Freedom Isn't Free

Freedom Isn't Free

As a second generation military man, I know the sacrifice our service men, women, and their families make to secure the freedom we enjoy. The long hours, the stress and strain of military maneuvers, the constant moving around from duty station to duty station, and the deployments that last months or years at a time are just some of the examples of our military paying for our freedom.

When people thank us for our service, most veterans will reply with a simple and humble, "It's been my honor to serve." The bond between brothers and sisters in arms is forged with blood, sweat, and tears. One of the common mottos in the armed forces is "leave no man behind". It's not uncommon for soldiers to risk their own life to save the life of a comrade. The potential loss of their own life is worth the risk to save the life of their battle buddy. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

This July 4th, while we honor those who gave their service and those who gave their life for our freedom, let us not forget the One who gave it all for us - for our freedom from the chains of sin, shame, and guilt.

At Eastside, we honor Christ's sacrifice… His blood, sweat, and tears by continuing His work to seek and save those who are lost. Those still in chains by life's hurts, habits, and hang-ups by offering Care & Recovery groups at all of our campuses. We know one out of every three people in our community find themselves in a difficult season of life. These Care & Recovery groups are a safe and welcoming place where people can find help, discover hope, and experience healing.

A place where you can belong and be part of a community of overcomers.

A place where you can believe what God says about you, and not what the world says.

A place where you can become all that God has designed you to be.

A place where you can find and experience the true freedom that only comes from surrendering the care and control of your life to Jesus Christ. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  John 8:36.

It wasn't that long ago that I found myself there - in a very dark place far from God. My 23-year marriage abruptly and unexpectedly ended and I had lost everything. In my darkest moment, I cried out to God. I asked Him to show Himself to me. And He did through my in-laws who invited me to come to Eastside.

I got connected to a Care & Recovery group on a Friday night, and have been coming here ever since. It didn't happen overnight, but I did heal over time. I began to surrender my all to Him. The more I allowed Him to work in me, the more He began to work through me.

If you had told me when I began my journey in 2010 that this is where God would lead me, I would've told you that you're crazy. God doesn't use people like me. What I've come to find out is that He indeed does. Our God uses the improbable to do the impossible.

If you or someone you know is in a difficult season, we invite you to check out the Care & Recovery groups at Eastside.

Written By: Greg Arbues

Your Generosity is Changing Lives

Your Generosity is Changing Lives

With continuous generosity over the years, Eastsiders have helped make this D R E A M possible. We're so thankful to partner with Tijuana Christian Mission and to have the opportunity to impact the children of this community.

An Unlikely Road to Fatherhood

An Unlikely Road to Fatherhood

Jazmin and I had been dating for about a year and a half when we knew that marriage was in our future. I didn't have kids, so I knew that her two daughters Ana(10) and Kalila(7), would be a HUGE responsibility.  It was time to express my love and intentions for Jazmin and her two beautiful girls. The four of us had spent so much time together, laughing, playing, crying, and praying… I just knew I couldn't go on without them. I felt that asking the girls for permission to marry their mommy was a must, and Jazmin agreed. I would do it that week after dinner at their apartment.

Dinner has always been fun for us, so when the day came for me to ask The Big Question, it was a real struggle for me to sit down to our meal and not look distracted. Even while we were talking, laughing and eating, the only conversation I could hear was in my head. “What if they say no? Am I ready for this? Does Jazmin really know what she's getting herself into?”

During dessert, I paused, took a deep breath, and asked Ana and Kalila if they would let me marry their mom. I don't remember ever hearing them actually say the word “yes”, but their screaming with excitement told me I was pretty much in. They were so happy, and my heart felt so full! In my own excitement, I added, "It's because I want us to be a family now!" At that moment, the wedding planning began! Ana and Kalila would be bridesmaids, throw the flowers, and on and on.

Ana, the oldest, continued in “wedding planner mode.” By now she'd moved on to the colors for the dresses. But I noticed that Kalila became quiet. She looked down at her plate and seemed very confused. I leaned in towards her and asked, "What's wrong, honey?” By then, the table quieted down, and we were all focused on her. I remember feeling sick. She was going to say that she changed her mind. That she didn't want me as a dad. I wasn't prepared for rejection. What happened next changed my life. She looked up at me and said softly, "But I thought we already were a family?”

At that moment, my life began to change... completely. I started to realize that words like love, family, and commitment, are cemented into the heart of another, only when it's so obvious by your actions that there can be no mistaking it.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that I pull this off every day with my family. I've had my share of cementing in the wrong attitude at the worst time possible. But here's where another privilege of being a father comes in. It's when Dad uses words like, "I was wrong... I'm sorry...I made a mistake..." And my personal favorite, "...Please forgive me." God will strategically use those opportunities to repair the damage I've done while trying to be the perfect Dad.

Eight years later, we're still laughing, playing, crying and praying. And at the center of it Jesus.

Written By: Zeke Rodriguez

Change Maker // Meet Katie

Change Maker // Meet Katie

CHANGE MAKER // Meet Katie. She is a Change Maker serving in Eastside’s High School Ministry, HSM, at the La Habra campus. She is the definition of a true Change Maker, as she arrived in the midst of student ministry launching at Eastside La Habra. She has demonstrated her passion and belief in the next generation from the beginning. High School years are such a formative time in all of our lives, and she felt called to be there and help support girls going through all the same adolescent struggles that she faced. Katie shared with us the importance of the gifts that God has given each one of us. 
There are so many ways to jump in and be a part of what’s happening here at Eastside. There are people serving in the cafe making specialized coffee to help wake you up on a Sunday morning, and there are people sharing smiles at the front door when you step foot on an Eastside campus. There’s adults helping raise up the next generation through Kidside, JHM, HSM and Young Adults (Ethos) here at Eastside on a weekly basis. And so many more! Being a part of a team helps you build community and continue your spiritual journey. “We serve, because that’s what Jesus did when he walked this earth - and we’re called to live a life like Jesus.” Thanks for sharing your story with us Katie!
To find out more ways on how you can be involved serving at Eastside, visit

Parenting With Open Arms

Parenting With Open Arms

When Jennifer and her husband, Peter, decided to extend their family of three some years ago, they desired to do so with the hope of spreading the gospel as well.  A friend of theirs had journeyed through the foster-to-adopt system in Los Angeles County, which prompted the idea for them to look into doing the same. 

The Benefit of Buying at Eastside

The Benefit of Buying at Eastside

Scrip is a program that enables you to purchase gift cards to hundreds of the stores, restaurants and gas stations that you frequent, with a percentage of each purchase going back into Eastside’s Compassion Department to help families in need.



“Just because you’re painting a door in Mexico, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done perfect and right.  City of Refuge is another piece of God’s Kingdom, God’s house.  Just imagine that when you’re painting a door, it’s not just a door in Mexico.  It’s a door in God’s house.”

Danny’s been an Eastsider for about five years now, and from the day he called Eastside home he knew he had to get involved; never wanting to be a “pew warmer”, as he calls it.  At the first opportunity, he signed up to travel down to Rosarito with the Global Compassion team to serve at the City of Refuge Orphanage.   

With 30 years of construction experience under his tool belt (pun intended), Danny began helping with various projects around the orphanage grounds.  However, when he realized a more efficient and accurate way to complete a certain project, he brought it to Arty’s attention, (Eastside’s Director of Global Compassion) and was asked to head it up completely.  He agreed, and his involvement took off from there. 

Danny became the Project Manager, leading teams and undertakings at the beloved orphanage which enabled the leaders of these trips--Arty Vangaloof and Jeff Swaney, to focus their giftings on the needs of the orphanage as a whole.  Soon a “pro-team” was formed, composed of 20-25 incredibly talented and skilled men each with a heart of compassion for serving the staff and kids down in Mexico. “There’s really nothing this team can’t do!”, Danny exclaimed.

Six to eight times a year, a handful of men from this pro-team respond to any pressing needs that arise at the orphanage, with Danny heading up the team each and every expedition. Since his first in 2012, there isn’t one Eastside trip to Mexico that Danny hasn’t been a part of--it’s now his personal obligation as he says, “I can’t imagine taking a hot shower up here while I know the kids down there have a broken pipe”. 

This ministry has become his passion, the calendar dates of these trips are what dictate his family’s plans each year.  “Through these constant trips I’ve become friends with the staff, I have special kids, etc. I even got to take my small group down--12 people all together.  All 12 had the time of their life, and at breakfast they said we need to do more, what can we do?” 

Danny is a catalyst, creating ripples of interest that lead to waves of change, all because he chose to use his existing giftings--to which God then formed into his heart’s passion. This retired contractor chose to use the skills he had acquired over a career of lessons for the furthering of the kingdom, and the kingdom has certainly come to Rosarito. We each have been fitted with gifts such as this, whether or not we recognize them fully.


If you have a passion or interest for helping at the City of Refuge, visit




This term was familiar for Ariel as she made her way through her teen years at an academic-centric high school.  It wasn’t that she had no drive for her education, just no interest in the scholastic avenues presented to her; she craved to follow a path all her own.

She connected with a boy who would become a long term relationship for her, but meanwhile struggled with her parents over her assumed lack of direction. She was encouraged to start working towards a financially stable career, and though she landed multiple well-paying jobs, her boredom was never quenched.  She felt stuck--living with her boyfriend, relationship with her parents severed and feeling dry in her work, as if “the wheels were turning but nothing in her life was moving forward”.

Ariel found herself at Eastside, hearing about the Global Compassion trips that lead to her to apply for Chile. The first half of her time in South America, Ariel felt misunderstood and couldn’t understand why until traveling down to the rural, mountain town of Ralco for the second part of the missions trip. 

It was in Ralco that an incredibly special communion ceremony took place: the sacrificing of a live lamb.  The calm animal was lead to the butcher’s knife in sacrifice that day, and as Ariel gazed upon the innocent sheep as it gave it’s life, the entire picture of Jesus made clear, perfect sense.

In the stillness of that moment, as Ariel gazed at the vast Andes mountains and heard God say to stop worrying about her life, to focus instead on Him. “Okay” was her sole response, anything to keep this divine feeling of being understood and fulfilled from departing.

She suddenly understood why she had felt so out of touch from the team earlier in the trip, that she had been “looking for fulfillment in earthly relationships.”  And now all she could focus on what how to stay in this newfound place with God! 

When she returned to the States she was lead to end her seven-year relationship with her high school boyfriend and move back in with her parents, asking her Step Dad if she could call him “Dad” from now on. 

Though these decisions came surprisingly naturally, Ariel didn’t know what else was next for her, until she discovered a bachelor’s degree in Intercultural Studies at Hope University. She applied and saw God provide for her every need: her acceptance to the university, funds to pay for it, and positions as the Campus Pastor’s Assistant and Missions Intern that she held until just recently when she accepted an internship position in the Global Compassion Department at Eastside!

“Before I would pray and expect God to bless the decisions I was making, but they were my decisions. Now, I pray and wait for His response, then focus on being obedient to that call.”

Ariel’s story is one of courage, bravery and trust, of finding the truth of living a life with Jesus at her side, and that it is the key to living a life bursting with purpose and fulfillment. 

BEYOND BORDERS SERIES // Recovery & Rediscovery-Ali’s Story

BEYOND BORDERS SERIES // Recovery & Rediscovery-Ali’s Story

Ali would have fit in perfectly with the image you’d expect a young woman in Orange County to portray: happy, hard working, devoted and determined.  What you wouldn’t have seen looming beneath the surface, is the drug addiction that held her hostage for 16 years.

Though Ali attended private Christian school from preschool to 8th grade, her home life was one of brokenness that lead her to begin using in 7th and 8th grade.  When in 2014 she was sexually assaulted, the drug use spiraled out of control leading her right into an abusive relationship and ultimately Juvenile Hall.

Drugs were a part of the majority of her life, yes, but she was a high functioning addict; one that completed her bachelor’s degree and started a small business. However, in the last two years of her addiction as she was striving to stay away from her abusive boyfriend, Ali had what you may call a spiritual awakening.  On May 10th of 2016, weighing 83 pounds with a black eye and busted lip, she knew she needed to return to her faith and made the decision to get clean.

She went back to her childhood church Eastside to find it had grown exponentially.  Daunted by the size, Ali was sure this was no longer a fit for her; but to her surprise the more she listened to Pastor Gene Appel, the more she knew she was in the right place.

In July, Ali listened to a service that used an old chair as an analogy; she felt directly spoken to as the piece of furniture reminded her of the business she had started, and the old behavior she needed to rid herself of.  That day at Eastside, Ali spontaneously was baptized, showing the world of her devotion to Christ and desire to change. 

Ali began to see God’s redemption and provision in the strangest of ways.  When a legal issue arose, requiring her to spend 90 days in an in-patient recovery program; what seemed to be an interruption in her “new” life living clean, turned out to be a blessing as the separation from her abusive boyfriend ended their relationship once and for all!

The one free day Ali had from the program she went to serve at Eastside, where she felt led to join the team in the upcoming Global Compassion trip to Kenya.  The trip enhanced her life greatly, as she returned back to the States and chose to sell her business that had been wearing on her for some time.  She then spoke to Erica Flora, Director of Local Compassion at Eastside about working at a non-profit organization, to which Erica knew of the perfect opportunity. 

A few days later, Ali had a new job at an organization called CityNet that helps connect people in transition with stable housing and resources.  She shared that on her first day in her new position, her team went to the Anaheim Riverbed where she ran into her past drug dealer and was able to speak with him candidly about the power of God in her life!

Ali said that desperation was what lead her to go back to her roots, to give up her way of living and begin listening to God.  “All I had to do was go home”, she said as she added, “I feel more at home at Eastside at 31 than I did at 8 years old!” 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28.  Sometimes our own decisions lead us down paths of destruction where we become unrecognizable to ourselves; but like in Ali’s testimony, it only takes one right decision to start us back on the path God has destined for us. 





BEYOND BORDERS SERIES // A Trip Abroad That Changed Perspective-Amity’s Story

BEYOND BORDERS SERIES // A Trip Abroad That Changed Perspective-Amity’s Story

When Park Rapids Eastsiders Amity and her husband decided to go to Mexico with the Global Compassion team this past summer, it was quite the leap of faith.  “We needed passports, we need a new furnace, new propane for the upcoming winter season--we had needs, but God told us to go.” 

Amity kept hearing the lyrics to the worship song, “Oceans”, resound in her head: Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me.  “I wanted to get out of the boat, get onto the water and stand. We hear these lyrics, but do we respond to the call?”  This summer, she and her husband certainly did.

In Mexico, Amity was struck by how genuinely happy the children were.  As she kept interacting with these orphaned kids that exuded such joy despite having next to nothing, Amity realized that she had been letting her own difficulties in life get in the way of her own joyfulness.  These kids acted like they had it made, and it both warmed Amity’s heart and convicted it.

One day, the Eastside team headed down to the Dump Community to offer sack lunches to the families living there.  A young boy immediately approached Amity’s husband and bridged the gap between them and the poverty-stricken community they had come to visit.  Amity got to speak with one woman in particular who had asked for three lunches to help feed her family, but was distraught to not have a fourth for the last member.  Without hesitation, the same little boy gave his in sacrifice for this woman’s family. 

Amity was astonished.  How could this youth, living in the same conditions, not knowing where his next meal would come from, so readily give all he had to her?  Amity and her husband left the country wishing they could have given more.  How was it that their mission had been to give to this community, when in actuality, they had been the ones to receive?

Humbled and transformed, the married couple returned to their Minnesota home to discuss all they had learned with their two children who had stayed behind.  At the ages of nine and six, Amity and her husband had chosen to leave them safely in Minnesota, for fear of what the foreign country might hold their young children.  Amity explained that upon coming home, her mind had changed so drastically regarding the safety of her kids and that they had made the choice to make next year’s Mexico trip a family affair.

From her experience at City of Refuge Orphanage in Mexico, Amity’s perspective and passion in life underwent big change.  She said to make actual impact for the Kingdom of God we can’t just experience “head change” by the knowledge we gain through the news we watch or the sermons we hear.  We have to experience “heart change” that opens us to feel the hurt and the needs of this world to realize the eternal impact we have in this life. 


Let’s Talk About Poverty, Part II: Gaining Perspective

Let’s Talk About Poverty, Part II: Gaining Perspective

“We appreciate the clothing and we appreciate the food, but more than anything, we value your friendship,” said Larry, the first ‘friend without a home’ that Tyler and Hughie made years ago.  The non-profit organization Povertees was founded in 2007 when CEO, Tyler Patterson, began sewing pockets on shirts to sell to his fellow college students, his profits paid for food for the homeless men and women he would meet.

That simple, passionate act turned into what would become Tyler and Povertees President, Hughie Hughes’, infrastructure for creating an organization that made clothing in order to employ people transitioning out of homelessness. Although not all of us are going to start a non-profit company towards this mission, there are significant ways these two men have found in their journey that can expand the awareness to those of us who share a community with brothers and sisters experiencing homelessness.  

We sat down with Hughie to gain some perspective on what is most needed in the lives of those currently living on the streets, his answers begging us to view the humanity with which those without a home possess as our common ground between those of us who do.

The first time Hughie visited Skid Row in Downtown LA, home to a population anywhere between 17,000-23,000 people experiencing homelessness, he said that he wasn’t expecting to connect easily to the folks he was meeting.  “Quite literally after my first time to this area, I had a monumental realization: what I thought was funny, was funny to them too. We could make fun of and mess with each other like real friends.” 

The understanding that came after this initial sitting with people that had the reputation of being so different from the own lives we lead, was quickly proven to be so deeply false.  What was gained, was the insight that these humans living in exposed, rough conditions, were no different from the inside, out.  

The college-aged pals continued to bring food and commune with their friends and acquaintances of Skid Row and would do just that: commune.  “Every time we gave them food, we sat with them; it was real communion,” described Hughie, “we would offer a sandwich, and they would offer half of it right back to us to eat.”

Hughie and Tyler continued to make trips to DTLA up to five times a week, and as they did, they began to classify the people they spent time with as their friends who happened to not have a home.  It was this shift in perspective that ushered in an appreciation for their friends’ humanity, an appreciation that continued to grow as many of them narrated their stories to Hughie and Tyler.  This act of vulnerability forged bridges of relatability, and Hughie and Tyler’s new friends said that they were now being “seen as people,” an unfortunate rarity for the majority of them.

Through the many experiences Hughie had visiting his friends on Skid Row, he shared that “consistency is the key component, allowing trust to be built with each and every story we hear.”  This consistency, this availability, is what has made the difference in their new friends’ lives, and lucky for us, it’s those factors that we too can offer as individuals and a community.  

We may not house the same passions of these two men to start an organization that fights for the rights of the population living in poverty, but, we do have the eyes to see the need, and ears to hear the stories of the human beings living in the present time without homes. 

As Eastside continues to make efforts in our North Orange County community, will you join us? Join us in loving on the individuals and families living life on the streets as we choose to bend an ear and sit a minute, choose to recognize the same humanity that resides in each of us: the need for connection, the need to be heard and understood.  

Efforts such as these will begin to not only shift ourselves out of the possible patterns we’ve accrued over time, but by being available, we will send a message to our neighbors experiencing homelessness that they are so worth the effort to be known.  

For specific ways to get involved with Eastside as we seek to love on our neighbors experiencing homelessness, visit  And may we each walk through the weeks to come with a new lense on poverty and those longing to overcome its grasp.

Let’s Talk About Poverty, Part I: Breaking Our Expectations

Let’s Talk About Poverty, Part I: Breaking Our Expectations

Poverty. Poor. Living under the Poverty Line.  These terms and phrases we hear on a daily basis to describe a person in need--but what do they necessitate exactly? Food? Shelter? Different clothing? Perhaps, but when we lean in to take a closer look we find that lacking physical objects is hardly the only reason why these folks would describe their lives as scarce.  

In the book Helping Without Hurting, Steve Corbett explains this concept further in saying that in “being materialistic people, many North Americans tend to think of the disease of poverty as being a lack of material things, such as money, food, clothing, and shelter.”  He explains that because this is our way of thinking, we believe as a culture that the way to relieve this epidemic is to give money or other material objects to our low-income neighbors.  However, as a society, we’re beginning to arrive at the understanding that there are numerous other non-material facets that can significantly help to redeem our neighbors’ poverty.  

The truth is that an individual can be experiencing poverty in ways that lie completely outside of the “material” spectrum.  This can be surprising for us as members of our communities that have sought to come alongside impoverished people with tangible offerings in our outstretched arms.  

Though the need for water and hygiene items are certainly necessary, there are more soul-quenching demands to be addressed. As we gain perspective on the circumstances these folks are facing, we begin to grasp that their needs go beyond that of what we see them lacking, into more abstract essentials such as gaining a positive mindset, life purpose and a supportive community.

Taking a look at these intangible life sources begs us as a society to ask the question: could there truly be a plethora of needs for this community of people that we simply haven’t been seeing? Needs that affect humans in a more profound and lasting way than filling their immediate need for gasoline or sustenance?  

If what Corbett has written about is true, we must begin to pivot our embedded reaction to fill the need we expect, and expand our horizons to view the person as a person with potential.  A person that perhaps has some insecurities or underdeveloped resources that simply require the chance to be tapped into, stewarded and supported.  

As we seek to gain understanding about the population of folks living defined by unfortunate circumstances, we realize we have the opportunity to view each individual as being clothed in significant possibility; possibility that can be fostered and given the chance to grow with human contact.  By engaging in conversation, learning their stories, sharing a meal, etc., the concepts of significance and humanity and equality will begin to reside within our neighbors and take shape as they are free to make steps towards regaining their identity outside of poverty. As Corbett explains, each individual living with poverty is still an image bearer of God, equipped with talents, skills and gifts that simply need the space and invitation to be recognized and nurtured.  

It is in appreciating this truth and flipping our perception of poverty on its head, that the layer of brokenness will be lifted, and the true identity of the person underneath will surely be revealed and allowed to grow.  And for the almost 400,000 people in Orange County living below the federal poverty line, it is paramount that this understanding be obtained in order for the lives being reflected in these statistics to be given hope again.

To learn more about partnering with Eastside as we seek to walk alongside those in our community facing poverty, visit 



Change Maker: Mark Buttrey

Change Maker: Mark Buttrey

“I see souls and I love people, that’s all I do well,” claims Mark. This passionate Eastsider began serving in his home of Orange County upon returning from living abroad in Romania at age 24.

Bravely Forward: Shanelle’s Story

Bravely Forward: Shanelle’s Story

Eastside Christian Church’s Local Compassion team met with Anaheim native, Shanelle, to learn first-hand about her life; one that has been marked with different waves of obstacles and perseverance. 

Bravely Forward: Officer Jesse’s Story

Bravely Forward: Officer Jesse’s Story

Growing up, Jesse was taught by his parents to respect the local Police Officers they’d pass by on the street.  That respect grew to admiration as TV shows like SWAT and Adam 12 enhanced his perception of the officers protecting his city.  “That’s what I wanted,” Jesse explained, “and that’s what the majority of cops want as they enter the force: to do good, to be the heros we grew up thinking so highly of.”  

Hidden Joy

Hidden Joy

When Cindy and Danny came across Eastside for the first time, they were amazed at how friendly everyone was. The big smiles and the heartfelt greetings made a big church feel amazingly small in just the blink of an eye. They couldn’t believe the energy and passion that was all around.

Bravely Forward: Wesley's Story

Bravely Forward: Wesley's Story

“I got hit in the head on the job site, started having seizures and such.  That’s when I got put on medicine and no one wanted to take a chance on me.” Wesley is a 52 year old man who migrated from Louisiana to California in 2013 after receiving no help after a work injury.  When Eastside’s Local Compassion crew met with him at his newly acquired apartment, he began to unveil his story.

Being a Voice for a Child Without One: A look into Foster Care

Being a Voice for a Child Without One: A look into Foster Care

May is National Foster Care Month, a time set aside originally in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan to offer appreciation to foster parents.  Since being initiated, the National Foster Care Coalition has worked to expand the goals of this month to focus on awareness of the issues at hand and to encourage willing citizens to get involved with the foster system. 

Just Let Go

Just Let Go

My name is Sharon Jensen. I was about to lose the lease to the preschool I had been running for 28 years. It was the only source of income for my family as my husband was facing health complications that left him unable to work. On the verge of a nervous breakdown, I found myself at the end of my rope. That was when I remembered a postcard that had been sent to me in the mail about Eastside that I disregarded. I found myself needing help and discovered that Eastside was there to give that to me.

I nervously attended Eastside for the first time and was warmly greeted by the parking attendant who directed me to the entrance. At the door, a woman with a bright smile approached me and asked if I was Sharon. I was taken aback because I did not remember introducing myself to the parking attendant or to the woman. Her name was Jo and she welcomed me to Eastside and made me comfortable. At the end of church service, she waited for me at Guest Central and there, I shared my story to her. Talking to her gave me peace and her kindness comforted my spirit. We prayed over the loss of the lease on the preschool and for my husband’s health and placed it into Gods hands. The once uncontrollable circumstances I was facing started falling into the right place soon after.

With less than 2 months before we were forced to close the preschool, I was able to meet with the property developer of the building I was leasing and found out he also attended Eastside. He graciously and quickly found another property for me to move my preschool and made the transition smooth.

I continued to care for my husband who was facing complications from his knee replacement. After several surgeries, the doctors could not determine the root cause of the complications. After much prayer, I was able to get a hold of a specialist who was able to take my husband’s case. He discovered an infection and performed surgery and within 6 months, my husband was able to recover.

Having the preschool to run and my husband to care for, I had been putting aside my own health. One day, my co-worker noticed I was walking differently and insisted I went to the doctors who ran an MRI test on my back and neck, only to discover I had a ruptured disk pinching my nerve and four vertebrae that had cut through the sheath that protected my spinal cord. If untreated I could have became paralyzed. I had surgery immediately and fully recovered within 3 months of the medical procedure.  

God was using people around me to reveal Himself to me and answer my prayers. I have learned through these miracles that God is with me. And, whether He is by my side or carrying me, I will put my trust in Him.

Through faith, Sharon obeyed God’s words and found that He fulfilled His promises. She discovered that she could not face this situation alone and found support at Eastside.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4: 6-7    

Are you currently experiencing a difficult situation that you need to apply these words to? Here at Eastside Christian Church, we are happy to help, visit us during one of our services or fill out a prayer request form at