Our stories link us to each other, fusing unseen bonds that connect our hearts in camaraderie. Stories engage the whole person. They draw us in, engaging us mentally and emotionally, and often igniting physical responses like knee-slappin’ laughter or heartfelt tears of empathy, or an offer of sympathy through a hug, a note, or a text message. We always react to stories with our whole selves: mentally, emotionally, physically.

 – Amanda Erickson

Too often we limit ourselves to our own experiences of God. But when we share our stories with each other, we come away will a fuller appreciation of the many ways in which God works in our lives. Our understanding is increased as we are open to the perspectives of others. On this page we will hear stories from our church community and about our church community. Our goal is to share with you insights from the past year regarding how the Holy Spirit is using Forest Grove Community Church as an instrument to facilitate Transformation in Jesus Christ in the lives of our church body.

Alpha Transformation – Paul and Linda Caughlin

Below is a Story of Transformation from Paul and Linda Caughlin who attended the Alpha Course at FGCC this past spring.

My family of five recently started attending Sunday worship at Forest Grove Community Church (FGCC). My wife, Linda, and I were encouraged to attend Alpha by a couple from the church we knew well. As we were new to the church, and knew only a few people within it, we decided it would be a great way to become more familiar with our new community. My wife and I attended Alpha in the spring of 2017. Initially we were drawn to Alpha as a way to become part of the church community; however, it turned out to be a key component in rekindling our relationship with God.

Linda and I attended church as children and were reasonably familiar with the Christian faith. However, I had done little cross-examination of the bible and its stories, which I had often thought to be far-fetched. The Alpha program did a great job in the first few sessions to validate the bible as a document and give it objective credibility. As a scientist, this portion of Alpha was very significant for me as I was uncomfortable expressing and discussing my very real doubt. Alpha created a comfortable environment for me to ask questions and have discussions without feeling embarrassed or judged.

One of the most standout memories I will take away from Alpha is the night after the prayer session. We had a great evening at Alpha, but our 3-month-old child was starting to fuss and cry in bed after two attempts to put her to sleep for the night. My wife was clearly annoyed and over-tired. I said a brief prayer in my mind asking that God would help our child go back to sleep. I facetiously told Linda to return to bed and go to sleep as I had prayed that our child would go back to bed. As it occurred, minutes later we all went back to sleep for the night. As small a coincidence as it might seem, it truly felt that God was trying to tell us, “I hear you, and I am here for you”. It was more than a night of sleep. It was the opening of a communication channel with God.

Alpha was a place that my wife and I could grow in our faith. It gave us information that strengthened our faith in Jesus Christ and also allowed us a platform to discuss our evolving faith with each other.  This is a starting point for us to choose to learn about and follow Jesus in our everyday life as well as with our newfound community in FGCC.