Blackberry Creek

Nataliya Durbin

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Nataliya Durbin

I lived with my mom until I was 6 years old. and I was moved into foster care and sent to live with my aunt, Alisa Stewart. Before I lived with my aunt I had no idea who God was or what he did.

My aunt brought me to church for the first time. After that I began to have some idea of who God is. When I was old enough my aunt sent me to Silver Birch Ranch. I first put trust in Christ at camp. I still go to camp every year. I really enjoy making new friends and connecting with other godly people. And most of my family volunteers.

Ever since then I have been going to church as often as I can. I feel that I have grown closer to God and he has changed my life in so many ways. He has blessed me with great friends which I got from camp and youth group. I am thankful for what God has done in my life.

Donn Miller

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Donn Miller

I was raised Methodist and attended the Methodist Church sporadically. Faith was part of my life, but not a big part. It was more of a convenience, or check off box. Then my wife brought me to Christ Community Church where Christ began to make sense. I have been attending Christ Community Church for several years now. I’ve learned so much and Christ had become big part of my life.

Then my world changed. I was diagnosed with a rare, incurable immune system disease and the future looked bleak.

So contrary all that I had learned, I decided the only way to have some control over the situation was to internalize my worries and not burden my family. I didn't talk about it and tried to hide my fears . It was exhausting, and I doubt that it succeeded in reality as much as it did in my head.

Penny, my wife, was always encouraging and constantly telling me not to worry, she knew God has an answer.  Every day I would read on the refrigerator how even sparrows don’t need to worry because God takes care of them.

Now, I finally get it. Christ always had a plan. He's is control.  What a relief!  This is no longer my problem, He has a plan.

Nelly Venecia

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Nelly Venecia

I grew up in a family with no definitive faith.  I found myself surrounded of people, things, thoughts, and emotions but at the same time I felt separated.  I needed meaning.

Emotions banished, people left, things appeared and disappeared until I found that the sensation of completeness was in one place. It was at Church.

The spirit led me to CCC. The Lord guided me to a group of extraordinary people, people who inspire me, people whom I consider mentors and family. Some of these people are Claudia & Dave Wallace, Eileen & Bob Gatenby, Jacqui & Dave Zehr & Donna & Larry Dibblee.  The Lord is using these men and women to transform my life.

One day, at Church; all the sudden, the walls of loneliness started to crumble, my pain started to become “a purpose”, my happiness had instants of Bliss; for a moment, I felt connected and God became real.  -I cried as I surrendered to the Lord.

Today, I want to celebrate God and his Grace in my life.

“In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Kevin Wehling

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Kevin Wehling

Before Jesus came into my heart, I lived a life separate from God. Drinking and other meaningless activities were important to me. I spent time in unfulfilled relationships that would affect me negatively. I had issues with anger and pride, which kept me hardened and away from God.

Then I met Mayella Alegria, who became someone very important to me. Mayella introduced me to Christ Community Valentines Day, 2016. I had finally decided to attend church with her after some hesitation on my part. The service that day was a WOW weekend service, featuring Scott Smiley, whom was badly injured and left blind from the Iraq war. His story of how Christ helped him recover spiritually and forgive after his experiences in war really hit home for me. I was also veteran who experienced some doubt and bitterness about God after returning from Afghanistan. His story really opened my eyes and gave me the hope I needed. I felt this was a message that God wanted me to hear. It was that day, I said the prayer and accepted Christ into my heart.

 The change in me was happening over time and continues today. My affections and desires have been a noticeable change for me. I have a much deeper and fulfilling relationship with Mayella, whom is now my Fiancé. We also encourage each other whenever possible as well. I have now made it a habit to pray on a regular basis as well as read the Bible and understand Christ’s word.  I see now that God has always been there and His love has never faded. I want to continue to change and enjoy a new life serving Christ. “This Means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone, a new life as begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

DeKalb

Michael A

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Michael A

I have been coming to KidsWorld with my Grandma, Jan Bass, for about five years now. She told me that the Lord is like the air. We can’t see the air, but it is there. So God IS there. He sees everything.

At KidsWorld I’ve seen other kids I know. One boy was on my soccer team. On October 21, Teacher Karl explained “God’s Good News” and the only way to reach God and be saved. On October 23, I felt miserable because of something that happened at school. On the way home, I felt like I got my soul back. I felt so much better, like God was there for me.

Then on October 24, my Grandma and I prayed to the Lord.  I told the Lord I’m ready to trust Jesus as my Savior so I did right then. You know, at age 5,6,7,8 or 9, I wasn’t ready to be baptized, but now I am.

Armando Alamia

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Armando Alamia

I have been a follower of Christ since 1978.  I was 18 years old at that time and struggled with relationships, friends, school, partying, drinking, and jobs. I was a mess and had no peace in my heart.

I remember my brother talking to me about Christ and it got me interested.  I visited his church and heard that you must be saved by Christ in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.  It frightened me.  I did not want to go to hell.  Not only that, I wanted peace of heart.  That was the moment I trusted Christ.  I became a different person.

I am now 58 years old and a husband, a dad, and a grandpa. I have been blessed and I love my king Jesus. This coming Christmas I will have attended Christ Community for 5 years.  I have served on the traffic, usher and greeter teams and at special events.  

I want to show the congregation how I feel about my King and my home here at Christ Community.

Macy B

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Macy B

I grew up in a Christian family and was taught that everyone is born a sinner.  I also know that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and if I confess my sins and surrender my life to Jesus, I will live in heaven someday.

This past summer at Silver Birch Ranch, my friends and I were joking about what would happen if I died while tubing.  Would I go to heaven?  

This started me thinking that I wasn’t sure I could answer, “Yes”.  While sitting in chapel listening to pastor Pete talk about surrendering our lives to Jesus, I decided I really wanted to make Jesus Lord of my life and not wonder or be afraid anymore.  I wanted to be certain.  So, I went and prayed with my cabin leader, Rachel.  After I said, “Amen,” we cried tears of joy.

Ever since, I feel so peaceful and a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  A Bible verse I like is Psalm 27:1

“The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Knowing Jesus will always help me gives me peace. I do not have to be afraid or unsure anymore because I know I am a child of God.

Trisha B

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Trisha B

Before I saw I needed Jesus, I was trapped in my sin.  I could not bear all the guilt and the agonizing hopelessness I felt.

Then my mother, grandparents, HouseGroup leaders, and church camp helped me see that the only way out is through Jesus.  They helped me learn that you can’t get through anything without Jesus.  

Instead, you have to let Jesus help you.  All of them helped me recover from the damage sin has had in my life. I confessed all my sins to Jesus and asked him for forgiveness.

My relationship with Jesus and my family has really grown.  I pray strong, meaningful prayers, share the good news about Jesus more, and I want to impact many more lives.  Many challenges lie ahead, but Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

My favorite verse is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Joseph Crase

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Joseph Crase

Before I trusted in Jesus, my mind and spirit felt fractured. My life felt like it was spiraling into an abyss.

Then, I met Jake at college. He took the time to talk to me about Jesus in a comprehensive way that no one else had. Every question I asked was answered and soon my eyes were opened to God’s love for the world. Sin had tainted my life, and with Jake by my side I confessed and asked Jesus to forgive my sins, and lead my life.

Since then, my life has been complete. My mind, body, and soul work together in harmony to live out God’s will. It has been a long, difficult journey, and I know there is even more to come. I know now that I do not have the wisdom to do this alone, so I pray for God to grant me it, as James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”

                      

Angi Fabris

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Angi Fabris

Before committing to Jesus, I knew of and believed in him, but I was just living for myself. Through Alpha in 2004, I met the Talleys, who invited me to join their Thursday night Bible study group. With guidance and spiritual learning from them along with my mom, Jane Lean, Aunt Francie and Uncle Dave, the Rahns, and other “fishers of men” too numerous to mention, I have learned to live for Jesus.

On February 20, 2006, I attended the production of “Heaven’s Gates & Hell’s Flames,” where I publicly “crossed the bridge from extreme danger to the family of God.” As in Romans 10:9-10, “That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

Since then I truly feel as if Jesus is in my heart. I want to please him and do as he would want me to do each and every day. I want to be baptized to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, continue to grow in him, and show my commitment to him for all the world to see. I am not ashamed to be a part of God’s family.

Catherine Finn

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Catherine Finn

Before I trusted in Jesus, I would go to church, but didn’t fully understand, interpret, or comprehend the readings. I didn’t have any fellowship and felt a “disconnect” from one Sunday to the next. After many hardships, I realized more than ever how much I needed Christ in my life.

On Easter, I started attending Christ Community. Not long after that, I surrendered my life to Christ. I remember weeping and never feeling so close to God. My sister, Clare, has helped me trust in Christ.  Also, my friends, Natalie, Ray, Angie, Jill, and Tina have been instrumental in my spiritual growth. Seeing the way they live has inspired a desire to be closer to Christ.

Since then, I can truly say my life has changed. Sundays are my favorite day of the week! I now have a personal relationship with God. I know Jesus loves unconditionally. He died for my sins and forgives me. I am never alone, even on my loneliest days. I no longer live in fear. God is greater than any problem. I cast all my cares on him. He carries it all on his shoulders.

When I put God first in my life, everything else seems possible! Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Faith K

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Faith K

Over the summer, when I did not make right decisions I realized I needed Christ back in my life. Without him, I made decisions to please other people, but not what was best for me.

My mom introduced me to HouseGroup. Here I met amazing new friends and leaders. They showed me that Christ always loves and forgives. This revealed how much sin I had in my life. One night, I prayed and asked Jesus to forgive me for everything and to take control of my life.

Since then, my life has been so much better. My family and I go to church every Sunday and I have been going to HouseGroup. I am closer with all my family members. I can’t wait to help serve in the church more and be there for anybody that needs me.

I now know that no one can break my relationship with God. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, ”For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Megan Karr

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Megan Karr

I was brought up going to church with my family, but ended up straying as a young adult.  I didn’t feel church was for me.  I occasionally tried out different churches in my 20s, but never really felt connected to any of them.

I eventually got married, and my husband and I went through a rough patch.  I found a book I thought could help us not realizing it was based in Christianity.  It not only strengthened our marriage, it renewed my excitement for getting to know Jesus.  I remembered a classmate from college had brought me to see a Christian rock group perform at Christ Community, so I knew that was where I wanted to start our journey again.

Since then, I feel my relationship and love for Jesus grow every day and this excites me.  My relationship with my husband is stronger than ever, and we enjoy attending service and praying together regularly.  

As it says in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love."

Asher L

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Asher L

I am 10 years old. I have attended Christ Community Church my whole life and really like going to Epic and KidsWorld.

I first put my trust in Jesus two years ago before an Easter service when my Mom and Dad shared with me the meaning of taking communion. They asked me if I would like to ask Jesus to forgive my sins and trust him with my life. I said yes, and we prayed to begin my relationship with Jesus.  I know that God is the creator of the world. God has saved me from my sins and has made me a better person. I pray for him to help with my ADHD.

Even though I struggle every day with it, I know that Jesus is right next to me to lean on. When I am having a bad day I know that I can always talk to him about what my struggles are and he is always leading me into the right direction. I also like to pray for my family and friends.

Being baptized means that I am showing my church and family that I am committed to follow Jesus. I love going to church! It is fun every weekend and I can’t wait to see what God has planned for me.

Ava P

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Ava P

My testimony story may not be the most captivating, but it means a lot to me that I can stand here today. I have been raised by a Christian family. They have been the ones to introduce me to God and I am thankful.

We had gone to a church I remember as boring.  It did not invoke a response in me so I dreaded going.  When they started to make lots of changes, we decided to try a new one.  We jumped around for a while, trying to find the right church. We eventually found this one. At Christ Community, I began so see God in a whole new light. As I began to flourish here, it was nice to have my dad guide me. I learned that God isn't a bunch of rules. He wants to be your friend and part of your life. While I know I can't be perfect, I do know that I can try to always choose him and his love in the end.

Thanks to all of you who helped me up to this point.  My hope to the people who are still unsure about this whole God thing is that you will feel safe here. He is the Lord and the Ruler of my life, and I am his.

Zion P

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Zion P

When I was 7, I was talking to my family and my dad told me why Jesus had to die on the cross. I was confused why I needed a Savior, but I knew I wanted Jesus in my life. I wanted to go to heaven to be with God where there will be no hurt or death. I learned that Jesus needed to forgive my sins. I wanted Jesus to lead my life because I knew that I am not wise on my own. I wanted to follow God because he created us and he is wise.

Since then, he became my leader and salvation. When I die I will go to heaven because I trust in him. He helps me when I am afraid. He helps me not to get confused and I know that he is always with me. My parents and EPIC leaders help me understand more about God. Being baptized means it shows that you want to follow Jesus. I know that I still sin, but Jesus forgives me.

I pray for my friends and I want to invite them to church and tell them about God. I want to be nice to people so they can see God loves me and loves them.

Owen Robison

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Owen Robison

I grew up in a Christian home. My parents, who are passionate Christ followers, took me to KidsWorld. Then when I was old enough, I attended the big service for students and adults. At first, I thought it was boring; I was just learning stuff I already knew about, but then I noticed what I was doing with my life...nothing, absolutely nothing. I just sat in front of the computer all day for kicks playing video games.

I started thinking about the meaning of things and studied human psychology on my own. There were two things I learned: 1) the presence of God is mandatory for survival 2) people are easily manipulated.  As I thought about both these things, I started believing that God was the answer and I wanted to be with God. I can't tell the exact time I gave my life to Christ, but I'm grateful that I have trusted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

Since I've trusted Christ, I have felt that there is more meaning to life. Granted, I still play a lot of videogames, but with God's help, I’ve found ways to incorporate him into what I do. Now, I try to share the Gospel online through the multiplayer games I play and I am thinking of starting an animated series on YouTube about the Bible's stories and parables. God has truly impacted my life, and I am grateful to have been saved by him.

Autumn S

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Autumn S

Before I trusted God, I was depressed often and had anxiety problems. I also didn’t follow the rules at school.

Then my friend Brandy and the Hulst family invited me to come to church with them one weekend. When I went, I loved the classes and ended up coming back. At that time I was in KidsWorld. The leaders would talk to me about how I could get baptized and they prayed for my struggle with depression. When I outgrew KidsWorld, I moved on to Genesis. One night during Genesis worship, I cried out to God for forgiveness and help.

Since then, I still go to Genesis every Wednesday night and serve in KidsWorld. I’ve been less depressed and found it easier to follow the rules at school. I’ve made more friends and have gotten out more. I know that things won’t be perfect. I still have my ups and downs, but it will get better because God has control.

 

Rebecca W

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Rebecca W

Before I trusted Jesus, I always followed what I believed was the right path. It didn’t matter if someone was telling me to go about my life another way. I wanted to go about my life the way I wanted. The person who helped me to realize I needed to change was my stepmom.

One day when I was 11, I was at church with my step-mom and brother and the pastor was talking about giving your life to Christ. On that day, Jesus spoke to me very strongly. I got up and gave my life to him. Since then, I have been trying to live my life to please Jesus. In the last couple years, I have responded to God’s call by going on mission trips with Life Missions.  Through those trips, I could see Jesus work through me and others. My baptism is to publicly proclaim my love for Jesus and my desire to continue following him.

Rebecca Wehmeyer

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Rebecca Wehmeyer

Before I trusted in Jesus, I felt lost, lonely, and my life never felt complete.

Attending Christ Community for the first time, the atmosphere was just so loving and happy. I felt at home and knew this was the church for me.

I started attending a Women’s group led by Kristin Peska. She has shown me how to delve deeper into faith and trust that the Lord has a plan for me. I had extensive neck surgery a year ago and I felt Christ with me throughout the surgery and the healing process. I know it was my faith in God that got me through it. His presence was with me.

I know now he was pursuing me, drawing me closer to him. I feel the joy that comes with experiencing his love, peace and comfort.

St. Charles

Kelly Arvanites

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Kelly Arvanites

I’ve been blessed to have been raised with an introduction to God through my previous church background, but there was no significance about the Lord because he was always just a bunch of rules and rituals to me. My first real introduction to Jesus was at Silver Birch Ranch, and through many more years of camp and Genesis, he continued to pursue me. I had surrendered my life to the Lord countless times, but never understood the significance of it.

I cannot say the exact moment my surrendering to Christ was truly sincere, but now more than ever I know it to be true. After countless years of seeking the truth, putting my hopes in unsatisfying idols, lukewarm faith, and wrestling with my own self, God has brought me here despite it all.

Through his goodness, God has gifted me with a community group of Christ-loving disciples who are led by two of the godliest people I've ever met, Roy and Courtney Stevenson. I'm so thankful to God for the student ministries team and for Rose Dally, who have poured into me selflessly. And to the Lord, from whom all blessings flow, my praise eternally. Psalm 139.

Amber B

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Amber B

Before I trusted in Jesus I was angry, I would disrespect my parents, and I was rude to my sister. I didn’t want to act like that, but I didn’t know how to change. I don’t want to be that person that I was before.

I always went to church, but my mom had me start going to Genesis. She thought that if I go there I can have a better relationship with God. Then I met my Genesis leader, Mrs. Anita. She talked to me about Jesus. After a couple weeks I was ready to surrender my life to Jesus. I couldn’t have done it without her.

Now I am more kind and less disrespectful. Every day I try my hardest to be more like Jesus and to be closer to him. I read my bible almost every day and re- read my favorite verse John 3:16, for God so loved the world he gave his one and only son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Madison B

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Madison B

Before I trusted in Jesus I was more concerned about me rather than other people and I didn’t think about going to church at all. Then Mary Potrawski and my mother introduced me to Christ Community Church. I learned why Jesus died for our sins because he loves us and cares for us. So, then I realized I wanted to follow Jesus. I didn’t want to be full of self-centeredness and jealousy anymore. I want Jesus to forgive me and take away my sins. Since attending Christ Community Church, I pray every night before I go to bed, I am doing something once a month to help the community. I have raised money for my old school that had their gym flooded, I volunteer at Feed My Starving Children, and I have made cookies for the sick families at Ronald McDonald house (etc.) Now I love to go to church.

Olivia B

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Olivia B

Before I came to Christ, what I thought mattered was how many more outfits I had for my American Girl dolls than someone else or how cool my new silly bands were compared to the girl with every rare silly band known to man. But, in the sixth grade I was introduced to Genesis. It was here that my pastor, Pete Sutton, taught me, and many other middle school children, about the Bible. He connected its content to his own life, which was ultimately why I was intrigued, and drawn into my faith. With time, I found that what mattered was my sins were wiped away by Jesus. In short, great people brought me to Christ Community Church, but it was what I was taught that made me stay. Looking back, I am so glad that I did. I will admit that I still do find myself focusing on things that don’t matter in the long run, but God is helping me work on that. Because as it states in 2 Corinthians 4:18, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Taylor B

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Taylor B

Before Christ, my family and I went to church every Sunday, but I don’t remember much. When we moved to Georgia my family couldn’t find a church that we really liked. So we didn’t go to church for three years.

What made me want to be a follower of Christ is when I moved here my mom and I started going to Camp Commotion. I went to Awana for a night in fourth grade with my neighbor Laney Schafer and that night I accepted Christ into my life. From then on I wanted to grow my relationship with God. The bible verse Matthew 22:21 “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in a prayer.” When I was learning more about God I didn’t know if he actually answers people's prayers. When I read this verse I learned that he did if I believed in him. Now I know that he answers people’s prayers. Maybe not right away, but eventually he will.

Since I accepted my Christ into my life I feel like I am more caring, loving, and more godly. I try to read the Bible every morning before school in the car, on the bus or waiting outside of school. I also really like my Genesis group because we have fun but also get work done most of the time.

Cat Battista

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Cat Battista

My relationship with Jesus Christ developed slowly over time into a deeply personal one that I now want to celebrate through baptism.

In 2005, I graduated from law school and became an attorney. Soon after, I became a wife and mom to three great kids. The pressures of "this" world became tremendous. My lifestyle choices were poor. I let anger, fear, anxiety, jealousy and pride govern my decisions, damage relationships and put unnecessary strain on my marriage. On the inside, I was a mess.

Driving past Christ Community Church on my way to work, something inside would tell me to "go there." But I was afraid. Finally, on one cold snowy day I took my kids by to play on the "Magic Carpets" in KidsWorld and decided to attend a service, which happened to be a baptism service. My children and husband soon followed.

After Pastor Jim gave a sermon, I decided that I was going to completely change my life. Specifically, I was going to let God be the Lord and leader of my life. I was going to trust in him, let go of my fear and walk in faith. Last year, I sold my law firm and dedicated my career to serving others. I also want to be the best wife, mom, friend and Christ follower I can be. It isn't always easy but I feel strong knowing that I have the King of Kings guiding my hand firmly along the way.

Baptism is the matriculation of me leaving one chapter of my life to start this next one. I cannot wait to get into the water!

Michael Bennett

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Michael Bennett

God saved me from the depths of my depression. He was the hope and guiding light that I so desperately needed. Prior to Him, death always loomed at the forefront of my mind; the selfish thought of an easy escape. Every waking moment was tinted with anxiety and despair. A fifteen-year battle that I could not win with my strength alone. And then I went to Alpha. I’d become tired of feeling hopeless. Years ago, I had given Christianity a ‘shot’. I would go to church and peruse the Bible, but I never truly tried to be a Christian. Sure, I might’ve called myself a Christian, but I never surrendered myself to Him. I never thanked Him when times were good. I never said sorry for the wrongs I had wrought. I only ever sought Him after my own selfish ways had led me astray. Looking back, it’s no wonder why I thought Christianity didn’t ‘work’. God knocked, and I opened the door, but I kept the latch secured tight. Alpha removed that latch from my life. I had (and still have) a yearning desire to learn more about the Bible and God thanks to Alpha. I’ll admit the process wasn’t immediate, but I now know in my heart that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. Since then, my anxiety and depression no longer plague my life. He is my strength.

Kyle Crampton

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Kyle Crampton

Before I put my complete faith and trust in Christ, I was plagued by my depression. I would often find myself in a state of despair and self-loathing, which caused me to turn my back to God.

My girlfriend, McKenzie Tegeler, as well as her family did a lot to help me, but the most important thing they did was open my eyes to God. They brought me to many Sunday services at Christ Community Church, and my hardened heart was softened by the teachings of Jesus.  My heart was beginning to be mended from the years torment it was subjected to. I saw how much God loved me, even when I didn't love myself. Since then, I have no doubt that Jesus is King and I surrender my life to Him.

Now that I have a relationship with Jesus, I've received the strength to fight against my depression. Now I see a therapist and work with a psychiatrist. Even if I cannot find any other way to fight it, I know I can always turn to Christ, who will calm the storms of my mind. The major evil that plagued my life had become a well managed inconvenience, and I was allowed to live a happy life as a Christ follower.

Jomari Cruz

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Jomari Cruz

Before I knew I needed to trust Jesus, I faced a very long time through depression and anxiety. At the age of 16 I was questioning a lot of things about my life, friendships, relationships, family relations, and the continuous cycle of seeing things always fading away or something always had to come to an end. I’ve been hospitalized twice for suicidal idealization. I’ve been through therapies, medications, but it all didn’t seem to work out as I would go through such a process of finding how to fight my depression. It was until then, a good friend of mine introduced me to Christ Community Church. I attended the 2016 Christmas service and it was if I felt truly God was speaking to me and forgiving me with the love he has for me. My depression really had an impact on me as well of how it affected others in the intentions I really wish to pardon my sins. Since then, I can say now things are better in ways I would not expect. I started to attend care night and plan on continuing this path in the way I trust Jesus. I can only tell myself now, Jesus has my worries and so I believe to trust in that. Isaiah 41:13 For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you.

Bill DeGraf

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Bill DeGraf

I grew up in a family in which my mom and dad had us attend Sunday school until we were confirmed. I received a Bible which I found very difficult to read. My goal was to finish the Bible, which I did, but I got very little out of it because of the way it was written. I always thought it should have a deeper meaning for me. Looking back I always was trying to have a deeper relationship with God but the connection with much of the Bible was not there. I enjoyed Psalms, Proverbs, and much of the New Testament but I did not understand the rest of the Bible.

Also, I always believed that my faith was a personal thing and did not talk to others about my beliefs or the questions I had about it. I’ve always thought that you should work on three areas of your life: the mental or intellectual side – try to always learn and grow mentally; the physical – remain physically active, exercise; and the spiritual. I found the spiritual side hard because the “manual” was very difficult to follow.

I started attending Christ Community Church about 4-5 years ago and started reading an NIV Bible. The understanding of a lot of the stories in the Bible was suddenly there. Now that the understanding is there, the importance of accepting Jesus in my life and as my savior is very clear. I attended Alpha and for the first time had conversations with other people about my faith. I look forward to attending services on the weekend, reading the Bible, and time that I spend praying.

I am currently going through a very rough period in my life but I don’t worry about it too much. I have faith that I will come through it Ok and those who need help will receive it. I worry about my kids some but I’m very proud of them and how they are handling our circumstances. I do hope that I will serve as an inspiration for them to explore their spiritual needs and grow that part of their lives.

Brandon Erath

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Brandon Erath

Before Christ, I was a very self-centered person. I only thought about myself and doing so I put myself in a lot of bad situations and made plenty of bad choices along the way. I was going down a dark path searching for anything to give me temporary happiness even though nothing seemed to fill my emptiness. I'd gone to service once or twice before and I felt a connection, but I made excuses to avoid a relationship. Finally, after dropping to my knees and praying for help things began to change for the good. I met a girl, who is now my wife and she took me to Christ Community Church. After going to service with my wife, I teared up during worship and felt a real connection. It felt like everything was directed towards me and I saw the consequences of all the evil things I've been doing. I stood when Pastor Jim, asked if you prayed this prayer from the heart and accepted Jesus. After that day, I felt the power and everything in my life seemed better and I felt like I had a purpose. I starting going to a 20's community group, serving together and worshiping together. I also went through pre-marital counseling here at the church and participated in Financial Peace University. I know I'm not perfect but I cannot wait to continue growing in Christ with my wife and our future children! Proverbs 3:5-6 says "Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight." I now feel I am on the straight path and am excited to share and proclaim this with everyone!

Chris F

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Chris F

I have been a believer of Christ for as long as I can remember. My family has been taking me to church since I was in kindergarten. When I was in the service at Willow Creek Church they called me little Bill Hybels. I always loved going to church my grandma had taught me about the bible and how we should follow Jesus in our everyday life. So I attended Promise Land at Willow Creek in elementary school. I loved it. When I aged out of Promise Land we decided to try Christ Community Church. All of my friends went there now we decided to get baptized here. After we get baptized we are going to start serving and we are joining a community group. I have now surrendered to Christ and will follow him in my everyday life.

Ryan F

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Ryan F

My name is Ryan and I am nine years old. My home life has always had God and Jesus in it so it was easy for me to hear about the Good News. When I lived in Atlanta we would go to church on Sundays and I usually went to a kids’ service. Spending time at church helped me understand God was always available and he sent his Son Jesus to offer salvation for all. While in preschool, I learned about Good Friday and Christ on the Cross and I was so sad for Jesus. I started carrying around a nail in my pocket and would show the nail to people at the store and tell them it was used to keep Christ on the cross. Last summer, while swimming at the pool, I flipped off of my tube and hit my head and back. My mom needed to take me to the hospital and I started praying to God for help, I was scared and knew I could reach for God. God was near me that day and gave me comfort. When I learn new stories at KidsWorld, I love to tell my friends all that I have learned, I enjoy sharing the story of Jesus.

I put my faith in Jesus when I was four years old and have wanted to be baptized in Christ's name. I have asked God to forgive me though prayers and I Trust that he hears me and I trust I hear him. God is my redeemer and My Lord. He gave me a life and a loving family, and he gave me Christ. I want to be baptized to show the church I LOVE Jesus and I will do anything for him. I am a believer in Christ and my baptism is my way of showing this to everyone at church. I know that I am not saved because I am getting baptized, I am saved because I put my faith in Christ.

Arthur Frage

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Arthur Frage

Before I knew Jesus Christ I was really lost. After a while things started to change. I found the love of my life and had a son. I still was not close to God. Then my mother-in-law, Sharyn invited us to Willow Creek Church. I had not gone to church in 20 years so I thought, “Why not?”. I got a feeling of relief almost immediately. I went there a few years till I found Christ Community Church. From the moment I walked in the doors I felt like I belonged here. People were extremely welcoming and I felt like part of the family. I have now been asked to join a small group which I have never done. I served at Genesis recently and had a lot of fun. I am going to continue to serve there. I am excited to declare Jesus Christ is my LORD and Savior.

My turning point was very subtle. The more I read the more I learned of Him the more I wanted that to be the way I lived my life. The way I treated others. The way to model my behaviors so others would say WOW that's what I want. To be at absolute peace with HIM.

Eileen Frage

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Eileen Frage

Before I came to need Jesus in my life I felt I had all the answers, that I could do it all on my own. I made many mistakes as a parent and as a person. It was not the road to be traveling down. I needed a nudge to start to go to Church. My Mom asked my husband and I to join her at church one weekend and reluctantly I did. It was the start of something good. I started to feel good after I left church services, I left wanting to learn more. I knew the way I was living needed to change, I needed Jesus to guide me. Now that I am true Christ follower I feel I need to be Baptized and share my statement! I love Christ Community Church; our family is looking to join a community group and I love serving at Genesis where my younger son attends. With the help of Jesus Christ I am working towards mending relationships with my oldest son and living a Christ centered life.

Sara Freeman

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Sara Freeman


I was raised in a religion where I was baptized as a baby. I always believed in God but never felt a close relationship with Jesus. As an adult I drifted away from God as I tried to be the one in charge of my own life without seeking relationship with Christ. After a series of miscarriages trying to grow our family, I realized I needed to surrender my life back to Jesus and let him lead my path. My family began regularly attending church again and it reignited my relationship with Jesus and let me see that His path for me is perfect, even during the times it doesn’t seem that way to me. With Jesus in control I have been able to let go of trying to run my life for myself and instead let Jesus lead me. This has changed so much in my life and my family. It has changed the trajectory of not only my life but my children as my husband and I are now raising our children to have a close, personal relationship with Jesus.

Arianna H

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Arianna H

My name is Arianna and I grew up in a Christian family. My family goes to church weekly and does Genesis and Epic. One night after Awana, I was in my room with my mom and I decided to follow God, so she prayed with me. From then on, I have prayed every night and love God with all my heart.  I love God!

Chloe H

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Chloe H

I always knew God was important but I never really knew what it meant to be Christian and how much he could be there for me when I need him. I went to Sunday school and Awana to have fun and make friends but other than that I never really did things for God or Jesus.

In fourth grade, I went to SBR summer camp and it was a lot of fun and I made so many new friends. That week I grew very close to Jesus and I learned things about him I never had before. I started to talk to my counselor because I heard about all these people that were accepting Christ and I didn't quite understand what it meant. She explained to me that we all sin and I already knew that but what I didn't understand is that Jesus himself died on the cross for our sins. That night I accepted Christ and I asked him to cleanse me of all of my sins because no one is perfect except for him.

I now feel safer and like I always have someone there for me. Church means more and I know that I will go to heaven because I accepted Jesus and I believe that when times are rough I can get through it because of him and what he did for us. I want to show everyone how I feel and what he has done in my life and that is why I am getting baptized.

Gabriel H

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Gabriel H

I have been going to Christ Community Church for my whole life and going to a Christian school since kindergarten. I surrendered my life to Jesus in Kids World when I was 7. Church and school have helped me develop and grow my faith in Christ up to a point. Then it started to get boring. They always taught the same stuff over again in school and in KidsWorld. I stopped listening and about a year ago started asking my Mom and Dad if I could come to big church. They agreed, but like Kids World it got boring, and I didn’t really get the sermons.

During the summer my parents showed me this Christian camp that our church was doing at Silver Birch Ranch. At first I didn’t want to go, but once my mom mentioned paintballing I agreed. I enjoyed it and learned new things about God and the Bible. I had a great time, made new friends inside and outside my cabin, and renewed my faith in Christ.

After SBR and renewing my faith, I was kinder to my little sister Nina and really enjoyed worship more.

Once Genesis started, I went with my friend Jack and learned even more about God. Around that time my dad started talking about baptism. I didn’t want to at first, mostly because I was nervous but now I really do.

Mason H

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Mason H

My name is Mason Hubbard and I am eleven years old. My family has been bringing me to Christ Community Church ever since I was born. A few years ago I remember watching my sister Samantha get baptized and I thought in my mind, “I want to get baptized when I am older.” At the time I wasn't ready, but now I am.  

I know that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and I’ve surrendered my life to him so that I can be with him for eternity. After I get baptized I am going to be a new person and I know I will be safe under God’s roof.

Quin H

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Quin H

Before I trusted in Jesus, I put my sports and academics in front of everything else. I tried to get better every single chance I got because of what my friends and teammates thought.

In fourth grade, my friend Nick invited me to Awana. He told me that it was a place that we could learn about Christ and the Bible with kids my age.  I went on to Genesis and learned more in depth. One day after the message we talked about how you should not try to be better than someone else because he made you perfect in his own eyes. This topic made me want to trust and follow Jesus because he made me the way I am and I am proud of that. Even though I have my flaws I know that Jesus still loves me no matter what.” I know that Jesus died on the cross to forgive my sins and that because I sin, I will not be perfect in my own eyes. Because I trust in Jesus I will have my sins forgiven and because I know this I will have eternal life with him.

Wayne H

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Wayne H

I was raised in a different religion and while I knew who Jesus was and had a love and reverence for God I didn’t live my life in a God-honoring way. I felt distance between myself and God. I started attending a church with my wife when we got married. In 2003 my first daughter was born. Becoming a father stirred my faith and I felt closer to God than ever before. Our Pastor, Walt Peacock preached a sermon in March 2005 title, “Are You Born Again?” I really felt the Holy Spirit moving me that day and he asked, “If Jesus returned right now do you know if you’re going to heaven? That’s not something you want to guess about”. He explained salvation and although I had heard it a hundred times before this time it really moved me. It was like the light bulb in the cartoon. It just clicked. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior that day. In the years following I got more into God’s word, led worship services at the church, took my kids to Awana and when we got to Christ Community Church we joined a community group. We attend church and pray as a family. We have been more involved in giving and helping others and I feel a sense of peace and calm that God is with me. He has my back. In a stressful world, it is reassuring to know you don’t have to do this on your own. God is in the driver’s seat; we are just along for the ride.

Marissa J

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Marissa J

Hi, I am Marissa and I am 11 years old. My parents made my middle name "Grace" because they said it was thru the Grace of God that I was born. I was born premature with a lot of health problems. But with God's help, great doctors and surgeries, I am healthy today. I have been going to church all of my life but when I saw my first baptism, I knew I wanted to commit my life to God. For some reason I wanted to wait to be baptized until I was really ready. God always told me when I prayed, that I would know when the time was right and that time is now! To me, God is not only my Savior but also my friend who will always be there for me when I am alone, sad or angry and he will never judge me. God is the only one who can make me say "I can do anything". I want people to see God thru me and the way I live my life. I want people to know I am a true believer and I want God's light to shine bright.  

I am Marissa Grace, and this is my story.

Jack K

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Jack K

Hermione M

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Hermione M

I am Hermione. I am nine. I believe in God and Jesus. I have my whole life. I pray every single night. I know that Jesus paid for all of our sins. He has helped me get through a lot of hard times, like when me and my friends aren't getting along and he makes it better. I also had surgery on my neck, I prayed to God to help me get through my surgery and he did. I believe that our sins tear us away from God. I know that getting baptized is the right thing to do because I feel it in my heart that it is.

Maddison M

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Maddison M

My relationship with God has been on and off. Like most of my relationships, none of them have been strong. Until I got sent to Trinity Teen Solutions. My little sister Hermione had a friend that went to church and she invited us and so we went. I never really listened to what people were saying about God. He has helped me get through everything. With God in my life, I've accomplished more than I ever expected. I and my family can work things out, I've gotten in with a better friend group, I'm off drugs, and now my grades have gone up, without him I would be in jail. "May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit." -Romans 15:13

Sara Mason-Peña

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Sara Mason-Peña

Before I trusted in Jesus my life was a mess. I had been married for less than a year and felt like we were already heading for a divorce. I had 2 pre-teens from a previous relationship and I felt like I had no control over them or my life. My sister in law introduced me to a lady from our previous church who she felt could help me with the kids. We talked about the kids for 5 minutes and the other 2 1/2 hours was about me and my relationship with Jesus. That night at Starbucks I asked God to forgive my sins and gave my life to Christ. My husband and I continued going to church on a regular basis and even attended a Marriage Class at our previous church. I have been wanting to get baptized for years but never felt quite ready. My husband I have been coming to Christ Community for a little over a year and both felt it was time to make this commitment. We joined a Small Community Group so we can really get to know God's word and understand it. I feel closer to god and know the more I get to know him the closer I will be.

Amber McCormick

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Amber McCormick

For as long as I can remember I've had strong faith in God. I've grown up knowing God was our Rock. Growing up my mom was a single parent of 2 and we had it rough but she did all she could for us. The one thing we always knew was the big guy upstairs would somehow always make things ok. A lot of bad things happened throughout life and I was able to keep a decent outlook on life because of my faith. I hadn't gone to church since I was a very young child though. Once I moved here and was invited to Christ Community Church by my daughter's friend's parents and we came and loved it. I thanked God for blessing me with my son and giving me the strength to move here and change my way of life for the better.  I couldn't thank him enough for giving me a second chance at life. Then life got hectic and we stopped attending church. 3 yrs later we returned to services and I felt after all these years of God being such a huge part of my life that it was time I show everyone my commitment. I surrendered myself to God and am fully Trusting in God's wisdom and love for me and my family. "He fed them according to Integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness hands". (Psalm 78:72)

William McCormick

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William McCormick

Our Lord Jesus Christ has always been in my life. However, it wasn't until a month ago that I gave God the wheel and let him drive.

One of my daughters, Hermione’s friend’s dad, Mike Naugle invited my family to attend Sunday service with him and his wife Andrea back in 2012 so we did. We loved the church, but life got in the way of us continuing to attend after about a year. After not going to church for about four years or so my wife and I started going back to Christ Community Church.

I have been extremely driven by God and Jesus Christ since. I ask for forgiveness every single day. I am not afraid to talk about God or Jesus like I had been before I want all people to find them. My house was in disarray. Now that I let him take the wheel and let him have full control of my life, it has gotten better for everyone under my roof. “My God shall supply all your needs According to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

Abby N

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Abby N

My whole life I have been attending Christ Community Church. My parents always dragged me to attend and I never argued against it, but at the same time I rarely wanted to go. Although I believed the story of Christ and that the Bible was true I never had a personal relationship with God. It was not until I began going to the Elgin Housegroup, where I met my best friends Grace Greenwell and Kaitlyn Weiss, that I started to develop my faith. My friends, family, and Mosaic experiences were what really pushed me to pursue my walk with Christ and I have never had a closer group of supporters. Since I have decided to become a true Christian, I have grown closer to my family and God. I will continue to have a relationship with God and, hopefully, someday help more people my age find His love like the way my friends and family did for me. As John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” These words have helped me to see through the darkness that surrounds me and look to the Lord in every trial.

Ana N

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Ana N

I have been attending church for my whole life so I started learning about God at an early age. I didn’t fully understand what a true relationship with God was and what Jesus did for me until I grew a bit older. My relationship with Jesus really grew when I was in 4th grade and my family was hosting the church high school house group. At house group, I listened in sometimes and hung out with the older kids. When they were learning and asking a lot of questions I learned a lot so I started going down there more and started learning more and more about God. One night after house group I told my mom how important God was to me and I wanted to show everyone how important he was to me and began to ask about getting baptized. I began to really think about what Jesus did on the cross and that he gave his life for us and that my sins could be forgiven. I understand everything now so I’m ready to get baptized and give my life to my one and only God.I also want to thank my Mom, Dad and one of my best friends who just started coming to church with me, Olivia. I want to thank my other friends who will help me live out my faith.

Ephraim N

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Ephraim N

I grew up in Africa and my grandparents took me to church and a religious school. I would hear about Christ and Mother Mary but at that time I did not understand what it all meant. Later, I got the opportunity to move to the States with my parents. We went to a Christian church and I began to hear about God and understand the Word more. Christ opened my eyes to his news and I began to understand what it meant to give my life up to him. As I read the Bible with my Church and family, I came to see that God has a plan and will for me, and to fulfill it, I need to give my life up to him by getting baptized.

Makena N

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Makena N

Before I trusted in Jesus I went to church, but didn’t actually participate. I used to think that life was just the way it was because of what humans do and how they act. I never considered what Jesus thought about me. I only looked at what my friends and family thought.

As I got older and had more knowledge, I began to recognize the problems people around the world had been facing. My parents started encouraging me to pray.

When I started coming to Christ Community Church my family and I started talking about how what we learned had to do with our lives. This helped me a lot on what I said, did, spoke, and thought. I also learned about the Bible and how Jesus' death saved us as sinners.

Now that I know mercy and I have faith in Jesus, I go to genesis and have a whole bunch of fun. I pray to God every day, and I have formed a thing where me and my family get together every week and talk about what we’ve learned in church. We pray together and we read the Bible; it’s very enjoyable.

Romans 10:9 says, if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is lord and believe in your heart that God saved him from the dead, you will be saved.” Another good verse in the Bible is Psalms 9:10, it says: "those who know your name trust in you, for you , LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." This is a good verse because this is true and because if I wasn’t a Christian and my friend told me this I probably wouldn’t hesitate to follow him

Emily Neuman

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Emily Neuman

I have grown up in a caring Christian household and have attended Christ Community Church since I was around four years old. Before I accepted Jesus I only went to church because my parents would bring me. I took nothing seriously, only going through the motions without meaningful action. At ten years old, I started asking questions about Christianity and exactly what that meant for me, eventually realizing that I truly wanted Jesus to be my savior. I decided to surrender my life to him with the help of my mother. Since then, I have been through plenty of rough patches and sad stages in life, but I have clung to my faith, remembering Psalm 32:7, “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance,” reminding me that the Lord keeps his promises and will keep me safe. I am now nineteen and, after so many years dragging my feet, I know it is my turn to prove my promise of dedication to him by getting baptized. I continue to grow in my faith everyday by reading the Bible and volunteering as an EPIC leader for my eighth year now.

Chloe P

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Chloe P

Before I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior, I never new how to handle situations or how to react, and I cared too much about what people thought of me. Then as I grew older my parents were more involved with the church, and started to have a closer relationship with God, and would always share their thoughts about the Lord with the whole family. One story my Dad always shares is how his dad never stopped believing, even though he was faced with many challenges throughout his life. That always made me think about how I want to be the kind of person who puts all their trust in God knowing that he’ll help along the way. The day that I prayed the prayer of salvation, and stood up in church was the day Sadie Robertson spoke. Since then, and even before that I’ve always kept my prayers in a journal, read the Bible, and read books about the word of God. I’ve also been putting my trust in God knowing that things happen for a reason, and he is always there for me whenever I’m faced with obstacles. He has also kept me more positive, and I don’t care what people think of me much anymore.

Lea P

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Lea P

Although I was raised in a Christian based home and baptized when I was a baby, I want to make the choice of making my faith public by being baptized today. I grew up in a Christian-based home and went to a private Christian school until switching over to public school in the 3rd grade. It was in 4th grade that I accepted Christ into my life, knowing that he is my Savior. After going to Awana that night, in 4th grade, I realized that I wanted to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. I prayed the pray with the help of my mom that night. Now having that relationship with Jesus, I became more involved with the church. I have been teaching Sunday school, Kindergarten, for the past 3 years, being involved in the kids lives to teach them about how to become more like Jesus.

Chris Papanicholas

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Chris Papanicholas

I was baptized as an infant and grew up attending another church in Westchester. My belief and faith in Christ has always been a part of my life and upbringing. But my faith began to grow stronger every year after marrying my wife, Linda. We were married in 1991. We baptized our four children when they were infants. We also sent them to Faith Christian School in Geneva, which is where we met Eric Rojas who asked us to visit Christ Community Church. We started attending CCC seven years ago where I began to study and learn more truths in the Bible, joined a men’s group, and picked up Pastor Nicodem’s Prayer Coach. I have also attended a few men’s retreats with Willow Creek Church where I have had the opportunity to get to know Pastor Tim VandenBos. Through my friendship and conversations with Tim, and Eric, I have accepted and know Jesus as my Savior and have surrendered my life to him. I have also learned that it is obedience to God that made me realize that I needed to make it public and go before my family, friends and Christ followers at CCC to be baptized a second time. 

Linda Papanicholas

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Linda Papanicholas

I was raised in a Christian home where faith, prayer and service were modeled to me. My family was active at a church in Wheaton. It was there that I was baptized as an infant, attended and taught Sunday school, completed 8th grade Confirmation and was active in the Jr. and Sr. High Youth Groups. It was during my 8th grade Confirmation Retreat when I realized I was still a sinner, despite my attendance at church, my good works, and my efforts to be a good person. I was sitting on the throne of my life, relying on myself. It was on this Retreat when I accepted Christ as my personal Savior and was baptized again with a sprinkling of water. After accepting Christ, I was blessed in high school to have friends that were strong Christians that encouraged me with my faith and that continued through my years at Baylor. Since coming to Christ Community Church, my understanding of the word has grown and God has placed the desire on my heart to be baptized like Jesus. The Jordan River is my first choice, but… Many verses have given me strength and hope through the years, but one of my favorites is still “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph 2:8-9.

Carlos Peña

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Carlos Peña

As a young boy, my mother always taught me about God and tried to put Christ in my life. I always felt his presence, but as I got older I started growing apart from the Lord. I did a lot of things I wasn't proud of and living a sinful life.

After I met my wife, she had been away from Christ and church as I was for years. We got back to church thanks to my sister Ana who invited us to Christ Community Church (formerly Lamplighter). We started going to regularly, joined a marriage class and had the Pastor Paul marry us years later. After going to church for a while, it felt so right but still knew I was missing something. Pastor Paul would give people a chance to surrender their life to Christ and I would always want to but would get discouraged for whatever reason. One of the Sunday's after going to church in 2014, I just felt so secure and at peace and knew it was time. So I stood up and gave my life fully to Christ and been with him since.

Being a Christ follower now I learned to forgive all, including my father who wasn't around growing up. Also to trust in the Lord and let him take control in my life. That's why my wife and I decided to get Baptized together and show the world that we're in his hands now!

Kevin Pribilsky

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Kevin Pribilsky

I decided to follow Jesus over 30 years ago in my mid twenties when I realized the futility and emptiness of leaving exclusively for myself and my own personal satisfaction and comfort.

Following the example of my future wife and her family, I saw that living a life according to God’s will and biblical principles was what I wanted for myself. After hearing a convicting message by pastor Charles Swindoll, I confessed my sins and asked Jesus into my life.

My faith journey ever since has not been without its twists and turns. A few years ago, after some personal failings and professional setbacks, I stripped my relationship with God “down to the studs” and asked Him to rebuild it - this time without trying to please Him and others, but in the assurance that God loves me, He keeps his promises, and is the “lifter of my head” (Psalm 3:3). All of this has culminated in a much richer journey of faith, rooted in gratitude for Christ’s sacrifice rather than my struggling to be perfect. I was baptized as an infant, but now feel led to take this important, public step in my growth as a follower of Jesus.

Connor R

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Connor R

Before I decided to become a follower of Jesus, I woke up I was complaining that I didn't want to go to church saying, “How about pastor pillow?”

This carried on until 5th grade where I started to actively listen and wonder about God. The bible told me how God loved us and how he cared for us and sent his one and only son to die for us on the cross and save us from sin. Hearing about sin made me think of how sin corrupts my life and how God can fix that. I decided that even if I did a lot of good things sin would still be there. Eph 2:8-9 says: “For it is by grace you are saved, through faith and this is not from yourself, it is a gift of God - not by works.” And Rom 6:23 says: “For the wages of sin is death, but the Gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” I prayed for God’s forgiveness through His gift in Jesus Christ and have decided to make Him Lord in my life. In the beginning of 6th grade I decided to devote my life to Christ and show this commitment by being baptized.

Giving my life to Christ has significantly changed my life. I am more motivated to go to church and hear about the gospel. I have also started to pray more often, during dinner, at night, and in times of need. Recently in my small group at genesis we went to “feed my starving children”, where we gave our time to help the hungry. My life feels safer knowing that I am a follower of Jesus and I'm safe with him. My faith has grown tremendously during Genesis and church and I look forward to growing more in the years to come.

Faith R

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Faith R

I have been going to church my entire life. When I was young I accepted Christ n KidsWorld. I have heard the Pastor’s talk about baptism for many years. Watching my sister and my brother get baptized and hearing my parents talk to them about it, is when I fully understood it. I feel it is the next step in my life. My dad had me write 5 reasons why I should get baptized. Here they are.  1. I feel like it is the next step in my life. 2. I want to give my entire life to Christ. 3. I feel that I am old enough to get baptized. 4. God is calling me to get baptized. 5. Getting baptized means that I get to be part of God's family. I am so excited today to get baptized. I have been waiting a long time for this. My favorite Verse is Phil 4:13. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Nathanael R

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Nathanael R

I have met many people who I believed to be or they said they were atheist in school. I believed that Jesus was a moral teacher from history. My family began bringing me to Christ Community Church and I began to learn more about Jesus. I went to the 50% off sale in the Resource book store and purchased a copy of Nabeel Qureshi’s book, “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus”. Through these things I began to see my need for Jesus and I began to disdain my selfish and angry life philosophy.

My decision to follow Jesus was gradual. I had a lot to think about, and had questions. I started digging deeper; reading more books. With the help and teachings of Christ Community Church, Nabeel, and my parents I made the decision to give my life to Jesus. I can’t remember an exact moment, but after I finished Nabeel’s, book I knew.

My thoughts focus more on God now and faith. I never tried to be a bad person before I knew God, but I feel less selfish now, and try to align myself more with God’s will. I try to think with less anger and more love, as Jesus teaches.

Olivia R

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Olivia R

My name is Olivia. I am 10 years old. All my life I have known God and have gone to Christ Community Church. Recently, my mom had to have surgery. When she first said that she had to have surgery I was very emotional. I was so sad, angry that God had not healed her, and I was also very very scared. After surgery we went to visit her in the hospital. I couldn’t keep all the tears in! But, after I realized “WOW what an awesome God!” I want to be baptized because I want everyone to know I love Jesus and he died so that I could live one day with Him!!!

Jonathan Rupp

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Jonathan Rupp

I grew up in a Christian family. My family went to church every Sunday. I heard the salvation message many times and the concept of hell scared me sufficiently to compel me to "accept Jesus into my heart" many times. I never changed and there was never any impact in my life. It was not until my second year of college that I realized my pursuits in life left me empty with no happiness. I was sitting in a chapel service listening to an evangelist speak and it was then that I realized I needed God to fill the emptiness in my life and I truly believed in my heart that Jesus is God's son. I was changed forever. Since then I've grown and struggled, a lot. Recently God has worked in me and I've grown in Him. I want to continue that growth by following Jesus' example and being baptized.

Jaxon S

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Jaxon S

My name is Jaxon and I am 8 years old. I have grown up in a Christian family and have gone to church all my life. My dad was even a pastor at one point. Even though I have learned a lot about Jesus, I had never become a Christian.

So on February 10, 2015, I asked my dad some questions about becoming a Christian. He shared some verses with me and asked if I wanted to give my life to Christ. I said yes. So my dad prayed with me and that night I became a follower of Christ!

From that day forward, everything in my life had changed. God is now my Lord and Savior. He forgave my sins and gave me eternal life. I love him and he loves me.

I put off getting baptized for a little while now. I’ve had this fear of water. But now I’m ready and I want the whole world to know I’m a follower of Christ.

Dennis Stanhoff

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Dennis Stanhoff

Before I came to know Jesus, I had this empty feeling inside which I couldn’t explain. I thought I was happy, I had a great job, my family vacationed often, we lived an above average life. I didn’t have a need for things. But deep down I was missing something.

Then my wife introduced me to Christ Community Church. At first, I was hesitant to go because I had a different religion. But something fantastic happened the first time I stepped into the church. It was as if the Pastor was talking to me while delivering the message. Like God meant for me to be there that specific day. My heart immediately filled with comfort and joy. I knew immediately I found a home, a place I belonged. Two weeks later I confessed and asked Jesus to forgive my sins and take control of my life. I will never forget that service.

Now that I have surrendered my life and soul to Jesus my life has been changing significantly. I have been attending church regularly, I listen to the Bible every day, I volunteer at CCC, and I’m involved with the Kids Hope Program. “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6

Chris Sutton

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Chris Sutton

Ever since I was young, if someone would have asked, “Are you a Christian?” I would have said yes. When I was around 9 or 10, I was at summer camp and prayed “the prayer”. I went to church every Sunday, attended Youth Group on Wednesdays and took part in mission trips but, looking back, that didn’t make me a Christian. As I got older, my friends, my social life and the things of this world took a large part of my attention and God took a back seat. I had a belief in God as a historical figure but no works or action behind it. I don’t think I truly put my trust in God. I lived for this world and for the short term.

Growing up in a Christian home, I always felt it was important to attend church even though I wasn’t at the time. My wife and I decided to start putting an importance on finding a church home and raise our kids in the church. After some searching (and an invitation) we found a church we liked and were invited to join a small group. I had no idea what a small group was really about but I figured I’d give it a shot. This was the first time in my life that I started reading my Bible and praying consistently. By no coincidence this is also the first time I can say I 100% put my trust in God. I really started to lean in and ask a lot of questions. I can also say I was blessed to be surrounded mature Christians leading my small group and by a brother that I could ask “Bible” questions without feeling judged. Over time, God has kept working in my life and I have surrendered myself to Him. After surrendering to Christ I’ve really seen great change in my life. I’ve started tithing consistently for the first time, I’ve learned to be much more generous with those around me with my time and monetary possessions. I’ve learned to become bolder with my faith and sharing it with those around me. Matthew 6:26 has taught me not to hold my things too tightly and trust in God to provide. I’ve also noticed that as I’ve become more faithful to Him, he has entrusted me with the opportunity to impact lives and share His word with those around me in my daily life.

Emily Sutton

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Emily Sutton

When I look at the world around me and all the beauty and complexity it entails, it is impossible for me to explain it in any other way than a magnificent creation of God.

I have always believed in God, and as a child I learned about Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us, and I believed that His sacrifice was made to save us from our sin. Although I had this knowledge, my relationship and walk with God was from afar.

I was not deeply invested in God and did not make Him a focus of my daily living. I was self-reliant and muscled my way through life’s challenges. I was more lonely and anxious than I realized.

Even though I had close relationships with friends and family, something very important was missing. When my husband, Chris, and I began attending church, I was looking forward to learning more about being a Christian, making new friendships, and getting our children involved in Sunday school. But, once we began attending, I realized that I was gaining something much more and much deeper than I ever expected. I was building a meaningful and loving relationship with God. I began finding myself thinking about God and Jesus on a regular basis. I started praying for God to give me wisdom and guidance rather than trying to solve all of life’s problems by myself. And, I now find myself being more thankful and grateful than I have ever been before. I am content and at peace with my life, knowing that God has carefully lead me to where I am, and that He has blessed me in so many ways. Knowing that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for me, fills me with so much emotion and gratitude. I am so thankful that God has drawn me near to Him, and that my relationship with Him has grown so much over the years. I pray that God will use my life, including my baptism, to inspire others to deepen their relationship and commitment to God and to experience the joy and love this will bring them.

Alyssa T

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Alyssa T

I grew up in a Christian family, knowing God and his love. I got baptized as a baby, and was surrounded with my loving family and the support the church gave me. As I got older, and my parents divorced, I started to drift away from God and I focused more on activities like a good social status and raising myself up rather than others and most importantly, God.

About three years ago, Sara Ahrenholz invited me to Genesis where I realized I hadn't been thinking about God. I wasn’t putting him first. With the help of my small group I began to have a relationship with God. Sara continues to be an instrumental part in my life as an amazing friend and fellow Christ follower. I surrendered my life to Christ Genesis when I realized that my focus was not in the right place and that I wanted to put my focus on God and glorifying him.

Now, as a sophomore in high school, Genesis, House-group, and my family have taught me so incredibly much. Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I have learned not only that God is always with me, loving and cheering me on, but I have also learned the importance of loving compassionately and giving my time to others. I have nothing to fear because He is with me. I feel that getting baptized now and making the conscious decision to have this covenant with God publicly would be a great next-step in my faith journey.

Hope T

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Hope T

My name is Hope and I'm 9 years old. I'm blessed to have a Christian family by my side. One day my family and I came out from the movies and I asked my brother “How do I accept Jesus?” He told me a special prayer that I then prayed. I believe Jesus died on the cross and rose on the third day. He died for our sins. I'm thankful that I go to a Christian school and learn more about Jesus every day.

Noah T

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Noah T

I was born in a Christian home, and my parents are both believers. I have attended a Christian school, and have been surrounded by the church my whole life. I have always believed in God, but when I got to the age where I could think for myself, I realized that to be a full Christian, I needed to take the next step, which meant to believe in Jesus and confess my sins to him. So, when I was at school and my teacher was telling us about confessing sins, I made the choice to believe in Jesus and confess my sins. Although my teacher was telling us we should confess our sins, it was my personal choice to believe in Him. Since receiving Jesus, I feel like whenever there's a problem, I can go to him and he'll be there to for me. This is my story of how I came to Christ.

Elijah V

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Elijah V

As far back as I can remember, I have been learning about Jesus. Although I have not been in the same church the entire time, I still grew up having faith in Jesus. Joining Genesis at Christ Community Church has helped me to continue learning about Jesus.

The people who supported me the most in my Christian faith were and still are, my grandparents and my mother. They showed me how to live as Jesus would want me to and how to pray. My mother bought me a Bible when my children’s Bible fell apart and she has had me listening to Christian music all my life. At every family gathering my grandparents took time to pray and would even ask me to pray. On Sunday, October 15, 2017, after meeting with my grandfather and my mother about the topic of baptism, I chose to give my life to Christ now and forever. To me, this means that I choose to do things the way that Jesus would want me to.

I feel that I have always had a relationship with Jesus but now I understand that I have officially joined God’s family. I have forgiveness for my sins and I will look to God for His will in my life. I am promised the gift of eternal life with Him and I will live to grow God’s family by sharing my story.

Kate V

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Kate V

Before I decided to follow Christ, my life wasn’t so great. I was rude and I didn’t see a need for God in my life. But then I moved to St. Charles. My parents took me to church and after a few Sundays, I began to enjoy it. I went to Camp Commotion and Awana and some other church activities. Then one day in 4th grade I put my faith and trust in Jesus. I was at Camp Commotion and my leader and I sat down to read the God's Good News book and said a little prayer. John 3:16 says…”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, for whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Now that I’m a Christ follower I go to Genesis every Wednesday and church every Sunday, and it is awesome.

Aiden W

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Aiden W

I was raised in a Christian home and have attended Christ Community Church all my life. I also attended a Christian school until the third grade. Through Kids World and HCA, I have learned about God’s love and how he died for my sins. I made my decision to follow Jesus during chapel in the 2nd grade. I realized my need for Jesus and prayed for him to forgive my sins and guide me through my life. Through my 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade, I never really paid attention to what the pastors said and I started to drift away from God. I preferred video games and hanging out with my friends more than thinking of God. I realized that I was getting farther from God and needed him in my life. I went to my parents for help, they bought me a book called “Case for Christ” that helped me realize that there was a God and that he was the most important person in my life. Since that realization, I have paid more attention to the Pastors and God, and have closed that gap between me and God. I can say that I have changed spiritually and am now taking a big step to show my faith publically.

Ashaley W

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Ashaley W

I’ve grown up in a christian home my whole life and have always attended church and loved and known Jesus for as long as I can remember. Faith was always something that was just a part of our daily routines and I never really thought too much of it. I didn’t feel connected to our previous church and I didn’t truly understand what it meant to have a relationship with God.

Our family began looking for a new church almost two years ago and we began regularly attending Christ Community Church. Through the services I felt spoken to by God to make a change about my relationship with Him and to grow closer. After watching a few baptism services I realized that’s what I wanted to do to further my relationship. I remember being baptized when I was 6 and feeling like that was something everyone just did and I had to do it but now I know it’s something I want and God wants for me too. Since then I have begun volunteering for epic and it has even furthered my love for the Lord.

Looking back at all the things that have helped lead me to this decision it is amazing to see how God has worked through both my friends and family to lead me here. It’s amazing to see all the people God has used and spoken through to help strengthen my relationship with Him. I am so thankful for my choice to follow the Lord and I look forward to all the years to come with Him as my guide.

Riley W

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Riley W

I am being raised in a Christian home, and have attended Christ Community Church all my life. There are many ways I’ve been taught about God throughout my life, Awana, school when I was younger, Genesis, SBR, and of course, my amazing family. But it wasn’t until second grade that I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I was homeschooled at the time, and we had a Bible time every day. One day, my Mom and I were on the porch swing, looking through the “God’s Good News” booklet, and that’s when I decided to accept Jesus as my Savior. My Mom and I prayed together, and since then God has been helping me be brave and confident. I relate to the song “You Make me Brave” which says, “I have heard You calling my name I have heard the song of love that You sing So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore Into Your grace…No fear can hinder now the love that made a way…You make me brave.” And I look forward to living my life boldly for Jesus and knowing I always have God to help me be brave.

Steven W

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Steven W

My name is Steven and I’m 11 years old. I have been following Jesus for as long as I can remember. My family has always encouraged me to go to church and to read my bible. I’ve always really enjoyed hearing all the Bible stories about God and his love for us. I’ve been hearing some messages recently at Kids World about baptism and I felt God calling me to be baptized. I believe that Jesus is my Savior and I’m thankful for all he has done for me.

Rebecca Wilson

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Rebecca Wilson

From birth through my mid-20's, as far as I knew, my "good deeds" were my ticket to heaven. My relationship with God was distant. There was no personal connection with Him. I felt empty and searched for superficial ways to fill that void. Everything changed over the course of several conversations with my husband, Adam and his family. They taught me that through God's grace, His one and only Son was sent to die on the cross as a payment for my sins. Through Jesus' mighty love for us and great sacrifice, I am saved.  

God's grace spoke to me through several family conversations, church attendance, and scripture readings. In the Spring of 2016, I decided to surrender my life to Christ. I am committed to live my life honoring, praising, and pleasing the Lord. Turning to Him for guidance, I rest in knowing that He has a plan for me. God has blessed me with a joy, peace and fullness I never thought was possible. I continue to grow in my faith through prayer, committed church attendance and consistent time in God’s word. I am excited to obey Jesus' command to go public with my faith conversion and be baptized.   

Streamwood-Bartlett

Justin Campbell

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Justin Campbell

Before I fully put my trust and faith in Christ, I was lost and I worried more about what people thought and how they looked at me. Through the love, care, and investment of the Tanzillo family in my life I got to a point of realizing I needed to accept Christ.

On August 14, 2017, at 2:15 in the afternoon, I confessed all my wrongs and asked for Christ to forgive me and to help lead my life down the road he wants me on.

Since I began trusting and following Christ, my life has been a little brighter every single day. I've joined a great men's group who help me along the way.

Romans 8:24-28 has said a lot to me since I found Christ:

"For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all.Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Julie Jacbson

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Julie Jacbson

Before trusting in Jesus, I have been weighted down with resentment, shame, guilt, quick to anger/frustration a lot of the traits Jesus does not want us to carry.

One day, I watched ten minutes of Joyce Meyer's Enjoying Everyday Life on TV.  I started watching her every morning, every day from there on out. Watching these episodes, I would think of my daughter Shelby and how strong her faith has been since she gave her life to Christ.  I remember when she and Justin started looking for their own place to live and they found a place and moved their things in the house.

However the Holy Spirit was working fiercely in Shelby’s heart and was showing her that she and Justin should be married before living together in this new place. When she told me about this and how much it was affecting her,  I remember being in so much awe of her and how powerful that was to me that my daughter is so strong in her faith, and beliefs, and what she wants to stand for. I knew that someday I wanted to be more like her.

When I saw Joyce Meyer had a conference coming up in Indianapolis in October 2017, I asked Shelby if she would go with me. We made it a  girls outing. I knew that this is where I wanted to be born again; it seemed fitting somehow--especially since Shelby was with me and could share that experience with me. She was a big part of leading me here to Jesus and to this wonderful Church.

Since giving my life to Christ on October 14, I can already see God’s handiwork. It has been so exhilarating being more conscious of His presence.  I’m so excited to see Jesus.

Dakota L

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Dakota L

My name is Dakota Leathers. Three to four years ago my parents got divorced. Since then we have moved to three different places. A lot of other things happened in my life during that time too. Because of the moves my grades were going down each school year, and I struggled to get them up.   

After a while I developed depression. While I was in depression I convinced myself that God had abandoned me. Last year though God showed me that he had not abandoned me and that he loved me.   

My grades started to get better, life situations finally got better, and I started to listen to the messages at church, and I started reading the bible.  

Two months later I decided to give my life to Christ. I am getting baptized today because God has changed me.

Carol Leiprich

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Carol Leiprich

When I was about 8 or 9 I lived with my grandparents and it was at that time I recognized Jesus as the Son of God.

My  grandfather Ross took my sister Reggie and I every  to church every Wednesday, for Sunday school, and also for worship services on Sunday morning and evening. It was at some point during this time that I learned about God and how Jesus died for our sins.

When I came  back to Chicago  to  live with  parents I  was  around  11. Reggie and I attended  many different  churches and each one gave us something to think  about the faith on top of the fact that Jesus was my Savior.

Since then I have prayed every night thanking God for sending Jesus his son to forgive my sins. I thank my Jesus, my Savior, for paying the full penalty my sins deserved so we can have  the  promise of life after death in the Kingdom of Heaven with God and all my loved ones. I am very grateful for all the spiritual blessings I have in Christ.

I have never been baptized and God has pressed on me the importance of this step, so today I am being baptized to publicly show that I am a Christian and a daughter of Christ.

Millie M

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Millie M

Before I put my trust in Jesus, I was very rude and disrespectful. I thought that since my Mom and Dad where Christians, that automatically made me one.

On Christmas Eve 2013 at Harvest Bible Chapel I felt led to pray and give my life for Christ. I prayed the salvation prayer with one of their pastors.

Since then my life has been changed. I’m not as rude and I’ve started reading the Bible more and more. I enjoy being a helper at church and at home.

Julie Terracina

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Julie Terracina

I grew up in a Christian family, attending church every Sunday; but by the time I went to college, I felt that I wasn’t getting anything out of it and stopped going. I thought I could be a good person, live my life, and not think too much about God.

As I got older and faced some personal challenges, I found myself instinctively reaching out to God in prayer and realizing that I need His help; I couldn’t do everything on my own.  Fortunately, He had already placed some strong believers in my life; most importantly, my boyfriend Tim.

Tim suggested I go with him to Christ Community and has encouraged me in my walk with Christ.  Now I look forward to going to church every Sunday, and have learned so much; most importantly from Ephesians 2:8-9:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

It humbles me to recognize what Christ’s sacrifice has done for me, and I am striving to live a God-centered life and grow in faith.  My experiences on a GO Team trip to Haiti in 2015 and being part of a Community Group have inspired me to want to publicly affirm that I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

Melvin Vellenga

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Melvin Vellenga

I was baptized as an infant and have always had a belief in God. However, it was not until I had to have some major surgery on my lungs that I decided to surrender my life to Jesus and to commit my life to being more devoted to him.

I have had a better outlook on life since and have become a much more generous person and really enjoy praying to God.

I have waited awhile to get baptized because I cannot be submerged under water due to health reasons. Once I found out that I could still be baptized just by a slightly different method, I am eager to show that I’m with Christ and that he is with me.