Lynzi Kidwell:

"As a kid I knew who Jesus was and that I was supposed to pray. I had absolutely no idea why and what it was going to do for me. I had a very hard and lonely childhood. All I ever wanted was a father, and I never knew who he was until I was 28. I spent many years in a bitter and angry state.

I moved around A LOT growing up. Things & people were very unstable my entire childhood. I was so angry. My life was filled with resentment and rage. I felt the need to prove to everyone that I was better than what I seemed. I was incredibly independent from spending so much time alone. I started working when I was 14 and filed taxes when I was 16. I schedule every college tour, filled out every scholarship, grant, and financial air application on my own. I was on a mission to prove to everyone that I was going to live different and better life than they thought I was going to wind up having.

I made plans to move back to Texas where I was originally from and yet again, life always threw curve balls at me. Through a series of events, I found my biological father. which is something I had always wanted and deeply desired. As soon as I heard his voice I started to cry. It was like 28 years of hurt and brokenness was starting to mend. I expected his wife to be cross and jealous, but she wasn’t. She was so happy, accepting, and full of love that her family got to grow. I could possibly have 5 more siblings. Corey prayed for me over the phone which I have never in 28 years had someone pray for me. His family has a very strong Christian core. That wasn’t something that I was even remotely accustomed to. I was so intrigued by their way of looking at life. It was like they had nothing but love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. All the things that I pictured my life and home having but it didn’t. I thought, what did they have that we didn’t? God.  I went to church with them in Texas and experienced God for the first time.

Fast Forward.

When I came home to Washington I needed to find a church. I kept hearing Hillcrest this and Hillcrest that. My physical therapist’s assistant went to Hillcrest, and the pastor was my friend’s son’s lacrosse coach. I figured God is telling me go check out Hillcrest. I talked to Austin about going and he surprisingly said ok.

The very first time that I came to Hillcrest I was approached by Brian and surprisingly we had no idea was the Pastor. He asked us our names and where we were from because he noticed that we were new. That was super cool to me. After the message, Brian had asked who wanted to surrender their life to Jesus, and that was the first time anyone had asked that question around me. I lifted my hand proud and high.

The next Sunday, Austin and I came to Hillcrest and Brian came up to us and said “Hey! It's Lynzi from Boston and Austin from Texas.” The fact that he remembered not only our names but where we were from blew us out of the water. It was at that moment that we knew we found our church. Things at Hillcrest just kept getting better and better. I got taken in by Tammy and Holly who had noticed I was at a service alone. They sat next to me and we just laughed at Brian’s jokes the entire time. I started looking forward to church, the lessons, and the people.

Hillcrest has taught me how to love Jesus, and Jesus has taught me how to love myself. Jesus has shown me that God never for one second was punishing me. He was simply working on his plan in his time, and I couldn’t see that.  In the end, God gave me a godly father, who brought me to know my heavenly father. That was the greatest gift anyone has ever given me. Every single detail had it's perfect reasoning, even the suffering. Now that I understand that I just want to know and learn God on a deeper level.

My dad told me to give to the church what you can and so much will come out of it. I started to tithe what I could, and God has blessed my family with over $10,000 to pay towards debt and life. All of that began within the last 4 months. I also felt the need to give my time to Hillcrest. I prayed about it, and now I am helping greet people as they come in for service. I felt like I wanted to give even more so I talked to Marissa about volunteering with the youth group. Now, I am a small group leader for the 6th grade girls, and I hope that I can bring love and happiness into a kiddo’s life that needs it like I did.

For the first time ever in my life I feel like I am deeply and truly happy. I have surrounded myself with quality. The people here are just the right kind of silly yet serious that I need. The people here love you, like really love you. They care about you, they want to help you, to build you up, and fill you full of Jesus so that you can love your life. My home, my family, and what I’m most proud of, my marriage has Jesus in it now. Life has never been better. Everything has been falling into place so easily, it must be meant to be! Thank you Hillcrest."