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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.