life.  When I was 4, I woke up one morning and decided to accept that Christ died for me and ask him into my life. Since then, I have seen him work miracles in my life and family. I believe in the Bible and know Jesus is real!  I want to be baptized because Jesus did it and I want to follow Him.

Robert P.

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Robert P.

I have grown up in a Christian home my whole life, but my faith became my own in January of 2010.  My dad had left on a mission trip to Liberia and I was very scared.  My mom talked me through what Christ did for us by dying on the cross, and that Jesus paid the price by dying for our sins and if we accept Him as our savior, we will have freedom from death.  I asked Christ to save me from my sins and asked Him to take over my life.  God immediately took away my fear and brought my dad home safe.  

Since then, I have walked with the Lord with daily prayer and being in His word.  I have seen his power and faithfulness working in my family every day.  Baptism to me is obeying Jesus and going public with my faith.

 

Anna Perkowski

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Anna Perkowski

I spent the first half of my life going to a Catholic church and almost the entire second half of it rejecting the thought that God loved me. Before I trusted in Christ, my identity was wrapped up in being the daughter of a man who ended his life. The guilt was real for me.

I began attending Christ Community Church at Blackberry when my college coaches, Ryan and Rachael Chapman, invited me during sophomore year. After graduation, I was plugged into the 20s ministry. 20s Pastor Cory Shumate was intentional in making sure I was connected. He was always available to answer my questions about faith and graciously dealt with my doubts. The love, prayers, and guidance I received from people like Cory and my community group led me to Christ.

Through the cross and through his people, Christ has shown me that he is good and faithful. Understanding and accepting the fact that Jesus gave up his life for me, because of who He is and not because of anything I've done, I've been able to finally give up my identity as a daughter of a man who took his own life. Now, I rejoice in being the daughter of a King. 1 John 4:19 says: "We love because he first loved us". His love heals.

Cheryl Pienkowski

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Cheryl Pienkowski

Confusion, anxiety, perfectionism and doubt in my adult life caused me to see that I needed Jesus, in a different way, to lead my life according to His plan and to help me raise my daughters faithfully. I was raised Roman Catholic and I celebrated all sacraments according to the schedule.  My biggest dilemma was feeling accepted in the Church after my divorce.  I spent years trying to do the right thing, according to God’s plan, and to raise my children with faith in their lives.  In spite of regular attendance, faithful prayers, volunteering, teaching, and financial contributions, I never felt like a valuable and loved member of that religious community.

My daughters started with Genesis.  Their energy and love for Jesus was inspiring, grace-filled, and contagious.  For one year, they attended a Catholic youth group and Genesis and I closely observed their spiritual growth, love for the Word, and passion for learning grow while I relearned how to pray and eliminated meaningless, repetitive prayers.  God reframed my understanding of His Word, opened my eyes and my heart, and killed the guilt that plagued my faith devotion so I could find my spiritual voice.  Together, we attend weekly service, programs, concerts, and pray in an open and meaningful way.  We’ve also shared the Word and Jesus with several loved ones.  I now know where I belong.  

Katrena Pienkowski

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Katrena Pienkowski

Before I put my trust in Christ, confusion, worry, failure to feel like I belonged, and dissatisfaction consumed my life. When I was invited to Genesis by my friend, Sammy Sohl, I was able to see a completely different perspective of church after being raised in a traditional Catholic church. From this, I was able to get more connected with Christ Community as my family and I began attending weekend services.

It was when I attended summer camp for the first time in 2013, that I felt God speaking to me in a way that was incomparable. I finally felt like I was surrounded by people who loved me and appreciated me for who I was. During that week, I was amazed by the different stories I was hearing of how God has changed other people’s lives. On the last night, I came to the realization that I could not live this life on my own, and I made the decision to surrender my life to Christ.

Since then, my life has been transformed. Each and every day I find my strength in Christ and strive to live a life that is Christ-centered. I attend Housegroup on a weekly basis where I have found a great group of supportive friends and a place where I belong. I have gained confidence in myself to share my story with others in hopes that they will see how powerful and amazing our God is.

Rachel Plauck

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Rachel Plauck

Before I was a follower of Jesus, I had a lot of difficulty with my life. My childhood left many wounds that I was unable to understand or deal with, my marriage was less than perfect, and I just felt lost and overwhelmed. I was not happy and could not figure out how to get to a place where I could be joyful.

One day, I was in the car with my son and turned the radio on. I did not find any stations that I thought were appropriate for a small child to listen to. This is when I turned on the Christian radio station and began listening. I started to hear and learn of Christ’s love for me, and I started to feel change listening to those words. I craved more, and then I was invited to Christ Community to watch my niece, Zoe, get baptized. I was so proud of her, and so inspired. I felt an overwhelming sense of joy for her and the decision she had made to follow Christ. That day, I decided that I wanted to follow Him, too. I listened to Pastor Jim’s message that day, and before he was even finished, I had decided that I would be coming back next week, and every week after. My eyes were opened.  I had found my home and I had decided to follow Jesus. Little did I know how much I would need Him. Two days, later my mother passed away suddenly, leaving me with confusion, anger and hurt. Jesus was there with me. When I returned home from my mother’s funeral, I returned to church even more eager to learn than before.

My life has totally transformed in ways that I never thought possible. I began praying about the difficulty in my marriage and asked the Lord to work in my heart and my life. I have a new perspective on things, and I know that I can go to the Lord with my hurt and sorrow. My marriage has transformed in ways I did not think were possible and I know that this would not have happened without Jesus. We are even going to the marriage retreat at church this April! I have been able to begin to work through my mother’s death and my past, very slowly but I am making progress. In January I hit the lowest point in my life when I suffered the miscarriage of our daughter. I did not go through this battle alone, Jesus was right there the whole time. I found that I did not get angry and turn away from God the way I easily could have before.  I could not understand where that strength came from, but I realize now that it was from Him. If I did not have a personal relationship with Christ at that time, I do not think that I would have made it out of that darkness. It is still a struggle, but it is not a struggle alone. After all of this, I became even stronger in my faith and came to the realization that I desired to get baptized.  For the first time in my life, I feel a peace that I never knew that I could feel.

Charles Roby

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Charles Roby

I was thinking of ending it all due to a failed marriage of 25 years and several subsequent break ups. I wasn’t being faithful to the people I loved. I moved from woman to woman to find the love I was missing, but I had the love for God all the time.

My past girlfriend introduced me to Christ Community. While there, I heard the truth about Jesus dying for our sins. My eyes were open and I saw the sins of my life. That was when I asked Jesus for forgiveness and take control of my life.

Christ has changed my life. I joined the Alpha group to learn more about Christ and the Christian faith. After going to the Alpha outing, I learned about the Holy Spirit. I’m reading my Bible more every day. When I need support and guidance, I look to Christ for help. Now he’s how I get through the rough times.

Lisa Rondeau

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Lisa Rondeau

Most of my life, I lived apart from Jesus. I lied, I cheated, I stole, and I was promiscuous.  Without Jesus in my heart, however, I was unable to forgive myself. This caused very low self-esteem, and I then allowed things I should not have within my marriage. Eventually things deteriorated, which led to a divorce.

I looked for help dealing with my past in another church, but I felt excluded, which only worsened my self-esteem. Then a friend of mine, Jason Homesley, gave me a God's Good News booklet and invited me to Christ Community Church. I immediately felt welcomed.  I have since been able to repent for my sins honestly to God, and discovered that I really am forgiven. Jesus died for me, and it's incredible.

With Jesus as my Lord and Savior, my life has completely changed.  God has introduced me to some great new people, I joined an awesome bible study, but most importantly I try to make act and make decisions based on what God wants for me, not what I want.  The parable of the Lost sheep always erases any doubts that Jesus is happy to have me back. Luke 15:7

"I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."

Brian S.

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Brian S.

Before I began trusting in Jesus, I was too young to understand who God was and how powerful and awesome he is. I didn’t know how important he was to have in my life.

When my grandparents (Brenda and Dave Sypolt) started to go to Christ Community Church, I would accompany them, mostly just to spend time with my grandparents and not to grow in faith. However, as I started going, I began paying attention to what Pastor Jim was really saying. Although I couldn’t understand some of it, I was able to pick out some stuff and really think about it, such as Jesus dying for our sins. At that moment, I realized God was very important to me and everyone around me. I then surrendered my life to Jesus and confessed my sins.

Since then, I can sincerely say that I have been living my life with the image of Jesus in mind. I have been striving to be like him every day and spread the gospel to friends and families and accompany them on their road to faith. I have also become more involved at church through a leadership team and serving opportunities. Although I am very happy with my faith, I still face many battles, but I am overcoming them one day at a time by using the Bible as my aid. My family and I have become a very religious family and have a different outlook on God’s creation.

Brianna S.

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Brianna S.

Before Christ, I had always felt so helpless. When there were problems I had no control over, I didn't know what to do, all could do was stand around and feel helpless. I grew up in a Christian home, but I never really understood what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. My family and I didn't go to church very often after the pastor at our church left. We had a hard time finding a church until my grandparents told us about Christ Community. My brother started to go to church with my grandparents and not long after he convinced as all to go with him.

 After my brother took us to Christ Community my family and I became very involved in the church. We went to church every Sunday and my siblings and I went to Genesis. Although, I was going to church every Sunday, my relationship with Jesus truly didn't start until I went to Silver Birch Ranch which is a one week camp through Genesis where we praise and learn about God and participate in many fun games. At Silver Birch Ranch, I was simply consumed by God’s presence. Not only did I praise God, but I learned what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ on July 9, 2014.

Now that Jesus Christ is my savior, my life has been changed. Now when I face difficult problems, I just give it to God and go to sleep. Today I always try to spread God’s good news. I have also started a club in my school called Fellowship of Christian Athletes with a few other kids. In conclusion, surrendering my life to Jesus Christ was the best decision I have ever made in my life.

Cassie S.

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Cassie S.

My name is Cassie and I am 9 years old. God helped me when I fell in laser tag and split my chin. There was blood everywhere. When my Mom and Dad picked me up and took me to urgent care, God gave me courage to get my chin skin glued. I gave myself to Jesus when I was in second grade in Awana along with my friend Bella and with my teacher Miss Cindy.  Jesus has been with me ever since.  He has made my life better.  He has helped me through tough situations. I want to be baptized to show how I feel about Christ.

Isabel S.

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Isabel S.

When I was growing up, my parents taught me about God and we would go to church occasionally but God wasn't really part of my life. I believed in him, but it felt like he was so far away and I didn't understand how to apply the things I learned at church to my life. Before I gave my life to Christ, I would put things before God and I wouldn't put any time aside to pray or just think about him.

Things first started changing when my brother went to a summer camp that the church offered and when he came back he was so excited to tell us about how much he learned. He started pushing my parents to go to church more often and he highly recommended for me and my sister to go to the same camp. When I went to the camp for the first time, I learned so many things about Jesus that I had never understood before and it was the first time I had ever felt so close to God. When I was at camp, my cabin leaders Anita Turi and Gretchen Dye and all the friends I had met in my cabin really supported me and helped me make my decision to confess my sins to God and surrender my life to him.

When I got home from camp, I didn't want to forget about everything I had just learned and experienced all I wanted to do was learn more about God and grow my relationship with him. My family and I started going to church every week and I started going to Genesis on Wednesdays. My siblings and I also started volunteering at KidsWorld. My relationship with God was really becoming stronger and I wanted to share the good news of Christ with other people so I started inviting my friends to church and my family and I started doing a program called Safe Families and we were able to share God’s good news with the people we met through the program. After surrendering my life to Christ I feel confident in him and want to keep growing in my relationship with him.

Heather Sabatino

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Heather Sabatino

For years I was an angry, self-absorbed person. My concerns were my looks, what material possession I had, and money. I blamed my mother, my upbringing, my friends, my husband, and my surroundings. It wasn’t until much later into my life, and after becoming a mother, that I realized it was me. I was not whole inside. I was missing something.

Coming to Christ community Church was supposed to be for my kids. I wanted them to have faith, which is something that my husband and I never really had growing up. I never expected to be changed myself. One particular service, I remember feeling warm and peaceful. Jesus came to live on the inside that day, and I haven’t been the same since. It wasn’t an easy journey; in fact it is much easier not to be a Christian and not to obey scripture. I struggled a lot with picking and choosing what I wanted to believe, but Jesus wanted all of me. He showed me my sin and led me closer to him. I have accepted Jesus as my savior and have modeled my life after his word.

Jesus has taken away all of the guilt and shame of my past and made me new. He has shown me my strength working with children in KidsWorld. He has given me likeminded friends in my community group.  My life is not even close to perfect, but my heart is pure. Proverbs 23:26 says, “Give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways.” I am so delighted to have met Jesus!

John Sabatino

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John Sabatino

Before Christ, I wanted to have more material things than others and to have them feel envious of me for those things. As I achieved this, it made me feel good at first but when my world crashed I needed to turn to someone for support.

Before my wife introduced me to Christ Community Church, I had no idea what I wanted in faith or Jesus. Growing up Catholic, I struggled with the guilt of converting to Christianity for a couple years but with Heather’s daily support and guidance, I couldn’t help but to feel the comfort of Jesus through her. Then after listening to Pastor Jim weekly and seeing friends of mine like The Hernandez & The Kellenberger’s attending regularly I just felt closer to Jesus and wanted to ask him for forgiveness and surrender my life to him.

As I look back over the last 5 years I know that I am a changed man because of the impact Jesus has had on my life. I may not be where some people are with their faith but my life is a journey and not a race. I have incorporated reading of the bible along with prayer on a daily basis and I am more thankful of what I have instead of always wanting more monetary possessions in my life. I also enjoy listening to my children talk about Jesus and what he has sacrificed for us to live our lives in joy today. As a family, we openly talk about Jesus in our home and spend quality time at Christ Community Church as WE SHOULD!

Megan Shoemaker

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Megan Shoemaker

Before Christ, I noticed that other people were different and were committed to something and I was not. I heard about Jesus since I grew up going to church but never truly understood what he has done for me.

One night after Awana Cubbies, I was asking my mom questions about Jesus and what I learned from Awana that night. My mom sat me down on my bed and explained that Christ had died for me and saved me from my sins. She then asked me if I wanted to pray a special prayer asking Jesus to forgive me and be by Savior and I said yes. I was four years old. I'll always remember that my mom said the angels are rejoicing in heaven. We then called up my grandparents and told them the good news.

Now, I read my Bible and pray to the Lord each day thanking Him for the many blessings He has given me. He gives me more strength to face my everyday situations. I also pray for my friends and try to encourage them. I am in a small group in Genesis each Wednesday and my leader Maria, listens to me and encourages and guides me in the ways of the Lord.

Steve Swiertz

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Steve Swiertz

One year ago I met Harold Jerde at the American Legion in St. Charles. At the time, I was drinking heavily, so I asked Harold for help.

I then met with Mike Hurn at Christ Community Church and discussed what the gospel is. It was at this time that I accepted Christ into my life and confessed my sins. Since then, I have strived to go on and live my life in biblical obedience. I’ve been attending Care Night and weekend services regularly. Because of Harold Jerde and Mike Hurn and their willingness to share the Lord with me, I am here today. Praise the Lord!

David Sypolt

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David Sypolt

I have always attended church on Sunday, even when I was in college, but I did not have a relationship with Jesus. I never read the Bible, I never prayed. Monday through Saturday, I did my own thing. Then in 1989, we lost our youngest son to a five-year battle with cancer. I did a lot of praying during that time, but after his death I questioned my faith. I questioned the power of prayer. I just sort of drifted through the religious experience and even questioned if there was a God.

About 12 years ago my wife and I started attending Christ Community Church. Pastor Jim had a different approach in his teaching about Jesus. I found I kept going back for more. He talked about the relationship with Jesus, the need to pray, the need to read the Bible to learn more.  I guess I was wanting to trust and believe and Pastor Jim nudged me to move toward that relationship.  He also encouraged us to join a Community Group which we did.  That group has encouraged me to actually read the Bible.  The people in the community group have also encouraged me to pray and have conversations with God.

This has all been a process for me one step at a time, but when Pastor Clayton closes service with "God loves you more than you will ever know," that was when I knew that I had truly accepted Jesus Christ to be part of my life. I still have a lot of learning to do, but I feel that I am a better person since I let Jesus enter my life.

Kevin Sypolt

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Kevin Sypolt

I grew up going to a Methodist Church, and when I moved to Illinois my wife and I went to church Presbyterian Church downtown and then when we moved to the western suburbs and went to a church in Geneva Illinois so I can not say that I've never been without religion in my life. My wife and I, after our pastor in Geneva left the church or was transferred to a different church,  spent maybe five years searching for a new church. My parents Dave and Brenda Sypolt were going to Christ Community Church and my son Brian was going there as well with my parents.

At first Christ Community was different than any other type of church I had ever gone to and I felt uneasy. After my son came back from Silver Birch Ranch and was only talking about how the Holy Spirit was in him and how powerful the camp was for him.  My wife and I decided to start going back to start going on a regular basis to Christ Community to really learn what the church was about and from there my relationship with Christ, my desire to read the Bible, and everything fed into my decision to commit my life to Christ. Teachings from Pastor Jim and Pastor Clayton helped me make the decision. I never took the bible seriously until now.

God has been working in my life in so many ways since committing my life to him. My family and I are now involved in Safe Families which has been incredibly rewarding. I am getting baptized to show that I have dedicated my life to Christ. My wife and kids are also getting baptized with me. I want to thank my parents for introducing me to Christ fifty years ago and for taking my son with them to Christ Community and introducing us. I want to thank my son for encouraging us to check out the church and to thank Steven Gahaller who has been a faithful friend along this journey.

Breyden T.

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Breyden T.

I have always known that God exists.  However, in some periods of my life I feel like I've sinned a lot.

On Christmas Eve 2014, during the invitation to commit your life and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I raised my hand because I wanted to be more committed to my personal Savior Jesus Christ.

Since I committed my life to Jesus, I feel like I am closer to Jesus.  Now, I read Deuteronomy 6:1 twice a day to understand God and Jesus more.

 

Liz T.

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Liz T.

I realized I needed Christ when my anger turned into love for him. Christ was helping me out of the darkness, even when my back was facing him. And then, my best friend, Kiley, told me about Christ Community Church at work. I felt like I belonged, and I was welcomed with open arms.

It was at Housegroup, that I really learned that I make mistakes and I am a sinner, but God loves me so much, that he sent his one and only son down to save me. Jesus went through the pain, I should've. That's when I knew it was time to live a life for God and surrender my life to him.

Since I first started going to Christ Community and gave my life to Christ, I feel like a whole new person. All my friends see how much I've changed too. I pray daily, not just for myself anymore, but for others who need it too. I'm ready to give all that I am, to our wonderful and powerful God. Luke 12:32 says, “Fear not. For it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom…” It's time to get out of the shadows, and live for God, which I am excited to do by getting baptized.

Katrina Tartalia

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Katrina Tartalia

I grew up in a church which did not focus on teaching that we could have a personal relationship with Jesus. I made countless decisions on my own, and thought my life was going well because of the choices I made. About 4 years ago, my family was invited to Christ Community Church by the Rich and Jody Knox.  I enjoyed going to church and spending time with my Community Group, but I was still unsure how to have a personal relationship with Jesus I heard described by so many people.

I felt like I was standing at the edge of a high dive platform, until I was pushed over the edge of releasing control of my life. I was so depressed with my life circumstances and I felt isolated from being with friends and other believers who had hope.  I remember crying out and praying to God for answers.  The change for me was finally feeling a sense of calmness I had never felt in my life and telling God that he is in charge; truly surrendering my life to Christ.  I continue to pray daily for God to be the ruler of my life and to make sure I search my heart for what is displeasing to God through prayer.

During the recent WOW weekend service, I felt led to stand when Pastor Jim prayed the prayer to give our lives to Jesus.  Even though I was attending church for a few years, I finally did an outward symbol to show that I was giving my life to Jesus.  I also went to the visitor center and picked up a “Next Steps Packet”.  While I was picking up a packet, one of the prayer team members prayed for me.  On that same Sunday morning at church, while singing the song “Great Are You Lord”, I felt emotions to the lyrics I had never felt in my life. I now find that singing worship songs has really helped bring the Bible to life for me and I can’t wait to read scripture daily and to see the relevance it has in my life. I had to see I was not as strong as I originally thought and I had to give up control.  God is now my only strength.  Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  

Arne Toman

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Arne Toman

Before I trusted in Jesus, I was more concerned with buying toys and enjoying myself.  Then my brother and sister-in-law invited my wife and I to do a couples Bible study.  They opened my eyes to the Christian faith.  Slowly, I started to realize there was something much bigger in life.  Then things in my life started to fall apart and it drove me to Jesus because it was all too much to handle and I accepted him as Lord in my life.

Since then my life totally changed. I pray multiple times a day and look forward to reading the Scriptures and growing closer to God.  Without the burden of worrying about the future has made dealing with difficulties in my life much easier.  It gave me hope which I had lost.  I also now see eternal life which is something I never considered as possible.  I look forward to growing with in my faith and where God wants to take my life.

Ben Van Acker

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Ben Van Acker

Without Christ in my life, I was a hopeless wreck. My actions were based on how I felt, and my feelings went up and down. My life was void of meaning.

I struggled with accepting Jesus for the longest time. I was trying to find which religion was the right one, based on historical fact. Most sources pointed toward Christianity, but I still choose not to fully believe. What finally convinced me was seeing how the Holy Spirit working in my life and that is when I decided to trust Jesus. God really is in control of everything, and I have seen that first hand.

With Jesus in my life, I am a much more joyful person. I now feel like there is meaning to life. I can see Christ working in my life through everything; the good and the bad. Bad things happen to me, but they make me stronger, and I grow closer to the Lord through them. When I put Jesus as the number one priority in my life, everything else falls into place.

Michelle Vanata

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Michelle Vanata

Before I trusted Jesus, I thought heaven was a gift for my good deeds and services.  I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus or understand salvation.

A friend brought me to a WOW weekend service at Christ Community. Here, I felt I finally found my church!  I have searched my whole life for the biblical teaching and fellowship like I found at Christ Community. I confessed my sins and asked Jesus into my heart to be my Lord and Savior.

Since then, my life has been forever changed. We now attend church regularly as a family. My husband and I pray together and read the bible daily. I belong to a wonderful women's group, but the biggest change has to be our generosity of time and resources. For Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:7 "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver."

Jessica Westerfield

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Jessica Westerfield

I grew up going to a Lutheran church from time to time, but never found myself as a follower of Jesus. Before I surrendered my life to Jesus, I didn't value myself, I didn’t live my life to its fullest and I didn't make the best choices. My choices were lead by other influences in my life, I valued earthy possessions not heavenly possessions as Jesus spoke about in Matthew 6:19-21, “ For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Then I met my now husband, Josh who introduced me to Jesus. I was skeptical but trusted him and decided to join him at a service at Christ Community in 2001. One week lead into another, and another, and before I knew it we were regular attenders together. I began to look forward to the messages and found myself actively engaged and intrigued week after week. When our daughter was born and suffered delivery complications, we weren't given the best odds at her time of birth for a survival without health complications. During her first week in the NICU, I witnessed that people were surrounding me with prayers, thousands of people whom didn’t even know us were praying for our little girl. This brought so much hope that I have never felt in my lifetime and I knew somehow that everything was really going to be okay. It was a month after her birth when I sat in church during a 9:00am Sunday service in February 2012, holding my daughter during worship we were singing, “Hallelujah Christ has risen”. Those words spoke to me like never before and I had a feeling of reassurance and I knew at that moment that my daughter was a miracle brought to us by God and she was perfect and healthy in every way!  That was the moment that I choose to give my life to Jesus.

Since that moment of surrendering my life to Jesus, my life has purpose, value and worth more than ever! My husband, four children and myself are regular attenders at the St. Charles campus, we enjoy serving in our community as Christ followers, I love attending my weekly women’s group, praying with our children daily and finding new ways to teach the good news of the Bible to our children and guide them into leading a life fulfilled with a heart toward Jesus too!

Josh Westerfield

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Josh Westerfield

I grew up in a Christian home and learned and followed Jesus until I got married. My hidden sins and selfishness started to affect my life and those near me. This led to me getting divorced. The next 3 years, I pushed my faith and God aside. It was fun and I was having a good time but at the end of the day I was alone and empty.

After a few more broken relationships, I finally asked the Lord to forgive me and to show me his love again. I started to read my bible and attend Christ Community Church. Life started to make sense again and I realized God never kept loving me even when I was trying to push him aside. I have a beautiful wife and 4 amazing kids today! I am so thankful for God’s love and how he has given me a full and abundant life! Praise the Lord!

Vicki Young

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Vicki Young

As a wife and mother of two, I went about living my life taking care of my family. I believed in God, but He was not the center of my life. I mostly acknowledged Him at church and tried handling things on my own. I finally trusted Jesus at church camp. Even then, I lived my way not His.

After the suicide death of my son, I was angry with God. One day as I was waiting at the dentist looking out the window, there was a field with a wooded area on the other side. My anger was still there, so I said to God, "you could at least let me see a deer", like I should demand anything from God. A few moments later a deer stepped out of the woods. I was awed that God would do that for me, as one angry depressed person.

In time my faith deepened. I began to love and trust Jesus more. My husband, Dave, has been an awesome example and has helped me along this walk with Christ. Prayer and applying God's word has brought me so much peace, joy and light! I know I can no longer "do life" on my own and to have God always here for me....I couldn't ask for more! God gave His Son for me...for all of us!!! John 3:16!

Matthew Z.

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Matthew Z.

I saw many bad things in the world and knew there had to be a better way. Even though I live in a Christian home, I always want to fight with my brothers and sister.

I knew there was a God, because I learned about Jesus at church, at Christian school, and at home. I knew I wanted to go to heaven and Jesus was the only way to get there. I knew I was a sinner and did not meet Jesus' standards. So when I was six years old, my parents prayed with me in my bedroom to ask Jesus to forgive me and be my Savior.

Since I was young when I accepted Christ, I really can't explain how I'm different than it was before. However, my life is focused on learning more about Jesus, trying to be kinder and more loving to my siblings, praying, and going to church every weekend. Also, I go to Genesis every week and I have been inviting my friends to come as well. And one of my friends actually accepted Jesus too!

Ruth Z.

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Ruth Z.

I have been following Jesus as long as I can remember, but I am not sure I honor him as much as he wanted me to. I never really wanted to go to church. I felt that I had lost my relationship with Christ.

When my family came to Christ Community Church, I felt that I had been welcomed into something different and that this is the power of Christ. I realized that I had lots of sin in my life but I also know that Jesus died to pay for my sin and I'm forgiven because I've put my faith in Jesus. My parents (Marko and Georgena) and my small group leader (Maria Ziemba) have helped me progress in my faith, and since then, I have loved Jesus more and appreciated what he has done for me.

Since then, I have become a weekly attender of Genesis and the weekend service. I pray every day and enjoy singing the worship at church. My small group and I have gotten closer as well. I know my troubles aren't over but Romans 10:9 says "because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."  That's me!!