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 | 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).