During confirmation weekend, the confirmation students gave public professions of their faith during A Night of Testimonies. This special service provided an opportunity for students to affirm their baptism and publicly profess their faith through giving a testimony or sharing what Jesus has done in their lives.
Here are some of the students' testimonies.
Nate de la Montanya
I grew up in the church, surrounded by people who loved me and cared for me. I went to Sunday School every week and got involved with VBS and other faith building programs like that. They taught me that Jesus is the son of God and he died on the cross for our sins and rose again to conquer death. I was exposed to the Bible early on so I always have trusted in Jesus’s resurrection and death for our sins.
During middle school the youth group workers here at King of Glory played key roles in helping me develop and distinguish my faith in Jesus Christ. Kyle (Helder) and Derek (Hackett) helped me shape my faith into what it is for me today. They encouraged me to go to camps and retreats, my favorite Pickerel Lake Bible Camp. The fellowship and interpretation of the Bible kept me coming back year after year. The speakers challenged me and helped give me insight into the Bible.
I believe that Jesus is the son of God who came down to Earth to die on the cross and rise from the grave to free us of our sins. I believe that Jesus loves me and has a plan for me, a plan to use my talents to glorify him.
Now that I have trusted Jesus in my life I can see a path that he wants me to take and pursue, a path of living for him and looking away from my sinful nature. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins and the sins of the world because he loved us greatly.
Throughout this last year, things that were once easy for me became a lot more challenging for me. I haven’t been growing as fast as my friends, school work has been harder for me, and I have made friend changes. These have been big challenges for me this year. At times, it has been easier for me to feel hopeless about all these things. But, I turned to God more…. for help and guidance. I have prayed to him all year. As my relationship has gotten closer with God, I feel my attitude has changed too. I have decided I need to have faith, not turn away, and keep working hard towards my goals.
I have been working hard on a lot of things. I started working out with my brother, cracked down on my school work; and learned to ask for more help from teachers. I am on track to get bigger and stronger, and have a lot of confidence with my friend choices. I do know, I will continue to show God’s love, as I always have, by being kind to others and looking out for people if they need help.
I know what right from wrong is because of God’s work in my life. I have learned this throughout my upbringing in the church, as well as obeying (well, trying)….. my parents. I think if I try to keep following God’s word, ask for forgiveness, tell others about God’s promises, and continue to build upon the gifts God gave me, I will carry out His plans for me. I feel him in me and know he is around me all the time because of the miracles he has blessed my family with. I believe he cured my dad’s cancer and let my grandpa live a longer life to be with us as I grow up. I get a lot of bonus time with my grandpa and dad, so I want to make sure (through God’s word & promises) I can be the best that I can be. And, if I slip up, I know through God’s grace, and my heart, I will be forgiven by Him.
I can’t think of a better promise!
I grew up in a family who always went to church every Sunday and Wednesday and I have always looked forward to going to church. Because I grew up going to church, I have heard and learned about Jesus pretty much my whole life.
The first place I heard and learned about Jesus was in Sunday School. The one thing I will always remember about Sunday School was learning the books of the Bible in order. We learned them to the “Bible Book Bop” by Go Fish and I still sing it to myself when I’m not sure where to go! As I got older, I “graduated” from Sunday School and became involved in youth group. Being a part of youth group has allowed me to grow in my faith while taking part in fun camps and retreats.
Each camp that I have attended has allowed me to grow deeper and stronger in my faith all while having fun. One camp I will never forget going to is Camp Miller and not necessarily for the reasons you are probably thinking. Yes, that trip helped me grow in my faith but I also broke my foot while on the trip thanks to a tree at the bottom of the sledding hill. Although breaking my foot wasn’t fun, it made me realize how many people I had in my life who care about me. For the rest of the trip, everyone was willing to help and they showed an extreme amount of patience.
Planet Wisdom is another retreat that I look forward to every year. One of the things I love about Planet Wisdom is that they teach God’s Word in a way students understand so it is relatable and it hits home every time.
Pickerel Lake Lutheran Bible Camp is one of my favorite camps that I go to every summer. I have met a lot of new friends that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I have gone to Pickerel the last five summers and every time I have learned something new and grown stronger in my faith. I don’t remember what summer it was but one summer at Pickerel was the first time that it hit home that Jesus’ death and resurrection was for me and my sins. I had always believed that he died and resurrected but that summer at Pickerel was when I really realized that he did it for me. Every summer after that has allowed me to grow deeper in that faith.
On my trip to Jamaica in 2012, my eyes were opened and my faith got even stronger. That trip made me realize how blessed I am and how much I have to be thankful for. After getting back to the states, I have never taken warm showers, smooth roads, or air conditioning for granted again!
There have been many people in my life who have influenced me and helped me grow in my faith. My parents, youth leaders, adults, and fellow youth are some of the people who have influenced me. My parents and family have been the people who have showed me what it means to love God and how to live for him. Youth leaders have taught me about God’s word and practical ways I can show God’s love through the way I live. There have also been many adults in my life who have encouraged me and been there for me every step of the way. I have made so many strong friendships with my youth classmates and I look back and I can’t think of any better people to go through youth group with. Every Wednesday, most of us high schoolers spend the hour or so between the supper and when we meet for youth group in the storage closet here at the Sycamore Center. Whoever has homework gets their homework done, but we have so much fun in the closet. After each week, I feel like my friendship with each high schooler gets stronger, especially with the ones who hang out in the closet.
Music has been another thing that has helped me grow in my faith. In both my mom’s and dad’s car, the first three bookmarked radio stations are K-Love, Life 96.5, and Refuge Radio which are all Christian radio stations. I love how there are so many genres of Christian music today. Just recently I went to Tobymac’s Hits Deep Tour with Tobymac, Mandisa, Matthew West, Matt Maher, and Brandon Heath and it was the best concert I have ever been to. It was full of energy but each artist brought the focus back to God.
One song in particular pops into my head as I think about my confirmation. It is called “We Believe” by the Newsboys. Part of confirmation is giving a testimony and the definition of a testimony is testifying the truth and what you believe. As I went to write my testimony, the chorus of this song came to mind and it sums up what I have come to believe over the course of my life as a Christian. The chorus goes like this:
“We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s comin’ back again, we believe.
I grew up in the church. A big impact on my faith when I was young was going to Sunday School in Preschool and Elementary School. In Sunday School I learned popular Bible stories and the basic lessons of faith. Being raised in a faith-based home my parents and family were always a big impact on my faith throughout my whole life.
In middle school and high school more personal influences to my faith came into my life. This involved Rosie (Merkouris) and Lindsey (Brua) who helped out with youth groups. This also included various people from in the church and different family members. In the past few years one of the major influences on my faith has been Jamaica.
The first time I first really understood what Jesus and what he had done to me was when I went to rodeo Bible camp. The theme of the camp the year we went was the Resurrection and what that did for us. At this point I was old enough to understand what all this meant. I now know there is more to Jesus. He is the Son of God who came to Earth in human form, being born of the virgin Mary. He lived a perfect life and was crucified on the cross, becoming the ultimate sacrifice for all people. Three days later he rose defeating death giving us forgiveness of our sins and eternal life.
Since I am living with Jesus in my life I plan on extending his love and compassion to other people. I can do this in the future when I am raising my own family. I can also do this through continuing mission trips to Jamaica. I can do this by leading by example for my friends in high school and college. I can also do this when I am older at my job with my people skills.
I know this will be difficult to live my life through faith, but I know I can do it through Jesus and the strength he gives me.