A Note From Pastor Paul
This week Amy and I asked Jessica Wernly, our Children’s Ministry Director to share her personal testimony with you. Her story is a living reminder of Romans 8:28 which says,“we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.” After reading her story I think you will agree that God took Jessica’s past and worked it together to be used for His glory as she desires to reach this next generation for the Lord.
Our Children’s Ministry is open during the second service at 10:30am. If you love the Lord, have a heart to teach children about Jesus, and are wondering if God can take your past and work it together for His glory, I encourage you to talk with Jessica about joining her team.
Meet Jessica Wernly Director of our Children’s Ministry
I don’t like talking about myself, especially my childhood. When Amy asked me if I could write my testimony and what I envisioned for children’s ministry I wanted to find any excuse to say no, but I felt something telling me to just do it! I’m not going to go into full detail because this will easily turn into a novel, but here is a highly condensed overview of my childhood and how it has shaped my vision for children’s ministry.
I am an only child, and I was raised by a single mom. My mom had health issues during all of my life and worked minimum/low wage jobs. One of my earliest memories was living in some sort of housing for single moms and in a shelter. We didn’t have much support from family and things were a bit rough, but my mom tried her best. I distinctly remember being so scared and feeling so lonely at times, especially when she had a seizure and there was nobody around to help or comfort me.
When I was 5 years old, we moved to Brighton to stay with an aunt and have lived in Brighton ever since. I know my mom tried her best to raise me and provide for me, but there is only so much a single mom can do, especially when she has to work. When I was around 9 years old my mom met a man and they eventually got married. I was so happy and excited thinking I’m finally going to have a dad and things were going to get better. I was so wrong!
Their marriage was a different set of challenges that ended in divorce. Both were unbelievers and both had a different idea of how the marriage should be. He believed he was the Alpha and had to rule over the household with an iron fist and not be questioned. My mom probably thought that avoiding any type of conflict was the key to happiness and didn’t question him. I, on the other hand, like asking questions and I remember a few occasions when I was told to do as he says and not cause problems in their marriage. During their marriage I felt like I was a burden, like a package nobody wanted. For several years I was told to go to school and come straight home. I wasn’t allowed to hang out with friends, join any after school clubs or sports. During this time, I felt anger, resentment and even more loneliness. It was worse whenever I would compare myself and my life to others around me. I was highly insecure in my identity.
I didn’t grow up with any kind of religion, but when I was 14, my mom and my aunt started to take me and my cousins to a local church. I hated going to church, it was boring, and I was zoning out 99% of the time. During the 1% of time when I heard what was being said in church, I did hear about Jesus and how he died on the cross for me. I also heard about a loving Father, but I had a hard time understanding what that meant. I did not want to commit to being a Christian for several years because I had plans, and my plans involved finding love and acceptance in the world.
Basically, my plans involved focusing on a career, love and money. I was going to go to college so that I could start a career that paid lots of money so I could move far away and never look back. After that I would get married and live happily ever after because I would have lots of money and be married to someone that loved me. Apparently, God didn’t get my memo, or He simply didn’t care because His plan involved breaking me until He got my full attention. After high school, I went to college, but that didn’t work out as I thought it would. Over the years as I tried forcing this specific plan that would bring me happiness, one thing after another would go terribly wrong. I wasn’t able to finish school. The guy I thought was “the one” wasn’t the one. My finances got worse and lots of other things around me started crashing down. Nothing seemed to be working and things were only getting worse until one day I broke down. Something in me knew I couldn’t do this by myself, and I longed to go to church and seek comfort. During that time of brokenness, I decided to give my life fully to the Lord and I am happy to say it is the best thing that has happened to me. Jesus has completely changed my life! I went from feeling anger, fear and loneliness to feeling joy, love and contentment.
I eventually started coming to Calvary Chapel Brighton and have been attending here for around 7 years. I have been serving in the children’s ministry for the majority of that time and love interacting with the children. I feel privileged to be able to greet the families that come through those doors and to know that their children are in a great place. I want every child that comes to our church to feel safe and loved. I want them to hear about God, and how God is the heavenly Father that loves them so much that He sent His one and only son, Jesus, to die on the cross, so that if they believe they will not perish, but have everlasting life.
If you would like to join our Children’s Ministry team, or if you have any questions regarding our ministry to children ages nursery through 5thGrade, contact Jessica Wernly at email@example.com