Getting to Know Brandi B

Brandi B is a homegrown Hastings girl! Brandi was the baby of her family. She has two brothers. One of the things she loves to do is spend time with her 3 nieces, Braelynn – 3 ½ yrs. old, Evey -1 ½, and Leighla – 3 months old. Brandi grew up Lutheran and was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran church. She would go when her father went. If he didn’t go, neither did she. Her parents were divorced, but her dad lived close by. Actually in the same house, just separate floors.
One of her parents was a shopping addict. That caused quite a few issues for the family. Brandi’s name had been used on various accounts when she was younger, which caused some havoc later in her life. She felt used, mistreated, fat, ugly, not good enough, the list goes on. She learned from a young age how to get away with things by lying and cheating.
She enjoyed gymnastics and was taking that, but her schooling wasn’t quite up to par, so she gave up the extracurricular activity she enjoyed so much to focus more on her school responsibilities. By doing so, she felt as though she lost a piece of herself. It paid off in her education but she really missed it. She ended up getting sick a lot and it set a pattern of being sick on test days. Junior and Senior High were not happy years for her. She felt invisible most of the time. Once she could drive, she would drive just about everywhere when not in school.
Brandi has been friends with Steven L since Jr. High. He was a skinny kid, kind of cute, that sat behind her. They got along and hung out together. Her friends didn’t really like him, which told her that he was pretty cool. One of her coolest memories of Steven was the summer of ninth grade. He spent the summer writing a song for Brandi.
Both she and Steven are members of our Worship Team and both contribute immensely to the group. Brandi can play just about any of the instruments used as well as sing. She enjoys her time with the Worship Team. When Steven came back to this church after his hiatus doing what young people do, which in general, is usually rebelling in some way, he wouldn’t even consider going to another church. In the end, we not only got Steven back, who is a wonderful talent for us to have, but we got Brandi as well. She is a great addition to our Worship Team. I particularly enjoy when she plays the violin.
Going to a different church is scary enough, but to get involved on that kind of level has to be terrifying! Brandi jumped in anyway, feet first and found she liked it! Now she feels a part of something. She plays music as a way to be a contributing member. She is important and loved and special! She is a very caring individual and very accepting. I had been friends with Steven for a few years before I had ever met this “Brandi” he was always talking about. When I met her in church the first few times, she automatically accepted me as her friend, not just Steven’s. She has quickly caught my heart and I love her as a sister in Christ and our friendship grows. Get to know Brandi, she is a little shy at first and has a gentle spirit, but is easy to love!

Getting to Know Rich and Donna W

Let’s start with Rich’s beginnings. He is a native Nebraskan, growing up in Superior on his family’s farm. He stayed at the farm until 18. Then he finally moved into town. His story, just as most people’s, has a little bit of rebellion in it. He was brought up Lutheran but that didn’t stick. At about the age of 25 Rich was selling fire extinguishers and had sold some to a church. He started going to that church and enjoyed the fellowship there. He has an interesting baptismal in that he was baptized in the Republican River and it was none too warm, considering it was in April!

Now we will check in on Donna and go back to some of her beginnings. She was born in Whitewater, Ks. and grew up there until she graduated. Next, she got her LPN training at K.U. Med Center and worked there for about a year. Afterwards, she got a job at Shawnee Mission Medical Center in a suburb of Kansas City. She worked there for 10 years.

She grew up in a Christian family. She experienced Bible school and went to summer camps from age 6 up through high school. She had accepted Christ at 8 years of age.

Rich has been married before and had adopted his wife’s son at the age of 4, and has a daughter, Brooke, who lives in Lincoln. Rich has 2 grandchildren. Donna has a daughter, Julie, and one grandchild.

Donna made her way north through her husband at that time, Julie’s dad. He got one of the six positions available at the J.M. McDonald Company. So now Rich is in Nebraska and Donna made it to Nebraska. God’s plan for these two is about to begin.

Rich had worked in Superior at the cement plant until 1987. Then he went south of St. Louis to do cement work, but that didn’t last long, as Rich was not in the Union. He went back to Superior and eventually ended up in Hastings at Hastings Utilities. His second wife was less than enthralled to move to Hastings. She ended up leaving Rich.

Donna was an Avon agent turned to District Sales Manager for the Avon Company. She was with Avon for 16 years before retiring. She then took the life insurance test, and the state and federal financial securities tests. So she sold life insurance and mutual funds. She ended up going to a family reunion, without her second husband. Only to come back to divorce papers. The stage is set.

Rich started coming to this church after trying all the other churches around. He liked it and thought he would try something. He gave an unsigned check for offeratory on purpose hoping surely someone would notice and say something to him. Lo and behold, the check went unnoticed by the church and the pastor at the time and the bank! Not exactly his plan.

Now, let’s talk tractors! In 2005 his dad retired from farming and was auctioning off some equipment, including Rich’s grandfather’s John Deere tractor. Rich got the tractor and eventually joined a tractor club. He became president, while Donna was the secretary. Needless to say, once they met and got to know each other, things were moving along pretty well. Rich ended up proposing over the microphone at the tractor parade 3yrs ago and (off microphone) Donna accepted that proposal and they are going on 2 lovely years of marriage. I love the love stories!

Getting to Know Ron S

Ron S is a long-standing member of FBC. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Ron was born and raised in Clovis, NM until his college years, when he attended Eastern New Mexico University. Ron majored in microbiology and science. He met his lovely lady to be, Barbara, at college. This was a pairing meant to be: they were married in 1968 and are still going strong!

Ron has worked in many places around the country. They basically moved every two years for his job with Holly Sugar Corp. Imagine, moving to a new place every couple of years and all while raising their family! Ron shared a good story with me about this. His son, Chad, took to the moving quite well. Once they landed in their temporary home, Chad would go door to door introducing himself to the kids of the neighborhood within a four block radius. Wouldn’t you know, he would come back with a few kids in tow, ready to play.

Some of Ron’s favorite places to live were Brawley, CA and also Chico, CA. Not a big surprise considering weather and the beauty of the areas. The surprise for me was his fondness for Fargo, ND. He said it was very friendly and was large enough to provide a wide variety of activities for any age.

They did some neat things with friends. One of them being progressive dinners. One would travel from house to house for different parts of the dinner! Appetizers at house 1, on to the next home for the salads, another home for main course and so on. Sounds like fun!

I had to ask about hobbies. What does Ron do in his spare time? Most of you know that answer. I, among others, did not know the answer. Old cars! He enjoys restoring old cars to their former glory. I had to know if he had a favorite and Barbara mentioned hers is the 1980 corvette. Who could resist that? Ron has a soft spot for the 1975 Cadillac El Dorado he uses often times as a touring and parade car.

In 1984 the Sanders were brought to Hastings due to Ron’s being involved in the construction of the Chief Ethanol Plant.. Ron served as plant manager at Chief as well as being asked to help design, construct, and manage AGP Ethanol plant as well.

Ron is a trustee of this church. He is one of several that are responsible for decisions regarding the actual building, maintenance, finance and personnel. He has been a part of First Baptist Church, Hastings for 28 years. Another of his responsibilities is recording the service every Sunday for those who are unable to attend. It also serves to preserve our history as well. Something very important for new generations to come. When there is a wedding or a funeral, it gets recorded also.

I asked Ron to name 3 goals he had for the year. Here they are and they certainly helped me to put things in perspective. 1) His first goal was to survive cancer. He did it! 2) Next goal is to regain strength in order to get back to doing what he needs to. 3) Ron would like to see the church back on solid footing financially. It is important to him to see the church continue to grow in all facets.

I hope this helped you to get to know Ron a bit more. It certainly helped me. If you liked this article, stop and say “hi” to Ron!

Getting to Know SonJa J

I sat down with Sonja for this interview and learned much more than just some facts about this woman’s life. Like so many other kids these days, Sonja was the daughter of a hard-working single mother. For a while, Sonja, her siblings, and mother stayed with her maternal grandparents in the city of Chicago. When her mother got her opportunity to buy her own house for her family, her mother and grandmother decided that her mom would take her siblings and her grandmother would keep Sonja. This lasted about ten years with Sonja making week-end visits and spending summers with her family.

She had a family of strong faith and was blessed with her family’s example of what that faith meant. Sonja was 9 years old and going to a Baptist church. She had always hungered for God. She would observe the Spirit in various people at church and, one day, asked God for the Holy Spirit to come into her. She knew she had received the Spirit, she explained, because a glaze came over her and her body movements were not controlled by her. She was overjoyed by this and was learning to walk in the Spirit and be a bold Christian because she knew in whom she believed.

She had her rebellious struggles with conforming to fit in with her peers or following Christ. She had tried drinking and smoking and those things in which teenagers engage in. Because she was a child of the King and the Spirit had taken possession of her, she really wasn’t able to partake in such activities, such as promiscuity, drugs, alcohol and gang activity. It led to some lonely times for Sonja.

She had been in church one day and was told of the second coming of Christ. She was so moved to action that she asked for forgiveness and repented of everything under the sun. After which, she was sitting in her living room when she heard a quiet gentle voice tell her she was saved.

I asked her why Hastings? She said she followed Jay out here. Here is their story. A friend of Jay’s lived in Grand Island. Jay was having trouble finding work in Chicago. Jay’s friend told him that Swift was hiring and he should come out. So Jay came to Grand Island and lived with his friend for a short while. Sonja had known Jay from earlier years in Chicago. At that time, Jay wasn’t exactly her type nor was he ready for a committed relationship. Things ended up going the wrong way for his friend, so Jay moved to Hastings. During this transition time for Jay, he and Sonja reconnected via Facebook.

In December of 2011, Jay wanted to visit his mom in Chicago and Sonja drove him to see her. That is when they “officially” started seeing one another. In January of 2012 there was the proposal and by March 2012, a wedding!

Sonja has been blessed with several gifts. She has the gift of prayer. This is one fierce prayer warrior! What a way with words when she is in the Spirit! She has a gift for prophecy as well as discernment. She also has a passion for evangelism and loves speaking of her Lord!

I asked her why she thought we were here and she said that we are here to be an example to others, to let our lights from God shine and to always be looking for the opportunities to help others. We are here to glorify God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Keep that light shining brightly!

Getting to Know Lori K

I wanted to know more about Lori because she is such a big part of what makes First Baptist Church work. The easiest way to find out more is to ask the questions that will help understand the person better.

Here is part of her journey that she so willingly shared with me so you all could go through that journey as well.

She came to be at this church because of her long-time friendship with Larry and Connie Harvey. Lori has known them since her youngest son, Zack, was in diapers. He will be 14 this year, so that’s a long time!

She met them when the Harveys started attending church in Curtis, NE. The friendship started when Jasmine, 8 yrs. old at the time, went up to Connie one Sunday and said, ”My dad is a Muslim and your dad is a Jew. They are enemies so we should be friends.” They struck up a wonderful friendship after that. Lori and her kids attended Larry and Connie’s wedding. That would have been awesome to see!

After the Harveys arrived here in Hastings, back in Curtis, Lori was having a difficult time attaining full-time work. She had been working several part-time jobs to get through. What she wanted and what would have been best for her family just wasn’t happening. Hastings , being larger, seemed to be the next logical step. Better environment, better opportunities, easier to take care of Zack. Her daughter, Jasmine, was attending Hastings College so it seemed like a good idea.

Lori had been raised in a Christian home in McCook, Ne. She attended First Baptist Church there with her family. She came back from a camp session at Camp Moses Merrill and had accepted Christ. Her journey began. She happily told the minister when she came forward how many days old she was. There was a chuckle over that.

Then came . . . NO. . . dreaded teenage years! Like most, Lori hit her rebellious spell and was not as close with her Father and His Son as she had been. (If only we all could go back to the enthusiasm we had as new Christians.) That lasted until Jasmine was created. Lori came back to God and wanted the Christian lifestyle for Jasmine and for Zack. She wants to pass on her love of the Lord and all the wonders that faith and trust in God can bring to her children.

Lori is very interested in inductive bible studies. She feels connected to God when she is, not just reading His words, but doing in-depth studies of His words and principles. She is also interested in following her ancestory as well. She will also read mysteries, inspirational and historically based fiction if she had a few hours to spare.

I will leave you with a couple of Lori’s favorite verses.

Psalms 40:1-3 “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Getting to Know Joanne M

Joanne

Joanne is from Aiken County, South Carolina. Has 3 sisters and was lucky enough to have been brought up by two parents. She has endured her share of troubles. She had married a military man and had a daughter, Erika. She remembers the time she was living in Louisiana. She had transferred from the phone company which she had worked for since she had turned 16. Erika’s father had taken her to the sitter one evening and had gone to pick up her husband with Erika, of course, in the car. They were hit head on by another vehicle being operated by a drunk driver. I was told that small Erika was in a coma for two months at less than a year old. Erika did come out of the coma and rehab started for the little girl.

Unfortunately this tragedy, as well as other issues, proved to be too much for the young couple. They divorced and had little contact with the father for many years. Tough on Joanne and on Erika, who later did contact her father and worked on a relationship between them. Joanne had always been brought up in the Baptist church as a girl. She was divorced, a young mother and very, shall we say independent. At 16 she got herself a full-time job at the phone company and continued school full-time as well.

There came a time when mother/daughter relationship became pretty strained. Can we guess? Oh yeah, those lovely teenage years came upon them and it was no fun. Erika had the usual teenage angst as well some physical problems which they found out came from her time in the hospital as a very young girl. Through it all Joanne just kept loving her daughter and doing what she could for her. Eventually she was sent to Georgia for the Job Corps. After which Erika met a guy. The wrong guy, which landed her with a drug problem. This meant some tough love from Joanne. Had to leave the house because Joanne could no longer trust her daughter. Erika ended up stranded by a different man in New York.

Some things started to change. Joanne was offered early retirement and was given a year’s salary. She talked to her friend, Carmen, in Alaska and came up with a plan. Got a mobile home and off they went across the U.S. to see all this country had to offer. They traveled from South Carolina, to Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and further northward until they reached Alaska. This was a break Joanne definitely needed and deserved. Until evil reared its ugly head again. She met a man. He was from Nebraska but was working in a gold mine in Alaska at the time. Time went on and he wanted to move back to Ne. He wanted Joanne to come too.

They ended up moving in together and were living in Greeley County, Nebraska. It was to be the life of a rancher. With 50 head of cattle on 160 acres, there was plenty to do. As always, secrets have a way of making themselves known. This happened to Jim. His drinking and drugging came back to haunt him and Joanne. They had been married only 1.5 to 2 years. Joanne left her husband and went back to S. Carolina to care for her elderly father. Some time had passed and Joanne went back in 2004 to get herself moved out of Jim’s house.

Jim had been regularly drinking and building up some anger and resentment. Joanne found herself cornered in the bathroom and not being allowed to leave. It was becoming physical and abusive which escalated to him pulling out a shotgun and aiming it at Erika. Joanne got between them and were eventually able to leave. There was no doubt now what Joanne had to do. She had told Jim she would meet him in the morning and talk things out with him. Well, she had no intention of doing such a thing.

She did go by later to try and retrieve some of their stuff and he was home instead of working, much to Joanne’s surprise. They got into it some more and she found herself having a difficult time leaving. Somehow, by the grace of God, she was able to get into a vehicle and she drove right through the barbed wire fence and get to safety. She had to have the sheriff’s deputy go with her to collect their clothes and personal belongings, at which time he was arrested and kept in jail for a time. Needless to say, that wound up as a big old d-i-v-o-r-c-e.

She went to a women’s shelter in Grand Island and stayed for two weeks until she got a job in Feb. 2005. It was at this new job she met someone new. Enter Hugh Martin! They gradually started seeing each other. Things were progressing nicely until there was a near accident that occurred to Hugh. Things like that get you thinking and that was what Hugh was doing. That’s when he knew he loved Joanne. She had never been treated better by any man. He took her to see his mother and Joanne felt so at home with her. They went to church together and took a real liking to one another. Hugh’s mother lived to see them marry. She gave her ring to Hugh to give to Joanne. How beautiful!

On December 30, 2006 Joanne and Hugh were married in an Ice Storm. Things didn’t turn out exactly like they wanted for the wedding but they were thankful and happy in spite of the weather and all the chaos it caused. After getting married the couple moved to Hastings where Hugh resided and started looking for a church to attend. She could look back and see all the ways God had been working in her life. She had been through much pain between her daughter and her exes, but God kept her in His hands the entire time.

Getting to Know Jeff S

Jeff

We usually see Jeff in front of the church during the music, playing guitar and singing. We may know Jeff from Sunday school, which he leads most Sunday mornings at 9:30. I want us all to get to know more about the man whom we see as a leader, musician, and friend.

He was born in St. Paul, MN and lived there until about the age of four. He and his family then moved to a town in MN called Albert Lee. He went to a First Baptist Church there and came to know Christ personally in that town. His family had started to attend church there, but as time passed, only Jeff continued to go to church and get his spiritual needs met.

The parents split and, in time, Jeff found his way to Nebraska because his father lived in Lexington. Jeff came to this church by accident. After the church he attended in Minden shut down, he moved to Holstein and was wanting to continue his spiritual nourishment. He came to Hastings, looking for a church home. He tried several churches but something seemed to be missing. A friend suggested he try Calvary Church. He ended up at FBC by mistake, thinking it was the church that his friend suggested.

He was greeted by a man by the name of Warren Reed and was welcomed warmly and made to feel comfortable and non-judged immediately. The church was very friendly and easy-going. Jeff knew he had found the church God wanted him to be in.

Tim Semotan was Pastor at the time and had a wonderful musical ministry, which Jeff soon became a big part of. Pastor Tim was eventually moving on, so Jeff took on the leadership of the worship team. Jeff hasn’t always been comfortable in leadership roles, but in committing his life to Christ, was willing to step out in faith and see where the Spirit was leading him.

Since then, Jeff has formed a band called Becoming Mosaic. The name is just the beginning of the message of God he is shouting out. As he explained it, a mosaic is a piece of art that is one whole picture made up of many different smaller pieces. He sees it as God putting each one of us where he wants us and becoming a part of the bigger picture of emulating Christ. Our Lord is the whole and we all are the tiles that become that picture. How beautiful!

The band has played many local venues and will play anywhere they are wanted. Becoming Mosaic, or BEMO for short, will be playing their largest gig yet coming up July 12th in Brickyard Park for Celebrate Recovery in the Park. Jeff wants to serve Christ in any capacity he can and believes music is one part of his service.

He would like to see God to continue to be glorified in this church and to see a real outreach into the community spilling out of FBC doors. We all have our own gifts and we can really start to change lives through our faith and our love and passion for God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. He says to listen to that voice of the Spirit and to not let fear stop us from following it.

Let’s support our brother and, in doing so, we will be serving God!

Getting to Know Evelyn T

Evelyn

We are very lucky to have some wonderful, caring people in this church. Among them is Evelyn. She can always be found encouraging someone, listening to others, rejoicing in another’s joy. She starts her day with devotions and prayer. She understands the real value in trying to follow God’s plan for her life. She thinks it is extremely important to pray for our country’s leaders and for the direction our country goes in. Her love for God, her family, her church and her country helps to mold her into the person she is today.

Evelyn was born in Anoka, Ne. and was a farm girl. To say she is a small town girl is an understatement. When she lived there it had about 100 people living there. She was raised and graduated from Bristow, Ne which was a bit more populated. She graduated in 1949. She had one year at Northpark College in Chicago.

She first met her love, Gordon (Gordy), when she was about 14 yrs old. They met at a bible camp called Camp Joy located in Niobrara State Park in Nebraska. They wrote each other for a while since Gordy lived in Iowa at the time. They were married in Wausa, Ne. in 1953. She certainly found her joy at Camp Joy!

They started coming to the First Baptist Church here in Hastings when Pastor Chester Carlson was leading the church. In looking back through the years Evelyn remembers a fairly large congregation, estimating it at about 150 people or so. She remembers the large choir, which both she and Gordon were active in. Music had been a very important thread in her marriage. At one time Gordy was asked to play the organ and states that he was pretty scared to attempt that. Evelyn, always the encourager, told Gordy she knew he could do it. He practiced hard and did conquer that organ! There was a radio program that she and Gordon sang duets on quite often at Camp Joy. One of her fondest memories is of an Easter Passion Play. She had written the “screenplay” for it and the congregation came together to play the various parts. What a neat way for the church to join together in unity to accomplish a goal!

A difficult time in her life was when Gordy was so ill. The Lord was so near to them as he drew closer to being with the Lord. Her Church family was very dear to them, especially Kent Vogt. They became dear friends. Evelyn and Gordy’s special verse was Prov3: 4, 5- “Trust in the Lord with all your hearts and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”

Evelyn has been active in the ABW and Lydia Ruth Circle and goes to bible study Wednesday evenings rather regularly. She is helping with the new Women’s Group that has been forming and contributes to music occasionally and potluck often. She is recovering from hip replacement surgery and is always happy to entertain visitors. She is a truly lovely and loving woman and this reporter adores her. She is uplifting and encouraging and friendly.

Getting to Know Dave K

Okay, here’s Dave’s interesting story. When he was young, between the ages of 4 and 5, his family moved from Hollywood, CA to Omaha, NE. Talk about two different sides to the spectrum. These young years did a lot to mold Dave into the guy he is today. They lived in a house just above the old Missouri River bed. Dave had his first thought of God when he was 5. There was quite a bit of trash around and Dave thought he should clean it up for God.

To Dave’s benefit, he had his Grandfather Miller to take an interest in Dave’s spiritual welfare. He made sure he got Dave to church on Sundays and got Dave started on his journey towards God. Dave remembers being welcomed at church and watching his grandpa sing hymns. He observed the reverence his grandfather had when singing. Grandpa Miller was one of the first to share the Gospel with little Dave. In 1991 Dave was baptized.

When Dave was a baby he was sprinkled. This was in 1950. This was when he was given a bible by his grandparents. In it was this message from his grandma; “To guide you in His way.” To this day he has that Bible and treasures it immensely.

Dave had run of the farm. He was pretty much left to his own devices, which, for a young boy could get pretty hairy. He made 3-4 treehouses and did them up rather nicely. One had electricity and another had siding. This kid was creative and smart! His love of the outdoors can definitely be traced back to those years of hunting, building, trapping, building fires, and exploring in general.

Dave and his brother were not allowed to go into a neighboring shed, but rest assured, they found a way in. They tunneled through the brick foundation to get inside. Once there, they found a big moosehead in there and there were crates of alcohol. I am sure lots of other stuff a boy might find interesting.

Dave became a nurseryman and planted trees. He then became an arborist and learned much from his mentor, Tony Snyder. He learned how to handle a saw, and care for trees. The nursery closed and he ended up working at Millard Lumber Co. There he unloaded boxcars the old fashioned way. By hand. He did that for a while before becoming a driver for the lumber company. He enjoyed driving the truck, being free and able to come and go, delivering his wares. He drove from 1973 to 1979.

With a new decade came new opportunities. Namely, sales. The owner of the company, George Russell helped him move from driver to salesman. This was all in Omaha. Dave’s ex-wife wanted to move to Hastings. So he moved here and God made it easy to stay by providing a home for them and a job for Dave.

Dave came to know Jesus personally in 1972 when he was an arborist. He says it took a while for this “new life” to sink in, but when it did, my goodness, hold on! Then there is this thing called the human condition. With Dave, his human condition didn’t always toe the line with the Holy Spirit. A whole lot of learning was what happened during these struggles.

2005- Events led to two divorces and the biggest struggle to date for Dave. I thank God he is willing to share some of this personal struggle with us. His human side had been horribly hurt and like most, he wanted to take a different path. This did not sit well with the Holy Spirit.

The path Dave chose started out innocently enough but turned into this raging monster. He found his escape and it had many names; Harrahs, Ameristar, Bluffs Run, etc. It didn’t take long for this to get way out of control. He found help through Gamblers Anonymous and had friends and sponsers around to give him a hand when he needed it. He came to find that Christians need one another. You can’t do it alone and not just with Christ. The love, acceptance and fellowship from other Christians is just as much a part of the formula.

I am going to leave you with some Bible verses that help Dave that you can look up. I Corinthians 10: 12-13, Proverbs 3: 5-6, and Psalms 139: 5-6. Maybe these can bring you comfort for something you struggle with. Thank you, Dave for your open spirit and willingness to share.

Getting to Know Chalsa H

This is one subject I didn’t have to interview. I know her very well. Here’s how it all started. I was adopted, as were my two brothers. I kind of got plopped right in the middle of the boys. I was glad I didn’t have sisters because I always got my own room. Having one’s own space is a pretty big deal. Especially when you’re a teen-ager.

I have really always known I was adopted. My parents told all of us at early ages that we were adopted and what that meant. It’s the same with God. I never really remember wondering if there was a God. I just always knew it and believed it with the faith of a child. That doesn’t mean there weren’t some rough spots that needed sanding down; we will get to some of those soon enough.

My parents took us to church since we were very young. We all grew up in church and it is comfortable to me. Like an old recliner that molds itself to your body. I was part of the Youth Group and they were my social life. This time of year there was sledding down Campanille Hill at K. U. We went caroling down the streets of Lawrence with hot chocolate afterwards. I remember church lock-ins, R.I.S.K. parties, pizza, bowling as well as tag football, frisbee, softball and I especially remember Romans. Learning the bible and trying to understand that particular book. Somewhere, sometime after I took a wrong turn.

I married in 1988 and thought I was quite happy, but God was missing from my life. More like I left God behind. I spent some time looking for a church home both in Shawnee, Ks and in Olathe, Ks. But I never really found the right fit. So I had left myself without fellowship and a church home. Not realizing how important those things would become later on.

What started out as having a college aged husband who enjoyed beer became an alcoholic husband who depended on beer. Well, that drinking pattern worsened. I am not blameless in the break-up of my marriage. I had my own sins to deal with. Drugs entered the picture and it did not take long for my family to rip itself apart.

At one time I really was in Satan’s grip, wanting only to die. I had the means to follow through and I tried, but God was not going to give up on me. I was living in a hotel, had no job and things looked bleak. Or so I thought at the time. My lifeline was one person I trusted and a Gideon Bible placed in that hotel room. God bless those Gideons!

I felt I needed to leave the marriage in order to save myself; save my sanity, save my soul. I sure am glad I knew enough about God to recognize that His mercy and grace would find me, right where I was, in a puddle of tears and pain that were my fault as well as my husband’s.

I had kept Connie Harvey’s number for some reason and now I know why. Through communication with Connie, God used her love, compassion and ability to understand and slowly things changed. My situation hadn’t changed, but inside of me there was a metamorphoses. I HAD CHANGED! MY PERSPECTIVE CHANGED! MY ATTITUDE CHANGED!

I learned that God works from the inside out and that no matter how pitiful things may seem at the time, come morning, things look more hopeful. I left my husband and came to Hastings where my mother lives. For those who don’t know, Pat Day is my mother. I came to church with her and I stayed. This church has so many caring, truly loving people here, including (and especially for me) Connie Harvey. I am proud to call you all my family!

“Dear brothers, if anyone has slipped away from God and no longer trusts the Lord and someone helps him to understand the truth again, that person who brings him back to God will have saved a wandering soul from death, bringing about the forgiveness of his many sins”
James 5: 19, 20