Changed Lives

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“Financial hardship, broken relationships, and the death of someone close to me brought me face-to-face with my lack of faith. I trusted Christ and now understand God’s love, grace, and mercy.” — Nathan Schnefke #WatermarkBaptism18

Stories of healing and hope in Christ were shared by hundreds of people last weekend as believers publicly declared their faith in Christ through baptism. From lives freed from addiction to marriages and families reconciled and restored, the power of God’s love was evident in the testimonies of life-change presented on every Watermark campus. This is just a handful of those encouraging stories, and we’ll share more in the weeks ahead. “I was raised in the church, but seeds of faith did not take root. In high school, I rejected the Christian life and pursued the world with fervor – partying, inappropriate relationships, petty crimes, etc. Those behaviors intensified as I moved into young adulthood.

“As a young professional, God brought me face-to-face with my lack of faith through financial hardship, broken relationships, and the death of someone close to me. I connected here at Watermark and committed my life to Christ. Because of His power, I’m more equipped to handle temptation. The Lord has given me purpose, direction, peace, and fulfillment through my trust in Him.” – Nathan Schnefke

“I felt like the victim in our broken marriage. But when I went to re|engage, I saw my contribution to the pain in our marriage. I also learned that only through Jesus could I truly be forgiven. Because of God’s grace, I was able to extend grace and give and receive forgiveness. That’s when I trusted Christ as my Lord and Savior.

“Jesus changed the trajectory of our whole family. Today, I trust in God’s sovereignty and rely on the Holy Spirit daily as I share our story of grace. I am thankful that, ‘He who began a good work in (me) will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.’” – Jenny Griffin

“Before Christ, I pursued excellence in academics and athletics for the sole purpose of being praised by others. Anxious, depressed, and full of self-hate, I was a workaholic and a functioning alcoholic. In January 2016, I wanted out of this life, so I wrote a suicide note. Suddenly I felt something inside saying that I did not really want to die, but I couldn’t live as I had been. I earnestly prayed to Jesus for the very first time. “Since then, the Lord has worked in my life. Nothing I could accomplish could ever save me. Jesus did it all on the cross, and now He has a purpose for my life!” – Nathan Bywater

“I thought if I went to mass once a week, everything was ok. But after church, I returned to my daily life. I struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts, hurting myself just so I could feel something. I closed myself off from anyone who tried to help.

“Then God started to change things. I learned that I am a sinner and that no works done here on earth could earn me a spot in Heaven. Christ died on the cross to pay for my sins and loved me while I was still a sinner. Trusting the Lord changed how I see myself and others. He is everything to me now!” – Stephanie Illarramendi

“For years I was bitter, angry, and fearful. I knew God, but it felt as though He wasn’t able to change me or my circumstances. Two years ago, I realized the depth of my brokenness and felt a true need for God’s grace and regeneration in my life. He met me where I was, but He didn’t leave me there. My burdens began to be lifted as I trusted Christ with my life, and I have experienced peace like I never thought I would. I was a slave to fear, anger, lust, and control. Through Christ, I have been set free!” – Michael Farmer

“I once lived only for my flesh and the experiences of this world, but I envied people who were certain in their faith in Christ. I was uncertain whether God existed and had never taken the time to explore faith or read Scripture.

“Last year, my mind opened to the seeds of faith a dear friend planted in my life. I started tagging along with her to church, and she even formed a community group with me. My conversion to Christ was a gradual process. Now I find joy in God’s complex creation and in everyday moments. The Lord has given me peace!” – Courtenay de Manincor

“I called myself a Christian, but I didn’t have many good role models. My parents’ marriage fell apart just before I was supposed to go to college, and later, my father died. Instead of dealing with my grief, I stuffed my emotions and refused to talk about it.

“Later, God lovingly placed me on a teaching team with several strong believers who pointed me to Him. I came to The Porch and made friends there. I also started taking equipping classes, watching messages online, and reading my Bible. I needed to be obedient to God’s plan, because the plan I lived by was causing a lot of trouble. Grief is still hard, but the difference now is that I know that my hope is in Christ, not my circumstances. I love my community group and learning more about God’s Word. It helps me stay strong when I hear lies about myself or confront obstacles.” – Katie Evans