“There Is Power in the Name of Jesus”

“There Is Power in the Name of Jesus”

Veronica at CTCASeptember 14, 2018
Caryn Jacobs

Veronica thought that when her mother passed away in 2011 it was the hardest thing she would ever have to go through. Later, she realized that this was just God preparing her for what was to come. Because Veronica felt so lost after her mom passed away, she decided it was time to seek God and began attending Compass Christian Church, where her son and his family attended. She had found her way home again just in time for the fight of her life.

Veronica is a school bus driver and in April 2012 she woke up one morning with a sore throat. She treated it like any bus driver would, thinking it was just a sore throat and a virus that she probably picked up from one of the kids on her bus. In December this sore throat came back and seemed worse this time, along with a knot on her neck. After seeing her primary care doctor, she was referred to an ear, nose and throat doctor, and through a CT scan, she was diagnosed with stage four squamous cell carcinoma—cancer caused by an uncontrolled growth of squamous cells.

Veronica was told that she would not ever return to work and that she should file for disability. She was given the “you have cancer” talk and was shocked as she did not smoke or drink, but somehow felt like this cancer was punishment for what she had done in her past. She and her husband, Roy, prayed for strength she needed to get through it all. Veronica confided, “When you are faced with losing your life and not knowing what is next, it brings great comfort to know that Jesus will never leave me.”

Veronica had insurance to cover the cost of the treatments but was unsure how they were going to cover the day-to-day bills with only Roy’s income since she was unable to work. When her co-workers heard about her situation, they generously donated enough of their own personal sick days to her so she would be covered through the end of the year. She was also nominated for the Dollar Club at Compass so the bills for the month would be covered. God had provided so many blessings for Veronica and Roy—now they knew what it meant to be overwhelmed by God’s love.

In March 2013 Veronica had a modified radical dissection where the doctors removed her tonsils and 56 lymph nodes. There are approximately 800 lymph nodes in the human body and this surgery removed 56 lymph nodes, 13 of which were cancerous. Her doctor said that he felt like he had removed at least 98% of her cancer, but additional treatment would still be necessary.

While she was in the recovery room after surgery, Veronica had a reaction to the medication they had given her. “I opened my eyes and was feeling very calm. I was laying there and kept hearing ‘hit her again, hit her again’ then I saw something or someone in the form of a light, just above me. I smiled; I just felt this sense of peace wash over me. Next, I remember Roy standing by my bed, looking over me.” He told Veronica that her heart rate had spiked out of control and the medical staff basically brought her back to life. He said when he first saw Veronica she was pale and her lips were a shade of blue. “I remember thinking at that time that God was not done with me just yet,” Veronica shared. She went through a long recovery period which included chemo, radiation, and a lot of therapy. She was free of cancer finally.

Veronica in waiting roomVeronica was devastated when she was diagnosed with stage four squamous cell carcinoma a second time in October 2015. She tried contacting the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), but they did not have a treatment for her type of cancer. So, she went through a second round of chemo and radiation and dealt with the horrible side effects. These treatments even wiped out any remaining salivary glands that she had left, but once again, God healed Veronica through these treatments.

Veronica spent most of 2016 with no real problems. She even went back to work. Just when she thought she had beat cancer a second time, in January 2017 Veronica was shocked when she was diagnosed with stage four cancer yet a third time. This time the cancer had fanned out and encased the entire base of her tongue and had wrapped around her carotid artery. Her doctors said she had received too much radiation and chemo with the past two treatments and was not a good candidate for any more treatments for the duration of her life. The doctor told her family she had less than six months to live, and to take her home and keep her comfortable.

That night Veronica’s family shared the bad news with her, and yet she did not feel sorry for herself as she felt that God still had a plan for her—she just did not know what it was. Roy, Veronica, and their kids started preparing the funeral plans. “I left their house that night thinking this can’t be it. It just can’t be the last days with my mom,” said her daughter, Hope. “All I could do is pray for more time and no suffering.” That night Hope could not sleep, she felt a strong urge to call CTCA. She blew it off and tried to sleep, but just could not get the voices out of her head to call someone. By 11:30 p.m. she finally reached someone who helped her get her mom into CTCA the following week. She knew that God had orchestrated this phone call and the miracles that happened next.

Upon arriving at CTCA, they were met at by numerous doctors and staff members. Veronica remembers being welcomed warmly and one of the doctors even prayed for her during that first visit. Her three daughters had traveled together in the same car and met Veronica at CTCA. They had been listening to a ’90s band in the car to help ease the tension and keep the mood light on the way to the appointment. When they were on the way back, after the appointment, the radio suddenly went off and came back on to a Christian station that was playing the song, “There Is Power in the Name of Jesus.” They all looked at each other and confirmed that no one had touched the radio to change the station. “God was telling us that despite my mom’s circumstances, despite what doctors were calling terminal, that He was able,” said Amanda, Veronica’s other daughter. They all listened to the song and knew in their hearts that their mom would be healed on “this side of heaven.”

Veronica with a doctor at CTCAVeronica was given a new drug and began treatment immediately. After just four treatments she returned to the center and had a scan which miraculously showed no trace of the cancer. This inoperable, untreatable cancer that was supposed to have taken her life, was completely gone! She remembers the doctor that prescribed the treatment stated that he had never seen anyone have these results in such a short period of time.

On a Saturday evening, many of Veronica’s co-workers came to join her at church as a surprise. “It was awe inspiring to see Veronica’s faith remain strong and to watch her witness to others during her own trials and tribulations,” Pastor Brian Jobe stated.

Though Veronica is still receiving treatment every three weeks and will be in some form of treatment for years to come, she is still cancer free and is now once again, back to driving her school bus. “God answered every prayer request that I made; from not feeling sick during the chemo to not losing all of my hair. He orchestrated every moment during this amazing journey. I am so thankful for my husband, Roy, who never missed an appointment and has been by my side throughout the entire process. My daughters … though they have been through a lot, they have always been supportive and are my angels. I am also thankful for Emeritus Pastor Roger Storms, Pastor Brian Jobe, all the elders who visited week after week, and the entire staff of Compass who prayed for me. I know that I am alive today to tell my story and to share the hope that only Jesus can provide.”

Praying Without Ceasing

Praying Without Ceasing

Praying Without Ceasing

March 23, 2018
Caryn Jacobs

Have you ever prayed for something and not received an answer right away? Debbie experienced a long period of praying without ceasing and forty years later the answer finally arrived.

Debbie was raised in a loving home with parents who were believers. However, she felt the weight of the world on her shoulders at a very young age. Her father worked long hours away from the home. Her mother was very ill, and she had three younger brothers to help take care of. She was responsible for being a caregiver and did not have time to just be a kid herself. Debbie felt alone and afraid.

At nine years old, Debbie was invited to spend a Friday night at her grandmother’s house. This was a huge relief and a welcomed break from the burdens of taking care of her siblings. Her grandmother was an amazing cook and Debbie knew she would let her choose what she wanted for dinner. She made her the best pinto beans and cornbread and that alone enticed her to stay the night. Saturday morning, she was asked if she wanted to spend another night. Debbie was reluctant to say yes because this meant she would have to go to church on Sunday morning, but getting to choose what she wanted to have for dinner made it easier for her to agree to stay another night. That evening she was told to go get cleaned up as they were going to church for a Saturday special service. Debbie thought, “Church tonight AND tomorrow?” Soon after, they were sitting in a church pew listening to a male quartet. Debbie confessed, “I don’t remember the name of the group; but I still know the words to the song that moved me.” She remembers hearing, “Don’t try to tell me that God is dead. I just talked to Him this morning. Don’t try to tell me He’s not alive, He lives within my heart. His Word is always by my side. He brightens up the way. Don’t try to tell me God is dead. I just talked to Him today.” Debbie said those words moved her so much that she walked down the center aisle and accepted Jesus. She knew she would never be alone again. Just knowing Jesus was with her helped her get through the tough times at home.

Debbie met her husband Jeff in college. She confided that being so young, she simply asked if Jeff was a believer and his positive response was acceptable to her. She did not dig deeper to find out details of Jeff’s walk with Christ. When she realized her husband was not a fully devoted follower of Christ, she began to pray daily for him. After moving to Arizona where they did not know anyone, Debbie once again began to feel alone. She knew her husband believed in God, but did not have an interest in attending church. At this point in her life, she found herself feeling like she was not enough and in a deep pit with no ladder to get out. She heard God say to her, “You are enough.” Debbie made a commitment to start attending a church in Tempe so their two children would grow up knowing the same Jesus that she knew. Debbie met several women at this church who helped her get connected there and later those same women became her mentors.

Meanwhile, Debbie’s marriage was struggling and her husband confessed that he did not want to stay living in their home. Though she prayed for Jeff daily, she felt it was not enough. She found a verse, 2 Chronicles 1:7 “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” and realized then that she was not praying specifically enough for Jeff. Debbie started praying prayers that were more specific for her husband and asked God to save her husband and their marriage. Once again, Debbie knew she was not alone, as she knew God was with her and had blessed her with a great group of women for support. The morning Jeff was set to move out of their home, he told her that he just could not do it. They worked on many trust issues and their marriage eventually pulled through.

Two years ago, they moved to Gilbert and started attending Compass. They heard the invitation to join a Rooted group and Debbie was immediately ready to sign up. In the car, she took a deep breath and asked Jeff if he had any interest to sign up with her knowing that when she had asked in the past to attend classes with her he would say, “No.” But he agreed to go this time, which completely surprised her. That first night when they described how the group would work, everyone could tell that Jeff did not want to be there but he kept attending. He even attended one night when Debbie could not make it. There was a change in Jeff that Debbie had not witnessed in the past. After week five of Rooted, Jeff secretly made the decision to be baptized. He had not told Debbie, but he had confided in both of their children and their Rooted facilitator, Don. Decision Weekend, Pastor Brian Jobe called all those who wanted to be baptized to come forward. Debbie said, “I looked down and saw that Jeff did not have his shoes on and he was handing me his keys and his wallet.” Jeff took one look at Debbie and her heart was full of joy for her husband. Debbie knew that after praying for her husband for forty years, her very specific prayers had finally been answered. Don took Debbie up to the baptism area to watch this spectacular event up close. She admitted, “The closest I have ever felt to Jesus was when I watched Jeff accept Christ as his Savior from the side of that pool. The look on his face as he came up out of the water was a look of peace that I had not seen on his face in forty years!” Jeff admits, “During Rooted, we had discussions that opened my eyes to God. I’m grateful for Debbie sticking it out all those years praying for me, it was a life changing ordeal.”

A New Captain

A New Captain

A New Captain
January 18, 2018
Caryn Jacobs

After tragically losing her mom to cancer when she was 13 years old, Adella turned to boys, alcohol, and drugs—hoping she would get the attention of her father. She was the youngest of three kids and was lonely and terrified. She confided that she just wanted to be invisible, and the use of drugs and alcohol seemed to hide the pain. She admits it gave her a false sense of normalcy in the chaotic life in which she was dealing with. She wanted to stuff the painful memories away and hide in her own misery.

Before her mom passed away, and when Adella was younger, her mom faithfully took her to church every Sunday. She remembers hearing the stories about Jesus but did not understand how to have a personal relationship with Him. After the death of her mom, her dad decided to move the family to a small town and they tried to move on with their lives. Adella was troubled and sought attention from boys. She became pregnant, and delivered her first child by the age of 16. Her father forced her to give this child up for adoption. Later, she had two more children from different fathers. When those children were just 2 and 4 years old, Adella met her husband. She was working as a bartender at the time and looked up to see a nice looking man get off his Harley Davidson wearing chains and all the motorcycle gear. She was smitten and married him even though she knew he was in trouble with the law and was addicted to heroin. He gave Adella heroin as well, which provided her “daily fix.” This continued for close to twenty-five years. Adella always tried hard to hide her addiction from her kids. She knew they would be mortified if they knew the truth about their mom.

Sadly, she realized that she had turned her back on God her whole life—she always thought she was strong enough to sail her own ship without His help. Adella knew she had to get clean but did not know how. She decided that she wanted to meet some new people that would be good influences for her, and she started attending church. She even hosted her own Bible study at her home. This did not please her husband and it caused marital issues.

Over time, Adella experienced excruciating back pain and had developed large wounds on her thighs caused from heroin usage over the years. Her daughter took her to the emergency room. She was told the wounds were Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This also affected her bones and a surgery took place that caused paralysis from her waist down. Adella even slipped into a coma for four days after one of the several surgeries to repair damage. After spending four months in the hospital and two years of physical therapy, she slowly started to recover. She went home to start picking up the pieces of her life and started working with a counselor. Damaging problems had developed between Adella and her husband and she felt her marriage was hopeless at this point. Six months later her husband became ill and passed away. She confessed, “I started to realize the miracles that I had experienced and wanted to know why I was healed and saved.”

Adella was encouraged to visit Compass Christian Church in September to witness the baptism of her granddaughter. She remembers standing there hanging on to the seat in front of her when Pastor Brian Jobe called all those who believe in Jesus to come forward and be baptized. She heard a voice speak to her. This was the Holy Spirit saying, “Let me care for you. Let me take your pain from you.” She had not heard this voice before and she did not want to take the excitement away from her granddaughter’s baptism, but she reluctantly walked forward and was baptized. As she was drying her hair with a towel, Adella turned around and saw her daughter was soaking wet—she had followed the call to be baptized as well. All three generations were baptized that day!

Adella revealed that God is now working with her to restore her relationship with her other two children. She explained that being baptized allowed her the freedom to let God begin to work in restoring her relationship with them. She now believes in the truth and sees evidence of God’s work in her life daily. Adella has a new captain of her ship. She confided, “I am so happy to finally let Him sail the ship as I know I am not strong enough to do it alone.”

To learn more about baptism and Compass Christian Church we encourage you to attend a Discover Compass class. For more information, visit compassaz.church/discover

Taking a Discipleship Journey

Taking a Discipleship Journey

Taking a Discipleship Journey_1200x630

November 17, 2017
Caryn Jacobs

When people first become Christians, they are on fire for God and are thirsty for knowledge of Him. Sometimes after some time that desire and close relationship with Him can become lukewarm.

Averie was in a dark place where anxiety, depression, and hanging around the wrong people affected her daily life. At 26 years old, she would wake up every morning feeling miserable—had no self-compassion, and inner turmoil was tearing her apart.

She was raised in a godly home with two loving parents and she remembers having everything she ever wanted growing up. Her mom was always involved at church or in other religious organizations, and often invited Averie to join her. She accepted Jesus as her Savior and was baptized when she was twelve years old. Shortly after, she tried out a junior high school ministry and did not feel welcome. Most of the girls at that church had known each other for a while and did not make her feel as though she fit in. This gave her a bad feeling towards church in general, and she decided that it was just not for her. As she got older she became less interested in attending church. However, she would go to Christmas and Easter services with her parents though, she still did not have the desire to get involved. Averie confided that she was thankful that her mom did not force her to attend each week and did not judge her for not going—instead her mom continued to invite Averie to church regularly.

A few months ago, Averie’s mom signed her up for a 10-week discipleship program at Compass Christian Church called Rooted. She told her mom that she did not want to go at least three different times, but finally agreed that she would give it a chance. At this point Averie knew she was missing something in her life and was not sure if she even believed that God was real. She was scared that everyone would be more knowledgeable about the Bible and was sure she would feel out of place. She truly felt uncomfortable going, yet still agreed to do it.

Averie started Rooted and quickly became friends with others in her group. She still had so many unanswered questions, but was learning more each week. She became excited to participate in the Prayer Experience. She convinced herself that after the Prayer Experience a life change would take place and all would be perfect. She felt sad and letdown when this expectation was crushed. When she confessed this to her Rooted group, she was pleasantly surprised when they did not judge her, but rather embraced her with kind words and love. Averie is grateful to be a part of this amazing group and now feels confident that they will always be there for each other.

Before Rooted, God did not cross her mind at all. Surprising herself, Averie actually wanted to do the program’s homework and now reads her Bible daily. She feels safe, secure, and more at peace in her life than she has in years. “She now has a renewed, enthusiastic, knowledge of her relationship with Jesus,” revealed her mother Carrie.

Averie’s Rooted group continued on to become a life group after the program concluded. “It is exciting to wake up every day and know that I have deep friendships that I have never had before.” Averie added, “There’s no other feeling than knowing when you are having a rough day that there is Someone there that has a plan for your whole life. You can talk to Him about anything! It is amazing how much more at peace I am. Rooted has honestly changed my life in all the best ways. Frankly, it is scary to think about where I would be if I would not have participated in the program.”

To learn more about Rooted click HERE.

A Woman’s Journey from Buddhism to Baptism

A Woman’s Journey from Buddhism to Baptism

A Woman’s Journey from Buddhism to Baptism

October 13, 2017
Caryn Jacobs

Being raised in Taiwan as Buddhist, Ya-Wen was obedient and would light incense every morning and every night for her family. Then one day as she was lighting incense the thought came to her, “I wonder what happens to me when I die, and why do I even have to die?” She was the youngest of five kids and obeyed the rules that her family had in place—as a good Buddhist girl she did whatever her parents told her to do. Ya-Wen worshipped Buddha because she knew she had to, but somehow knew that there was a god out there that she did not know. She was able to keep this a secret from her family for a long time.

Ya-Wen went to a Christian high school in Taipei, Taiwan because it was a highly sought after school, though her family did not believe in Christianity, they wanted her to have a good education. Once a month the high school would have what the students considered a concert where they played music and sang religious songs. Ya-Wen felt emotions while listening to the songs that she had never felt before and could not understand why. Her friends asked her if she was crazy. But each time she heard the music that was played it touched her heart and the same question came to her when she was younger, “Why do I have to die?”  Ya-Wen was curious and even though she knew she was disobeying her parents, she decided that she would sneak out of her home each week to attend a Christian church that her friend attended in Taipei.

Over time Ya-Wen slowly learned that God loved her. She became hungry to learn more about the truth and read the Bible every time she went to church. She learned that Buddha was crafted by human hands and knew that it was not good to worship something other than the one true God. Ya-Wen did not want to outwardly disobey her family so she continued to light the incense daily and go through the motions at home even though she knew it was not right. After graduating from college, her family suggested that she visit her sister who was living in the United States. She met a Buddhist man there and married him because she felt that was what she was expected to do. Her husband did not support her attending the Christian church but she knew in her heart she must. They had a son together and she was determined to take him to church as well. She was baptized by way of sprinkling at this church in Philadelphia. Ya-Wen went to visit her family and explained her faith many times. She prayed daily for her family and their salvation. One of her sisters did not even talk to her for three years.

After moving to Arizona, Ya-Wen’s marriage fell apart. She found herself searching for a new church to attend. She found a Chinese Christian church that she attended for a while. She was able to understand the services better as they were in her language but did not grow spiritually at this church. Ya-Wen started church shopping again and found Compass Christian Church. She met a friend who started to pray with her every night and would sing the song “He Will Make a Way before praying for her family. When she visited her family in Taiwan the last time, this friend called to pray with her. Ya-Wen invited her mom to pray with her and she did. Her mom attended the Christian church with her in Taipei, and her older sister even prayed with them as well. Ya-Wen’s prayers are being answered daily.

Ya-Wen recently attended Discover Compass and made the decision to go all in and be baptized by immersion. She now is comforted by the fact that she knows that she will be with God when she dies. She confided, “Life is short. He can quickly take your life. In your heart you know He is there and you just have to really know who God is. He wants us to turn around and tell everyone about Him.”

To learn more about Discover Compass click HERE.

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