A New Person in Christ
Before I met Jesus, I went to a Catholic school in 8th grade at St. John the Baptist in Costa Mesa. I had never gone to a Church service in my life and we had mass three times a week. I had no idea what was going on half of the time.
After middle school I headed into high school in Fountain Valley. I had been invited by a friend at Ocean View High School to go to Saddleback Church. I understood what was being talked about a thousand times better at the Christian church than my experience at Catholic school. I went to Saddleback for my first two years of high school. I stopped going because I started getting depressed, angrier and hostile. A lot of the times I had suicidal thoughts. I started to gain a lot of weight and became lazier. The source of these hard times was when I sustained my fourth concussion in less than two years while playing football. It seemed to be a domino effect to failure.
Toward the end of my senior year of high school I had a friend invite me to a church in Fountain Valley. I went every Wednesday and Sunday for Bible study and service. I loved being there because all of my friends were there and I knew just about everyone at the church. It made my experience more comfortable, but something was still missing – that connection with Jesus and the understanding of the Bible.
I graduated in the spring of 2016 and got a job in the summer at First Class Pizza where I met a coworker, Matt Gane. I lost my connection to the church I attended due to another poor commitment. Around August, 2018, I was going through some of the worst times of my life. I was 260 pounds, not enrolled in school and working at the same pizza place for the second year even though I needed to move on. I had a terrible relationship with my parents because I was lazy, disrespectful and rude towards them. On top of that, I was depressed every single day. Life sucked.
Matt had noticed that I was in bad shape, so being the amazing friend he is, he invited me to get breakfast at Papa Z’s. We talked about what was going on and we shared some tears together. He invited me to a Bible study at CrossPoint where the only person I knew was Matt. I wasn’t interested in meeting anyone, but I had a lot of fun my first night. We had Cool King’s after and the biggest sweet heart in the world, Tomoko (Matt’s mom), bought my frozen yogurt for me. I got to know a lot of people and it was very easy to get comfortable and feel welcomed. While they were reflecting Christ to me, I still felt I hadn’t encountered Christ – yet.
I continued to attend Thursday night Bible studies. I still remember my first Sunday service at CrossPoint, listening to Pastor Bruce speak. The message was so clear, true, and powerful I couldn’t help myself from sobbing. I think I balled my eyes out 10 more Sundays after that. There were times I was on the way to church in my car and I had to talk to myself saying, “You gotta keep it together. No crying today.”
This was the first time I was consistently hearing and understanding the word of God. I started meeting with Jim Gane for lunch or coffee once a week to find out more about the Bible. I was receiving help from so many people at the church, friends, and family giving me their wisdom and guidance and they really helped me get out of that big hole I was in.
It was around October, 2018, that I started feeling like a different person. I had more positive energy. I was curious and more interested in the story of Christ.
CrossPoint was so impactful on my life. I was beyond blessed and grateful for everything that had been happening to me in such a short time with the help of such amazing people. So I did something I had never done before on my own. I prayed. I didn’t have all of the right words but I was thanking God for saving me from what felt like a path to nowhere but down. I thanked him for putting some of the most incredible, Godly people before me. I didn’t deserve any of this because of all the sinful things I had done for so long. The next time I met up with Jim I told him what I was feeling and he said to me, “I think you’ve just been saved dude.”
My spiritual birthday is November 1, 2018. I called Matt and told him that I was saved and he was so stoked for me and we prayed together over the phone. I called my parents to tell them I was saved and it felt like a piano had been lifted off of my shoulders. I was baptized November 25, 2018. My life has been awesome ever since.
I have grown so much as a person within the last year that it blows my mind every time I think back on my life a year ago. I’ve lost 70 pounds. I’m on my second job since the pizza place. I will be working for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the spring as a clubhouse attendant and couldn’t be more excited to start. Mentally I’ve matured a thousand times more in one year than what I would have thought was possible. Spiritually I am a new person with an understanding clearly than ever. I am more willing to find out, do more and be more. I can’t thank God enough for all he has done for me. I am forever grateful for Him.
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