Testimonies & Interviews

Get to Know Our Michele V.

Welcome back to “Getting to Know You,” in which we spend time chatting with the dear ladies of SGCC. Sometimes, if you know a little something about someone first, it makes it easier to initiate conversation on a Sunday morning and make a new friend. This week, we are visiting with our Michele V.

How are you doing, Michele?

I’m doing well. I’m in a season of transitions, changes and projects, which is unusual for me all at once. I usually plan a good amount of margin in my life – probably because I dislike being late, rushed or over-scheduled.
I am also relieved and excited to still be growing in the Lord at 48. I’m thankful He’s not done with me yet.

michele

Tell us a little bit about your home life, family, and work. 

My family consists of my son Trevor, (21) away at BIOLA and my daughter Faith, (17) a senior at Maranatha. Last month, our eight-year-old Teri-poo, Gigi, died of an enlarged heart. She was a beloved companion to me, and I still find myself looking for her everywhere.

I’ve been single for fourteen years. I have one older sister who lives with her husband and family in Pasadena. Together, we help take care of my dad who lives at the Oaks Retirement Community nearby since my mom died of lung cancer four years ago.

I work at a small family-owned oil investment company in town, and I have a seven minute commute for which I am so grateful. I work a reduced hour schedule, which enables me to pick up Faith from school, and that has been a huge blessing these past five years. Years ago, I was a litigation attorney specializing in construction defect defense. I walked around on many roofs in those days — sometimes in high heels.

When did you start attending SGCC, and how did you find out about it?

We started attending SGCC about twelve years ago. At the time, the Smiths (Nate and Heidi) and I were looking for a new church that exposited the Word on Sundays, and we had a pact that we would stay together if the Lord willed. I was at Curves with Pam R. (shocking, I know — the Curves part, not the Pam part), and I asked her where she went to church. She told me about SGCC, and we all visited soon after and started attending regularly.

What are you involved in at church?

I’ve enjoyed various endeavors over the years. Cooking and desserts for Core Week, Sunday greeter, leadership team for the Genesis class, deacon, Women’s Ministries Leadership Team, small group mentor for career women, Christmas sanctuary decorator, decor team for the sanctuary remodel (I think we were called “Steve’s Posse” or something like that). My most recent project was working with Steve and Conor on remodeling The Basement a year ago. That took about six or seven months, but it was very fun, and everyone seemed pleased with how it turned out. There is still about 6.3 percent left to be done down there and in the lobby, but one day, it will get finished!

What are things you like to do with your free time, if you have any?

This year, I was asked to served on the Board of Trustees at Maranatha High School. It has been an amazing time of watching God move, and I have been privileged to be a part of it. Since I am a policy dork, I do spend a lot of time researching and writing policy for the school. My job, the Trustee work, and squiring Faith to her activities takes up the majority of my time.

I am an Anglophile and love watching British TV and movies. I enjoy reading theological blogs and researching online — anything from llamas to Luther. I’m also a Gilmore Girls fan who likes to redecorate my house. Basically, I’m an indoors kind o’ gal.

My favorite music is the alternative/new wave music of the 1980’s and have been able to make it to a few concerts this year. I really love(d) to dance and did years of musical theater as a girl/teen. My dad was a drummer, and I have toyed with the idea of learning one day — maybe next year when I am an empty nester.

If you could have any job in the entire universe, what would it be? 

I’m pretty practical, so that is hard for me. I guess I would create a company that would come in and finish the last ten percent of things in your life. Last ten pounds to lose, last ten percent of a decorating project etc. Then, I would hire my firm to finish several projects I got tired of and left undone at my house.

If you go to a coffee shop, what do you usually get to drink? If you’re not a coffee drinker, what do you like to drink?

I drink four things — water, milk, Diet Coke, and occasionally a Mocha Frappacino Light. I’m a pretty focused drinker. Keep it simple, make it snappy.

What is one piece of wisdom you’d like to give your ten-year-old self?

I wasn’t a Christian at ten years old, so the advice may have fallen on deaf ears. I recall never being that comfortable in my skin. I am by nature a glass half-empty person, and without Jesus, it makes for some sad-sack days, despite having had a loving, comfortable, and privileged upbringing. I would tell myself that God sent His only Son to die for my sins and that He loves me unconditionally, even when I felt alone and misunderstood. He got me, even if no one else did. I never felt that until God sought me out to be His. It changed my life, for eternity but also in the day-to-day in profound ways. Knowing that life is not about me but about God freed me to get outside myself.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

I find that in each season of life, a chapter or verse grabs me because it speaks to exactly what I need — conviction or encouragement. Right now, I cry out most for perseverance, so it’s Hebrews 10:39: “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” It speaks to remembering God’s faithfulness and standing firm until He returns.

Thank you, Michele!

Testimonies & Interviews

Get to Know Our Rochelle H.

Welcome back to “Getting to Know You,” in which we spend time chatting with the dear ladies of SGCC. Sometimes, if you know a little something about someone first, it makes it easier to initiate conversation on a Sunday morning and make a new friend. This week, we are visiting with our Rochelle H.

How are you doing, Rochelle?

I am well, thank you.  Super busy, but otherwise, well. 🙂

Tell us a little bit about your home life and family.

My home life consists of husband, dog, two sons and two daughters, the elder of each “set” being teenagers (yikes!).  And as we enter this phase, I realize how much more I need to rely on the Lord for his guidance and wisdom.  It is also a blessing to see them grow into young men and women, to see their interests develop and to see their hearts for service.

My “work life” is pretty busy, as I serve as the PTA President at our elementary school, as well as Science Camp fundraising and School Site Council.  I have learned more about politics and running a small business than I ever thought I would.  Right now I serve in a volunteer capacity, however I have been picking up some transferable business skills.  It wasn’t the plan I had for myself, but God is so good. It’s amazing how many wonderful, godly folks I’ve met on our public school campus.

rochelle.jpg

When did you start attending SGCC, and how did you find out about it?

I started attending SGCC in 2001 with my fiancé (now husband) who grew up in the church.

What are you involved in at church?

I teach Sunday School in grades four through six.

What are things you like to do with your free time, if you have any?

When I find free time, I enjoy reading, scrapbooking, music, and Disneyland.

If you could have any job in the entire universe, what would it be? 

I would want to be a U.S. senator or a Disney animator. Or maybe a hacker. But one of the good guys who stops crime, not perpetuates it.

If you go to a coffee shop, what do you usually get to drink? If you’re not a coffee drinker, what do you like to drink?

Nonfat caramel macchiato. Unless it’s Christmas–then it’s a nonfat gingerbread latte. With whip.

What is one piece of wisdom you’d like to give your ten-year-old self?

Be patient. Many of life’s poor decisions come about because we refuse to be patient. It’s advice I still struggle to follow.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

My favorites change depending on the season, but I always go back to Romans 8: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Thank you, our Rochelle!

Testimonies & Interviews

Get to Know Our Lindsey T.

Welcome to “Getting to Know You,” in which we spend time chatting with the dear ladies of SGCC. Sometimes, if you know a little something about someone first, it makes it easier to initiate conversation on a Sunday morning and make a new friend. This week, we are visiting with our Lindsey T.

How are you doing, Lindsey?
I’m doing pretty well. Things seem to be busy, but who isn’t? 🙂

Tell us a little bit about your home life, your family, and your work life.
I grew up in this area (Altadena, to be exact) with two loving parents and a younger sister. I went to San Gabriel Christian School for elementary school, then Maranatha for high school, and then The Master’s College. I played soccer at Master’s, where I met my husband, Andrew. We just celebrated our three-year anniversary in November, and have been enjoying married life since we said “I do.”

lindsey.jpg

I have been working in the accounting department of a law firm in Pasadena for about five years. My husband works across the street from me, so we like to joke that we do everything together. 🙂 We carpool, eat lunch together, go to church together — but it is a lot of fun, and we know that we won’t be able to work so close to each other forever. We have ten nieces and nephews to date, which we LOVE so much — being an aunt is really the best!

About four and a half years ago, my mom passed away suddenly, which has definitely been a huge and hard adjustment to life, but God is good. He has provided supportive and loving family and friends. God has also given eternal life and hope that we will be reunited one day in heaven. Our family seems to be growing, as my dad is remarried and his wife has seven grandkids already. 🙂

When did you start attending SGCC, and how did you find out about it?
We have been attending SGCC for about three-and-a-half years. I went to San Gabriel Christian from first through eighth grade, so I was familiar with the church. When we got married we wanted to find our own home church where the bible was taught, and a place where we felt connected and welcomed. We tried it one Sunday and have been going ever since. We love this church and have felt so welcomed by everyone.

What are you involved in at church?
Andrew and I are both on youth staff and work with the high schoolers. I have a small group of girls who are Freshman and Sophomore girls. It has been such a blessing and so much fun to get to know these girls and walk alongside them.

What are things you like to do with your free time, if you have any?
Pinterest is always a go-to, along with Gilmore Girls. I wish I were more of a reader, but I’m not. I also love to plan things. Right now we are planning a trip to Europe, and that is currently taking up free time. By the way, any suggestions for traveling in Europe are always appreciated. 🙂

If you could have any job in the entire universe, what would it be? 
Well, I don’t want to get into trouble by answering this question (since my boss goes to our church, hehe). Hmm, I think I would love to have my own business, but the small problem is that I’m not sure what it would be. I really admire my mom. She had her own interior design business and somehow she was able to balance full-time work and be present in our lives. I don’t know how she did it. So my own business would be fun. Another idea would be to have a family and be at home with kiddos. I also would love to be able to go back to coaching soccer or coach softball.

If you go to a coffee shop, what do you usually get to drink? If you’re not a coffee drinker, what do you like to drink?
Not a coffee drinker, although I would like to be. I love the smell and the idea of a warm cup of coffee in the morning, but the taste, not so much. I do like tea — Black Mango tea from Trader Joe’s, or Sleepytime Tea. Careful — the Extra Sleepytime Tea is quite sleepy. The side of the box says “WARNING: do not drive or operate machinery after consuming this product.” I also love an unsweetened iced tea when it’s hot out.

What is one piece of wisdom you’d like to give your ten-year-old self?
Besides the obvious of reading your bible, getting involved at church, and memorizing scripture, I would say “be grateful for your family and spend time with your family.” If your mom asks you to go to the grocery store with her, go to the store. Any errand she wants you to come with her, go. You never know how much time you will have on earth and from personal experience, I wish my mom was still here so I could run errands with her.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
Yes, I love 2 Corinthians 4. My favorite verse from the chapter is verse 17: “For this light momentary affliction if preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…” It is such a great reminder that no matter what we go through in life, it is only temporary. It is such a great reminder on how to live life with an eternal perspective in mind.

Thank you, our Lindsey!

Testimonies & Interviews

Phyllis Lloyd’s Testimony

Phyllis Lloyd and her husband, Ken, serve as SIM Church Partnership Advocates, helping American churches connect and build relationships with churches overseas where SIM has many projects. Ken also responds by telephone to Internet inquiries from people desiring to serve God as long- or short-term missionaries.

ken and phyllis 2
Ken and Phyllis

(Click here to read more about the Lloyds’ long history with SIM, which began in 1966 and includes several years spent ministering in Nigeria. Ken and Phyllis have three married children and twelve grandchildren.)

Our Danielle T. interviewed Phyllis so that the women at SGCC could get to know and pray for her better. We hope you are encouraged by Phyllis’s openness, wisdom, and faithfulness to God.

breakfast nook view
The view from the Lloyds’ breakfast nook

Danielle: Phyllis, how did you maintain your own spiritual life on the mission field, with kids to raise and a husband to take care of?

Phyllis: My spiritual life has not been steadily uphill,  but has gone up with dips, sometimes big ones, along the way. But praise the Lord, though I’m not where I wish I were spiritually, I’m a long long way from where I was years ago. My personal climb has been best assisted by being in Biblical interaction with other people, especially a small group of women on a weekly basis, who encourage and challenge me as we learn what the Bible says. Ken is my biggest source of spiritual encouragement. Time is always short and I often resort to prayer while driving, cooking, and exercising. The challenge when our children were very young was huge.

Danielle: How did/do you manage to keep your relationship with your husband vital and growing in the midst of all the busyness?

Phyllis: Ken and I have been fortunate enough to work together most of our lives, and we’ve eaten three meals a day together for a huge majority of our fifty-two years of marriage. He’s my best friend. Actually, in this stage of retirement, we find ourselves going more in different directions than almost ever before, but that adds to dinner table conversation when it is just the two of us. Our relationship with each other has also not been a straight uphill graph line. We’ve had dry and stale times, but try to be together when we are together, not just two islands.

Phyllis's study space
Phyllis’s study space

Danielle: What did/do you do when the dry spells come spiritually, especially when you may not have another believer to talk to?

Phyllis: Fortunately for me, I’ve never lived in a situation when I had no other Christian fellowship, and for my personal walk, Ken has been the biggest help and encouragement to me. I remember one time when we were in Nigeria that I just walked out of a Christian musical, ran home, fell on the bed and asked God to forgive me for not keeping in close touch with Him for some weeks. And He did!

Danielle: What was/is it like to deal with life in another culture? What challenges do you face, like shopping, trying to find familiar foods, dealing with the language barriers?

Phyllis: All of the above are very difficult, especially during the first four years. You grope around at first, work hard at making friends of people in the culture, find those who can help you find shops, know what to do with what you can buy there,  and essentially learn how to cook all over again with different ingredients than you are used to. You learn to enjoy eating what is available, and not long for what you can’t get. It’s a process. You “just do it”, and suddenly you realize that you’ve eaten the same thing for breakfast and the same thing for lunch for weeks and hardly noticed. I thought when I came home from Nigeria the first time that I’d never eat rice again, but I do. That was God meeting my needs in hundreds of ways that I could list, and would never have known I needed before I got there.

It is frustrating when there is a language barrier, but some of us are so determined to communicate that we become very good at acting out our words and communicating non-verbally. Language learning requires humility, perseverance, and a good sense of humor.

I had to learn to laugh at myself and not feel devastated by my many, many cultural blunders. And people were/are very forgiving when they see the motives are good.

But it all takes a lot of getting used to. For those who really want to be involved and realize the huge cultural differences in people, it takes time to begin to feel really at ease and thrive where God has put you. But it can and does happen. I can’t think of a better way to have a fun and fulfilling life since that is what God’s will was/is for our life.

*****

Thank you, Phyllis, for sharing your heart and your time with us!

ken and phyllis
Please pray for the Lloyds.

Here is a prayer request from the Lloyds’ most recent prayer letter:

Pray that we personally will continue to grow in our understanding of God’s great love and power (Ps. 62: 11,12). He’s powerful enough to do anything and so loving He will always act in our best interest. Pray that we will meditate on His word, rely on the Holy Spirit, proclaim the Gospel and grow as we fellowship with other believers.

Testimonies & Interviews

Elisabeth Elliot Memorial Service

This video is a recording from the Elisabeth Elliot Memorial Service held at Wheaton College on Sunday, July 26, 2015. Friends and family members share remembrances of Elisabeth’s life, and Joni Eareckson Tada delivers a message entitled “For All the Saints Who From Their Labors Rest.”

(Look for the sweet moment when Joni addresses Elisabeth’s husband, Lars: “Dear Lars, on behalf of a grateful kingdom, thank you for taking such good care of Elisabeth during the darkest days of her disability.”)