VV Baptism Testimonies

Keith Kucera

 Hi my name is Keith, let me tell you my story. Ever sense I was young I grow up with a Christian family. In my heart I knew that God was there, but I did not follow him. I was stuck in the middle going back and forth fighting with God. Then I went to college out of California and met new people. Then I started to go to church over there every Sunday. They had Sunday school. I was still struggling with not listening to God. Then one day I talked to one of the pastors and he told me to don’t wait until the last second of my life. That got me thinking that man I am tired of fighting with God. I want to turn my life around. I want to go by God’s faith. So, I accepted the prayer. Then I saw a change in me, like I’m not mad as much, I accept some changes in my life. My heart is that I want everyone to see the work that God is doing in me.      

Marcel Wright

Before

1. Jesus Christ truly came into my life when I was listening to music on the radio and song after song was discrediting God and the singers and rappers were blasphemous.. From there God opened my blinders so I could see what this world was really about. From that day I knew I had to make a choice; choose the world or God and I chose my savior Jesus Christ.

2. My faith in God was lukewarm.  I would take a lot of the opinions of the world and make them my own. I would accept a lot of things even if I thought they were wrong.

How and When and Why

3. When the lord spoke to me and showed me the things of the world and the deception that is taking place I knew I needed to give my life to Christ so I can walk the right path.

4. The word of God helped me. I started reading the bible on a daily basis and noticed that the problems of the world right now are the same problems over 2,000 years ago.

After

5. I feel more spiritually free. I see the world completely different these days. Since I have saved I feel like I need the Word everyday, I go to church every weekend and I encourage my family to learn more about Christ.

6. Put your trust in God and His words and you will be set free.

Amber Wright

1. I realized how much evil is in the world, and I no longer wanted to be a part of that, and only the Lord could do that for me.

2. I've always been   a "Christian" and would pray occasionally, but  still lived a "lukewarm" lifestyle. 

3. Almost five months ago my husband and I were going through many hardships, and one day my husband and I were online watching videos, and God just opened our eyes to the evil in the entertainment industry, and that was something that we were both very consumed by. So it really made us open our eyes and we realized how much idolization the world gives these people, and not Jesus! It broke our hearts, and almost immediately we started to change the way we lived. And we really started putting the Lord first!

4.GOD! it was just plain and simple! we started reading our bibles, praying more, and everything just started becoming more, and more clear!

5. My heart just feels so much different than before. I’m very cautious and aware of, my surroundings, what I say, and how I act. I read my bible, pray, and listen to worship music. I've opened my home up for bible study. I am not afraid to talk about Jesus! 

6. I have always heard many Christians say that "I know my purpose in life now".....well, I know now what my purpose in life is, and that's to shine light on what's dark, just as Jesus has called me to do.

Nakia Villarreal

My relationship with God started when I was young. I was baptized and made my first communion in the Catholic Church. That was the end of my religious life since we did not attend church regularly. When I was in high school my Uncle Mike invited me to go with his church to Hume Lake. I went and had the best time. That is where I started my relationship with God. I always believed in him just didn’t have a relationship. At Hume Lake I accepted Christ and opened my heart to him. My Uncle Mike was the most amazing man and his love for Christ was always evident.  As I grew older I made poor life choices and strayed from God. In 1996 my Uncle Mike died of lung cancer at the age of 36. He never smoked, drank, or did any drugs. I couldn’t understand how could this man who lived his life for God get cancer and die within 3 weeks? I’ll come back to this answer later.

            After he passed away my mom and I started attending High Desert Church. That is where I started again my relationship with God. I was still living a non-Christian life and so my guilt of living in sin got the best of me and I half-hearted had a relationship with God. Fast forward in 2003 I finally left those things that were holding me down and tried again to find “happiness”.

            In that time my family ( mom, brother, sister, and friends) were all being baptized and I never made the commitment because I didn’t feel I was in the right place and was unworthy. Little did I know at that time, God loves me as I am and does his best work with those that are unworthy?

            In 2005 I became a mom to the most amazing little girl, Daviny Lynn Villarreal. I was 28 not married and had a child. When Daviny was born she was rushed to NICU because of a heart problem. Daviny’s life started out with some problems but she grew out of her heart block. When Daviny was 3 months old I had to have surgery because during my emergency C-section they found tumors on my ovaries, so the doctor wanted to do surgery to check the tumors. When I woke up from surgery I was told that the tumors had crushed my ovaries and both of them had to be removed. I was told I will not be able to have any more children. It was very devastating to me because I loved being pregnant and wanted more children. I felt like a failure because I could not have any more children. This was not what I had in mind. My plans… not Gods. I was upset and hurt… why can’t I have any more children, I am a good person, I know I will be a good mom… all these questions filled my heart and mind. 

            In 2008 I married Daviny’s dad and he went off to war. This is when I feel I started to grow as a person. I was still upset about not being able to give my husband another child. In 2011 I decided to start going to a small group on Thursday mornings with HDC. I wanted to dig deeper and start a relationship with God. I found myself at a table with these ladies, and quickly found God had placed me right where I needed to be. I was at a table with a few ladies who had problems with having children just like myself and also another army wife. At the beginning of the study my husband was deployed overseas again. On October 29, 2011 our dear friend was killed in action. It was a very difficult loss, and it was one of my husbands close friends.

            When my husband came home in 2012 I took a break from bible study. Again I was wandering through life. My life wasn’t bad by any means but something was missing.

            In 2015 I knew what I needed to do. I enrolled into the Thursday morning bible study again. This time that thing that was different was I had a thirst for God, that is something I have never felt before. Again I found myself at a familiar table, some of the same sweet ladies and new faces. I always loved to see who God put in my life. In October 2015 I lost one of the most important ladies in my life, my grandma. The woman who was my heart, my life and my everything. It was the hardest loss to his day. I was again at a battlefield with my heart and couldn’t understand why every time I make a step closer with God someone I care about goes to heaven. I was talking with a good friend Kristina and saying that I didn’t understand why the two times I take a step closer to God ( bible study) I lose someone and she simply said “ God knew what was coming in your life and he surrounded you with people that love God and can help you get through it”. It clicked, I always looked at the negative and not the positive. She was absolutely right, God knew what he was doing and gave me an amazing group of ladies to help me through it. Then I understood why my uncle mike died so quickly. Uncle Mike was an obedient servant to God and God spared him the pain and slow death of cancer, he took him home right away. How can I not want to be more obedient to a loving God?

            My husband and I are at peace with the fact that I can not birth another child and I have accepted that God always knows what he is doing. I am beyond thankful that God chose me to be Daviny’s momma and David’s wife. We center our marriage, family and finances around God. I know my life will never be perfect and that is ok because I don’t want it to be. I grow from my mistakes and God is always there to pick me up. I am at a good place and decided that it is time to make an even bigger step and get baptized.

            I know that I will sin again and that I will ask for forgiveness and our loving God will forgive me, now I will ask God to guide me and help me to make better decisions. I have a lot of pain and hurt from my past and I know only through God can I learn to “let go” and “let God” take control.

            God’s grace is always around and I look forward to being baptized and walking closer with Him.

           

Maureen Tuala

I grew up in another church. My parents instilled in me the importance of our faith, praying together and being a part of a church community.  Unfortunately for me it became more habit and going through the motions. I didn't have a personal relationship with God. I was living my life for my own aspirations.

In 2011 I started coaching volleyball again after an 8 year break to focus on my kids. I went online to buy a John Wooden Coaching book. That book ended up being a Coach's devotional. Because of this book I really read and understood the Bible for myself, for the first time in my life, at 34 years old.

In 2013 I wanted to get in better shape to coach so I started working out more. I met a Zumba instructor that invited me to a women's Bible study group.  That women's Bible study group changed my life. During the time with my study group I realized how much I was living for myself and not for Jesus.

When I finally accepted Jesus in my heart, my perspective changed. With this, everything in my life started to open up.  I opened up my heart to grow in faith in Him instead of fear of not being in control. This opened up so many new opportunities for me.  I opened up my heart to forgiveness and let go of guilt and shame that I was holding onto for decades because I thought I didn't deserve forgiveness.  This opened up new levels of self worth because I saw myself from God's perspective.  Most importantly my heart opened up to genuinely love others. 

Antonio Thomas

My dad and Vanessa Dixon is who introduced me to Christ. They have always taught me that He is our Lord and Savior and loves us so much that he gave his life for us to live. I chose to follow God because I know that He is good and I believe in doing good at all times. I know God loves me and I love Him. He takes care of us and will make things better by us praying to him. I started going to High Desert Church on Sunday July 8,2016 with my dad and Vanessa Dixon. They taught me that for us to be a whole family we must have God as our leader for our family. I was with my dad and Vanessa in Victorville when we started going. I chose to make Jesus as the boss of my life because I know He is good and loves me and I love him. Jesus always makes sure that I am safe, loved, and taken care of in life with love from him and my family. He always makes sure that when things are going bad that they get better because he does not want us to suffer. 

Monique Sykes

I asked Jesus in my life when I was about 5 years old. Family and friends would plant seeds in life as I was growing up. When I was 18 I experienced Jesus on a deeper level. I was living the high school, after high school party life but my conscience reminded me that this was not a healthy, clean, lifestyle. I prayed and asked Jesus to forgive me and to help me. After that I kept living that lifestyle because of temptations. About a week later I woke up at 3 in the morning from a demonic dream. I started to cry to Jesus. I remember what my grandma used to tell me, “plead the blood of Jesus” I said "Cleanse me with your blood Jesus." He freed me that night. It felt so good! Ever since, I had this urge to keep serving Him and He started to change me. Trial and error, I am still here. I am trying to be faithful to my best friend Jesus, who never leaves me or forsakes me. He shows me what a real friend and father is like. His goodness is fulfilling and he shows me that I have a purpose. Life with Him feels amazing!!!!

Jillian Smart

Jayden, my brother, came into my room one night when we were getting ready for bed. He told me that he just asked Jesus into his heart and that I should do it too. So I did. I Admitted that I was a sinner, Believed that Jesus could save me from my sins, and Chose to follow Him by asking Him into my heart. I‘m getting baptized to show everyone that I asked Jesus into my heart. I love God so much because He gave His only Son to die for you and me.

Jayden Smart

I was in bed at night and mommy said “Do you want to ask Jesus into your heart?” I said I didn’t know how, so mommy told me how. I had to Admit that I am a sinner, Believe that Jesus could save me from my sins, and Choose to obey Him and follow Him. Then I ran and told my sister, Jillian, that I got save and that she should too.  I’m getting baptized to show everyone that I asked Jesus into my heart.

Wendy Sabala

What lead me to understand that I need Christ to take away my sin, is going to church as a child and hearing the word of God, knowing he sent His one and only Son to die on the cross for my and all of our sins. I was raised in a Christian church, I always believed in Jesus Christ. When I was between the ages of 13 to 19 I turned away from Him, making my own bad choices, living a life of a rebellious teenage child. I always knew during that stage, in the back of my mind I was doing wrong but it was easy for me to say I'm being forgiven. I received Christ as my Lord and Savior at a young age, at my childhood church, Assembly of God, but In didn't fully understand the way I should live. Not until my age of 20 did I slowly start realizing I need to go to church and start changing my life around. I have stayed consistent in going to church, understanding thru the word of God that without Him I am nothing. My life is different now that I have Jesus in my life. Jesus has blessed me with a loving husband and two beautiful daughters. Jesus is our priority in our lives, marriage and family . I have peace thru hardships, health issues, and finances. I have trust in the Lord and Jesus loves me unconditionally.

Raquel Ramirez

“Made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in our trespasses. It is by grace you have been saved!” Ephesians 2:5

For my God is so good and deserves all the praise! Without Him my life would be so empty, and it is by his good grace that he has saved me and given me a purpose!

In all my years of life these past 6 months have been the most life I’ve ever experienced.  It isn’t to say that before Christ (B.C) life was hard, it had its rough, shaping moments but it also had those joyous moments.  You know what the most beautiful part of my B.C life? Is that my Father never left my side, He always protected me. My parents always had God first in our household, going to church every Sunday and praying before meals at the dinner table, I remember hearing about this God that had saved my parents marriage, stripped my dad of his alcoholic cravings and ultimately brought my mom back to us after experiencing a heart attack. Hearing all these great testimonies told by my parents and other believers around me was never enough,  I could never quite grasp the God they had talked so fondly about. Looking back it could’ve been the fact that I was so bitter against God. I was that teenager who asked that cliché question of why did God let this happen? How can he let someone so toxic into my life? A person who robbed my joy, my innocence and my desire to live.  Six years of battling these ugly depressive thoughts finally came to an end when I realized I couldn’t carry this burden alone and confessed what had happened to my parents in 2012. From that night on, God has healed me in so many ways.  I was a walking testimony to my now favorite saying “saved by grace”!  My parents continued to pray for me and guide me through this process of ultimate healing.  During this period, I still wasn’t seeking His face everyday, I was still of this world, the desire was there but I wasn’t willing to put in the work of opening His good Word and praying to Him.

 Fast forward to 2016, the year that can be defined as a complete turnaround. My prayers at the time consisted of finding those cool Christian friends who would be a positive influence on my life.  I was tired of getting hurt by my friends who would serve themselves rather than others. So in April God delivered, out of the blue my friend Stella invited me to feed the homeless with her good friend Bianca.  As soon as I walked inside her home I was welcomed with such a welcoming, loving presence, the way these strangers embraced me was not normal. My now good friend Andres didn’t even know my name or my back story but was so willing to invite me to his Christian concert, and my dearest friend Kellee helped me gain an understanding of Christ with her God-given knowledge. It was these very people who God used to give me a visual of Christ’s love.  Once I got a taste of His unfailing love I couldn’t go back. Every day is an opportunity to fall deeply in love with my creator, this one of a kind relationship/friendship is one I hold most dear to my heart, He’s my safe haven, my 1st in command and ultimately my Savior!

Lourenn Quintero

So my mom introduced me to Christ when I was 6 years old. I was in love with church. What made me follow God was that he protects me and He loves me. When I was 6 years old is when I started to follow Christ. I was at church at the beach house when I was with my pastor.  His name is pastor Jonathan.  He was my first pastor. I made Jesus my boss because He protects me in all kinds of ways and I want Him to be in my life and that’s why I want to get baptized.  This is why I choose to follow him because I know he has great things for my future.

Julianna Quintero

I choose to follow Christ because He is the only person that knows how to love me.

Sadie Quillopo

             I learned about God from my parents. They taught me who God is and I saw them love God and I wanted to do the same.

            One day last year during Respond time, I realized that is was time to follow God.  I had made a lot of bad choices like not listening to my parents and I wanted to change.

            Now that I have God I my heart he is changing me to believe in Him and to be one of his disciples.                                                 

Ricardo Quillopo

I grew up Catholic, always knowing there was Jesus Christ, always knowing of His sacrifice for our sins.  But, it always went in one ear and out the other.  As years went by I grew into sinning heavily, dealing with gangs, violence and drugs and so on.  I met my wife when I was 23 and at that time was slowing down from that lifestyle.

            A couple years later we ended up in Victorville with 2 kids and a small 2 bedroom house in the middle of nowhere on an acre of land.  I had a small record but it was enough for no one to want to hire me.  I hustled tattoos and had thought that was my future, my ticket to fortune.  Boy, was I wrong.  It just made me go crazy.  I started having depression because I never left my house and any customers I had, came to me.

            Throughout the years being there, depression put a butt kicking on me and also my life and relationship with my wife and kids.  I was always angry, always bitter, never wanted to leave my hole I called home.  At times I had gotten so deep into my craziness I contemplated suicide, but something within me kept telling me to not give up, don’t let evil win.  This whole time my wife and kids were going to church.  I was fighting a battle in myself, a battle of good and evil and at the time evil was winning.  In time I was able to do some good and clean my record which in turn I was able to gain employment.  That meant that I can start providing for my family,  that was a big step for me.  During this whole time I kept getting invited to go to church but I turned it down time and time again, not knowing that every time I turned it down I was hurting my little girls and letting my wife down.  I was not being a man.  Our relationship was going nowhere and it started taking a toll on me.  I was even doing poorly at work and my depression came and went in strong waves.

I went through two jobs in no time and was on the verge of losing another plus my relationship with my family.  I was ready to give up on life, ready to go back to what I knew best, but for some reason something or someone deep down said keep fighting, keep going, do not give up.  I went unemployed for a month and a half.  I was so over life, mentally and physically.  I had always knew God existed so I confided in him, I cried out to Him, what do I do?  Where do I go?  The very next day I got a call about a job, not only just a job but a temp for the County.  Things made a big leap and I knew this was God’s doing.

            As I started this new job I was put with this older Mexican man who at the time was into his relationship with God and had gone through many trials and tribulations within his own life.  As I worked with this man day in and day out, he taught me about who Christ was, what His sacrifices meant and who shall lead us in life. This man had lead me to giving my life to Jesus because this man had went through the same situations I went through and had actually lost it all.  He told me how it feels to have it all gone and lose everything you love.  He was my path to Christ and what I needed in my life was Jesus Christ and nothing else.   I know that His way is the only way and that this time my life is in His hands.

Monique Quillopo

Growing up I was raised Catholic.  I was raised to complete my sacraments, confess my sins and that is how I was going to make it into heaven.  I don’t recall even being told that I should have a relationship with Jesus.  I was part of a teen program at my church but I went more to be with my friends than to learn about God.

            As I got older and moved out of my house to move in with my then boyfriend, I strayed away from God.  I knew in my heart what I was doing was wrong, but felt so distant, I didn’t know how to return.

            My boyfriend and I ended up having two girls.  When I had a workers comp injury we moved to the High Desert.  We did try to go to a catholic church a few times but didn’t feel connected like I was hoping to feel so we stopped going.

            I remember driving past HDC on my way to my moms and feeling an urge to want to go but was afraid of what my parents would say.  One day I mentioned to my mom and she told me she thought it was a great idea.  She told me how my niece and her family were attending and they really like it.  I reached out to my niece and she told me how much they enjoyed going and how their kids liked it too.  That year on Mother's Day we made the choice to attend HDC and I am so glad we did.  It made me realize what I was missing all those years growing up going to a Catholic church where I didn’t feel a connection to God.  Going to service on Sundays and learning about an amazing God I never knew, was such an amazing feeling. During that time my boyfriend stopped going to church, but me and my girls still continued to go.  We would invite him every Sunday and prayed that God would put it in his heart to return.       

During this time my boyfriend and I were having major relationship issues.   At times we thought that it was best if we just split because we felt that it just wasn’t going to work out.  Even then there was something telling me not to give up on him and to continue praying for him.  Unfortunately he had lost his job and was out of work for about a month and a half but it was a blessing in disguise.  He received a call from the temp agency to start a job with the County of San Bernardino.  He came home from the first day of work with news I would have never thought I would hear.  He had met a man named Ricardo and after talking with him all day he decided to give his heart to Jesus.

            From that moment I saw a change in him that made me realize how faithful the Lord is.  I prayed for my boyfriend to come back to church but instead he showed what He can do by just being faithful.  From then on our life as a family changed.  My boyfriend asked me to marry him after 10 years of dating.  We started to go to church again as a family and we are a family united in the Lord.

            Choosing to follow and give my life to the Lord was not so life could be easy, but to know that there was someone there who truly is looking out for my best interest, someone who knows what I need before I do.  To know that it was not me who got me this far but the Lord who was by my side even when I didn’t ask Him to.  There is no other perfect example of true love.

Leilanni Quillopo

I learned about God from my parents.  I learned from God that we can love others even though they are mean.  Following God has changed by life and my family’s life.

One Sunday I was at church listening to God’s word and I chose to follow Jesus.  Following Jesus makes me happy because I think its right to follow Jesus.  Last year in November 2015, I gave my life to Jesus.

I was at church when I gave my life to Jesus.  I choose to follow Jesus because I knew He was going to help me make better choices.  I love following Jesus becauseHe makes me happy.  I hope you enjoy how I learned about God.  I hope you choose to follow Jesus.

Alexis Proctor

My mommy and my daddy told me about Jesus.  Church also taught me about Him too.  I chose to follow Jesus because He is the stronger one.  He is stronger than Satan.  Also, He is the good one.  He saved me from my sins so I could be with Him in heaven!  I’ve known Jesus for as long as I know.  I have never not known Jesus.  I know I was very little when I first followed Jesus.  I don’t remember when or where I learned to follow Him.  I just remember that I love Him and I always loved Him.  Jesus is my Lord and I love Him.  I love Him because He died on the cross for me!

James Pollard

I first realized I needed Christ in my life to take away my sin when I started going to a friends church with him. The more I learned about the Bible and the story of Christ, the more I realized I needed Christ in my life. I was scared that my sin would define me in any future relationship that I had with anybody else, considering I was living in sin. My life was very dull and felt so empty without Christ. It was full of sinful nature and so much negative energy that I didn't like the way that I was living because I was living for the flesh and not for Christ. I've always believed in Jesus Christ, God and everything thing else the Bible had to offer, I just never went into depth with my faith. What was a big help was my girlfriend, Makenna. It wasn't until we had started talking to each other that I realized how great her life was with Christ in it, and I wanted that amazing filling lifestyle. So when I was looking to go to church the Landini's offered for me to attend HDC with them in early March. I've always wanted to be a man of God and somebody who knows the Bible so well that they can help anybody when needed. I wanted to be that kind, compassionate, caring, loving, Godly man that I've dreamed of being. HDC has been a huge help in understanding the Word by all the sermons and the way that the sermons really go into depth with what's being talked about. The sermons made it really easy to feel loved and taken care of my God and not to fear being judged by others. So many people helped me understand what to do. My biggest help in understanding Christ was Makenna and her family. Anytime I had a question, they would answer it and explain in detail what stuff meant. Also Mikey Powers and Dan Landini are perfect examples of what being a man of God looked like. Kerri Landini was such a great help in helping me understand that Jesus died for our sins, and even though I had sinned, my sin was already forgiven. Jesus forgave my sin, so she told me from knowing that it was myself I needed to forgive for living in that sin for so long. Now with knowing Jesus Christ in my life, my life has been just so filled with love and more positive energy. I'm not nearly as judgmental as I was just a few months ago. I always do my best to lend out a helping hand to any person who needs that kind of love and compassion in their life. Before, I was dead in my sin, and now, through Christ I am alive.