I was born into a Christian family, so I grew up hearing about God and I formally confessed Jesus as my Lord and Savior in my life when I was about 5, at the time I did not 100 percent understand what or who God really was, I was doing it to fit in with the rest of my family. Eventually the feeling of wanting to fit in grew into faith and an appreciation of God and all He has done for us.
The two best memories that I have as a Christian where when I was about 8 and 11.
-The first one was when I went to a “sports day camp” where we played sports and went swimming. I remember being acquainted with a boy the same age as me and as we talked I ended up telling him about my faith, he believed me when I told him the stories of how God was bigger than the planet earth and could hold it in His hands. I believe that God caused an impact in this boy’s life, because as soon as his dad picked him up that day; he was so excited and shared with him: “Dad! Did you know that God is bigger than you?” I do hope that the seed about knowing God was planted.
-The second one was when I made the decision to become Baptized, in January 2018; it was a big leap of faith but I did it to announce that I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I will keep following Him for the rest of my life.
God has been reminding me that even if many times I feel like I have no value as a person, I am still loved by Him and by my family. Though I may fall, each time I fall, I will keep getting back up with God’s help. He is helping me become more patient and responsible. I still have a long way to go but with Jesus I will get there.
My favorite Bible verse is Psalms 23 but mainly verse 4, Psalm 23:1-4: “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want, He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the still waters, He restores my soul, He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for You are with me, Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me”. It is calming to know that God is always watching me and protecting me.
I want to become a member of Forest Grove Church to keep growing in my faith and because here I find a sense of community and belonging. I want to connect more in depth with our community to help make newcomers feel just as welcomed as I did when I first came here.
I grew up knowing about Jesus, but I think it’s only been recently that he’s actually got my attention. When I was little I would kind of just go along with what my parents taught me without questioning or really thinking why I believe what I do. Lately I have been thinking more about my personal faith and relationship with Him. I admit that my relationship with Him is not as strong as I would like it to be, and I feel that He’s calling me to be closer to Him.
An important moment in my faith was when I was baptized in my previous church. I was ten years old and, in all honesty, one of my reasons for doing it was because others were doing it. I did it more out a feeling of “I should do this” and not a genuine “I want this” feeling. I do not feel that I have lived up to the commitment that baptism entails; I understood the basics of it, but I never thought about it in depth. Now that I have thought about it more and understand more, I want to make an effort to live up to that commitment, and not take it lightly anymore.
I know Jesus has been wanting me to strengthen my faith and relationship with Him. I feel like I have not really been taking my relationship with Him seriously and I want to try harder to strengthen it. I know that He will help me, all I have to do is accept that help.
Another thing I feel like He’s calling me to do is to find a community that can help me with this journey. I know that my faith is personal, but it does not hurt to have people who will keep you accountable and cheer you on. I have always struggled with socializing and accepting help from others, but I know I can do it with His help, and I can do it with the help of others if I let them.
One of my favourite verses is Micah 7:7, “But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” This verse reminds me that there’ll be times in my life when I might feel like God isn’t there, or that He’s not listening, and in those times I need to remember to look to Him, to wait patiently and know that He hears me, even if feels like He doesn’t.
I want to become a member of Forest Grove because I want to be a part of a community that can help keep me accountable with my faith, a community where I can talk freely about my faith and struggles without feeling judged. When I was thinking about becoming a member, my first thought was “I don’t feel Christian enough to do this.” I realize now that there is no such thing as being “Christian enough” for anything, the only thing I can do is offer myself as I am now and allow God to guide me and help me grow in my faith.
In 1998 I truly experienced God for the first time, before this my experience was through knowledge.
At 15 I was baptized and while I understood who God was, I did not really know who God was.
In 98′ He revealed Himself to me in a way that could not be ignored, I was frightened yet at the same time comforted by His familiarity and for the first time understood who He was and with greater clarity understood all that I had been taught and had read throughout scripture. It was this encounter that prompted me to cry out to Him that He would change my character from who I was to the man He desired me to be. This was a prayer I prayed daily for 2 years and still do from time to time.
I am amazed and very thankful that around the same time that God was dealing with me, the women that God would bring into my life He also was dealing with and 4 years later she would become my wife.
Lorena and I through God’s grace were married in 2002, a few years later we were blessed to have both Abby and Sam and were serving God faithfully at home and at church, I am mindful of those in my family that have served so faithfully and set the example of following and serving Christ.
A verse we have taken to heart as a family is the latter part of the verse in Joshua 24:15 “…But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord”. There are only a few periods in our time together that we have not been involved in serving, something we are looking forward to doing here.
Personally, after 1998 the verse that has meant so much to me is Romans 8: 34 – 39
“Who then will condemn us? No one – for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As Scriptures say, ‘For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep’) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
These verses remind me that no matter how selfish I was and can still be, no matter what stupid decisions I have made in the past or present, Christ paid what should have been mine to pay, He has and continues to cover my sins and to this day champions for me so that one day I will enter His presence and feel His embrace.
I am wanting to become a member of Forest Grove to have a community I am accountable to and to serve with the gifts God has given me.
I was born in Mexico City and was raised Catholic. I grew up trying to be good, following the rules and many times going to church just due to social events. As a child, I grew up trying to meet high expectations and was a “people pleaser”, as my parents were always setting me as good example to my sister, even though I was the youngest, they were comparing us all the time, saying that she should be like me. This brought pride into my heart. My father died when I was 8 years old and years after that, as a teenager I was longing to have my father like all my cousins had one, and there was still something missing deep down inside my heart. This is when Jesus first got my attention. I struggled along the way, because I was resentful and angry at my dad for not taking better care of his health and sad with God, because this care would have extended his life. This all, led me to seek God more deeply than ever before and encouraged me to pray and ask Him why He took my dad away. One day, while I was praying, God Father spoke to me and He said: “Don’t be sad or angry, you have a Heavenly Father, even though you lost your earthly father, you have Me and I love you my daughter”. After that, my hunger and thirst of the knowledge of Him and His Word increased.
My life didn’t radically change yet until after I turned 18. I can see now this was God clearly speaking to me through a group of Missionaries from the US whom I met on the street one day. I started chatting with them and met a girl named Alba. In spite of being strangers to each other, she asked me if I wanted to join them to a Christian retreat that weekend, to which without hesitation, I immediately said yes. I know now that this was the Holy Spirit guiding me and giving me trust and peace to go. Little did I know that this unknown risky step would later lead me to salvation! After 10 years of knowing Alba, I know she was praying for me, because I met other Christians that shared more of the Bible with me and especially important truths from what I knew before. I had some experiences and revelations that were pivoting key moments that brought freedom to my heart and opened my eyes to see clearly how my knowledge of God was completely different.
One day soon after that, while a friend was praying for me, God showed me His love in a powerful way, this brought me to tears and humbled me.
Then in 1998, I confessed Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and believed with all my heart that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. I got saved, like God says in His Word: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
A beautiful relationship started, and only a few months later of being saved, I got baptized by immersion. At present, Jesus is pruning me, as I have been studying more in depth the book of Psalms and Proverbs in the Bible by myself, as well as through different women Bible studies here at Forest Grove Church. I am learning more about the how’s and why’s between my Mexican culture and Canadian culture, specifically as Christians. Also, how our character reactions or responses, affect or influence our relationships. This has been a huge answer to prayer, even though it has brought me many sour and sad moments, misunderstandings and strained relationships for years. At the same time, God has used these hardships to help me grow spiritually, bringing hope and it is maturing me in my spiritual walk and teaching me to learn from our differences and uniqueness of each culture and specifically, from many personalities. Jesus is teaching me to become more patient, gracious and respectful as well as sensitive toward others, starting with myself. He is teaching me to be more like Him. God is calling me to re-commit very seriously to Him and to the body of Christ and I am looking forward to serving Him as He continues re-igniting His passion in me and a deeper level of wisdom and better understanding of His truth. He is guiding me to put it all into action from now on.
My favourite and guiding Bible Verses is Philippians 4:13” I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”. This verse has helped me a lot, especially in the years of my own family persecution.
I decided to become a member of Forest Grove Community Church because God is calling me to publicly re-commit my life very seriously to Him and to His will in my life and I am looking forward to serve Him as He continues re-igniting His passion in me and a deeper level of wisdom and better understanding of His truth. Also, because I have experienced the tangible love of Jesus here and a deep sense of community.