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.

New Member – Kellen Balzer

Below is a Story of Transformation from Kellen Balzer who is going to be baptized and become a member of FGCC on July 23. You can read Kellen’s testimony below.


Hello, my name is Kellen Balzer. I am 21 years old and was born to my parents, Jeff and Rose Balzer. I am going into my third year at the University of Saskatchewan majoring in Sociology. I want to use my degree towards becoming a city Police Officer. I grew up in a home that was, and still is, very passionate about God. I have attended Forest Grove my entire life and have been involved in many of the programs the church offers, such as, the Moms Program, Pre-school, Summer Camps, Junior-High, Senior-High, and Young-Adults. As you all can see, Forest Grove plays a huge part in my life because this is the church where my faith started, and this is the church where I grew up as a Christian. So I think it is only fitting that this is the church where I take the next step of my journey with God by making my faith public and fully submitting my life to God by getting baptized in front of my life-long church family.

Because my family are followers of God, I accepted God into my life at a young age because that seems to be what every child does growing up in a Christian home. But when I look back on my elementary school years, I feel like I was just going through the motions of being a Christian and not really experiencing God working in my life. I attended church every week, I prayed every day; I went to summer camp every year because back then, I thought that was what I was supposed to do because I am a Christian. Because of that, I didn’t really make any serious progress in my faith.

It wasn’t until Grade 9 where God gave me a wake-up call when I found out my parents separated and later on got divorced. This brought me back to reality that even married Christian couples go through the same struggles that all couples do, even if they have God in their life or not. But during this time, I did not once doubt my faith in God. Of course I asked the typical questions like; why me? Why my parents? Why would you bring this upon my family? But I soon thought to myself that if this is how it’s supposed to be for me and my family, so be it, we can over-come this obstacle. I also realized that the worst thing I could do in that situation is run away from God, because I knew me and my family needed God more than ever. Because this happened a couple months into high school, I didn’t have a close group of friends yet that I could trust and open up to. I was still in that position where I was hopping around from group to group trying to decide where I’ll fit in best. I could’ve easily gotten into the wrong group; especially because of what was going on at home. But no more than a couple of days after my parents separation, one of my life-long friends who also attends Forest Grove and is sitting in the crowd today, invited me to come sit with him during lunch and he introduced me to his friends. Since that day, it was an instant connection with everyone and they were the people that got me through high school. The day I met them was when my faith was rejuvenated because they all were so passionate about God and attended church and I really grew closer to them at the senior high program at Ebenezer Baptist church where they all attended. They gave me a whole new reason, motivation and passion to keep following God during this vulnerable point in my life, because without them, I had nothing. But I was still very secretive with them about what was going on at home and I felt God pushing me to open up to them. I kept it a secret for a long time because I thought I can get through this between God and I. I didn’t think I needed anyone else. Even during small groups at youth group when it was the most perfect time to share… I didn’t. It is almost funny how God works through people, especially me, because one night during another small groups session at youth group, it was one of those nights where nobody felt like listening and we were all goofing around and sharing lots of laughs. It wasn’t until the end of the night when our small group leader gave up on us asked if anyone had any prayer requests to end the night. For some reason, God chose that night for me to share. A night that was full of immaturity and laughter, quickly turned into silence after I shot up my hand and shared my story and asked for prayer for my parents and family. This was another moving point in my life, because when I started to talk, all of my thoughts and emotions that I had been keeping trapped inside of me for months poured out in front of my closest friends. I’ve never been one to get really emotional in front of people, so that experience was something else. After that night, I felt like I was even closer to my friends and they were closer to me because now they truly knew me and where I was coming from. I also learned that I couldn’t get through this rough patch of my life with only God, I needed my friends too, and God helped me figure that out by showing me that it is okay to not be okay in front of my friends. Since then, friends mean everything to me. Time spent with friends is what makes me feel most alive, because my friends from high school and my current friends now, keep my faith alive within me and they show me what it means to live a life filled with God and are a big reason why I am still a Christian today. What God is doing in my life right now is blessing me with a healthy, loving relationship with my Dad, and a new tight-knit group of friends whom I have met at other young adult programs throughout the city.

A bible verse that I hold near and dear to my heart was my late-Grandma’s favourite bible verse, Isaiah 40:31

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

Thank you.