Prospective New Members: Ryan Allen, Sharon Odumu, and Maria Toews
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 it, consider signing up for our upcoming Next Steps Class.
Please read the testimonies of Ryan Allen, Sharon Odumu, and Maria Toews. Take some time to get to know them over the next couple of weeks.
I never grew up in a Christian household. My parents told me they attended church when I was young, but eventually stopped going so I don’t remember anything. I had never believed in God or read a word of the Bible until a few months ago at the time of writing this. I had always believed in many of the principles that are found in the Bible, such as principles of sexual immorality, the nature of man, and the nature and right and wrong. However, I was never able to justify why that was right. I began to seek the answers. Through research of the arguments for God, I became convinced of His existence and that He is everything that is good. Upon reading more of His word, it became clear that I am not living near that standard and, feeling guilty, begged God for help. It was at this time that the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ became clearer. I have broken God’s law but through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ, one may be forgiven and reconciled to God if they repent of sin and put their faith in Jesus Christ. I begged God for the strength to turn to Christ and away from my sins and, by His grace, He answered. I have noticed subtle but important changes in my behavior recently. More so, I have noticed feelings of anger and envy, that I would normally feel in certain situations, are no longer present or quickly suppressed. I have also noticed that I tend to tell truth more, even if it makes me look bad. This has led to a better relationship with my parents and with people in general. I hope to grow in understanding of God and learn to serve so that He may be glorified.
Short version, I grew up in a “Christian household” and went to church as a child, but I had no idea what the gospel was. I was terrified of God because I knew that the sins in my life warranted his wrath on me. I decided to try my best to do good deeds in an effort to avert his wrath. This vengeful (incomplete) understanding of God’s nature filled my life with anxiety and fear because, no matter how hard I tried, I could not change myself or my fleshly desires. After going through what I would call a truth quest in 2016, God used many hardships and unbearable loneliness to draw me to himself. I finally understood the grace of God in 2018 and stopped trying to earn my salvation. I was able to rest in the finished work of Christ. The Christian walk is never easy, nor can I claim to walk perfectly in Christ, but his grace and his love abound, hence I can greatly rejoice.
Knowing God in a personal way started before I can remember. This may seem like an odd statement but let me explain. I grew up in a Christian home with parents that talked about God and the Bible 24/7. Before I even understood the concept of my sinfulness and needing a saviour, I was babbling to God as a toddler because the concept that my young mind did grasp was that God loved me and I loved God. As I grew up, I later gained more understanding of my sinfulness and loved God all the more for coming to earth to die and rise again for my sins to save me. However, this often led me to feeling a little envious as a child when people would share their testimonies as I never had a specific life-changing moment when I could say I was saved. I wanted that moment where I could tell people “I was saved on this date, when I was blank years old”. As I’ve grown older I’ve come to realize that not every story is the same and that I was, and am extremely blessed, to have been saved so young and given a wonderful Christian household to grow up in. This shielded me from a lot of pain and sadness that so many people have to live through. Despite not having a huge change in my life upon a specific date when I was saved, I had more of a gradual change in attitude and behaviour as I grew in my understanding of God and as He showed me my many sins over time. Since I am saved by grace, but still struggling with my sinful nature, I will continually have sins pointed out to me throughout my life. I will continually grow in becoming more like Jesus. This work in my life will never end. I thank God that He never has given up on me and never will. That is such a reassuring thought for me. Now, as I look back on my life, I can see how God has guided and directed me every step of the way, through the tough times and the good times. Most recently, God has directed me to Knollwood Baptist Church and I look forward to getting to know the family of God here and serving Him through this church and community.