Below is a Story of Transformation from Ray and Lydia who became members at FGCC on April 9th.
My name is Ray. My family and I have been attending FGCC for approximately two and a half years.
I grew up in Rosetown, Saskatchewan with my twin brother and younger sister. We grew up going to church, learning the typical Sunday school stories, and praying before meals, but that was really the extent of our knowledge of Christianity. The church didn’t have a daily impact in my life and I certainly didn’t know there was a God who actually wanted a relationship with me.
When I was 11 years old, my siblings and I went to Ranger Lake Bible Camp with friends of ours from Rosetown who attended the Alliance Church. This was the first time I remember hearing that Jesus had come to restore our relationship with God. To be honest though, as a rather selfish 11-year-old, the part that impacted me most was that I wasn’t going to heaven but rather to hell, unless I accepted Jesus as my savior, and so I did. As it turns out, so did my siblings. As a family, we started attending the Rosetown Alliance Church and through Christian friends and youth group my faith began to grow. I was baptized when I was 15 years old.
Since that time, there have been many moments where I can look back and see God’s guiding hand in my life. One of these is the path God took me, and eventually us, on over 15 years of education. This resulted in many challenges including moving across the country and back again to Saskatchewan where I currently practice as one of the cancer surgeons in the province. I never imagined I would have the honor and responsibility of daily walking with people through some of the darkest moments in their lives.
Since finishing my surgical training, God has been challenging me with being more intentional with my time. Whether it is spending individual time with my girls (aka daddy-daughter dates), spending time with Lydia, making friends and connecting into a church body (something that I always found a bit awkward to do when I knew I would be moving again in two years or less) and of course, figuring out what quiet time with God means now – historically this turned into very quiet time with me asleep. I have a long way to go at all of this.
I’m consistently feeling challenged to change from what seemed largely a reactionary way of life, to one that is not only more intentional but one where I truly seek God’s will in all of the moments, not just the big ones. I have always found Galatians 5 to be an encouragement and challenge but I have really just thought of it as the “Works of the Flesh” and “Fruits of the Spirit” verses. However, Galatians 5:25, which states “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit”, has stood out more to me as I try to learn what it is to truly walk in step with God.
I want to become a member of FGCC to publicly declare my commitment to this church body.
My name is Lydia. I have been married to my husband, Ray, for almost nine years and we have two daughters, Skye (7) and Kenzie (4). We have been attending Forest Grove for a little over two and a half years.
I was born and raised in Regina and grew up in a home where we all knew that Jesus came first. As a child, I often saw this as restrictive and frustrating, and did my best to ‘rebel’ against it…but now as an adult raising my own kids, I see what an incredible gift my parents gave us in their decision to follow Christ, no matter what the cost. I hope that Ray and I can be that same example for our daughters.
Through my parents teaching and example, I have never doubted the existence of God and my belief that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. I’m sure as a young child I accepted Christ into my life, but it wasn’t until I was 14 years old that I decided to fully commit to following Jesus and to choose each day that I was going to live my life for Him.
Over the years God has used some big moments to get my attention and assure me of who He is. Whether it was a 3rd degree burn to my leg at the start of summer camp season as a teenager, the miscarriage of our second child, or a few tough moves as a family while Ray completed his residencies and set up his surgical practice, God confirmed for me not only of His very real presence in my life, but also of the incredible love, care, and hope that comes through life with Him.
A recurring theme throughout my life has been the feelings of being very mediocre in a family of very talented people. After high school I had no idea what I hoped to do with my life and felt no pull in any direction. I worked, traveled, spent a year at Covenant Bible College, and a year as a nanny in Portland, Oregon. Shortly after returning home, I decided to enroll in a distance education program to become a Cardiology Technologist. Oddly enough, it was through this studying that God showed me so much of who He has wanted me to be. As I was reading through one of my anatomy books where I was learning about the heart at the cellular level, it amazed me to see how much damage one little cell can do when it is not doing the job it was made to do. Just that morning I had read in Ephesians 4:16,
“From Him, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows & builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
I realized in that moment the gifting that God has given me as a supporter and helper…and I also realized the damage that can be done by time wasted wishing for different talents & not fulfilling my part in the body of Christ. I am so thankful for this lesson from God and am working at where He can keep using me to be confident in these “helper” roles as I aim to serve my family, and as we continue to get more involved here at Forest Grove.
Another verse that has repeatedly come up in my life and that we have worked on memorizing as a family is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
“Be joyful always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I am so thankful for the friendships we have formed here at Forest Grove, and for the Godly leaders at this church that have taught us, encouraged us, and continue to push us forward spiritually. I would like to become a member of Forest Grove Church as a way of publicly declaring my commitment to this church and its members as we all seek to be transformed by Christ.