Tammy survived a massive heart attack and was told she shouldn’t have survived. She asked herself, “Why did God keep me around?" Here is Tammy’s story in her own words... “I first came to Word of Life about 16 years ago and attended off and on. I knew in my heart that I should be pursuing a real relationship with God, but I didn’t, not until my heart attack. I kept asking myself why did God keep me around? Was God giving me a warning that I needed to slow down, stop the partying, ask for my sins to be forgiven or what?
During one service prior to communion, I asked for God to forgive my sins and I actually asked the Lord to come into my life. That day I knew what was missing; it was having a relationship with God. After the service I met with Pastor Brian and another church member who shared information about where to start in experiencing a new life in Christ. I have since joined a few different small groups and classes and I have taken the steps to become a part of the body of Christ. I was baptized on January 29. I have no idea what the future holds for me but I am excited to know and see what God has planned for me.”
"Church has always been my home." Kate is a college student at Missouri Western. "Sure I had a good childhood and parents that loved me, but they can't love me like Jesus does. It's impossible. In second grade, I started going to church on Wednesday nights with my best friend. I realized that the people in my church loved me like their own daughter and I began longing to be there at every chance I got. I was growing and learning and being loved and loving it. When I found out I'd be going to Missouri Western after high school, I was probably more excited to start going to Word of Life Church than I was for college. From the second I walked into Word of Life, I knew I belonged. Everyone was so warm and welcoming. I filled out a connect card and received a call within a week. For brevity's sake I won't list all the ways in which I've grown in the last two years, but it has been an incredible experience. I think it's safe to say I've found my home for this chapter in life."”
"We have been a part of Word of Life since 2001," says Jo. Blaine and Jo Davis travel 60 miles one way to come to church on Sunday mornings. "It has been wonderful and life-changing for us. It has been good for our souls. We love where we have traveled to as a church. We LOVE weekly communion and the rich and deep messages we receive. God has placed us in a good place and we are so grateful to him and to all our church family.”
"I was at a point of no hope." Travis came to Celebrate Recovery (CR) at Word of Life in a desperate situation. "I remember walking in one Wednesday evening before CR started. Members of CR knew my wife and I were going through marriage troubles. They asked how things were. I told them and they asked if they could pray. I was honest. I said I didn’t care if they did or didn’t. Looking back, neither Brandi nor I can communicate how we survived outside of the power of intercessory prayer and complete surrender to Christ in our personal lives. We are not perfect. We still struggle individually and in our marriage, but praise Jesus, our marriage has been restored! CR was a pivotal place to be in during our time of darkness." If you are interested in Celebrate Recovery (CR), join us on Wednesday nights in the Life Center at 6:30 p.m.
"Grace is rhythmic," writes McKell, the oldest daughter in the Norris family. "When you are a part of Jesus and his church body you are actively involved in the pulsating rhythm of grace and forgiveness every day. Though most of the beats will come naturally some will not. The people at Word of Life have helped our family to find the rhythm of Jesus and stay with it even when the pulsations don’t flow out of us as easily as we would like. In the midst of our deep loss and pain, Word of Life has helped us to forgive and find harmony with Jesus and those around us."
"I’ve been on a journey, searching for depth and truth in my Christian walk for many years." Sherri was following Jesus, but things were about to get rough. "Over the past 4 years, a succession of major life and family crisis events happened and my belief system was severely challenged. I was hanging on to faith by a thread. Many things I had been taught about God and prayer and faith didn’t work for me anymore. I needed a new understanding of who God is and how he is present and working in my life and in the world we live in. In my desperate cry to God, he led me to Pastor Brian’s sermons on the Word of Life website and I was deeply affected. I moved to St. Joe to attended Word of Life and for the past year things have changed! Through the sermons, conversations with pastors and others, and small groups, I’ve found God again in a new and living way. I've experience healing and hope and community."
"Before divorce recovery at Word of Life my self esteem in relationships was very low. After being in this group I have learned that I am a masterpiece in God's eyes and I now have a better self esteem allowing me to build new relationships. I have also learned more about what healthy relationships look like and I have been given the tools to work towards healthy relationships in my own life."
"Three years ago I joined a small group studying the Enneagram." Anna had been at Word of Life or over a decade, but she has experienced a lot of growth in the last three years. "My small group journey has been difficult but the rewards are amazing. I have become more aware of the person that God intended me to be before sin and society intervened. The most wonderful part of this discovery has been the grace and mercy it has afforded me in how I treat other people. While I am unable to actually walk in someone’s shoes, I am better equipped to understand their struggles and I am able to see them with compassionate eyes that are open to their pain. In eleven years, I am truly blessed to be on such an amazing journey of love and compassion. Doubly blessed to be doing it with great tools of discovery and a community full of people I love, people who are more than friends, more like family."
"How has God changed my life?" Thea asks. "He has brought my husband into my life and he has been so loving. I feel whole." Before all this love, she was prone to tears and she shut people out of her life. "I was crying all the time but now I have happiness and I love to be around people." Her husband, and new found joy, have been gifts from God alone.
"Everything changed the day I learned I was as valuable as everyone else." This sums up Kysha pretty well. "I came to Celebrate Recovery (CR) at Word of Life 6 years ago as a woman with no self esteem. I was in an abusive relationship, and I had terrible eating habits. While working on my moral inventory in the Upper Room, I had a very real encounter with the living God where I had a glimpse of how he sees me. That encounter initiated a lot of changes in my life. I am now free of the abusive relationship and I have a much healthier way of viewing food. I also have a much healthier image of myself based on what God says about me."
“Since I have been baptized, I feel like I am a different person.” Kelly and his wife have recently gone through a traumatic and difficult season in the life of their family. He says, “If it wasn’t for Jesus and the church, I don’t know where we would be today after all we have gone through. I can say our marriage is much better. In the past it was filled with hate and strife, but my wife and I found grace and we feel like we are different people. It’s unbelievable.”
“I was shaking with anger. That was bad for me.” In his past Richard battled anger and a violent temper, but now he is following Jesus. Even though he said good-bye to his old life, he still feels the pull from time to time to return to those old ways. Now he was angry again. “I didn't know what to do and a friend said ‘You don't need to let that anger control you; you need that anger to be controlled by Somebody else.’” That is all Richard needed to hear. He thought to himself, “I need to shut things down and spend some quiet time with the Lord." He did and the shaking stopped. Before encountering the power of grace, he says there is no way he would have responded to anger like that.