My walk with Jesus began later in life. I didn’t grow up in a religious household, and Christian terms and words felt uncomfortable to me. It wasn’t until after college that I met someone whose life had been transformed by a love for Christ. This close friend showed me what it was like to not only read the Bible and attend church services, but to actually have a relationship with Jesus. This friend is a pastor’s kid, and it wasn’t long after I met her that God put another pastor’s kid in my life – a man that became my husband a couple years later.

After my husband and I brought our first son into our family, we started attending church regularly, where I approached services through an intellectual lens, not yet letting my heart open enough to let Christ in. I learned the basics from reading Christian books to our son and began to realize that maybe God was speaking directly to me. I asked a lot of questions to my in-laws, a pastor & wife team in Western NY, who patiently guided me. We found Grace Community Church in 2014, and it was during a sermon here that I accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord of my life. That experience encouraged me to attend Starting Point and Foundations to deepen my faith.

Since the day I sat in the sanctuary and asked Jesus to use me for his good, I live day-to-day with more optimism, gratefulness, and joyfulness than I ever did before. I see God working in me and through me. I strive to disciple my two sons with mercy and grace, as God has done for me. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” This verse has been greatly comforting through recent hardships. Through all the valleys and on top of all the hills, God is with me – and my family – always.

I’m choosing to be baptized now to declare that I’m putting my hope and trust in Jesus alone.

–Ashley Bendelewski, Baptized April 2019

If you’re interested in being baptized at Grace, click here to learn more and to sign up to attend the next Baptism Workshop.

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