Prospective New Members: Cesar Peralta, Francioli Olivares, Gregory Caraballo, Jessineth Colina
As a church, we are excited about how God is working among and through us. One aspect is seeing people excited to lock arms as they seek to partner with us in Church Membership. If you are curious about what it means to partner with Knollwood in Church Membership or just want to learn more about that, consider signing up for our upcoming Next Steps Class.
Please read the testimonies of Cesar and Fran, and Greg and Jessi, and take some time to get to know them over the next couple of weeks.
I used to be a man that thought that I had to have control on everything around me, otherwise I felt anxious and insecure. I lived a life of bitterness. Every other day, my family used to tell me to pray for that and slow down because one day I’m going to get sick.
At that moment my relationship with God was weak. I used to attend church but because it was a good tradition. One day Fran’s cousins invited us to a Bible study and then we started to attend that Baptist church. A few months passed and one day I started to understand that Christ died to save me and his mercy is great and infinite.
Since that day I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and my savior and do his will.
What I was like before: My family, friends and interests were normal as usual. I went to Catholic church, maybe some activities, just studying and working, sharing time with my circle. I found my hope and security in my own efforts. I thought I was independent and I could do everything by myself. My religious background and attitude about Christ was just normal, I went to the church on Sundays, maybe one day I gave thanks to God for his gifts and blessings. I knew that God gave His life for me since I was a child; but my relation to God was not close and deep.
What God used to begin to open my eyes: I was awakened to my need for Christ by people, books, meeting, circumstances, etc.… God has been good with me on every stage. I was in sin when I was younger or in my teenager years and He had mercy on me all the time. He took care of me and guided me to HIM with love and patience.
My mom and dad were Christians since 2000. I remember they invited me and I went with them only few times. What I understand or noticed (about myself, God, others) at this point was… at this point I was just enjoying those years, focused on my careers goals, meeting new people.
What I saw and understood: The aspects of the gospel that touched me were… I understood that had new life in Christ, that HE could offer me His forgiveness and give me the strength and hope that this world can not. The Gospel is our hope that we could have an eternal life after death and that HE has done everything just to clean my sin and mistakes and save me. I came to understand that Christ is all I need to survive in this world, at this moment in this place and now. A particular Scripture that the Lord used to draw me to Him.. Isaiah 26 3 I saw that I needed to be more connected in each of my roles: wife, mother, daughter, professional, every role that He has equipped me to do it.
How Christ is affecting my life: My relationships with others, how to be tolerant and comprehensive. My attitude toward my whole life, my fears, my pain, my doubts, my desires are now more focused on my needs. I have everything I need in Christ. A difficult area of obedience is about my fears, how to deal with a new life in a new country with new challenges, without my family, without my country.
I was born and raised in a Christian family. Since I was a little child my parents taught me about the bible. But it wasn’t until I was 16 years old that God opened my eyes and I saw that the purpose of my life was to serve God and trust in Jesus’ sacrifice in the cross.
From that moment I started a fierce fight with my own sin and I try every day to be more like Jesus by trusting Him and the power of the Holy Spirit. Now, I don’t serve my own desires, but God’s desires and I take every chance that I have to share my faith with others so that they also become part of God’s people.
My name is Jessineth Colina and I am from Venezuela. I did not have the blessing of growing up in a Christian family, but in one dominated by religious idolatry and in total ignorance of the will of God revealed in the Bible. We barely knew the little bit that was mentioned in the religious services of the Catholic Church. As time passed, I moved away from that religion despite criticism from my family. Also on many occasions I rejected the gospel because I had a very bad perception of evangelicals, whom I considered crazy and I didn’t like them.
In 2016 my life took an unexpected turn and I was forced to migrate to Dominican Republic. I hated the idea of moving to that country, but it was the only option I had at the time. From then on my life turned into a complete disaster. I was completely far from God. I fell into many sins, I looked for happiness in vain and empty things, I had no peace, I missed my family, I suffered from depression and anxiety, until at the end of 2017 I hit rock bottom and thought about looking for God but I didn’t know how to do it. I begged Him to give me a sign, but I felt that God was not listening to me.
His answer came in December of that year. Gregory Caraballo (who at that time was my friend but is now my loving husband) invited me to his Baptist church. For a while I resisted because of the bad concept I had of Christians and their practices, so I postponed it until 01/07/2018 when I decided to attend the church, due to his insistence. As soon as I arrived I realized that it was not what I imagined. The praises and songs moved me, and then came the light of the preached Word. That day Pastor Sugel Michelen preached the sermon “Jesus or Barabbas?” That day I saw the story of Jesus from a different perspective. I understood that the only begotten Son of God and Lord humbled himself and went to the cross so that we could be freed from the power of sin. My eyes were opened and I knew that I had been wrong and lost all my life. I understood that Christ’s mission was to die in my place to redeem me; that although I behaved well my good works and righteousness were like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) and that I was condemned if I did not believe in Him as my Savior.
From there began my thirst to know Jesus Christ more and more, I was conquered by Him just like Paul. I continued going every Sunday, I continued reading the Bible and the transforming power of the Word began to work in my life. I started to make changes when I understood that I was on the path of darkness, because everything exposed by the light becomes visible and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. God spoke to me through his Word, and told me: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you”! Ephesians 5:13-14
Today I am buried together with Christ and I am raised to newness of life, so I no longer want to live for myself. I recognize that He is the only God of my life; And though I still struggle with sin and still have afflictions, the Holy Spirit enables me to face them as I walk in obedience to Him.
I thank God for having taken me to Dominican Republic and brought me closer to Him with his ropes of love. I also thank God for using my husband as an instrument to find Jesus 4 years ago.
At this time, we are new to a nation with different culture and regulations, but we thank God for opening the doors of this country for us and bringing us to this church to serve you. I assure you that I will serve you from my heart. We know that God has a purpose in bringing us to Canada. His word says: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth” (Acts 13:47) and We trust in God’s promises.
All my life I dug broken cisterns that cannot hold water, but now I have the true and only source of living water, my Lord Jesus Christ.