I was at Iowa State and thinking about where I wanted to go after I graduated when I learned about the plan to start Anthem Church. Stan (Hayek) challenged me to think about moving to Columbia. There were a lot of places I could go with being a mechanical engineer but God was deepening my love for His church. Growing up I didn’t have a church community to help me live a life focused on the gospel, so after experiencing that at Cornerstone Church in Ames, I became passionate to help create that for other believers who were struggling. After some prayer and consideration, moving to Columbia was a pretty easy decision to make since I had no ties anywhere.
After I decided to move, my girlfriend of seven months became sick and was hospitalized for appendicitis. She became very ill and passed away after three weeks in the hospital. This was a very tough time in my life having to let go of a good friend. I was bitter at God for a while, but I also wanted to go to Columbia all the more to start a life fully devoted to Him.
The spring of 2016, I was constantly on the hunt for a job in Missouri and got no response from any businesses for months. During this time, I was traveling back and forth from Ames to Columbia for Salt meetings and the spring break trip. It was amazing to start to catch the vision for what God was going to do here in Columbia. During these times God was bringing me back to himself, back into joy, and out of sorrow. The families and students that came down to start this church became the church family I needed in order to find joy in doing God’s will. We are not supposed to live our faith alone, we were made to live in community and strengthen each other when we are weak.
Once I moved to Columbia I had a few interviews but didn't find an engineering job. But God provided me with work flipping houses with a contractor and a place to live with other students who were moving down for the church plant. Man, God is so good! But it doesn’t stop there.
Anthem Church and The Salt Company started after much anticipation and planning in August - the chaos began and I loved it!! Setting up and tearing down each week, co-leading a connection group, informal group hangouts – all of it was so fun and great for building and growing new and old friendships. I am so thankful to God for the community He has formed here and how we get to do so many sweet things for the kingdom of God! Some of my closest friends and I went to South East Asia over Christmas and we had a blast sharing the gospel with hundreds of students there and even seeing people come to faith and be baptized! This partnership in building community here and oversees also lead to a growing friendship with Sierra, who is now my fiancé.
I love all of my friends here at Anthem. They have taught me how transition well from college to working full time and from grieving to dating to engagement. They have helped me realize how incredibly blessed I am to marry Sierra and we’re so excited to spend the rest of our lives together. The love from the community here has been incredible! I had no idea what God would do in my first year in Missouri, but now that I have seen it, I love it. As I transition from college to community, I'm excited to unite these two parts of our church even more so that we can live out the kingdom of God more fully.
Photo Credit: Joel Wise Photo