By Erin Wallace
*The story was originally posted on July 17, 2014
“But who do you say that I am?” – Jesus in Matthew 16:15
At Westport Church, we exist to help people encounter Jesus. Jesus is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. At some point, every person has to decide: do I believe Jesus is who he claimed to be. Who we believe Jesus is will cause us to either put our trust in him and receive hope for eternal life, or dismiss him as a good man who lived and died over two thousand years ago.
For Alicia Lamon, the definitive decision about Jesus came in November of 2013. She had always felt a void in her life that she couldn’t seem to fill. Though she knew about Jesus, she still had a lot of questions about him and about the Bible. She had tried to find answers on her own via Google searches and reading through the Bible on her own. “It’s difficult because there’s not a directory that tells you where to find answers…the Bible is really long and you start in Genesis and by the time you get a few chapters into Exodus, you just still have so many questions.”
Her search for answers went into high gear in October of 2013 when her fiancé, Derek, called her from work saying he felt strongly that they needed to find Jesus and make some changes in their lives. They asked Alicia’s sister and brother -in-law, Lisa & Chris Lilja, about joining them at a Westport worship gathering. “The first time we attended our kids loved it and we left feeling stronger as individuals and as a couple.” Alicia filled out a connection card indicating she wanted to talk with someone about starting a relationship with Jesus. Within a few days, Alicia was connected with Chris Woodgate and they made plans to begin meeting to talk about her questions.
“I had so many questions about differences in religion and everything. I’ll never forget when Chris explained to me that being a Christian is not a religion but a relationship with God. Right then was when I decided to put my faith in Jesus.” Chris describes Alicia at that time being ready to receive Christ, she just needed some information to fill in the gaps. Chris described the process saying, “All of this was God calling Derek and Alicia out of a lifestyle where there was no hope. The Holy Spirit drew them to Christ.”
Since November 19th, 2014, the day Alicia committed her life to Jesus, Chris and Alicia have met regularly to walk through some basics about the Christian faith as well as to learn how to read the Bible and have a relationship with Jesus. Chris has helped Alicia see that from the beginning of creation, God’s plan was to have a relationship with her. Chris’ husband, Bruce Woodgate, began meeting with Derek as well to help him through the same basics of the faith. Alicia describes Bruce and Chris as instrumental in their growth, “They have been so welcoming and non-judgmental. They’ve helped answer our questions. They’ve been committed to us all the way.”
The last few months have brought big changes for Alicia and Derek as their relationship is now built upon a relationship with Jesus Christ. Alicia says Derek has stepped up to be the spiritual leader of their family and he often leads her through Bible study and they pray together. She’s begun the journey quit smoking and Derrick is over six months sober. They’ve also gotten engaged and plan to get married this summer. “We’ve grown closer and stronger. We’ve always been a great team but now we’re a great team even when we don’t want to be,” says Alicia. She describes her biggest personal change as giving up control and trusting Jesus for everything. “It’s a process and every day I remind myself that I’m not perfect.”