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Our weekly newsletter filled with news, updates, and inspiring stories of how God is working in the Bay Area.

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Meanwhile, because one woman shared with her neighbors how Jesus exposed her past and present, the village of Sychar was transformed-many Samaritans heard and believed.

John 4:39 Voice

We don’t have to be perfect to inspire other people. As God helps us face and overcome the challenges in our lives, we can inspire other people simply by being transparent, like the Samaritan woman was with her neighbors. Seeing God change our lives inspires others that change is possible for them too. 

I was personally reminded of this truth by watching the baptism of Derrick De La Cruz two weeks ago. 

Derrick studied the Bible to learn to build a relationship with God with a group of guys in our Y-Ministry in Contra Costa North, including a volunteer leader named Kirby. Growing up, Derrick felt like he always had to be perfect. He thought that perfection would make his parents happy and prevent conflicts. When he heard Kirby pray openly and vulnerably about his weaknesses and limitations, Derrick realized that God wanted to know everything about him. He didn’t need to be perfect; he learned that God’s power is actually at its strongest in our lives when we let down about our weaknesses.

Derrick was also inspired to pursue God by two friends at his high school, Sal and Juan. He saw them change through studying the Bible and getting to know God, which helped him believe change was possible for him too.

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

1 Timothy 4:16 NIV

As the guys around Derrick continued to let God change their lives, they helped Derrick change his and he decided to get baptized. At his baptism, Derrick shared passionately about how God had changed his heart as he learned about Jesus’ sacrifice for him on the cross.

One of Derrick’s friends was moved to come to church to see the baptism because Derrick had shared his life with his friends and talked about the ways God was helping him be different. His friend could see how much Derrick had changed, especially in Derrick’s willingness to be transparent about his pain and weaknesses.

After church, Derrick’s friend was so inspired by all he heard and experienced that he decided to do Bible studies with guys in the Y-Ministry to learn about God himself. He brought his parents to church with him this past Sunday; they enjoyed it and expressed that Derrick and his parents, who are Christians in Contra Costa North, have become like family.

Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.

1 Thessalonians 2:8 NIV

When we allow God to transform our lives, and then exercise the courage to share those changes with others, we inspire them that change is possible. With God, a changed life changes lives. We can’t wait to hear more stories about how God is working through each of you to change lives in the months to come.

Until next time,

Sam and Tenea Manuel

East Bay Lead Ministers

Written by

Sam Manuel

Sam is a former outside linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers. Since retiring from the NFL, Sam has worked in the ministry serving communities in the Bay Area.