Passages Christian Fellowship
Friday, September 21, 2018
Connect...Challenge...Impact!

Testimonies

Easter Baptism 2017 Final cut from Keith Bethel on Vimeo.

CJ Cowie Easter Testimony from Keith Bethel on Vimeo.

Dave Schoger testimony WS from Keith Bethel on Vimeo.

 
 

Charles Ramirez Testiimony from Keith Bethel on Vimeo.

 

James McAdams Testimony from Keith Bethel on Vimeo.

 
 

Easter Baptism 2016 from Keith Bethel on Vimeo.

Easter video 2015 from Keith Bethel on Vimeo.

 

I became a believer in Christ at a very young age. I was blessed with a very loving Christian family home. Church was just something that we always did. Prayer, for me was just a normal activity. Yet in this "perfect" environment, I failed to learn what it means to really trust God, to depend on him, and to surrender to him. As an adult, I have been a part of many churches. All of them were full of really great people who love God and serve him. I was making baby steps towards understanding what faith really is. Yet something was missing in me. I still had the concept in my head that church was for people who had their lives put together and in order. So I attended church and pretended that I had it all figured out also. I controlled my own life and didn't really talk about my struggles. It wasn't until I came to Passages that I started seeing that the Church is a place where a human can be human. Passages people were so open about their struggles and shortcomings. They NEEDED God in their lives and he was active and blessing them. I needed that also. I have attended Passages for 5+ years now and I have learned so much about God's love, God's provision, and how to rest in him when the stress of life is too much. I still have areas of my life that I struggle to release control. But each day God shows me that he is there for me. Every place where I have given him control has been blessed in ways that I could not even imagine. Servant of the King is the place I now wish to be.

Joe

 

I've been going to Passages for almost 8 years and can not say enough about my Passages family! I moved here from Colorado 8 years ago and have no blood family here, so consider the people at Passages to be my AZ family! This family has rallied around me numerous times throughout the ups and downs of life. When my business struggled they were there. When we had years of failed fertility treatments and a failed adoption they were there. When we adopted our beautiful son Aidan , in a story that was completely to the the praise and glory of God they were there with love, support, meals gifts and most importantly prayers and praise. If you are looking for a church home I can promise you that you won't be disappointed in this wonderful group of people who call Passages their church home! 

Tonya

 

My story is a story of loss and grief but ultimately it’s a story of God’s unfailing faithfulness and providence.  My story is a journey of a fighting faith where God provided healing and encouragement to believe that God is enough….no matter what.

 Late March 8th, a Saturday evening last year, after dinner with my in-laws my husband got “the call”.  Your birth mom broke water and is heading to the hospital to deliver.  William was born the following day March 9th, 2014 at 7:21am. His adoption was finalized September 10th, 2014.

 Let me back up a bit to explain the miracle of my son and how God planned for him long before we even knew he would be part of our forever family. After years of infertility treatment my husband and I decided to grow our family through adoption. After completing the home study we were matched with our first birth mom about a month later.  We were going to have a baby!  Marissa was born and we were her primary caregivers for two days in the hospital nursery preparing to take her home.  We feed her, changed her, met with the hospital pediatrician, and stayed overnight to care for her.  During a nursing shift change we left the nursery to return and find Marissa gone.  The birth mom changed her mind and decided to parent.  We were heart broken and devastated.

 The next few months were a period of mourning for us.  There were feelings of loss, anger, hurt and while I knew God wanted to take and heal my pain, in the beginning I didn’t want to give it up.  During this time the church was praying and interceding on our behalf even when I didn’t feel like I could.  I slowly started to heal by laying my hurt at the foot of the cross and God encouraged me to continue to trust him and to cling to him alone. “Am I enough for you?”  He was preparing us for another loss.

 After taking some time to mourn we decided to go forward with adoption again and were quickly matched with another birth mom.  We met and fell in love with her.  Within a month after the match she disappeared and dropped out of the program.  Feelings of grief and loss quickly resurrected and threatened to overwhelm me but this time was different.  I clung to God’s promises and God gave me the strength and conviction to declare that “God, you are enough…..no matter what.”

 Fast forward to the present. William is absolutely a perfect match for our family.  I can point to his personality and the physical attributes that get attributed to me or my husband by people who don’t know he’s adopted. The timing of his arrival could not have been more perfect with both my husband and I getting new jobs just months previously allowing for us to spend more time at home.  Once William came into our lives we had time off to coordinate, caregivers to arrange, baby necessities to purchase, legal issues to attend to and God provided for us over and over.  Looking back He removed hurdles before we even knew they were there and provided for needs before we even knew there was a need. God’s finger prints are all over and like a sister in Christ once encouraged us “Sometimes our plan B is God’s Plan A”.  

Habakkuk 3:17-19

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Brenda
 

 

Before my heart was opened and I received God, Jesus was just a piece of jewelry I wore around my neck. I grew up knowing there was a God, and believing one day we would be with him. It just never occurred to me that it could be here on earth. You live your life doing the things you think a father, a husband, a man is suppose to do to provide. You don't realize that what your really looking for are the pleasures in life, that instant gratification you get from that high, the lust. The devil has a way of disguising that man you see in your own mind. He can take you farther than you want to go, deeper than you want to fall. All that selfishness and suddenly your alone at rock bottom. But sometimes God lets you hit rock bottom so you can see that HE is that rock! When that time came, that seed inside of me led me to church, lost with nowhere to turn but to that cross around my neck. When you open God's book, it has a way of opening your eyes. I saw his ways, his love, my life was changing. God led me to Passage's, and for the first time I felt what real friends are. People with Jesus in their heart, they don't care where you come from, where you've been. They care about you, and directing you to where you should be with God. I was so excited with the direction God was leading me. But there was still something missing in my life, the loneliness was still there. I was laying in bed crying and asking God what does he want from me! I was going to church, reading the bible. Why is this pain of loneliness the emptiness still here? That's when I felt his presence, a hand on my back! I turned to see who was there, but there was no one behind me. That's when I knew he was REAL, he wanted me! From that moment I put everything down and started to show my family what Jesus teaches, LOVE. I wanted my family back, I needed my wife, I missed my daughter and grand kids, I missed my son, my best friend. I needed to show them that that person no longer existed. With God's strength not mine, I was able to do that. Through God Grace, we became a family. James 1:4 says, "But let patience have it's perfect work, that you may be made perfect and complete, lacking nothing." God continues to show himself in our life. Mountains get bigger, there's an off ramp everywhere you look. But Trust and Faith in God gives me that Patience required to get through those trials that work in making me perfect, being complete, mature, and whole in Him, lacking nothing. The Holy Spirit has taught me that Jesus is the TRUE PROVIDER! With his GRACE and LOVE, God has turned those worldly pleasures into JOY and PEACE!

Charles
 
 

Our family has lived in Laveen, Arizona for 11 years and have been at Passages for nine years. We moved from Gilroy, California for economic reasons. One of the last things our godly friends in California said to us was to be sure and get plugged into a biblical-based church family. We took that to heart as we knew that moving to Arizona without knowing too many friends and having no family support would be a challenge for our marriage and in raising our adopted daughter who at that time was four years old. We are fortunate that we recognized that we are only pilgrims on this earth and God is always faithful. We are reminded of God's faithfulness for each year that we have been here in Laveen. Whenever we needed prayers and physical help and listening ears our Passages church family has been there for us...and what a joy it was the day our daughter Amanda was baptized. She was twelve years old at the time. We gave God the glory when both our earthly fathers passed on to heaven and I thank God that he gave my husband back to me after he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on his kidney and had to have it removed. I shall end with these words from the Doxology that we have sung with joy since coming to faith in Jesus. Each year the meaning gets more sweeter to our lives:  " Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise him, all creatures here below; Praise him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen! 

Alice
 
 

I've known and depended on Jesus and His love, to some degree, since I was a little girl. I grew up Catholic and, although I had had a few very strong spiritual mentors that taught me to look first to Jesus, I became disillusioned in young adulthood. At that time I was on the parish leadership council, but was told often that tradition was more important than spiritual growth. So in my early 20's, I began to seek outside of the church I grew up in. I found some of what I was seeking in a Christian church. After marrying, starting a family and moving to Laveen, we began to visit local churches. Passages was the only church that gave direct contact information for the Children's Church Leaders. In emailing Liz, I was convinced that the ministry was lead by someone knowledgeable and experienced in child development and that safety measures were in place. I felt comfortable leaving my boys, who had never stayed with anyone but their grandmother, in the care of the church nursery. After attending, hearing the messages, and feeling a deep conviction that the Holy Spirit was moving at Passages, we decided to stay. The nursery volunteers endured months of our crying kids with patience, and today our boys enjoy going to Children's Church with their friends. Although, I had attended a Christian church before coming to Passages, I still had many misconceptions and doubts about my place in the Kingdom. Through the Core Classes and talking with Pastor Keith, I was able to fully understand the gift of God's salvation and was baptized in 2008. I remember thanking Passages, that day, for the promise to guide me as I grew spiritually. Baptism wasn't the end of my struggles. My plans for my life seemed to continually be blocked. I had two children under the age of 2 and wasn't able to return to work as quickly as expected. My oldest son was diagnosed with autism at 3 1/2 and my youngest had sensory, learning and eye problems. My husband's mother became very ill. While he struggled to help her and his sisters, I struggled to learn all I could about how to help my children. Being a Stay-at-home-mom for a long period meant sacrificing the home we had built and had imagined raising our family in, to a short sale, and moving to a home half the size. It meant even more financial stress and difficulties. Not having control of my, and my family's future, created anxiety, which at times became debilitating. Through these difficulties, God continued to speak to me and teach me, through the messages at Passages, through Pastor Keith and Rebeccah, through the prayers of many, through my quiet time with Him. I learned that my control is an illusion. God has everything in control. He has plans for my future- not to harm me but to prosper me. I have hope in Him because He loves me. He knows what is best for me. He has a plan for me, and my family, and I don't have to know what it all is right now. I learned that anxiety comes, partially, or can be used, by the greatest liar to make a person believe what is not true and keep us from God's will for our lives. I have learned about the power of praying in the name of Jesus. In my time of deepest need, I was allowed a glimpse of the power His name has over the lies that lead to anxiety, and over all evil. There is no way to truly express what He has shown to me, and what He means to me, in a short testimony. Each day is a new day. I rejoice in the gift of the day and thank God for everything I have, even the breath that I take and the use of my hands and feet to do His work. I know that each day will bring forth new challenges and new struggles, but I also know that, with Jesus, and with the support of like-minded Christians at Passages, I can make it through the valleys ahead praising God, because He is good.

Anani
 
 

I realized that I have always longed for a big family, a family that was close and cared for each other. When I moved to Arizona, I was far away from all I had known my entire life.  I felt very lost and alone.  My fiancé & I began looking for a church.  The very first time we attended Passages, we were impressed with how warmly we were welcomed.  A couple invited us to their home after church that day.  We felt comfortable at Passages and continued to attend. I joined a home team, and began serving.  I went to the Women’s Retreat last year.  My fiancé joined a home team, began some service as well.  He attended Man Camp this last March.

The people at Passages are not self-righteous and judgmental, but instead they are sincere, transparent, and truly show God’s love.  I feel safe and accepted.  I am learning much that is so relevant to me each day, and am growing in God’s word and walking closer to the Lord than I ever have in my life.

Shar