HNAZ Testimonies

Linda Gates

 Death, Grief, and Hope | Ash Wednesday | 2.14.2024

"My name is Linda Gates.  My husband Troy & I have been attending HNAZ for almost 30 years.  And I am blessed to have been raised in a big Christian family, a family of 7 kids.  I have 6 older brothers, and I’m the baby girl.  

3 years ago, one of my brothers, Denny, started experiencing numbness in his feet.  It was quite severe.  Shooting pains going up his leg.  He quickly lost of use of his right foot.  And so all the testing and research began.  They quickly thought it was MS.  But that got ruled out and they started thinking it might be Lime Disease.  For a year, it was mystery.  No answers, only worsening symptoms.  And no way for treatments, when you don’t have a diagnosis. As time progressed so did his symptoms, He lost the use of his right leg and was then walking with a cane.  He quickly moved to a walker and when both legs were without strength he was wheel chair bound.  He lost the ability to drive a car. More testing was done and this time they noticed that his brain stem was shrinking, and the marking of cross was visible.  This is the sign for MSA.  Multiple Systems Atrophy.  A disease when the brain stem start shrinking, the brain is trying to send messages to the different systems in the body, but the nerves are mis-firing and the body parts don’t receive the messages.  So the systems & body parts furthest away from the brain start shutting down first and slowly progress upwards.  

By year 2 of his diagnosis, he was on a catheter.  His emotional systems were out of control.  He had the constant hick ups.  He would laugh hysterically or cry uncontrollably, and it would last for more than 30 seconds, other times up to 2 minutes.  He was so embarrassed by it and he couldn’t stop them, so he no longer wanted to be in public.. Then he lost controls of his arms and his hands.  He could no longer write.  Or hold a phone.  Or control the TV remote.  Breathing began being more difficult.  Speech was hard.  He was murmuring.  Communication was limited and we just tried to read his lips. His physical life has been taken from him.  No mobility.  No body functions left.  No ability to speak.  Lifeless, yet still alive.  And in excruciating pain.  More than the morphine would comfort.  We would move him each day from bed to chair, and then chair back to bed.  We have been lamenting “how long O Lord” will he continue to suffer in this earthly body.  We pray, take him home sweet Jesus.  But God remains silent. I would come home after a day of sitting with him & caring for him and just weep.  The “Every Moment Holy” prayer laments on grief became my words, when I had none of my own.  

“You know, O Lord, how much a heart can take –
The limits of our love, the limits of our strength,
You know the toll this long-term caring for another
exacts from body, mind and soul.

O my soul, look at this suffering one.
Can you begin to see him as he will be one day?
Yes, there is weeping here, and
Yes, there will be a goodbye.
And then he will be hidden
For a time, with Christ, in God.

Yes, this time is hard.
Take heart.
It is only for a time.
So let me serve this loved one now,
In the light of the glory of who they will be
When all these losses we lament
Are recompensed ten million times.

We’re no different than others, even Mary and Martha in the Bible cried out to Jesus, “If only” you had been here, our brother would not have died.  If you read the full story in John 11 about their brother Lazarus, you’ll know they sent the message to Jesus earlier that Lazarus was sick.  But Jesus didn’t come right away, he waited.  I don’t know where this story finds you, but maybe you can relate, you know, when you’re in a desperate situation, crying out to God, only to hear silence.  How do we reconcile the knowledge in our heads with the emotions in our hearts when it seems Jesus is late or delayed?

But this is what I know …God has a purpose for what we perceive as delays.  Heavenly delays are opportunities for God to reveal something about Himself that’ll deepen and stretch our faith and dependence on Him.  These are sanctifying moments that build our character and patience while we wait.  It’s in the delays that God teaches us to trust His loving heart when it’s difficult to trace His sovereign hand.  And when Jesus doesn’t answer our prayers in the way we want, oh trust Him church, because He’s doing something greater than what we could even comprehend through our earthly lens.  It’s in these moments, we must live by faith and not by sight.  YET … I will praise you!  

At the 3 year mark of Denny’s diagnosis, he lost the ability to swallow.  No food or water … just days waiting for his body to shut down.  I would sit there and hold his hand, and count his breaths, 1, 2, 3 ….. and then the long pause.  He was close to saying good-bye to this earthly body, for his healing in heaven was near.  3 weeks ago, I awoke to the text that Denny was with Jesus. No more pain, no more suffering, no more embarrassment. Only joy, only peace, union with the Father and the Son.

Denny had 3 years to prepare for the end of earthly life.  And he did so wisely.  He wrote a good-bye letter to everyone with his final remarks.  He even included a hidden puzzle for us to search and find the message … oh I scoured the letter until I solved the puzzle.  The message was “It is well, with my soul.” He even, through the assistance of a friend, wrote final letters to 16 family members, sharing his love for us.  He modeled Christ in loving others well.  And he has challenged me to do better.

It’s been 3 years of struggling.  3 years of suffering.  3 years of grief. But to sit with God in the hardship.  To wrestle with Him in the not understanding.  That’s exactly where He wants us.  I’ve never felt him more close.  We never want to experience pain.  We never want to endure hardship. We may be facing a delay, distraction or even devastation for a season.  But it’s not a final destination. Resurrection is coming.  He said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”  

As Christians, we have hope!
Our hope is not in an event (in resurrection)
Our hope is a person … and His name is Jesus!!"

Donna Lahr

Nothing is Impossible with God | Ash Wednesday |  2.14.2024

"My name is Donna Bailey Lahr. I accepted the Lord as my savior at a youth meeting in my church when I was about 12. My family and I have been members of HNAZ since the late 1980’s.  God led me from my home in Marshfield, Vermont to Wilmore, Kentucky to attend college in 1972, where I met my husband Steve Bailey at Asbury College. Our journey ultimately led us to Huntington.

On Monday, September 28, 1998, my husband Steve Bailey died suddenly after a brief illness.  That night, in my home, I remember sitting in our kitchen just listening.  I could hear the group of my friends in the breakfast nook. I could see a group of one daughter’s friends in the living room.  In the other direction I could see my other daughter sitting in the living room with her friends. Everyone there was just talking, sharing and being close. Steve’s mentor arrived from Lafayette at some point. During the evening, God led him to share Jeremiah 29:11; “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” At this moment I felt God’s still small voice telling me He was here.  His presence was felt in every room.

I suddenly had all the financial responsibility on my shoulders. My minimum wage job provided our health insurance and grocery money. Steve owned his own business. Our financial situation was complicated, to say the least. I was numb. My mind couldn’t process all this and knowing I had 2 daughters to provide comfort and raise alone...some of you know my favorite some is “RATTLE”.  Truthfully it is become my life theme song. The lyric that fills me with joy every time: “Since when has impossible ever stopped YOU”. God provided for me during this time.  He took impossible and made it possible.

There was no great influx of money. What God provided was worth far more. God gave me wisdom. He brought men and women into our lives who helped discern next steps. When I couldn’t provide emotional help for my daughters in their grief, God provided Godly women to mentor my girls. God brought a man to buy Steves business. God was with me every step providing what I needed when I needed it. One night as I finished paying bills, I just sat back in my chair in awe.  I called my girls to come to my desk.   I showed them the balance in the checkbook.  They knew times were tough but that we were making it. I told them to see how God was providing. I told them all our bills were paid and that we had a little extra.  I told them I had been and would always continue to tithe to the Lord because everything we have is His.

Gods message in Jeremiah 29:11 has been fulfilled. It took 3 years to resolve all the financial insecurity.  God provided another job for me that gave me more financial security. This was the HOPE from Jeremiah.

When I thought I’d be alone the rest of my life, God brought Gene into my life.  In 2004, there were 3 weddings in the Bailey family. Gene calls this the “Bailey hat trick”.  In April, Mandy and Kraig were married. In May, Cassie and Kyle were married Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Monday, Memorial Day, I moved out of my house.  For 3 weeks I lived with my future brother and sister-in-law. June 19, Gene and I were married here in this church. This year we all celebrate 20 years of marriage. This is the FUTURE.

Truly, nothing is impossible with God."

Diana Shenefield

Fruit Basket Ministry | 12.07.2023

"My experience with our fruit basket ministry started many years ago! I simply started by helping out and now I have grown into organizing it.

Anyone wanting to serve would help arrange and deliver baskets. Most of the deliveries are made by myself and a few other dedicated volunteers...I dress up like Santa and we head out through our community to bring a little joy to people who need a boost. We deliver to people who have lost a loved one or just need encouragement. I’ve seen tears at the door when I deliver and I myself have cried when I get in van! It's a wonderful ministry that blesses all people involved!"

Laura Zahm

Operation Christmas Child | 11.01.2023

"My favorite Sunday of the year is coming up quickly…November 19th is the final collection Sunday for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and it is my joy! Since the first day that I was introduced to OCC, I have seen the shoeboxes at kids, not boxes. When I count what comes in to HNAZ or to the drop off site that HNAZ hosts for the county, I count kids! This is because, and it sounds weird, but the truth is that it actually has nothing to do with the shoebox. Of course I want all of the boxes bursting with fun things that will bring huge smiles but the whole point is that when the shoeboxes are handed out, a conversation starts about Jesus - the beautiful name that these kids might never have heard before.

Each box is handed out with The Greatest Gift, a colorful book written in the local language that tells the story of Jesus. Then the kids are invited back for 12 weeks of classes to learn about The Greatest Journey and dive deeper into who Jesus is. The shoebox just opens the door to be able to talk about the life-giving, life-changing, life-sustaining name of Jesus!

This year, for some reason, maybe God re-inspiring me in the OCC ministry, I have felt my own perspective shift just a little bit. What if we look at the shoeboxes as not just kids but entire villages? One box starts a conversation with one child who starts a conversation with one family who start a conversation with one village…and so on and so on. The idea of multiplication from the one gift is mind blowing. So, this year I’m counting villages. And it’s so simple!"

Linda Gates

All Saints Day | 11.01.2023

"As I reflect on those of influence who have lived their lives for Jesus, I'm quickly taken to my parents, Fred & Dorcas VanDuyne, both in heaven today rejoicing.  We never had much material things growing up, but it didn't matter, because we had Jesus.  Dad taught Sunday School and seeing him study, in his rocking chair with a bible on his lap, will always be a precious memory.  Mom played piano for church, taught Good News Club, & got me involved in Child Evangelism lessons.  Our love for praise and worship is rooted in her love of music which is a precious gift handed down to generations.  

Then I think of church camp directors & camp counselors who made the next layer of influence.  They were cool!  And they loved Jesus!   My older brothers directed church camps, did summer crusades and camp counseling and I wanted to be just like them!  Those formative years helped me come back to my High School and begin a Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, because I wanted to live out loud for Jesus.  

In college, at Anderson University, influence continued through Christian university chapels, Bill & Gloria Gaither (who were my Sunday School teachers one year) and the music of Sandi Patty.  Christian friends, roommates, and professors influenced my walk. I had my first Bible classes and a hunger was beginning to know the Word.  

Moving to Huntington as a young married couple, Kathy Snowden invited us to HNAZ.  I found lifelong friendships in my HNAZ family, but strengthened my walk here through bible studies (Growing Kids God's Way - taught by Chris & Becca Leland), weekly praying for my kids in Mom's in Touch (with Liesl Haupert), and being mentored so richly by our pastoral staff of Kevin & Jan Dunlop, Dane & Teresa Mathews, Scott & Theresa Kelly, and Matt & Katrina Arbuckle.  

Years of leading Women's bible study, deepened my knowledge.  Countless women who studied God's word together, brought influence, fellowship, prayer and accountability.  They are too numerous to name!

Currently, through Bible Study Fellowship in FW, and having many Teaching Leaders (Robin, Angie, Ginny, Shleby) who have modeled Christ-like living and teaching have been another integral influence in my life & walk with the Lord.  They have led well and inspire me to do the same.  

Weekly I meet with my Prayer partners (Deanna, Mandy & Rosanne) who bring our requests to the Lord with friendship and accountability.

Bi-weekly I meet with Liz.  It's my favorite appointment of the week ... to just talk Jesus and how He's working and showing up and showing off in our lives!

And in daily, being married to my best friend, Troy Gates, we love Jesus!  And we serve our church in ministry opportunities, and give of our best to Him!

Oh God is good!  And the Saints that have went before me, and the Saints that are still here now doing this earthly life together are a treasure!  We are designed for community.  We need each other!  It strengthens the body of Christ!  It helps us to be better and represent Him to our world.  I am who I am today because of all of YOU and your investment in the Kingdom!  Thanks be to God!"

Megan Ness

Card Writing Ministry | 10.19.2023

“Card Ministry is a simple way that HNAZ can live up, in and out. By giving Christmas cards to local nursing homes we are reaching out into our community and giving hope to those who may feel hopeless during the Holidays.

We send cards to those within our congregation as well, showing appreciation or letting them know our prayers are with them through recovery or loss. This is an opportunity to show love to those in your life as well.

When I was in college my mother (Robin Ness) would send me a card of encouragement a couple times a month. This meant the world to me, as during this time in my life I was really struggling. I hope we can encourage other college students, or even loved ones who may need some positivity to make it through the work week. It just takes a small amount of time to make a big impact in someone's life.” 

Tiffany Jackson

Zambia Nursing Trip| 10.16.2023

Psalm 103:1-5 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your inequity, who heals all your disease, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who statisfies you with good so that you youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

"If you ask my husband, I have had some very random ideas in our short 19 years together dating and married.  Sometimes he goes along with the ideas, other times he denies any affiliation with it (I bought a camper with my mother in law during Covid because of the latter).  This trend remains true to my character today.  As if two bachelor’s degrees and two masters degrees isn’t enough, in the Fall of 2022 I set out to (hopefully) earn my last degree—a doctorate degree in nursing from Indiana Wesleyan University.  This journey has led me on a transcultural experience in September 2023 to Zambia, Africa to learn more about healthcare and education and cultural differences between Zambia and America.  We initially thought this was another one of “those” ideas as anxiety and fear were a part of the preparation.  My husband referred to this as my “African safari trip,” which was partially true.  

However, what I learned throughout the experience was so much more than the transcultural experience required for the course.  The pictures of Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park do nothing in comparison to God’s work.  You see, God is so much bigger than the poverty, homelessness, and other social determinants of health in Zambia.  He is so much bigger than missing my daughter’s 11th birthday (even if she couldn’t find the present I left for her as it was buried in a laundry basket of dirty clothes).  God is good all the time.  

In Zambia, we had the opportunity to see hospitals and clinics with mothers laboring on a bare mattress on the floor, teenagers who were estranged from their families due to repeated death threats, and middle school students who walked side by side with their mothers who could not walk for hours to receive any care.  Infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV are rampant.  Hospitals were scarcely stocked and the nursing school had a library full of textbooks from the past 20 years—definitely not current evidence based practice.  But, God is good, all the time.  

You see, even in the dry season in Zambia, the flowers were blooming and the birds were chirping.  Baboons, giraffes, lions, zebras, elephants, hippos, and rhinos were active (and at times scary) in their natural habitat.  I mean, who in the world can say they were about 20 feet away in a bus with an elephant looking straight on at you in the middle of a road?  The beauty of the Zambian clinic workers who sang to us in their native tribal language—"Our visitors are here” was impeccable, yet humbling at the same time. We met and stayed with American missionaries who were living out the gospel and sharing the love of Jesus.  Through them we learned of many opportunities to partner to aid the Zambian people.  For $3,000 we can build a house with a toilet and $260 will feed a school of 700 students FOR A MONTH.  I asked what we could send for their nursing students and the reply was basic school supplies like folder, notepad, and pencils.  The faculty at their schools do research, but are not trained how to disseminate the information at conferences and in publications.  Time and time again, God showed us the good work, albeit with scarce resources, the people of Zambia are doing and their yearning for partnerships with us.  Throughout it all, God is good, all the time.  

I challenge you to consider how God is revealing His goodness in your life.  Where are the flowers blooming? The animals roaming?  The falls a flowing?  Even in the moments my husband may not always understand, goodness surrounds each of us.  We are rich in love, patience, kindness.  And, it is in such we should rejoice God is good, all the time."

Caleigh Rice

Trunk or Treat | 10.16.2023

“Trunk or Treat is a GREAT way to get involved at HNAZ, especially with your whole family! It’s an amazing opportunity to serve/minister to those in our community AND to connect with those who are a part of our church. It’s so fun to be creative while decorating the trunks and to make others smile as they walk by!"

Christi Bennett

Thursday Morning Prayer Gatherings | 9.27.2023

“Early on Thursday morning, a small group gathers near the altar for prayer. We begin with a psalm or reading that focuses our thoughts. Then, spontaneous prayers break out. We praise God, we confess, and we give thanks. We raise petitions for our church leadership, our youth and children, college students, the sick and struggling, teachers, our community, our families, each other.

As we pray, burdens are laid down and hope and joy are taken up. Where two or three or six of us are gathered together, we sense Jesus in our midst, interceding with and for us and moving among us. After just half an hour praying, we commit ourselves to God and head out into the responsibilities of the day with a strengthened connection to our fellow pray-ers and a renewed sense that God goes with us.”

Join us every Thursday morning for prayer at 7:00am in the HNAZ sanctuary!

Nicole Finton

Ruth| Sermon Series Reflection | 9.25.2023

"The book of Ruth is one of my favorites, because it is the story of admirable faith, loyalty and selflessness. And I love that it shows us in just 4 chapters how God’s Plan for us and His strategies always come together for the good and for a purpose. He will never fail us if we walk the way He has laid out for us. Even if that way is sometimes rocky, filled with tragedy or appears impossible to travel.

Ruth is a book of journeys. As we go with her through her physical journey we also get to experience her and Naomi’s journey of faith. Often a physical journey is necessary to grow in faith. At least it was with me.

Ruth teaches us that steadfast faith and obedience lead to redemption and blessings beyond our imagination or expectations.
We can come out of a dark time in life even stronger and happier than before if we trust God and follow Him. Sometimes, actually often, or more often than we notice, He uses the people around us or close to us to help guide us in the direction He wants us to go. For Ruth this person was her mother in law Naomi.

I relate to Ruth in different aspects. Although living in different times, I too have experienced the rewards of staying faithful in hard times and have been blessed with people in my life who led me on God’s Path and helped me stay on the way.

22 years ago, when I was an exchange student, I believed in “something like a god”, like a higher power. I was also aware of Jesus Christ and His story and I knew of some of the stories in the Bible. I had watched movies about Noah’s Arch and Moses and the life of Jesus, but I had not accepted Him as my Savior nor did I understand all the connections and God’s bigger Plan.

Just like Ruth I had to take a journey physically and spiritually for my life to ‘make sense’ and to fully understand the Gospel.

Summer of 2000 I questioned my choice of coming to the USA as I found myself surrounded by cornfields and dead racoons along the roads. Many times it went through my head “how on earth did I end up HERE?”. Long story short, throughout my exchange year I was placed in a faithful Catholic home. For the first time through observing and questioning my  host sister I started to understand the significance of Jesus’ life and death. I also went to a Christian private school, which was held in a Pentecostal Church. I started to attend their Sunday services regularly. At first because I just liked the company of the people God had placed in my life. But with each service my heart opened and eventually all of this led to my repentance and baptism.

Since then I have faced many heartaches. My father died just as my first marriage had fallen apart and years later after a decade of emotional, mental and verbal abuse my 2nd marriage came to an end. Just like Naomi and Ruth I had suffered loss and grief. But every time I could see my hope dim and my faith crumble God placed someone in my life who would encourage me to keep on praying and keep on thanking and following my Savior. Often I was just observing their faithful actions and followed example, sometimes God spoke to me through them.
It is now two decades after I first set foot on this continent. I could not be happier or more blessed, but yet each day God ignites new joy in me.
Staying faithful has “paid off”. Everything I went through now makes sense. Just like God blessed Ruth and Naomi with new found security, hope and love he has blessed me. I have a wonderful home church which helps me grow spiritually and God has given me an amazing, caring, kind and patient husband. He has provided us with our dream home and surrounded us with loving family and many friends. And now God is using my testimony to help others through similar struggles and to plant seeds of faith.

He used Naomi and Ruth for a greater purpose and blessed their faithfulness. He has used me for His work and blessed me and he will continue to do so with many lives if we trust and allow Him to.

What a wonderful Savior we have! What a great privilege it is to be chosen for His purpose just like Ruth!

On a side note. I am also blessed with a faithful God fearing and knowledgeable mother in law. Just like Ruth stayed with Naomi, I will gladly stay close to her and help take care of her."

Brad Clampitt

Meal Ministry | 9.22.2023

"Almost 20 years ago, a new ministry opened downtown, which served free meals every evening of the year to people who needed it. HNaz got involved and had teams preparing meals and serving four nights each month. When our son Isaiah was five years old, we decided to get involved as a way to put hands and feet to our faith and also introduce Isaiah to service ministry. It’s been a great experience serving as a family over the years.

Almost seventeen years later we are still serving at the Downtown Meal Ministry one night each month, and Isaiah still helps out if he’s home from college. We’ve worked with a lot of wonderful people from HNaz, and it’s been great to getting to know the people we serve over the years. We love our church, and it’s always so rewarding to be part of ministry with church family."

Rebecca Hawley

Graves into Gardens | God's Redeeming Work | 8.25.2023

Isaiah 61: 2b-4
“. . . to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion ~ To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the  display of His splendor.  They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.”

This is a very familiar scripture to us, but it became more real to me after Monday, November 20, 2006.  If you lived in Huntington or were in town that evening, you probably remember well the sound of the gas explosion that rocked our city and destroyed our neighbor’s home and set our home on fire.  This began a chapter in our lives that no one could foresee or plan. But, it was no surprise to God and He immediately began turning Graves into Gardens and providing for us.  He gave to me that very night, His peace that passes all understanding (even as we stood  and watched our home being destroyed by fire). God showed us in the days ahead that He is a very Intentional God.

About 80% of everything that we owned was destroyed. But, we witnessed miracles over and over again.  Our bedroom was destroyed, even the shade to the lamp on our night stand was melted down over the base of the lamp, but right beside the lamp ~ our wedding picture was saved and perfect.  Knowing we were homeless, God provided within days, a home on our very own block. Back in the 90’s there were no homes of any kind to rent anywhere. But, He knew we would want to be near our property. Not only did we rent that house that had been for sale for a long time, but all the personal possessions had been left in the house ~ pot & pans in the cupboards, sheets and blankets on the beds, towels in the bathroom. God provided everything we needed to live life again.

After settling in this house for months, we were told one day that it had sold. We would be homeless again.  But as God would have it, the house right next door would be empty   ~ just when we needed it.  The day after it was advertised for rent, I saw people walking around it and my hopes grew dim that we would get it. But, God had already move the heart of a precious neighbor man to call the owner of the house, who lived out of town, to be sure we would get the house to rent and we did!  God is intentional and God provides!

In the meantime, I was busy drawing up plans for a new house to be built on our property and Richard was trying to get me to stop at the All American homesite each time we traveled to visit our daughter at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University in Ohio.  I would have nothing to do with the idea of a pre-made home. You may remember, our church hosted a night of prayer and fellowship for all the families that had been involved in this fire tragedy. The next morning on a Monday, in the western sky, with no rain, there appeared a rainbow.  I didn’t see it, but our neighbor boy did as he left for school and his mother took a picture of it. She thought she had lost it in her computer, but with the help of her daughter they found it weeks later and she brought the picture to me.  The rainbow was centered perfectly over our property. I knew then that God had not forgotten us and that rainbow was His promise to me that He had our future covered.

Soon after that, my heart was changed to stop at All American.  When we came out of their factory, our hearts and minds were in one accord.  All American was at a slow time in their business and had time to build our custom home ~ the plans God had given to me. You see if we had gone earlier when Richard wanted, they would have been too busy and would have said “no”.   It reminds me of the Scripture, Proverbs 16:9,  “ In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps”.  You don’t ever want to run ahead of God, but when it is His timing, He moves quickly as our house was built in 9 days and ready to set on our property in February of 2008. You see, God is not only intentional, but He works in the twinkling of an eye when it is in His timing.

After we finished and furnished our home, a group of Christian friends gathered with us to praise God and move through our home, praying over every room because, you see, our home belongs to God. So, we have a God who is intentional ~ He was intentional with us every step of the way. We have a God who provides ~ He provided everything as we needed. We have a God who redeems ~ He redeemed my life and our family by His Redeeming Grace.

Judah Schnaars

Made to Lead | 4th & 5th Grade Discipleship | 6.16.2023

Made to Lead is a discipleship ministry that meets with 4th & 5th graders. We learn how to lead others, by first knowing how to follow God.

“It was fun to be in a group that was only my age (no little kids). We hiked on trails, played hide and seek, and even had a banana sword fight! I learned that God is working to keep us safe and loves us and gave us the Armor of God, which protects me from the devil’s attacks. It was a night I looked forward to all month.”

Mandy Snowden

"Run the Race" Sermon Series Reflection | 5.23.2023

"When you think about running your race do you ever say, “I Am! How long do I have to keep running?” Well, God showed me this past year that my run had been more of a speed walk, a lot of time in circles.

When I finally threw off the thoughts and fears that were holding me back and was simply obedient to what I knew God was calling me to do and be, I saw him work in a way I couldn’t have imagined. God showed me that the weight of disobedience is so much heavier than the freedom of obedience. It’s being close to him daily because his obedience requires only his strength that he gives.

What has God been putting on your heart that maybe fear, or inadequacy or past failures has stopped you from being obedient? When we decide to throw off the things that are hindering us, and run the race he is calling us to, we will see God work in a way that is greater than anything we’re hanging on to."

Cindy Geders

We are proof of the resurrection!| 4.16.2023

"Last week we celebrated the victory of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. How appropriate for us!

Who is leading our congregation? We are shepherded by a faithful God who tells us in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Our LORD has been walking with us through the changes we, as a church family, are experiencing.

In Ephesians 1:11 we are told God, “works all things according to the counsel of His will.” This time of transition is not happening outside of the will of God. God is working according to the counsel of his will. So the question is not, “Who is in control?” God is in control. The question is, “Will we rest in him and trust him?”

I love our church family. We fall down, and we lift one another up. I see the LORD everywhere in our church body. I recently had an eye surgery and the Women’s Group brought me a blanket and comforted me. I see Jesus in Marlene when she comes in to update our Food Pantry, in Lynn as she leads Growing Place Preschool, in Tyler as he continues to grow our worship team through music, in Christi and Stephen’s faithfulness in their respective ministries with children and visiting members of our congregation, in Pastor Gary as he guides us through this transition, in our Board, folks who continue meet and pay the bills and make decisions, in our Facebook prayer group. I saw God this week when Ray came in because the large freezer broke down and his assistance was needed. I see the love of Jesus as Glenda helps our youth provide a dinner for us after church today. He’s in our Sunday School, He’s in our Bible studies, He’s in HERE RIGHT NOW. Father, Son and Holy Spirit! We are experiencing a resurrection as a congregation and what a sweet victory that is!

James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” This morning, let’s praise and worship God together and acknowledge that we are a blessed people who can feel the encouragement and hope of the victory of Christ’s resurrection!"

Liesl Haupert

Women's Bible Studies| 2.24.2023

"In my adult life, Bible studies have probably been the single biggest factor to keeping me accountable and growing in my relationship with God. When life gets tough, being in Scripture, and community with others helps get me out of my own head. Life is not meant to be lived alone, I need accountability as well as support. Bible studies, and the women in them, are key factors to helping me live with hope and a deeper faith."