Below is a Story of Transformation from Gordon and Elaine Shantz who became members at FGCC on April 9. If you were unable to attend, you can read their testimonies below.
I was born into a Christian home where my parents believed in God. My mother was the leader in the home to raise my younger brother and myself as my father suffered from severe depression and was away from home several times during my preschool years to receive medical attention. During my childhood years, my parents had family devotions with us before breakfast. We as a family attended Sunday School and church on a regular basis in an “Old Mennonite Church” where they followed many traditions. For many years my father was a man who doubted his salvation in his depressed state. It was after Gordon and I were married a few years that God got a hold of my father’s life in a prayer meeting in my parent’s living room. After much prayer and standing on God’s word until the early morning hours my father was delivered from his depression and Satan’s grip on his life. He became a changed and happy man.
Then when I was nine years old I attended evangelistic services with my parents. On the evening of June 1, 1961 I responded to the alter call as the song “Just As I Am” was being sung, I confessed my sin and asked Jesus to come into my heart. Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Now I knew that I would spend my eternity in heaven with Jesus but did not fully understand what it meant to live for Jesus. At the age of 12 I became baptized and was received into the membership in the Mennonite church.
Throughout my adolescent and teenage years I struggled with my faith and was taught to read my Bible and pray. I had a somewhat rebellious attitude towards my father because of all the legalism attached to salvation. It seemed that I was trapped and did not receive encouragement from my father in my Christian walk with the Lord. In my early adulthood I had a poor self image and not until I attended a seminar that I learned the basics about accepting myself. I came to realize that God saw me as I was and he had a plan for my life.
Since I grew up in a small community, I needed to move to Saskatoon after graduation for employment and education. While here in Saskatoon I found new Christian friends and a church where I could get involved. I attended Saskatoon Business College and sought employment here. After several years, God answered my prayer for a life-long mate who was a Christian. I met Gordon and later I married him and began a new journey as his wife living on a dairy farm.
I was born into a Christian family where I was taught the Word of God and attended church faithfully. At age 13 I accepted Jesus as my Saviour. I was baptized and became a member of the Sharon Mennonite Church.
After completing high school and university, I returned to the family farm and started farming. It was during this time of my life that I drifted away from the Lord and followed the ways of the world. In 1974 I entered into a partnership with my cousin in a dairy farm.
In June of 1976 a tornado went thru the community. The night before it was very calm. At midnight the storm hit and caused extensive damage in the community.
The next morning I remember standing at the edge of the farmyard surveying the damaged trees uprooted and the top one-third of the silo fell onto the barn. Even with all the damage I had the peace of God about it all.
Many of the neighbors came over to help us clear debris out of the barn alley. It took us until afternoon before we could get enough repairs done to the milking system so that we could milk the cows.
Then the Mennonite Disaster Service came in and helped us repair the barn. I could see God working through all of this.
Thanksgiving weekend I went to church for the first time in a long time. My partner in dairy shared a powerful testimony of how he had dedicated his life to the Lord. That Sunday afternoon we had a football game in town. Another cousin of mine was there; I could see something in his life that I wanted. That Sunday evening instead of going to town with my friends to a show, I stayed home and went to a Bible study instead. It was there that I realized my need for repentance. I re-dedicated my life to the Lord. God met me in a real and positive way, with scripture taking on new meaning.
I prayed that God would provide me with a Christian mate and God answered that prayer. On October 7, 1978 Elaine and I were married. Several years later after trying to sell the dairy farm, but not succeeding, Elaine and I bought out our partner and started dairying on my own. It was a huge undertaking for us. God was faithful to us and provided us with a good living, but it was a lot of work.
After selling our farm we moved to Saskatoon in 2007.
Since we came to Saskatoon, I had the desire to serve in the community outside the church. I began praying about how God could use me locally. One evening I received a phone call from a dear friend who inquired if I had any interest in volunteering at Village Green Thrift Shop for MCC. I was surprised by this call and said that I needed time to think about it and pray about it. It was a few months later that I agreed to become involved with the Village Green Thrift Shop. Over the past 5 ½ years I have been blessed to work in this environment to support the needs of the local community and reach out globally through MCC. I have met many individuals of other cultures and had opportunities to pray with other volunteers when in need. I count this as my mission field close to home.
In the past few years, I have joyfully joined the Welcome Team to use my God given gifts to greet all peoples at the front door on Sunday mornings.
A favorite verse of mine is Proverbs 5 & 6.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; lean not onto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.”
My faith has increased as I spend more time reading my Bible and talking to the Lord in prayer. Gordon and I take time to have our daily devotions together and pray together before we start our day. God has blessed us and answered many prayers for us and our family. I am very thankful to be part of the family of God.
While attending Forest Grove my faith has deepened through worship and fellowship. It is my desire to join the membership here and to continue serving in the work of the church and in the community.
We started attending Forest Grove Community Church. Elaine and I joined a small group which has helped us grow in our faith. I also enjoyed a men’s small group which has been a blessing to me.
I have been seeking a closer relationship with God through daily Bible reading and having devotions and prayer with my wife.
I have been working at the Bridge serving and preparing breakfast on Monday mornings. Also, I have assisted in food preparation for lunch as well. I am very passionate about the work at the Bridge because it provides physical needs as well as spiritual needs of the people who come there.
I also work as a volunteer at the Village Green Furniture and Appliance Store and Village Green Thrift Shop. I see the needs of the local people being met and that the global Community can benefit through the programs of MCC.
I have also enjoyed greeting on Sunday morning at the Forest Grove Community Church.
My prayer is that I can be a light to the world. My favorite scripture is,
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Phillipians 4:13.
I would like to become a member of the Forest Grove Community Church so I can continue using my God given gifts for the work of the church and God’s kingdom.