“I stopped going to church because I didn’t feel connected to God, but when I went to Chets things began to change.”
Juan Rios said he grew up hearing about God, but it never really made sense. “I didn’t know who God was or what he was trying to get through to me.” So, for the past few years he just stopped going at all.
Juan is in the Marine Corps and was on deployment in Afghanistan last year. While there, he walked through difficult experiences and saw some shocking things. When he came back to the states, Juan recognized he needed something to change. So, when a friend invited him to Chets Creek in January, he decided to give it a try.
“I didn’t know how I’d feel about it,” said Juan but for the first time in his life, what he heard made sense. Juan vividly recalled the sermon from that first Sunday titled, “Are You Ready?” based on scripture from Isaiah. As Pastor Chris taught, Juan described an emotional connection to the scripture he’d never experienced before.
That day Juan filled out a connection card saying he wanted to find his way to God and commit his life to Jesus. One of our discipleship pastors, Daron Johnson, followed up with Juan to talk about his desire to commit his life to Christ.
“He shared with me about God and how it’s not about just going to church but actually having a relationship with Him,” said Juan. He understood what Daron was saying and knew it was time to go from knowing about God to actually knowing God.
“I began a relationship with Jesus. I feel happy because I know I can talk to Him and He’s there all the time,” said Juan.
Juan’s troubles didn’t disappear when he accepted Christ. He is still dealing with the challenges of adjusting back to life as a civilian, experiencing hurt in relationships, and trying to figure out what he’s called to do. But he keeps going back to something Chris said that very first Sunday, “It’s ok to be uncomfortable, comfortable isn’t in God’s vocabulary.” Juan knows that even when it’s uncomfortable he can trust in and rely on Jesus.
“Honestly, He’s the person I can go to about anything. If there’s ever a time where something good or bad is happening, I can bring it to Him and feel good knowing He’ll be there to get me through.”