‘Stories of Transformation’

Stories of Transformation from the Home Missions Board | Part 3

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

EFCMA

A recent goal of the EFC-MAYM Home Missions Board has been to support and enable all EFC-MAYM local churches to carry out the Great Commission of making disciples that make disciples. Each Home Missions Board member took up this challenge to make this dream a reality in their own lives. A small sample of this reality is recorded in this series below, including new disciples stories of their own transformation in their own words:

 

Gardner Friends | Melissa Adams

melissaI, Melissa Adams, 29, mother of a 2yr. old daughter, Mia, and a son gone to Heaven at 6 months of age, accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in April of this year.

A big change of behavior in my life is honesty. It has become very important to me.  I just don’t want to be untruthful about anything.  I want to be open and honest and be a good example for Mia.   A benefit of following Jesus is Hope. I feel so hopeful now; there has been so much hard stuff going on.  Before I didn’t feel much hope, but now I feel hopeful about everything, ’cause I know God’s in charge.  I’m not so afraid of challenges that I am facing.  I also know that the hard stuff is to build my faith and make me more of what Jesus is like.  Another big blessing is knowing that I will get to spend eternity with my little boy.”

I now have goals for your new life as a Christian!  I want to live as an example of the love Jesus has shown me; to everyone in my life.  I want to help others understand and feel this incredible love.  I want to help those who are in need.  In fact we just opened our home to someone who just lost their job.  It just seemed like the right thing to do.

My example and the one who influenced me most for Jesus is Kathie Swan.  She is so real, honest and she is so passionate about Jesus.  She is leading a Bible study so I can learn more about living the way Jesus wants us to.  I am hoping to be able to go to the same church she goes to, Gardner Evangelical Friends Church.  I really like her pastor, he’s just so nice and he’s normal, he jokes and stuff.

I am learning that if you will listen and let Him, God will see you through anything when you trust Him.  He is so willing to give you strength, and love you even when you mess up and sin.  Everybody should meet Him!

 

Crossroads Friends, Wichita & Oasis, Dodge City | Greg Martinez

To the Followers of Christ, Praise the Lord for God is Good. I am Greg Martinez, 56, and have lived most of my life in Dodge City, KS after having moved with my family from Illinois at the age of one. I was brought up in a large family in the Catholic Church, being baptized when I was a child. I am divorced but have two married sons and seven grandchildren.

Currently I, Inmate #107272, am to be released from the Kansas Department of Corrections on June 26, 2015 after serving 18 months of a two-year sentence for Driving under the Influence and Aggravated Battery. On July 18th 2012, I injured a six-year old girl in a terrible car accident. My experience with God, I can say today, began with that accident. I have truly felt the Holy Spirit transform my life through the faithfulness of many true disciples of Jesus since that time.

While incarcerated, most pastoring visitors just wanted to know my details but one was different. Gerald Mendenhall, Pastor of the Oasis Church, and jailhouse minister kept telling me that God loves me, has a plan for me and nothing can ever separate me from God’s Love. He asked me to pray for that little girl with my own thoughts and with my heart and to read Luke 11:9,10. The little girl made a full recovery. Praise the Lord for God is good. I am a dedicated member of the Oasis Church in Dodge City.

I served time in Dodge City, Eldorado, Norton, Stockton, and on July 21st, 2014 was moved to the Work Release Facility in Wichita. Pastor Gerald explained that Oasis had a sister church in Wichita, Crossroads Friends Church, and introduced me to Charles Mullen. I believe the Holy Spirit has introduced me to these true Disciples. I believe God does have a plan for me. Today I know that I am walking with the Lord because I feel God’s presence. I know if it were not for Oasis and Crossroads and all the good people in both churches, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I enjoy the peace and hope that comes from being a follower of Christ and not just a fan.

 

Oklahoma City Friends | The Shaffers

We, Nick, Charla, Nathan and Hope Shaffer, from Oklahoma City Friends, have been building a friendship with our neighbor boy. He lives with his grandparents since his father is in prison and his mother is unknown. We began by building a neighborly relationship with his grandparents and spoke with them and the boy when we saw them in their yard and invited the boy to our children’s ministry, Kids In Action.

It took several years but eventually he began coming to Kids In Action. Nathan and Hope took him under their wing while at the children’s ministry, and over time our whole family developed a relationship with him. We decided that we would invite him to our house for ice cream and to play games. He was so excited about spending time with us! Later, we invited him and his grandparents over for dessert. He has now come into the habit of visiting our home just to check in about once or twice a week and also continues to participate in Kids In Action.

He accepted Jesus as his Savior one evening in Kids In Action, and we are gradually seeing God’s love, truth and salvation transform his life.

 

Stories of Transformation from the Home Missions Board | Part 2

Monday, September 7th, 2015

A recent goal of the EFC-MAYM Home Missions Board has been to support and enable all EFC-MAYM local churches to carry out the Great Commission of making disciples that make disciples. Each Home Missions Board member took up this challenge to make this dream a reality in their own lives. A small sample of this reality is recorded in this series below, including new disciples stories of their own transformation in their own words:

 

Communitas, Wichita | Debbie A.

I love going to Communitas for the spiritual part and seeing all the people help each other. It’s a real special group to take time to do something for other people. All the people pray for others who are sick. We care about them. You can feel God with the people. It brings out a lot of love. The people are so wonderful and they give up their time for others. I get a lot out of being together. These times are good for those who are not in church to get the spirituality.

My husband died suddenly and at the same time I was in the hospital in a coma. I was told later about his death. You never know how your life goes, but I knew God wanted me to be here. I didn’t know I would have to go to rehab at a nursing home. God put me here in this nice place. He’s blessed me a lot. In our Communitas time, God’s there, I can feel it. I want to spread the love of Jesus.

 

Crossroads Friends Church, Wichita | Luke Macy

My name is Luke Macy. I’m 13 years old and a 7th grader. I go to Crossroads Friends Church. I chose to follow Jesus one day in the car when I was about 9.

I had a chance to go on a mission trip to Bangladesh this year. I stayed with missionaries Albert and Metali and their sons Steve and Edwin. I had to speak in front of large crowds and I am shy so it was hard for me. I got better at it but I still was scared. I went to church there and did some Bible skits: The Lost Sheep and The Lost Coin. I had a fun experience and felt closer to God while I was there.

At school and at neighborhood parties, I try to play with someone who is not playing with anyone else and looks lonely. I try to read the Bible every day. My family has morning devotions and pray for our friends, family, and neighbors who are sick, hurt or need Jesus in their life. I hope to grow closer to God as I grow up. Jesus is a big part of my life and I hope it stays that way.

 

See Stories of Transformation | Part 1

Stories of Transformation from the Home Missions Board | Part 1

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

EFCMAA recent goal of the EFC-MAYM Home Missions Board has been to support and enable all EFC-MAYM local churches to carry out the Great Commission of making disciples that make disciples. Each Home Missions Board member took up this challenge to make this dream a reality in their own lives. A small sample of this reality is recorded in this series below, including new disciples stories of their own transformation in their own words:

 

Communitas, Wichita  |  Crystal W.

It’s meant a lot being part of a community for three and a half years, learning more about God and how to live like Jesus. I’ve learned how trying to get to know others, giving to others, reaching out, and not just passing them by is so important. I want to see others as humans in need. I like the community events, our children playing together, adults and kids getting to know each other; by each of us bringing different food items we are contributing to the events for dinner and worship.

I’ve been a person in need a lot but now it’s more important for me to be able to help others. I don’t have as much money to give but I know it’s about giving my time also, and listening to others in need. I want to visit the homeless more; the one time was good. I want to contribute more with things they need and for other people too. I can also help with my Spanish speaking skills.

Since I met this group, it helps me to think about it, how I can be a better person and be closer to God. That’s meant a lot to me.

 

Rose Hill  |  Jeff Conner

Before I knew the love of God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ I lived my life determined to become more powerful and valuable. My intentions behind most of my behaviors were rooted in what I wanted to accomplish for myself. I lived by what I felt was fair and right and true and I treated others how I wanted to be treated because that’s all that made sense to me. This golden rule principle was evident in the eastern philosophy of Taoism, my belief-system. I tried to live a life of balance and I sincerely believed that an infinitely just spirit sovereignly governed all of creation. I believed that everything existed because it somehow maintained an eternal balance that was perpetuated due to the governing principles of the supreme spirit. I believed that we were manifestations of this spirit and we were created, as mortal creatures, to desperately adore and cherish the supreme spirit for what it was, utterly superior to us yet evident to us simultaneously.

My beliefs were challenged because the world around me seemed to be so unfamiliar with this concept. All around me there seemed to be obscure spiritual beliefs, a myriad of religions, along with Christianity. I believed in my god and other people couldn’t accept my reasoning and logic for believing in a god like mine, an impersonal force or power that maintained all things. My god seemed to guide me through major life events teaching me more and more about the error of my ways and his transcendent will for my life. However, you can imagine how difficult it was to try to interpret and understand an impersonal god! I continued to live my life this way from age 16 to 20, but it wasn’t until I was sick of the hardships of my life that I decided to give it up to a higher power’s will.

I made major changes in my behavior and diligently reached out to god through meditation, prayer and journaling. I loved theoretical physics and complex sciences, I felt like I was marveling at God whenever I’d think about what science has revealed to us about our universe. I made changes in my life that were genuinely ‘for the better’. While I was making these changes, I was invited by some friends to talk about Jesus and even go to church with them. Although this talk of Jesus continued and my church attendance was growing more consistent, I was still steeped in my mystical god and I always met my friends with great reservation while considering Jesus as God.

It took Amanda Gardner to really show me the intimacy of His love for His children. I had invited Amanda to my house for breakfast to talk about our beliefs. I remembered her from a sociology class we had together. As I got to know her more and more I realized that she was serious about this ‘Jesus’ guy. Her lifestyle was of no interest to me in 2011, but in 2012 God did an overhaul on my heart. This modest, studious and reserved young woman became interesting to me. Gradually I saw her worth as her faith began to explain her character.

She told me she’d never marry a non-Christian and that statement was enough to make me really think about why somebody would put a ‘mythical character’ before a ‘real-life’ feeling of affection and attraction. Her statement came to me while the Lord was freshly stirring my heart. I remember the deep worship that I had for my god… But I didn’t know that my god was really The Father of an Eternal Son, who is Holy and worthy of worship and praise. I didn’t know that my lord was The Lord. I didn’t know that the creator did something more. The Lord our God made all things, and sent His Son to our world to die on the cross for the salvation of our souls. This was good news to me, but there was still much to learn about God’s character and His Son.

I attended Rose Hill Friends Church and learned to find God’s will for my life in His Word through men’s Sunday school and sermons preached by Pastor David Crisp and Pastor Gabe Hancock. The Lord secured my soul in the early weeks of my time at Rose Hill Friends Church. There were a few experiences early on while in prayer. On two occasions I experienced bright light around me while praying. I consider these experiences to be genuine experiences of God’s reassurance of His presence in my life. Everyone does not feel these experiences, but I believe that this was God’s way of feeding my faith in the youth of my rebirth. Currently I am learning to respond to God’s grace through faith and service.

I am now engaged to Amanda Gardner and I intend to marry her and begin leading her in a Christ-centered marriage. I intend to serve the church and share the love of God with the world I am exposed to. I am grateful for my family at Rose Hill Friends Church!   – Jeff Conner (2015 WSU graduate).