Westside Family

Students Serving | Generosity Story

Your generosity fuels all of Westside's efforts to make disciples, equip families, and share Christ's love here and around the world.

One of the things it means to be a part of the body of Christ is to serve. And I am so excited about the number of kids and students who serve all over Westside Family, in our Lenexa campus, Speedway campus and our church online. At church I'm just so excited about the room you have made for these kids and students to serve, to share their gifts, abilities and passions. Way to go.

I serve because I found a really big calling. I play guitar and I was like, "You know what? Let's just give it a try."

You would think that students only serve in student ministry, but really almost every event that Westside has, there are some students serving behind the scenes, whether it's in tag or childcare or hospitality. Our students are everywhere.

In early childhood I meet parents I thought I would never have met if I wasn't serving in there.

Well you get to play with little kids and help them learn, and just playing with them is so fun.

I serve here because the community is super accepting.

I love it when kids want to serve in first impressions, and I love the example that they're setting for us as adults.

They honestly do a lot in the church and a lot of people don't even know how much students actually do. So I think it's awesome to see. We get to see it more than anyone else.

Well we do church online right here in the cove and we have students that join us every Sunday to help people all around the world love Jesus, become like Jesus and share Jesus.


I just think it's just fun to serve here in the online area.

I like serving on Sunday mornings because I like to serve God.

I got started about a year and a half ago and I really liked it so I just stuck here.

Not only are kids and students making a difference by serving in a church, but they are also making a difference by modeling what servanthood looks like.

I've been serving since sixth grade. It's really cool because I got my dad serving now too.

Well he'd been working in the cafe for about three or four years, and knowing that he comes to church every weekend, I thought well I could do my part and so I reached out to him and here we are helping with the stage setup.

Hey, one big way we saw our students serve here at Westside was through KidsGiG. We had over 200 students serve here at Lenexa campus and our Speedway campus and we believe that if students actively serve their church, it changes them spiritually. And so we're thankful for a place like this.

I serve because I just love the environment of the kids and just being able to just be worshipping for Him it's just one of the simplest ways to just show that you love Him.

And so when the students are serving, I feel like they're advancing in their faith every time to do it.

I started serving on the production team in January of 2018. Derek was my mentor through all of this and he really helped me see the light of Jesus. And on August 4, 2019 I rededicated my life by getting baptized and that was such a cool experience.

These kids, the students are not only learning about Jesus, but they're learning to serve like Jesus served others and loving other people. Thank you Westside. You made this happen by supporting our kids and students.

You helped make these blessings possible through your faithful giving. Thank you.

Global Impact Thailand | Generosity Story

Your generosity fuels all of Westside's efforts to make disciples, equip families, and share Christ's love here and around the world.

A One Life childcare program exists to care for and journey alongside vulnerable children in many of our communities where Westside global impact is making a difference through church planting, vulnerable child care, and community empowerment. Because of your generous and consistent giving through our One Life sponsorship program, children's lives are being saved, both physically and spiritually. Trajectories are changing and kids are being launched into all that God has purposed for them inside of his redemptive story. One of these stories belongs to Wantana Kanason, affectionately known to us as Ice. Pastor Ed, one of our Thailand One Life directors found Ice working the streets of Chiang Rai when he was 11 years old. His mother had abandoned him years earlier and he had never known his father."

When he was 13, surrounded by the people who got drunk, drunk and smoking. There's a lot of bad things happened in his life situation.

Because of his passion to reach the lost, Pastor ed stepped in and rescued Ice from the violence and danger of the streets.

I just want to help him what he would like to do to have a better life. He don't like to have a normal education because he liked to fix motorcycle. We send him to learn how to fix trimmer one year in Chiang Rai and then we send him to Bangkok to learn how to fix motorcycle for eight months and then he came back to One Life in Chiang Rai. He working hard. He learned a lot of things because he wanted to have his own business. Now he has his motorcycle shop, his own motorcycle shop.

Ice has added to our sponsorship program and welcomed into Ed's One Life family where he was given food, shelter, and space to just be a boy. Through the love and encouragement of his new family, Ice was welcomed into a relationship with Jesus.

Jesus saved his life, now Ice, he has become a Christian. For the first time that he came, he don't know anything about the Lord Jesus and for the first time he feel like Jesus is necessary thing for his life but now his life totally changed.

One life will continue to change the lives of children and their communities in Thailand, southeast Asia, India, and South Africa, and we look forward to being a part of more life change stories like this one.

Thank you, Westside, because of your generosity, you make it happen for Ice to have a better life. Thank you. Thank you, Westside.

You helped make these blessings possible through your faithful giving. Thank you.

John and Kay North and Jimmy | Generosity Story

John North: Well, we moved back to Kansas City in 2005 and found Westside.

Kay North: And out kids loved it, and I think that's the most important.

John North: Yeah, at that age, it was the kids, the kids' program.

Kay North: The kids would ask, "When are we going to go to church again? When are we getting to go to church again? I want to go to church. Why are we not going to church today?" I mean, they asked all the time. That's what I wanted, and that's what we got from Westside.

John North: It's so awesome how Westside partners with families and my situation specifically with Pastor John Huber. We just have these daily conversations. Sometimes they're five minutes. Sometimes they're a lot longer. And it's grown our relationship up to the point where Pastor Huber's come and picked up my son and taken him to lunch just to talk about some issues he was having at school.

Kay North: So, throughout my time at Westside, I've also been involved in medical mission trips. Through my best friend from medical school, her organization was able to build a orphanage, a school, a church, and a medical clinic, and now a birthing center in Malawi.

Jimmy Sandram: I came at orphanage because I lost my birth parents and then because of some other issues at my house. And then I went to the orphanage because my family couldn't afford everything that I need in school. I received Jesus Christ there because we are learning a lot of Bible stuff there. I ended up to be a worship team member at that orphanage.

Kay North: And finally in 2017 I was able to make my first trip over there. Loved every second of it. It was beyond hard, hard, hard to see, but loved every second of it.

Jimmy Sandram: I met with her when she was there because I was one of the kids that help people translating English into Chichewa because some of them they don't know know how to speak English. So, that's when I met with my mom.

Kay North: And then it was last summer just was kind of talking about the future of some of these kids and John asked, "Do you have any kids that would like to come over here?" He said, "Yep." John said, "Done." It was pretty much that simple.

John North: Six weeks, seven weeks after saying yes he's here and a month from going to school.

Kay North: Once he got here he just was ready to fit in and go somewhere. And so, through Pastor John, he helped us a lot. We asked him we were like "How do we do this? What do we do? Where do you think is a good spot for him?" And so he just plugged us right in. He helped us plug Jimmy right in.

John North: Well, during KidsGiG he was chosen to serve on the worship team.

Jimmy Sandram: It was so amazing, and I was feeling more excited singing in KidsGiG. They ask me if I can help teaching with kids there, and it was also amazing working with kids at Westside Family Church and teaching them.

Kay North: Even though we consider him ours like one of our kids, it's really kind of a scholarship. He was brought over so that someday he could give back. He knew that he was going to be going back this summer to the orphanage. But I don't know if he knew what he was going to do there, how it was going to work, what it was going to be like. But when we started the Believe series, it was almost right away, he would, "I want to teach this. I want to teach this. This isn't good. This is what I need to teach the kids back there."

Jimmy Sandram: I feel like God was speaking to me that I have to do Believe when I go to Malawi, and I was kind of like "So how can I be able to find the Believe book and every resource that I need to teach back in Malawi." And then I talked to Pastor John Huber, and then he give me the Believe shirts and then bags and also, he add more Believe books and give to me.

John North: Just overwhelmed us with what they gave us. And Jimmy was so excited because now he went through the Believe series himself. He's impassioned because he wants to go teach from the orphanage he came from, teach these kids the Believe series.

Jimmy Sandram: If I can take that to share with kids what I have learned here it's going to be perfect to them, and it's going to make them to change their life also to learn some other new things that can help them to grow in spiritual way. So I was feeling more excited to take the Believe books to go to Malawi and to teach them so that they can learn what I have learned here in Westside Family Church.

Orphanage kids: Thank you, Westside Family Church!

KidsGiG 2019 | Generosity Story


Your generosity fuels all of Westside's efforts to make disciples, equip families, and share Christ's love, here and around the world.

Hey, we are wrapping up an amazing week that KidsGiG here. And we are so thankful for all the volunteers and all the parents who made a commitment. Your generosity has helped us reach over 2,000 kids, students, and leaders.

The chance to impact kids when they're young, and plant a seed in their life, it doesn't get any better than that because you know that God is going to do something with that as words faithful to return fruit.

I love doing all the songs with the kids and watching them learn them. And then as the week goes on, they are powered up, and they are crazy excited to worship with us.

But they're also learning how to communicate with everybody, and they're learning how to praise the Lord. And they're learning how to have fun with each other.

I love KidsGiG.

I like learning about Jesus.

I like the teachers.

I like the dancing and singing.

We are just so thankful for all of the volunteers that make this happen in order for kids to understand the love that God has for them.

I volunteer because it's always fun teaching little kids about Jesus, and just showing them how fun it can be growing in God with others.

I volunteer because I love seeing all the kids happy and then growing in their faith.

I've done KidsGiG the last two years, and I wanted to lead a group this year.

We could not pull up KidsGiG without the amount of volunteers it takes to pull this off every year.

I volunteer because they make me. I'm just kidding.

I've been working in many different places. I started in the Little Minis, but I transferred into Missions. And it's my favorite thing to do. It's just so cool teaching kids about other places, and about them being thankful for what they have.

And so without the church's generosity pouring into KidsGiG, so that we can then take KidsGiG, not just here in Kansas City, but around the world. None of this would be possible. So thank you Westside.

I want kids to grow up knowing that Jesus is fun to serve, that it's fun to dance and raise your hands, and scream out. And when the spirit moves you, you just move with it. And I want to teach kids that.

I love KidsGiG.

Westside Family Church.

You helped make these blessings possible through your faithful giving. Thank you.

Moms Together | Generosity Story

Your generosity fuels all of Westside's efforts to make disciples, equip families, and share Christ's love here and around the world. Thank you.

It is so awesome that Westside provides a space for us to meet and a warm breakfast for us to be able to gather in a safe place in order to build community with other moms.

So Moms Together is a group for moms of all ages. We meet together in community with one another, and the purpose of it is so we can build relationships with one another in order to point one another towards Christ.

Some of the stories that have come out of our group are absolutely amazing. And I just love the way that God has worked in the hearts and minds of our women.

I ended up at Moms Together through an invitation of some mom I met at Chick-fil-A. She saw me with my three kids and just sat down and started talking to me. And she invited me to come and check out what the church group had to offer.

Well I had seen the bulletins posted frequently for joining Moms Together, but it took me three years of coming here for me to get enough courage to come. I think the enemy was fighting against me. Didn't want me to have a group of moms in my corner. So I finally got the courage to step out of my comfort zone to try it out. And I only came one time before I realized I was in the right place at the right time.

Well first I just needed the friendships and the other mamas just to come along side me and walk with me through life's ups and downs with motherhood. And just also the spiritual aspect of it as well. Bringing God in and bringing Godly ladies around me to help raise my children and help me to be an encouragement to them was really just another blessing of this group.

I came one meeting and I literally felt like God was saying, "This is where I want you to be. And you're not designed to be alone. And you don't have to be alone anymore."

Because of her and her sharing, just her generosity, I was able to come and get plugged in to a moms group that I desperately needed when I had three young kids and had just moved back to the area.

Since I started coming, I really kind of opened up and shared a little bit of what I was going through outside of the group. And my leader encouraged me to get into counseling. I didn't realize that Westside offered counseling, and it was really good for me to start digging deep into the pain that I've been carrying around for so long. And then I realized that there was a lifeline for suicide survivors. And just going to that group, finally after seven years, it just made me realize that God has a plan for my life. And my destiny and purpose wasn't just to live, and exist, and hurt, the end. God couldn't use me because I was in such pain and in a dark place but now he can use me.

We weren't attending any church at that time, so because of that invitation, we started coming to Westside regularly. My kids got plugged in, and they have just grown and we've seen them come to love God a lot more. And because of that I've grown spiritually within this group and within other groups in the church. And it's just been a great experience.

I'm finally looking forward to the future for once. And to give my children a mom who isn't afraid, who isn't full of fear, who's going to use my past experiences as fuel and fire to just point my life towards God and where he wants me to go.

We're reaching moms at Chick-fil-A, at other play places, on playgrounds, where they may not see Jesus or they may not see anyone else. And so we're able to invite them in. We're able to invite them to a place where they can serve, and they can belong, and where they can grow in their faith.

I'm so grateful that I finally found a place where I belong.

You helped make these blessings possible through your faithful giving. Thank you.

Baptism | Generosity Story

Well, it's been a journey. It's been a long time coming just because after a lot of struggles and trying to figure out who I am, this church really took us in.

I never really grew up very close to God.

Well, I've never been baptized other than sprinkled.

I started coming to church last year and every time I come, I just feel like I'm a part of something greater.

Before I knew Jesus, I was just lost.

Full of turmoil, honestly. I was full of turmoil. I was angry all the time. I didn't know ... I had no direction. I didn't know what was going on. Through this, I found peace and that's why I'm here today.

Wasn't coming here expected to accept Jesus into my heart, but it completely changed my life and I felt like it was important for me to get baptized and I'm speechless. I don't know what to say.

It was a really amazing experience.

What I needed was God and Jesus and I just needed him in my life.

I wanted to do it the last time it was offered, and I hesitated and got up all kinds of excuses not. For me, this time is a renewal, a beginning. A new beginning.

Now that I've accepted him into my life, I feel like I'm a changed woman forever.

I hope to set an example for my son.

It's the best decision you could ever make. It'll change your life for sure.

Getting baptized was the best experience I have ever had.

I love my church family and I wanted them to be a part of this for me.

That was probably one of the best parts about it, having everyone around there to support you.

It was time for me to take the next step and commit and you know, lead the Christian life in [inaudible 00:02:02].

I feel that if you have it in your mind, go ahead and do it. If you're feeling that tug, that's the Lord pulling on you to go ahead and solidify that faith, so I would definitely say just go for it.

Oh man, I just feel wonderful. It's the best thing I ever did. I'm so glad I did it. I didn't know how wonderful I would feel.

Gary and Victoria | Generosity Story

MS, it's a lot of times, it's not that bad. I just happen to have the kind that's paralyzing and real bad and quadriplegic so I needed Vicky more than I knew.

We dated for four years. Got married in 1971. We had our daughter in 1972 and that's when we started noticing MS symptoms.

Yeah, I never would've known, when we got married how important Vicky would be to me. It continues to be that way.

He's a really, really neat guy. I'm glad to have him.

Probably five years ago, that Vicky, she just screamed out with pain.

And I put him in bed and I went to push his bed and my back snapped and I mean, it hurt, it hurt a lot.

They ran some tests on her, did some blood work and they came back and they told Vicky that she had cancer.

I've known Gary for probably 40 years at least. We both worked down at Procter and Gamble.

I haven't seen Rudy for a few years once I went on disability and quit working.

Then after that, low and behold, we met at Westside. Didn't have a clue that we were going to the same church and it just kind of evolved from that.

I had no idea how much help that he would be giving us. He comes up on Sunday morning. Rudy's an early riser. Gets me dressed. We've got a lift, he gets me out of bed. Throws me in my wheelchair and we got to church.

So that's how it started. I just started coming up and trying to take some of the load off of Vicky because she was trying to you know, chemo kicks your butt.

So the church sent people over with food and they'd come every other night. So Rudy and Cathy were in the rotation.

And without really being in a life group and having those connections, I don't know what I would've done without them. I mean, they were just the sweetest group of people and how we all intertwined and got so close because of our illnesses and stuff like that. If I hurt, they hurt and if I needed something, they were right there to do it. And we were really blessed. We had the neatest group.

She has just laid her life down to be there for Gary. Made so many sacrifices for him and she's always upbeat about it. She has never complained. I have never heard her complain. I've been up here when she was so sick, she couldn't hold her head up and she would get up and go and take care of Gary.

Vicky had been dealing with this for 30, 40 years. So what I've done is nothing compared to what she has done and what a lot of other people have done also.

I have no idea what it would be like without Vick. Actually I don't know that I've even thought about that much.

He's my best friend. He's funny. He's an irritation. He's been a great dad to our kids. He's a really good husband to me. If I had this to do all over again, I'd do it. I can't imagine being married to anybody else. God's just always been right there taking care of us. So it's been a good life. People think I'm crazy when I say that, but it has, it really has.

Sharing My Faith | Generosity Story

My husband went to middle school with Ryan Parker, and so when Brandon and I got married, I inherited the Parker clan. And we just became really good friends. And they invited us to Westside many times.

Back when we were doing the people you wanted to pray for, and you put people on a list, Brandon and Jodi were on my list.

Oh, I'd probably been invited Brandon to come to things for quite a while, after he went through a divorce with his first wife. I'd invite him to firesides or just whatever. And then just eventually that turned into invites with Jody, also, both of them. And just being there, as she was going through times after a loss of her grandfather.

Well, last fall my grandfather had passed away and he was a very, very important person in my life. And I felt a little lost. At his funeral, they had read his testimony and I learned so much about him, about different experiences in his life that I wasn't aware of. And his faith and love for God was tremendous and he helped so many people get to that point.

So I knew he knew something wonderful and great, and I really wanted to know what else was. So we decided to start going to church, and we decided to come here to Westside at the Speedway with Ryan and Michelle. And it's been a life changer basically.

You could tell that she was trying to absorb everything, and that she was like open to what was going on.

When I started coming to Westside, my first three attendances were basically in tears. But I had that feeling that one moment that all of a sudden I had this pain in my heart, and my heart just kind of opened up and I was like, "Is that a heart attack? Or is it? But it feels really good." I didn't know what it was.

But it was just my heart opening up to God. And it was pretty much at that moment it's like, "Jesus is my savior. This is where I need to be. This is my new life."

When I heard Jodi was going to be baptized, that's really cool because that's just such an expression of where we're at in our faith when we understand that we're dying with Christ to be raised again.

So of course I had to be there, front row and cry, and while I watched her get baptized because I was so excited.

Well, without the invitation that the Parker's gave many times over, I don't believe that I would be where I'm at right now.

Yeah, so Brandon's daughter came to the women's conference Saturday, his youngest daughter.

She accepted Jesus and she decided to be baptized. You know, the invitation from the Parker's extended to us, and then now it has extended to our daughter.

It is definitely so a God thing. And there's always these times in life where you feel like the Holy Spirit's telling you, "Hey, tell this person this or ask this person this."

I was very lost after my grandfather's death. And so that invitation was right there within reach. And it made it very simple for me to find a church. I love them and adore them. And thank you. Thank you.

When you're faithful in those things that God tells you to do, and then when he allows you the opportunity to have a front row seat to watch it come to fruition, wow.

Westside Cares | Generosity Story

I first heard about Stephen Ministry from my mom. I just was curious. What is that, what are you doing? I was fascinated. And then I heard that the church here at Westside was going to be training some people, and I couldn't sign up fast enough, that just sounded like exactly what I wanted to do.

Well, a lot of times I'll get all into a room, and they're surprised. They're moved by the fact that the church has someone to come and visit with them and pray for them.

LifeLines are groups of individuals that gather together to talk about similar experiences they may have had. They're very easy to join, you just find one that speaks to you and your life experience. There's ones around grief, divorce care, addiction issues, sexual abuse issues. I had some experiences in my life that I had gone through alone, and then later on in life, when I came to be a believer in Christ and became active with the church, I realized there was a much better way. And I wish I had had that when I was going through it, and so I joined in and became a leader.

Pastors can't do it all. So we come alongside someone who's hurting, who may have had a death in the family, who may be caring for an elderly person. It can be just a difficult time in their life. They just need someone to talk to.

So we prayed for this woman, we anointed her with oil. She was very anxious, couldn't stop talking, she hadn't slept for for quite a long time. And I had talked to her about a week later, after we had done all of this, and she said she was doing better. And then several months later I saw her at one of the family baptisms out by the pond, and I noticed it was her, and I didn't even hardly recognize it. The transformation was just unbelievable. So that was really, really neat to see.

After God put it on my heart to become involved, I simply started talking to some of the staff here at Westside, and it's amazing that they were able to provide for us, not only a curriculum, but the materials, but the place to meet, and put it out online for advertising, all at no cost so that people could find the groups when they need them. And it's invaluable, it's a valuable resource.

My husband was diagnosed with... He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014, in September, and he was gone in August of 2015. And I found myself, after the 15 weeks of training, all the books I'd read, all the training I'd had, the caring I'd done for other people. It's different when it's you. But when you're walking that walk, you know the signs of grief, you know what's coming next, but when it's you. So I reached out and I got my own Stephen Minister.

Well, it always helps me to bring the Holy Spirit to the surface, and not just for me to bring my spirit to the surface, but hopefully my spirit interceding with their spirit will be brought to the surface also.

Not only is it amazing to be among non-judgmental people that are based in Christian beliefs and talk about real life experiences that you have in common, but if you put God's word and his love in the middle of that also, it's magical, and that is not found any other place.

I'm not just a Stephen Minister. I was asked to help lead the Stephen Ministry training for the our like people, for people in the church that want to come alongside people and do that walk. I took a SHAPE test, and found out my first gift is faith, my second one is mercy, and my third is service, so it just really fit me to be a Stephen Minister, and I love it.

Yeah. I would like to thank the church for giving us the ability to visit these people, to create this ministry. I have a heart for these people. I appreciate it very much.

And for this church to do that for us is incredible. It's a program that I don't think you can put a dollar sign on.

They are a tremendous resource. You don't have to go through anything alone here, and the support and the love that you find is overwhelming.

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