I was born in June 1976 into a family with two older sisters, and my parents. About four years later my little sister was born. I grew up in a small town in Iowa where my family attended a small Methodist church every Sunday. I was active in the youth group and was baptized as an infant and confirmed. This gave me a set of values to follow as I was growing up.
Every summer since about 3rd grade while I was growing up I went to a church camp and I loved it! I was a whole different person at camp then I was at home, I had friends, and I felt like people cared. Every year at the end of the camp week they would give a sermon that told us that we were sinners and that we could know we were going to heaven and have a personal relationship with God. After the sermon they would dim the lights and have everyone bow their heads and close their eyes and anyone could come up to the front who felt that they needed prayer or wanted to ask Christ into their lives. I went forward my first year at camp, and then my second year when they did it again, I remember sitting in my chair and thinking "Is this something I need to do?" "I did it last year" "I don't really want to do it" "What are people going to think?" In the process of thinking all of this, I felt a kick in the butt (literally) and the next thing I knew I was walking down the aisle to pray with someone.
Since I grew up going to church and I was already a "good girl" I didn't realize the impact of this decision until much later in my life or what these prayers meant. I know looking back on my life that God really protected me until I could understand. If I had gone to a bigger school where I would have had more opportunities to get involved in drugs, alcohol, or premarital sex, I probably would have taken advantage of those things to fill the void that I felt in my life and I would have been hurt.
After I graduated High school I went to a community college and began to experience what the real world was like. Several of my friends in my first year of college enjoyed going to the bars and smoking. I never joined in, but hung out with them when they did it; I even remember once that one of my friends was afraid she was pregnant. This was different than anything I had experienced before, and God once again protected me by giving me a conscience and helped me listen to it.
In the next two years I moved from one town to another and eventually I moved to Boone where my oldest sister and her family lived. We had become pretty close over the last two or three years and became a support system for each other.
One day I was listening to the Christian radio station and heard about this thing called "see you at the flag pole", that was going to be at college, where the Christians at that school gather around the flag pole and pray. I was excited to hear about this and decided that it was something I wanted to do. When the day came I woke up early and started walking there, only to turn around and head back the way I came. I indecisively started walking four times before finally arriving at the pole.
While I was there, I met a girl named Jen who later became one of my best friends. A few of us at the flag pole that day started a Bible study and an FCA group on our campus. Jen was always inviting me to do fun things with her church friends like Halloween parties and canoe trips and ended up inviting me to go to church with her. It wasn't until I was actively involved with Stonebrook, Jen's church, that Jesus began to take on a real meaning and I realized "Jesus Loves Me" was not just a song, but the truth.
After living in Boone for two years I finally moved to Ames; this was the best move I had ever made at this point in my life. This was the beginning of me making my own decisions and not doing everything I was told to do. Another girl and I rented an apartment and got involved in small group Bible studies at Stonebrook. I slowly began to change from a quiet, shy person into someone not so quiet and shy. One night towards the end of winter, I was on campus with a bunch of the students for a "free Friday flick" when Tim Borseth, one of the pastors, walked up to me and asked me if I would consider moving into the basement of the house that he and his family were buying. I was scared out of mind that this guy whom I respected so much as a leader was asking ME to live with him. I agreed, which was another great decision on my part.
Somewhere within the two year time frame of living with the Borseth's my small group leader took me out for lunch at Fazoli's and we talked about baptism. I had thought about this several times but had never fully decided to do it. I went home that day and asked with a huge smile on my face if Tim and Kristen would baptize me, and they of course said yes. That night they baptized me in a hot tub that one of the other pastors owned. I was excited to take this step of faith and show people what Christ had been doing in my life.
A few years later while I was at a retreat, I was reading my Bible and found Psalm 139. I immediately claimed this as my life verse. It reminds me of how intricately God knows me and how deep His love for me goes. I often look back at it when I feel the world is crashing in around me and no one loves me or cares about me. It's comforting to know that God loves me even when people fail me.When I was asked about considering the church plant I had a few things that needed to work out in my life to feel like God was really leading me to do this, so I made a list of 7 things that God needed to do. Amazingly God came through with speed and in seemingly random ways.