The start of 2024 has been nothing short of inspiring! Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen God move powerfully to rewrite the stories of two incredible people in the West Bay who recently discovered God’s purpose for their lives through the Bible and spiritual friendships.
We strongly believe in the transformative power of the Word of God and prayer. That’s why we are passionate about building a church community in which God is firmly at the center, and we love to see the ways he changes people’s lives for the better as they get to know him. Let’s jump into these two incredible stories of the life-changing power of prayer.
Chris and Louie’s story: How persistent prayer can change a family
Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.
Mark 11:22-24 NLT
In 2018, a student at San Francisco State named Chris decided to study the Bible with friends he had met on campus. After deciding to become a Christian and get baptized, Chris was inspired about God’s purpose for him to change lives around him. He had grown up in San Jose, and he believed that God had brought him to San Francisco to not only get a degree but also discover his destiny and purpose.
Chris began praying for his family and friends to believe that God had a unique and inspiring purpose for them. Chris’s mother Maria was inspired by the changes she saw in her son’s life and began visiting church with him. Maria began to build spiritual friendships with Christians and study the Bible in our Santa Clara ministry. She was moved by God’s love and purpose for her life, and was baptized in 2020, just two years after Chris was baptized.
Since 2018, Chris continually prayed that God would bring his younger brother, Louie, to San Francisco. Upon graduating high school, God answered that prayer. Louie was offered a scholarship to play soccer at Dominican University, which is just 15 minutes north of San Francisco.
Though Louie excelled on his team—gaining recognition, winning multiple awards, and even joining the Dominican University track team—he still felt like something was missing. Louie began to have spiritual conversations with Chris about the purpose and love he had seen in his brother’s life since his baptism.
Though Louie was inspired by the change he saw in his brother’s life, he wasn’t quite ready yet to build a relationship with God for himself. As he pursued the achievements, attention, and accolades that were available to him, Louie kept coming back to that missing piece inside him. Though he excelled on his collegiate teams, his relationships felt shallow and distant. He began to realize he didn’t know how to have friendships that were built on an honest, spiritual, and deep foundation.
Meanwhile, Chris continued praying for Louie, believing that God had a greater purpose for his brother’s life. In the summer of 2023, Louie decided to study the Bible for himself as he realized that living a life without purpose was neither meaningful nor fulfilling. Once he understood how much God had sacrificed to give him a new life and purpose through the cross, Louie radically changed—he reconciled past relationships, became a better friend to his teammates, and learned to be honest and transparent with his family so that he could love them more deeply.
Louie decided to get baptized last Sunday, January 28th, and inspired many people, including his family and friends!
Louie’s story highlights the power of persistent prayer and family. Through the constant prayers of his brother, Chris, his mother, Maria, and many friends, Louie can now look ahead toward the purpose he always felt he was missing. He continues to excel in school by working towards his Master’s degree and in sports by playing soccer at a high level with professional teams. And yet, as he said at his baptism, his “identity and purpose are far greater and bigger than soccer.” He’s passionate and excited to make the same impact on others that God and his spiritual friends made on him!
Willia’s story: It’s never too late to change
One day Jesus taught the apostles to keep praying and never stop or lose hope…
Luke 18:1 TPT
God never gives up on us, and he encourages us to reciprocate by never giving up on prayer. God is always pursuing us, and it’s never too late to have a relationship with him. This is something Rodell, a Christian who lives out of state, deeply believed as she persisted in prayer for her sister, Willia. Rodell’s prayers were answered as Willia, who lives in Santa Clara County, became friends with women in our church here. She began to study the Bible at age 80 and realized that God wanted a personal relationship with her beyond the religious traditions she grew up with.
As Willia continued to study the Bible for herself and learned how to put Scriptures into practice, God helped her reconcile and transform the relationships within her family. She began to experience healing from hurts that had sat with her for decades as she learned to grow in her faith and personal relationship with God.
Willia is an incredible example of humility and love for those around her. Whether it was her willingness to learn from women much younger than her, or her eagerness to participate in making our annual Halloween Trunk or Treat and Summer Faire community events great, Willia has become a source of light to everyone around her.
On January 21st, at 81 years old, Willia decided to get baptized. She and her sister’s story shows us that it’s never too late to change, to build a relationship with God, to impact our family and friends, or to get involved in helping the community. All we need to do is keep believing in prayer and God will work through us to make a difference in the world.
Until next time.