Nicole

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This is Nicole.

She grew up in Moscow and started attending Lewis-Clark State College after high school. While attending college, her friends started getting into drugs. Nicole had already lost a family member to drugs and knew she did not want that life for herself, so she joined the Army.

During basic training she suffered an injury that was not properly addressed at the time. However, shortly after finishing her training, she met the man who would eventually become her husband. They were married right before they deployed to Kuwait for a month, and then Baghdad for the rest of their first year of marriage.

Still suffering from her injury in basic training, she eventually came home. While the doctors were working with her to help her heal, she found out she was pregnant with her daughter. Around two months into her pregnancy, the doctors recommended not having her child; they needed to remove part of Nicole’s spine in order to restore her ability to walk. Nicole disregarded the doctors’ advice.

While she was pregnant, her husband met someone else and began a new relationship. When Nicole found out about her husband’s new relationship, she wanted more for herself and for her daughter than a life like that. They divorced and he gave Nicole full custody of their daughter.

In the midst of being medically discharged from the Army and becoming a single mom, Nicole decided she wanted to take her daughter back to Moscow and raise her somewhere safe and familiar.

When Nicole arrived back in Moscow, she ran into an old friend from high school who invited her to a single moms’ group. After the first meeting, Nicole knew the group was for her. She has been a part of the group for a year and a half now.

“I have felt God in my life once or twice before, but this has brought me into this amazing relationship where I know that God has created me to be Amelia’s mom and to be the person that I am.”

Over the course of the group she has not only bonded with the other moms, but the weight she has been carrying around has been lifted from her shoulders as she has forgiven her daughter’s father. Being a part of her group has shown her that God has a bigger plan for her life and has given her the inspiration to become a foster mom.

Before she was alone, depressed, and sad. Now when she feels down she reaches out to someone in her group and they help each other out. They give rides, babysit, call each other on bad days, and go out to dinner together.

Best of all for Nicole, her daughter, Amelia, now has a mom who is not depressed and Amelia loves going to church, even after Real Life stopped serving doughnuts.

“The one amazing thing that the group helped me do is forgive her dad. That anger was affecting me and one day I was driving along and realized it had happened and this giant weight on me was gone. And when I told the group, we all cried together. And it was this amazing moment.”

Today Nicole looks forward to raising her daughter in a healthy, happy home, fostering children, and starting school in the spring to get her degree in social work.

#OnePersonataTime

Dave

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This is Dave.

His parents divorced when he was ten, which “significantly rocked [his] world.” His dad left in the midst of Dave’s youth and struggled to be involved in Dave’s life. On top of that, Dave had been exposed to pornography at the age of six by an extended family member.

Despite being raised in a traditional Christian home, Dave struggled with pornography from his younger years through college. It had a grip on his life and there were no socially acceptable resources for him to get help.

After graduating and working as a youth pastor, Dave moved home to work with high-risk youth and he rekindled a friendship with someone he knew before college. They developed a relationship, married, and started a family immediately.

“As life began to happen within the marriage and we began to struggle, I found myself digging deeper into pornography. And then it began to impact my marriage. I became very manipulative and I would manipulate to get what I wanted and became sexually abusive towards my wife.”

In the following years Dave attended counseling and tried seeking various types of help. However, he had a Christian background and knew what to say and do to look like he was changing without actually having to change.

After being together for fifteen years, his wife left.

Living alone for the first time in his life, Dave began a new journey in his relationship with God. He was discovering that God loved him and he didn’t have to earn it.

“God loved me despite all the underlying issues.”

He attended a men’s retreat and opened up to other men for the first time, but they didn’t know what to do or how to help. He had a sense of having to do it all himself.

Dave had no hope. He was ripe for God to work, and God used Ephesians 5:25.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

God continued to show Dave He loved him. Through scripture and his friends and family who walked with him, Dave knew he was not alone. Dave’s focus changed in how he saw his marriage. He no longer felt like he had to earn God’s love and he no longer expected his wife to earn his love either. God loved him for who he is, and he could see how God loved his wife in the same way.

After six years of separation, Dave and his wife attended a conference on communication with one of their daughters. The conference turned out to be about communication in marriage. For the first time in years, they went on a date.

As God continues to heal Dave from the wounds pornography left in his life, Dave knows God’s love is not dependent on his actions.

Looking forward, Dave knows God is in control. He can trust that God will be in the midst of his job, his friendships, and his marriage.

“Life has become less about the destination and more about today and what God has in front of me.”

#OnePersonataTime

Denise

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This is Denise.

When she was waking up in jail, she realized how much damage she had done not only to herself, but also to her family. They were homeless again, but she was waking up to a turning point in her life.

She had been a self-made woman. She had her own business, the house of her dreams, wonderful daughters, and an amazing husband. Then the bank foreclosed on her house and her business fell apart. With nowhere to go and no place to store their things, they were homeless with nothing to call their own. As they struggled to figure out what was coming next for their family, Denise began using drugs to help her cope. This was the beginning of a decade-long battle with drugs.

“It just didn’t seem like my presence on earth was helping anyone; it was doing damage.”

When she reached her turning point, she started going through the steps set out before her by her counselor. She had the support of her husband, mother, and daughters to help her through recovery.

The following years were spent finding a new purpose. She started working for Anytime Fitness and could focus on finding a healthy life for herself and helping others do the same. She experienced small groups through drug court and later through Real Life—groups where she could be authentic and honest. She could share her struggles, gain freedom from shame, and learn self-worth.

Denise also spent time working on the relationships in her family. She didn’t realize the toll her addiction had taken on her as a mother, so she spent time investing in her daughters. She was comforted knowing her daughters also had love and support from their friends and leaders through the children’s ministry at Real Life.

Today her family is unified and recovering from the blows life has thrown at them. She has lost four relatives in the last six months, one being her son-in-law, the father of her 7-year-old granddaughter. Denise strongly relates to her granddaughter, because she also lost her father when she was 7 years old.

“Through all of this, it is a helpless feeling, but at the same time, my understanding of my relationship with God and how things work is completely different. It is the only reason I have made it through without using [drugs]. If this happened before [being a part of Real Life], I’m not sure how I could deal with something so devastating.”

Through her faith in God’s power, her friends from CARE Group, and her family, she is no longer afraid of the biggest things life can throw at her.

“I know people care and they will walk with me in my bad times.”

Moving forward, she is excited for the Recovery Radio show she has taken over, 1–2 pm on KRFP. It is the highlight of her week to interview people who are in the latter stages of recovery, and the people helping others to recover.

“God is taking my life experience from pain and survival and is putting it into play.”

Denise has also been through trainings to provide a physical exercise element for recovering addicts, and she is becoming a peer recovery coach to walk with people as they recover and be an encouragement to other people as they heal and walk down the road to recovery.

#OnePersonataTime

Christie

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This is Christie.

It was her first day at her new job after being laid off. She was ready to be an administrator and start a new life. However, she was having a hard time filling out her paperwork. She was having a hard time getting the information from her brain to her hand and onto the paper. When she had finished, she was completely exhausted.

Over the course of the next two weeks, she found she was running out of mental and physical energy after two or three tasks a day. This wasn’t normal for her. She had always been a hard working go-getter. She had strived to exceed expectations in her previous jobs and was thrown off by simple tasks causing her so much stress and exhaustion.

Christie’s stress continued to build, but it wasn’t due to her new job. She survived an abusive marriage and was finalizing their divorce, a process taking more than a year due to complications. She had been laid off and was suffering from a lifetime of stuffing her stress and failures deep inside while she carried the load alone—failed marriages, close friends and family passing away suddenly, and constantly worrying for her son.

As her stress was incapacitating her at work, she resigned, and she and her son moved in with her parents. And her condition worsened.

She was shaking nonstop, unable to move herself, and seriously contemplating suicide. With the help of family, she committed herself to St. Joe Psychiatry Hospital. They described her condition as, “Adjustment disorder with chronic anxiety and severe depression.” 

Her nervous system was overloaded from the effects of the trauma she had been through. They administered medication and went through genetic testing, and long term she has been taking vitamins to help clear her mind. Over time, she started volunteering at the Hope Center and the Humane Society as she developed her skills and abilities.

While she was recovering, she began attending a codependency class and Celebrate Recovery. She was addicted to the fear of failure. So she started a six-month step study.

“The women [of Celebrate Recovery] accepted me with all my shame, fear, and self-hatred.”

“By the end of the step study, God drew me closer to Him and I began to blossom with the incredible support I received from my counselor, my sponsor, my accountability partners, my family, and many others.”

With so many friends around her, she began attending a CARE Group and joined a Me & 3 to continue to develop her support network. 

“At one point, I looked at all the relationships I have here and I counted 75. I had never had support like this. It is incredible.”

Today, she is taking new steps and breaking the old bonds holding her back from functioning.

Where she would once say, “I can’t,” she now says, “I can.”

Where she believed, “I am unworthy,” she now believes, “I am loved and valued.”

Where she previously thought, “I messed up too much,” she now thinks, “I am forgiven.”

And previously she said, “I am nothing.” Now she now knows, “I matter.”

Christie has been able to learn forgiveness for herself and others. She has freedom from anxiety, worry, shame, and guilt. God has shown her that she has an encouraging heart. And she continues to grow and develop as she works through codependency and control issues in her own life.

Having just received her two-year chip at Celebrate Recovery, Christie looks forward to finishing her bachelor’s degree in Administrative Medical Assistant with a minor in Addiction Studies. She looks to use her experiences and skills to continue to help others who are recovering from domestic violence.

#OnePersonataTime

Lukas

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This is Lukas.

Being a shy overachiever from a broken family, he turned to alcohol early in his life to take the edge off his social and emotional anxieties. Eventually, he turned to other drugs to help him cope. He constantly felt out of place, like he didn’t belong no matter how hard he worked or what he achieved.

“I felt like a fish out of water. I was never meant to be that person.”

When he finished college, he had three business degrees and there were no jobs for him to pay his loans. He turned to driving truck, getting his CDL and Hazmat credentials, and he continued to use drugs as a coping mechanism to help him deal with life.

When he hit rock bottom, he turned to God and God met him there. His grandma had dragged him to church growing up; he decided to give it another try. He was welcomed into the church community with open arms. Attending a CARE Group, he found acceptance and love for who he is. There was no rejection or judgment because of the decisions he had made. Moreover, he also found new friends and people who could relate to his struggles as he started attending Celebrate Recovery.

“I had to swallow my pride. Once I went to Celebrate Recovery, I found people who were truly accepting of who I am and they could share in the same stories I have and could relate and love me for it.”

As he found these new friends, he had people who were willing to walk with him through his recovery and understand him. He is celebrating his full sobriety with people who care about him and want him to succeed.

“I love my CARE Group and all the people in the church. It isn’t hard to say I love them or hard to hug them, either.”

Today he is excited for his business to grow as he looks to give back to his friends and the people who have been with him as he has grown and recovered from his addictions. He is also looking to tell his story and use his experiences to help others see that there is more to their lives than the bad circumstances and addictions dominating their lives.

#OnePersonataTime

Hunter & Sarah

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This is Hunter and Sarah.

Sarah was raised in a Christian home, went to a Christian school, and attended church on Sunday and youth group on Wednesday. She was baptized in the church and she has always been a star student at school and a model citizen at home.

Hunter was raised in a very different environment—much more dynamic and full of surprises. His parents struggled with anger and alcohol, and the passing of his brother from leukemia pushed them deeper into their addictions. When Hunter reached high school, his parents divorced and began seeking help for their issues. Meanwhile, Hunter turned to alcohol and pornography.

Hunter and Sarah met, dated, got engaged, and were married. They were so happy to be married, but they were still struggling in their own ways. Through the course of moving once or twice a year and having two amazing children, they realized something was wrong.

“It was hard. We were doing it all on our own.”

They were not consistently in community. They needed to learn to trust people outside of themselves.

“I [Hunter] was a typical loner. I had friends, but I didn’t open up very deep to them.”

“I [Sarah] made a transition from getting from other people what I need to where I invest in other people for what they need.”

In the last year, Sarah began helping coordinate a moms group and God has been opening her to friendships and meeting other moms to see how much she has in common with other women.

“I [Sarah] don’t have to be perfect. It’s a relief for me.”

Hunter has been getting involved with a Me & 3 and meeting with other guys for coffee. He’s gaining insight into himself and helping other guys find their own insight.

“I [Hunter] never thought in a million years I could come and tell people I struggled with pornography. I had to tell my wife about it and she forgave me. Now I have this group of guys who supports me and I’m doing well.”

Today they have more friendships and people in their lives than before. They continue to learn how they can be a better spouse to one another.

Moving forward, they are looking for the next step as God continues to bring new friends into their lives. For the first time, they are making decisions based on the friendships and people they don’t want to leave.

#OnePersonataTime

Ray & JoAnne

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This is Ray and JoAnne.

They been part of Real Life since the first information meeting, before services began.

Charlie Couch invited them to be part of the services and pray with people who might want prayer. Though they were reluctant to get involved, they chose to jump in anyway.

At one of their first weeks serving, a college girl came up to pray. As she approached Ray and JoAnne, she began to cry. Immediately empathizing with the student, JoAnne began crying too.

That day they prayed together and went to lunch. In the following weeks, they continued to go to lunch together, the student began inviting her friends, and they eventually adopted Ray and JoAnne as “Papa Ray” and “Mama Jo.”

These Sunday lunches slowly turned into Sunday dinners. Before they knew it, Ray and JoAnne were leading a CARE Group full of students. These relationships continued to develop, and year after year they have led this CARE Group. It has morphed and changed as new students joined and old students graduated. They also began partnering with Impact Campus Ministries in Pullman.

Having led this group for almost ten years, they now have friends all over the country, from North Carolina to Colorado to California, and all over Seattle. Ray and JoAnne have been more than a blessing to so many students as they have hosted graduation parties every year, helped students move, and traveled for weddings all over the country.

They have also been blessed to be a part of God working in students’ lives. They do service projects together, help students process harsh family backgrounds, and walk students through the struggle to pay for school needs.

As they look to the future, they are excited to lead their ever-transforming group. They are also setting plans to travel the country and see their friends who have moved away. Most of all, they are excited to witness God moving in the lives of so many more college students.

#OnePersonataTime

Kevin & Heather

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This is Kevin and Heather.

“Church isn’t about what we can get out of it. Church is about finding opportunities for us to serve and be able to use our gifts, our skills, and our talents.”

Having grown up in the church and seeing their parents in leadership, always serving, they too have followed in their parents’ shoes and have found ways to serve.

Kevin leads the Sunday morning connections team and Heather works in LIFER Kids. They have been able to enjoy what they are doing, but they knew there is a bigger picture than Sunday morning.

Growing up, they had gone camping with their families and their churches, developing new friendships and strengthening existing friendships.

Over the course of the last year, they began working to reproduce the family they knew from their childhood. To get the word out, they began meeting with CARE Groups and talking to their friends. In almost no time, they had a leadership team of ten people to help organize and promote family camp.

When they finally made it to the weekend of camp, 130 people showed up and spent the weekend together. It was amazing. Families bonded together while fishing, telling stories, roasting marshmallows, and hiking around the campsites.

One dad in particular was adamant he would not go to CARE Group, but he would go to family camp if it wasn’t contingent on going to a CARE Group. He showed up a little late on Friday, but he was the last to leave. He could not get enough. He now goes to CARE Group and has grown deep friendships with the people he met at camp.

After such a successful year at family camp, Kevin and Heather are now more excited than ever to prepare for the next one. Attendees are already planning on how to make next year better.

Since this summer, Kevin and Heather have stayed in touch with the many friends they made at camp.

In the next year, Kevin is excited to lead and engage families through the connections team, Heather continues to invest in LIFER Kids, and they both look forward to family camp.

#OnePersonataTime

Cliff

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This is Cliff. 

He decided to come to church after his friend invited him.

Cliff has always been able to scratch out a living for himself and his son as a landscaper. He had enough to keep food on their plates and a roof over their heads, but never much more than that.

After they had been together a while, his then girlfriend, now wife, asked him to pray about how he was giving. “You know, if you’re not doing the right thing, you’re stealing from God,” she said to him.

After praying about his giving and talking it over with her, they decided he would tithe on everything as soon as it hit the bank account. After a while he could see how God was providing as he was able to work through the winter months and he was able to find jobs through friends and new connections.

When he started talking about his experience at his CARE Group, everyone chimed in with their own similar experiences.

“We discussed as a group: we can’t out give God in the good times or the bad.”

His CARE Group continued to be a pillar in his life. Cliff was out of town in January when a problem occurred with his propane line. Between his neighbor and some friends from CARE Group, they were able to plumb in and wire up a new water heater.

Through his CARE Group taking care of each other, Cliff and his family have what they need. Today they continue to look for ways to be a blessing and model God’s love in the community.

#OnePersonataTime

Marcus & Jenna

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This is Marcus and Jenna (and their CARE Group).

These two met in August of 2013 while going to WSU, but they came from very different backgrounds.

Jenna was raised in a mixed religion household and knew God but had never actively participated in a church community before. Marcus was raised in the church with a traditional understanding of God and Scripture.

From the start of their relationship, they knew they were dating with a purpose and with their futures in mind. After a year of dating, they began looking for a church they could both invest in.

Their first Sunday at Real Life, they started feeling the value of relationship.

“I grew up in the church all my life, and I’ve never felt such a genuine, sincere welcoming into community.”

They dove headlong into a CARE Group where they found leaders who cared about them and friends they could relate to. They started volunteering on Sundays in the kitchen and found family away from home.

They also grew in ways they never expected. Marcus realized some of his decisions were hurting his relationship with Jenna. With close friends and leaders willing to invest in him, he was able to work through baggage as God continued to knit him and Jenna together.

Halfway through college, Jenna became very homesick. Having people in her life whom she could confide in and connect to comforted her when she felt far from home.

God revealed Himself to them as He showed Marcus Scripture in new light and as Jenna felt the power of community.

“It challenged what I really believe and why I really believe it.”

Now that they have graduated, married, and moved away, they look forward to finding new relationships they can dig into as they continue to be a part God’s community.

#OnePersonataTime

Faith and Grace

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This is Faith and Grace.

Leading up to middle school camp, they were excited because last year was so much fun for them. But at camp this year, they realized they didn’t really know anyone in their cabin. Their week started off difficult because they were in a cabin with seven other girls.

Each night of the week, they met together in their cabins and they started to get to know one another.

“They hid it really well. I didn’t even know some of them had that big of stories.”

The more they learned about each other, the more they bonded. Each night they stayed in their small group longer than any other group because they could not stop crying together, laughing together, and then crying some more.

Grace and Faith grew inseparable with their new friends as they would play in the lake, eat, zip line, and watch movies together. Each night they would share more and get to know their new friends better. During some of their free time, they would have their own small group time and keep processing what God had been showing them during the large group time.

“Since they told their stories, I get them a little more. I know more about them. It is easier to relate to them, too.”

Throughout the week of camp, Grace and Faith became more aware of how God is working, and they learned to join Him where He is working. They started obeying God when He pointed out challenges for them to overcome.

The biggest reason they want to go back to camp next year is because they “made new relationships with people who are going through the same thing they are.”

#OnePersonataTime

Tosha

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This is Tosha.

Born and raised in Florida, she was 13 when she was introduced to pot at church camp. By 16 she was regularly using pills and painkillers.

“I always said I would never use meth.”

But at 18 she began using meth, and at 21 she met the future father of her son. When she became pregnant, she continued using drugs throughout her pregnancy. By the grace of God, her son was born drug free in 2013.

However, less than a month later, she was arrested for possession and her son was put in the foster care system in Florida. When she got out of jail, she cried out for help, saying, “OK, God. You gotta do something here.”

“I couldn’t stop using. I couldn’t stay clean. It wasn’t working.”

She started the process of moving in with her parents, who had just moved to Moscow. She worked with CPS in Florida and CPS in Idaho in order to regain custody of her son. They required her to attend drug court, finish a year case plan, have a stable job, and have stable housing in order to get her son back.

With the help of her Celebrate Recovery (CR) family, church family, and her parents, she was able to get her son back after he spent ten months in the foster care system.

“When I first moved here, I met so many people I was safe with.”

Tosha also joined a CARE Group.

“They took me in and loved me like I was their own kid.”

The people in her CARE Group were just the people she needed to be with, both emotionally and physically. They helped her family and bought them Christmas presents, and even let her use their cabin for a vacation.

Today she works full time as a receptionist, has full custody of her son, and maintains a stable, drug-free home.

“For the first time in my life, I am excited for myself and my life and I don’t think I’ve ever been able to embrace that before.”

#OnePersonataTime

Nicole

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This is Nicole.

Her best friend, Hayley, had been inviting her to youth group for quite a while, but she had a lot of personal struggles with friends and family going on at the time.

Since early 2016, Hayley was inviting Nicole to youth group, but she didn’t have time. However, after hearing about CIY that summer, Nicole knew going next year was a priority for her.

Nicole started to attend youth group with Hayley and her boyfriend, but she never really connected. It was difficult because Nicole’s family isn’t very religious, and she had never been to church before.

When it came time for CIY 2017, she jumped at the opportunity to go. She remembered how much Hayley loved it last year and she wanted to be a part of that this year. No cost or time off stood in her way. She knew she was going.

From the moment she got on the bus, she was having a good time. 

“I didn’t know any of them previously, and it was pretty cool to be incorporated into this close-knit group of people.”

When the conference started, Nicole was instantly moved by the worship. So much so that she spent most of the first worship set crying. That day they also played a video about a young man named Jasper who also cried during worship. She deeply connected to his story. 

Eventually she had small group time. She continued to be moved and to connect with the people she had come with.

“They were going through the same thing I was.”

Throughout the conference, her new friends could see she was having a hard time. She was struggling with school, what she wants to do, and who she is.

At the end of CIY, Nicole had truly connected not only with her new friends, but also with the Lord. They traveled out to the Oregon coast and she was baptized in the ocean.

Today Nicole is connected with new friends and continues to develop her relationship with God as she starts school at the University of Idaho.

“Now I have a better starting point.”

#OnePersonataTime

Darrel

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This is Darrel.

As a father of a 13-year-old boy, he has struggled with how to connect with his son and teach him what it means to be a man. Darrel has very different interests than his son, Ransom, who has fully immersed himself in playing games.

“His mind was in video games 24 hours a day.”

Darrel started to ask himself how he could be a good father. He wondered how he could teach his son a work ethic, the value of money, and how to be a man.

“Another thing lacking was exercise, and the desire to do anything physical.”

Then Darrel saw his son playing with nerf guns with a friend. Ransom enjoyed it, and he played day and night for some time, but he eventually lost his excitement for it.

But this gave Darrel an idea. He had some old paintball gear and he knew paintball was a lot of fun for him when he was younger. He thought his son might have fun with it, too. He dug out his gear and the two of them went to shoot targets.

They had a good time, but it wasn’t as much fun as video games. So Darrel tried again. He gave his son a few extra shirts to take the edge off, and this time they played a round one-on-one.

Darrel snuck up on Ransom, who hiding behind a building, and shot the building next to his head a few times to scare him.

“His eyes lit up! He was in a video game.”

From there, the sky was the limit. Ransom wanted to play all the time. He was online researching new gear to buy and he could not wait to play again with more people. Darrel had to point out to him that gear, CO2, and paint all costs money and it can get expensive. He offered Ransom a job working alongside him, painting and doing other odd jobs.

Their first day out, Ransom was working for a while, but eventually Darrel found him off by himself. Darrel stopped him and explained how he couldn’t pay him for not working.

“You’re only making money when you’re doing something that produces a value.”

So he kept working. Soon he had saved up enough money to buy a new gun and they started going to more events. Ransom wanted to get more people in the area involved. Every time they went out, he invited someone new to come along. He started scheming on how to get families from the church involved. Darrel could not believe how much his son was growing.

At one event his son even sat out of games to help referee and coordinate. Ransom, who had struggled with making friends and hardly went outdoors, could not stop playing paintball and invited everyone he talked to everywhere they went to play with them.

He was making friends at these events with new and seasoned players alike in a culture where winning and losing had meaning. He was playing alongside friends and strangers he could see and talk to, and they wanted to win just as much.

Darrel is excited to see how other men are connecting with their children through paintball. And as for his relationship with Ransom, it only continues to grow stronger.

#OnePersonataTime

Paule

This is Paule.

We hope you take a few minutes to watch the video of his story.

#OnePersonataTime

Brandon

This is Brandon.

When he was younger, he “started running with the wrong kids.”

At 16 years old, school wasn’t a priority and his entire friend group was in their 20s. He was using and selling drugs, fighting a lot, and justified it to himself because his friends all did it, too. He came and went as he saw fit and did whatever he wanted.

One day, his mom picked him up from school for a “probation meeting.” She was actually bringing him home to two transporters who were taking him to a correctional school in the middle of the desert in Nevada. Every freedom Brandon had enjoyed quickly became a distant memory.

Surprisingly, he excelled at the correctional school. He applied himself to his work and graduated after only nine months from a program that often lasted more than a year for other students.

When he got back from the correctional school, Brandon did everything he could to separate from his past decisions to be successful in school and in life. He succeeded as he finished his schooling, connected to a new community of friends, went on to marry his wife, and manage his own business.

Recently, he realized something was missing. He and his wife have struggled to find a place where they truly connect.

“There was a hole. It was an emotional gap that we couldn’t bridge.”

When they first started coming to Real Life, they were surprised by what they saw.

“On my first Sunday, the pastor got on stage with gauges in. My second week, the pastor had a beard down to his chest. We started thinking, this place is for us.”

They were most moved when Paule and Rachel came to the hospital after their child was born and prayed with them. Since then, they have been participating in full force. He started working with students to help them fundraise for high school camp, and he started mentoring a student who is working their way through military school.

Brandon wants to help students learn what he learned without all the heartache he experienced. He is so glad to be connected to a community where he is part of something bigger.

Today, at 25 years old, he is happily married and a father. He looks forward to raising his kid in a better community than he grew up in and mentoring students in life outside of school.

#OnePersonataTime

Emmy

This is Emmy.

After having three children, Emmy found herself feeling dissatisfied with the toll pregnancy and baby weight had taken on her. She got a trainer who was not only invested in her workouts, but more importantly, in her spiritual and emotional well-being. Through their time together, Emmy saw the results in her own life as she interacted with her family and friends and wanted to help other women find the same fulfillment she found.

“I wanted to find strength again, and physically finding it helped me pave a way to find it spiritually, and find it emotionally.”

In her journey to help other women, she attained a personal training certification and then a group fitness training certification. She was motivated and excited to share her new skills with other women who wanted them, but she constantly saw how lacking it was to focus only on developing physical health. For Emmy, “fitness is a tool, not a goal. It is a tool to find wholeness in Jesus.” And so she continued searching for the right program.

Last year, Emmy found Revelation Wellness. She started participating in their program and was moved at how they wove the physical, spiritual, and emotional elements together. After experiencing their program, she flew to Arizona and became certified to teach it.

When she got home, it felt like everything fell apart for her. She and her family had some big decisions to make. They had been farmers their whole lives, as much as eating and breathing. They needed to decide whether to continue being farmers or to start something else.

Emmy decided to put the fitness class on hold and to invest in her family as they navigated some very big decisions. Little did she know, God had been preparing her for these decisions.

“I feel like being in a physically strong place at that moment, I was able to handle what we had to go through. I sought the Lord and His strength in me for that.”

Now, on the other side of those difficult decisions, Emmy is finding her identity in being a part of what God is doing in other women’s lives through fitness, and is working to help other women experience the same freedom.

She is excited to be a part of a community of women who are working to be emotionally, spiritually, and physically healthy together. She looks forward to leading her first class and seeing where God takes her as she continues to be faithful to this new purpose He has set in her life.

#OnePersonataTime

Kean

This is Kean.

When he was born, his dad “didn’t exactly believe [he] was his child for a year.” His mom took care of him until she started running into problems when she was “getting in with the wrong people.” His grandma won full custody of him when he was 3 years old. (Since then his dad has been more involved in his life and has been able to have full visitations with him.)

This summer, Kean, 13, was able to go to middle school camp, and he had never been away from a family member for more than a day.

Monday was a breeze for him. He was hanging out, enjoying the games, worship music, and the sermon. By Tuesday night, he was beginning to feel anxious and afraid because his grandma wasn't nearby to comfort and pray for him. Eventually he fell asleep while texting his grandma. 

Wednesday started out with the low level anxiety he had the night before. He missed having family close at hand. He was constantly comforted by his new friends staying with him and Paule sitting with him as his anxiety attacks intensified. Paule was in communication with his grandma and she left the decision up to Kean as to whether or not he would stay at camp.

Kean decided to stay. He was having such a good time with his friends and he did not want to leave. With the help of Paule and his friends, he felt like he could stay. “Having people on my side to help me is what got me through it,” he said.

His grandma drove up later that day and stayed Wednesday evening and Thursday to help with camp. Meanwhile, Kean continued to do his best and enjoy camp. He swam in the river, talked with his friends, played games, rode the zip line, and played carpet ball (his personal favorite).

Even though he moved away from everyone he knew this summer and is now on the Palouse, Kean is glad to have his new friends and already looks forward to next year’s camp. He hopes to be able to spend more time away from family without anxiety attacks. He also feels called to ministry one day and is ready to see how God continues to make his path clearer.

#OnePersonataTime

Jessica

This is Jessica.

She is a mother of two from Mexico, committed to her children and her community. Twelve years ago she and her husband divorced. Her daughter decided to continue living with her father, while her son chose to live with her. Despite knowing her daughter loved her, she was deeply hurt by her daughter’s decision.

When her son was in high school, he began making decisions that were very difficult for Jessica to watch. She tried different avenues of reconciling her hurt, including counseling, prayer, and fasting, but she still hurt for her son.

She started attending Celebrate Recovery to continue to work through her hurts. When she first attended, she found she was able to deeply connect to the worship music and the fellowship over dinner, and the relationships she developed continued to support her amidst the pain.

Meanwhile, her son graduated high school and moved out. Her pain compounded as she was now an empty nester. Knowing that, a friend asked her to take in a woman who was trying to get her life back in order. Though Jessica realized she would not receive much rent, if any, she welcomed her in.

Jessica’s new housemate turned out to be a delight. Jessica watched her finish school and find employment, and now she is a Certified Nursing Assistant and has moved to be closer to her daughters.

Jessica was happy to be a part of the process of walking with someone as God helped them put their life back together, and God continued to place the desire on her heart to help women. Another friend put her in contact with an opportunity to be the house mom for a group of struggling women.

She wasn’t sure if she was the right person. Jessica had often dreamed of running a bed and breakfast, and she asked God if this was it.

She eventually went and toured the house they were planning on using, and it was going to need a lot of work. Jessica thought of reasons not to help, but God continued showing her that she was the right person for the job.

After a few meetings with the house’s owner, the tenants’ sponsors, and experienced leaders, Jessica felt she had a framework to get started.

In November 2016, her first guest moved in, and Jessica started helping her settle into a life of wholeness. Since then, several other women have moved into the house. Jessica has been able to speak the truth of God’s Word into their lives, and the women have bonded. She has been able to connect with them, see them grow, and be blessed by God as these women have become more than tenants and roommates. They are her friends.

Her relationship with her son and daughter have grown. They are closer now than ever despite not having mom’s house to drop into whenever they want.

Now Jessica has more purpose than she has had in years and is excited to see what God does next in her own life, as well as the tenants in her house. This is not the bed and breakfast she thought she would have, but it is the place she and her friends find healing.

#OnePersonataTime

Rick & Miriam

This is Rick and Miriam.

In the last year, their lives have taken many dips and turns as God has worked in them and through them.

Their oldest son struggles with addictions and they have been faced with some very hard decisions. They had to decide to show their son tough love as he teetered on the edge of going to a rehabilitation center. When he finally decided to go, they did not know how they were going to come up with the money. As they struggled to find a way, they received donations from different members of the church and the community. Through His people, God provided for their son to go to rehab.

Meanwhile, Rick and Miriam took their family to see Rick’s ailing mother. During their visit, Rick’s mom was able to celebrate Thanksgiving with her entire family. It was the happiest and most energetic she had been in years. She passed away the following week. And while they were visiting Rick’s mom, Miriam’s father fell and suddenly needed full time care.

In the midst of their family’s heartaches, they also experienced God’s provision. They recently saw a small farm come onto the market just outside of Moscow. They had always wanted to own a small farm—space for their children, a few animals, and a large garden. It was perfect. 

They started praying with their CARE Group and decided to put an offer in on the farm. It was less than the asking price, but they wanted to try. After they made their offer, they talked to the neighbors around the farm and they all knew the owner had previously turned down similar offers to theirs. They were at peace with knowing their offer would be declined, but then it wasn’t declined.

The realtor was not optimistic about their loan process and issues cropped up in the inspection, but the loan went smoothly and all of the issues were resolved right on time. God provided for each step in the process.

In the meantime, their son has continued to heal. Though he experienced a relapse, the rehab center took him back and allowed him to restart the process. Today, their son is not only on the road to recovery, but he is holding down a regular job and helping other newcomers to the same rehab center he attended.

Rick and Miriam also look to give back to God’s community as He continues to fill their garden with vegetables and their farm with animals. They look forward to opportunities for being a blessing as much as they have been blessed.

Over and over again, Rick and Miriam had reason to give up, but God always brought hope.

#OnePersonataTime