Hana Testerman

As some of you may know, this is my last year of Youth Group, and my last year to attend  Snow Camp. To be honest, I was dreading it a little bit, because I thought there would be tears at some point during the weekend. Tears for leaving. Tears for ending. 

Instead, the messages given by Mr. Duffy Robbins made this year a stepping-off point. To be  honest, I came to Snow Camp this year expecting messages and songs that would make me feel good about myself — songs about how God loves me, how I am beautiful and wanted and loved. 

Instead, we sang songs about how great GOD is. The focus was completely ripped away  from us, and instead focused on the magnitude and grace and LOVE of God. And, though I found the usual emotional charge of Snow Camp non-existent, I actually liked it that way. 

Instead of being completely wiped out from the power of Saturday night’s “conviction”

message, I had more focused energy to really concentrate and wrestle with the questions Mr.  Duffy presented to us throughout the weekend, questions like, “Have you promised to die for Jesus (a one time event), or suffer for him for every hour of the rest of your life (a question of infinitely more weight)?” Questions about our true passions, questions about our true trust, questions that challenged every ounce of desire and doubt inside of me. 

The other thing I loved about this Snow Camp was the little bit of hindsight I was able to get.  At least from my perspective, the role of upperclassmen in Youth Group is changing. We’re not just coming for ourselves anymore, we’re coming for the younger kids. We’re sticking around because we want to see them thrive, see them discipled, see them grow. We’re not coming to Snow Camp for personal gain anymore (although there is always some to be found), we’re coming for them. 

And that, I think, was my favorite part of the week.

Tim Brown

In a galaxy far far away in a time long long ago...No wait, that's a fictional story and Josh asked for my short testimony. I was born, raised and have always lived in New Hampshire. My mother is religious and my father is mostly indifferent. Truth began to enter my life through my wife as we started to live life together. Through many of life's circumstances, and her desire to raise Christ honoring children, she would try different churches. On occasion I would go with her. At that time in my life, I attended the "Church of the Basketball" (yes, it met Sunday mornings). Through a series of God controlled events, non- denominational services at business events, and a friendship with a fellow basketball player in a Thursday night league saying , "you should try our church", God got my attention.

When we joined that church, we were encouraged to be involved with the body. My wife was involved in the "MOPS" program, and at that time, the youth group leader was looking for volunteers. I said to my wife that "I kinda like kids". By that time I had two small ones that would be growing into teenagers,so I figured I'd learn how to teach them. I decided to give youth ministry a try, (how hard could it be?).That's when God started me in ministry and for the last 20 or so years I've been involved with youth ministry both paid and as a volunteer. A short time after getting started, it was evident that my "religious" background was less than sufficient to lead teenagers to Christ.

I have a technical background (which means I fix things), so I didn't like it when the students knew more than I did about the Bible. So I started to dig in. For me, as a technical person "the theory" of things helps me to understand how things work and God's word is the ultimate manual. Study for me takes a few different forms, but questions that have come to my mind that I endeavor to answer biblically are the most interesting. I like the motto of one of my favorite apologists Ravi Zacharis, "Let my people think",and I have done a lot of thinking and studying to answer these questions I've had. The Bible has gripped me and not let go. I do my best to stay true to God's word,and although I have been teaching a long time, I am always a student. The more I learn, I realize how little I know and lean on the knowledge that God uses flawed things for His purpose.

This church body has been a blessing for me and my family, and although it's out of my comfort level, it would be an honor to be an elder. I appreciated the balance of love and truth when we joined this body and would strive to maintain it as an elder. The Bible is truly amazing to me and my prayer is that it would be for you as well.

To God be the Glory,

Tim Brown

Chip Davis

"Jesus Takes Another Journey"

Chapter 1

Raised by two very well-meaning parents, who gave me tons of freedom to make my own decisions at a very young age, I learned to be self-reliant, self-sufficient and ultimately… self-important.

By 16, already engaged to be married, living by my own motto of "making decisions and then making them right", I worked two jobs while attending high school. …. Then graduated early…. deciding to forego college, in order to start executing my life's plan. Everything was going my way. I had a belief in God and felt in his favor, but other than a holiday…. never gave a thought about Jesus nor did anything to honor him. This would be a theme that would continue throughout my 55 year journey to being found by Jesus.

Hebrews 3:12 "Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from “the living God”. Hebrews 3:12.

Chapter 2

At 18, after breaking my engagement, I was living with a young woman, who became pregnant. She and her mother, without my consideration, decided she would not continue with the pregnancy. Not married, not feeling a responsibility to God, … knowing I had few rights, I did not fight for the life of my first child. However, we eventually married and did start our family. 

One beautiful miracle a year after marriage, a second 2 years later. Being hands-on for both births, having my hands in the actual delivery of each of these precious angels, I fell deeper in love with each at their birth. Later, pregnant with our third child, problems manifested. My wife was unhappy and I had to fight for the birth of Erica, our youngest daughter. Feeling alone, not yet knowing God, … again I sought no counsel, legal, familial, nor spiritual. Despite my arrogance, by the Grace of God He delivered her into my hands. God’s triumphant miracle…. Not mine.

In the 2 years following, God tested my arrogance again. My wife announced she was pregnant with our 4th child and exclaimed “she was NOT going to give birth to it!” If I resisted her desire to abort, she had a lawyer, threatened to leave, take our 3 children and abort the baby anyways. In the end, cowardly relying on self-counsel, choosing to ignore any sense of responsibility I had to my child or God, I gave in, thinking I was preserving my family and the life I knew. I still was too stubborn to trust God.

Proverbs 28:26 “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” Proverbs 28:26

Over the next 6 years, we had a few good times, but our marriage failed twelve and a half years after the “I Do”!....

Backtracking 4 years in the marriage …….. after starting my oldest in public school and then one year in private non-Christian school for her and her younger brother, I made the decision that they should have the opportunity to know God if they chose. That was not going to happen in a secular school. I enrolled them in Christian School. Then, like many parents, I left the education up to the school and more arrantly, I left their spiritual growth up to the school as well. This went on for 16 years until the youngest graduated in 2004. Despite all their time there, only the “seed was planted”! I will revisit this later in the testimony.

Mark 4.3-8 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty fold and sixty fold and a hundredfold.” Mark 4.3-8

Chapter 3

In early 1996, 2 years after my divorce, I began to take a greater interest in things spiritual. By July of that year I was spending time with a televangelist, …. for the 1st time not only listening, but hearing the story of Jesus Christ and how I could be forgiven for my sins, even the ones I thought unforgivable! I took that message of eternal hope, recited the “repenter’s prayer” and thought I was saved. ……….

Through His grace He tolerated me though. I began to pray for a companion, more specifically a woman versed and immersed in Christianity to help continue my transition. Impatient as usual, by mid-August I modified my prayer, asking for a woman who would be faithful. Also, I made a promise (trying to bargain with God) that if he should bring such a woman to share my life, we would become a Christian family and attend church. Just two weeks later God delivered my lovely bride, Monika literally 1200’ from my front door, 3500 miles from her home in Hungary, 3000+ miles from her original destination of California.

(Many of you have gotten to know Monika and attended her Baptism May 28th of this year.)  At first I could not believe that this was “her”, who God sent, “my faithful one”! Eleven months later 0n August 2nd, 1997, we were wed . … God miraculously sent me an amazing woman .. a true soul mate! (if one should exist other than Jesus Christ).  Now what? Time to tell this woman, who left the love and warmth of her mother 3500 miles away, that I had promised God that she and I would form a churchgoing Christian family. She was a Catholic! … Lacking trust in God again, I failed to mention it to her. I had not shared this with anyone until this year and Monika was second to know! God has infinite more patience than I ….. I thank Him for this 19 year Grace period.

2nd Peter 3:8-10 “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” 2nd Peter 3:8-10.

Chapter 4

Remember I promised to revisit the planting of a seed by having my kids in Christian School? Let’s back up 15 years to 2002, after suffering three late miscarriages, God blessed Monika and I with the birth of our son, Krisztian. Lacking a true understanding who God was, after each heart ripping miscarriage, I worried that my earlier lack of faith was revisiting. Six and a half years later, our son, Tamas was born. As they became the right age, they too were enrolled into Christian School. As before, ignorant and blind to my looming failure, they too were left for Jesus to find without utterance or guidance from me. It has only been in the last year, through the study of his word and gaining a true understanding of how we are loved, that God has dropped the scales from my eyes and has shown me how tragically I have failed all 5 of my surviving children …. up to this point. It does not take a village to raise a child…it takes a loving church family, at least one home leader and The One True Father figure.

Praying now that all my seeds are sown in “good soil”!

This past year before attending Faith Community Bible Church regularly, feeling that a very close friend had wronged or at minimum devalued Monika, I became very hurt and angry, dwelling on it for 2 months, being told continuously by Monika to ”let it go”’. My friend utilized bible verses to defend his position. Ill equipped in The Word, having never read more than a few verses in the Bible, I agonized on this for months more, resulting in my willingness to join a church that teaches from The Word. The matter became unimportant as I delved into reading the Bible cover to cover. My understanding grew during my reading and being mentored by an FCBC member. I knew that I had to forgive and let it go! This incident has a hand in bringing me to where I am today. I am thankful for my friend and his part in my salvation.

The Lord surely works in mysterious ways!

Having come to FCBC starting just last November after visiting several churches further from home I can say that never have I felt more welcome somewhere as a stranger than here in my new church home. Pastor Josh had to bite his tongue at our 1st meeting as I told him of more than one neighbor, 2 of them church members, physically trespassing against me. I am sure that his eyes wanted to roll up inside his head. …. Very opposite in tact, he was probably wondering what Monika was doing with this egotistical man? In subsequent meetings he has warned me that arrogance is possible in faith too. Such a gentle way about him! Writing this testimony has been one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. I am exuberant as when Saul (Paul) 1st fully understood and beheld Jesus in truth. After repentance, He was “boots on the ground”, spreading the Gospel!... Being an “infant” in The Word, I push forward doing what I can…. serving and loving, spending as much time in The Word as the day allows. Having forgiven all those who have trespassed against me and asked for forgiveness of those who I have trespassed against, I reach out with an open heart and love for all.

1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8.

Important points to consider.  A bargain with God may be a contract with the devil in reality. You cannot bargain with God, He gives all we need through Grace alone. I went in and out of a Christian school building for more than 25 years, spending time at special events; time at sporting events; one on one time with teachers, parents and administrators. Not once did anyone ask me “What’s your story?” “How were you saved?” “How do you know Jesus? So yes, maybe the person next to you in the church on Sunday, is saved and is an ally in the fight against evil, but just maybe you will find someone hungry and thirsty or just needing to fully understand?... someone like me ... What better to share with them than the “Body”, the “Blood” and teachings of Christ Jesus?  So many things keep us from Jesus, but none so egregious as lack of humility and a feeling of self-importance. I have admitted my sinful nature and transgressions. I am praying to shed self-importance, self-direction and all forms of arrogance, realizing…… I AM important to God, have accepted His forgiveness and submitted to his will. I am committed to trust in the love of Jesus; His words and His works, growing in confidence daily, convicted to using them only to honor Him, with love for my fellow man.  

If there is anyone in the audience today who is unsure, who has questions or even, Hallelujah! is ready to commit to the lord, there are many here who would love to introduce you to the True Jesus Christ!

Here is a promise! Jesus is already on His journey to you! Open your door; your mind; your heart; Open your arms wide and embrace Him! …. What do YOU have to lose?

There will be no final chapter to this testimony! God’s love is unending.

By the Grace of God, sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to be nailed on the cross to die on behalf of me, Alvin R Davis III, having freed me from my sins so that I may have Eternal Life, I submit to his will!

_______________________________________ Alvin Richard Davis III

I hereby acknowledge my commitment to Jesus Christ, but even more importantly these words are written on my heart!