The comment section of the card simply read, “I’d like someone to help me learn to read the Bible.” That’s how I met Krystal. In our Guest Reception area, each week we meet new people and our Next Steps team hospitably engages our guests over coffee and some delicious treat that we’ve freshly baked. When a Connect Card is filled out by a visitor, Pastor Mark sends out a thank-you letter, and we follow-up with spiritual needs, physical help, more information about our church, and more about our mission to ignite a passion to follow Jesus.
Instead of passing Krystal’s card along to a volunteer, I decided that I would reach out and see if she wanted to meet to read the Bible together. We started a simple Bible study and Krystal opened up and shared the story of how she ended up at College Park one Sunday and how she wanted to be baptized.
Krystal was, what you might say, dealt an unfair hand in life. She was born to a mother who had a drug addiction and as a child was severely abused. She moved in with an aunt only to flee in her early teens due to more abuse and addiction issues with that relative. Krystal bounced around between various living situations while also navigating depression and eventually personal drug problems of her own. Failed attempts at suicide landed her in a program that placed her in the home of a College Parker.
Her roommate, Nikki Brunkow, invited Krystal to come with her to church and one bright, sunny, summer day, after several invitations, Krystal decided to go. She was glued to the podium as Nate Irwin shared the story about the Rich Fool. In the sermon, Nate shared the good news of God’s love for all and that with surrender to Him there is a road to wholeness. Krystal understood and wanted to experience God’s love and forgiveness and that Sunday, she made a choice to follow Jesus.
It wasn’t long before she felt a stirring to get baptized. She witnessed people, young and old, declaring their allegiance to Jesus in our worship services, and she saw no reason why she shouldn’t do the same. Krystal has a remarkable understanding of her relationship with God the Father, His Redeeming Son, and the work of His Holy Spirit in her life.
I am amazed at Krystal’s softness of heart and desire to know God better. This young gal had every reason to be angry at God, family, and life. But, in the midst of her pain and feeling like God had been hiding Himself from her, she learned that He was always there and is there forever more to love her, help her grow as a Christian, and help her learn to forgive those who caused her such heartache. Praise the Lord!