When most families were planning trips and how to relax over Spring Break, the Tobiasions and their many kiddos decided to use their time off in an unexpected way that has forever changed them. Now 6 years later, they are still inspiring others to join them as they build houses for the less fortunate living in Mexico.
At Westside, we believe that everyone has a story to tell, a voice that deserves to be heard. As we begin to share the stories of what God has done in our personal lives, we build audacious faith in those that hear, encourage our own walk, and bring glory back to God.
When Adam and Dani Nichols got the call that their daughter Adelaide had been born, they knew they had a choice. With excitement and faith, they chose to open wide their hearts through adoption and allow God to beautifully craft their story. Now with adopted son Isaiah in their arms they’ve seen how adoption not only echoes the heart of Jesus, but has become a hallmark of the way they welcome in so many into their community.
When Amelia Rabelhofer was diagnosed as a teenager with clinical depression, she turned in desperation to Jesus for the kind of help and healing that only He could bring. Amelia’s journey towards wholeness has been met by the nearness of Jesus along every step of the way.
We all have influence. Are we leveraging our influence in ways that reflect the change-making potential God has put inside of us? With this question in mind, we gathered once again for this year’s Global Leadership Summit. Stirred by a desire to grow as leaders both professionally and personally, we came.
“Children come to Jesus freely because he calls them. They come to Him in a place of simple faith. Trusting, open and ready. Children are incredibly valuable and important to us here at Westside. We value their innocence, trust and openness and know that from an early age they can step into a personal faith relationship with Jesus.”
-Joanie Morelock, Westside Kids Director
Growing up all that Hayden Crook had dreamed of was being the famous, star athlete that he had worked so hard to become. When the unexpected happened amidst his successful college football career, he began to question and search for an answer to the emptiness that overtook him. The harder he searched, the more he found Jesus pursuing him.
Longing for real connection and friendship, Katie and Trent Stutzman mustered up the courage to attend one of our Summer BBQ’s last summer. Even with the fun, relaxed, and relational environment they found themselves in, they never expected for God to provide the very thing that they were looking for.
We believe that fathers and father figures play such a vital role in our families and community as they lay down their lives, provide for, and love extravagantly like Jesus does. We are so grateful to have such incredible fathers laying a strong and healthy foundation in our faith community.
Expecting with joy the birth of her second child, Christa was nesting and letting anticipation build. When the unexpected happened and the birth went not as planned, Christa found strength like she had never known. Her strength and peace in the midst of the unexpected has her ever more convinced that God is present to cover us when we need him most.
God has uniquely fashioned women to nurture, care for, and courageously love those around them. We celebrate Motherhood AND Womanhood on this Mother’s Day. What a gift it is to have such strong, compassionate, and brave women walking this life beside us. This is a celebration. This is Motherhood.
Don Lang was excitedly looking forward to retirement when the unexpected happened. Losing his wife, Pauline, of 28 years caused him to lean into God for comfort and ask the challenging question, “What’s next?” Having always considered himself an “ordinary guy,” he wondered if God might have something unique in store for the many years he knew he had left. Don looked ahead with faith, expectancy, and an open heart. God took Don’s readiness and today is working through his simple steps of obedience to help give people around the world access to the Word of God in life-changing ways.
Alongside the voices singing and hands raised in our weekend gatherings, there is a unique expression of adoration and connection happening that may go unseen. This is the deaf community that comes together every 9:45am service to experience Jesus in authentic ways. We are so thankful that God allows us to be unified as one family in this beautiful community of believers. God is doing incredible things in the lives of our deaf brothers and sisters and we celebrate with them.
Having faced a childhood filled with abuse and neglect, Teri Crump navigated life with a pain and dysfunction that landed her in an unhealthy marriage at a young age. Years of brokenness were turned around when she finally encountered the love of Jesus in a life-changing way. Teri finally understood her immense value and worth in God’s eyes and that He had a purpose for her life beyond what she could imagine. As she responded to this unconditional love, she found courage to walk away from abuse, step forward in faith and establish a new life teeming with hope. Her broken past and God’s beautiful redemption in it is what fuels her ministry to women in prison in Deschutes County today.
With a culture overwhelmed with broken marriages and hurting people, the hope of healing seems a distant idea. When both Rhonda and Charlie Abellera found themselves heartbroken from divorce and single with little ones, they leaned into Jesus and the community that He provides. God did a miraculous work in restoring them as individuals, equipping them to be the parents they were meant to be, and eventually bringing them together into a healthy, new marriage. “We believe in marriage, and we believe it is God’s best for us,” say the Abelleras. “You may think that you are on Plan B, but God can turn it around to Plan A. If he did it for us, then he will do it for you.” When the world would throw in the towel and claim broken marriages as the norm, stories like their’s give us hope. God is in the business of restoring what was lost and making all things new.
After 27 years as a Deputy Marshall, Jerry Butler believed that retirement just meant a reassignment to something special that God had planned. A simple “yes,” to serving in the nursery at his church has turned into a beautiful legacy impacting more lives than Jerry could have imagined. Jerry has been rocking fussy babies, blowing bubbles, and changing diapers in the name of Jesus for a total of 40 plus years. His life of faithfulness is a stunning example of what God can do with a humble heart surrendered to His calling. We are so thankful for people like Jerry who serve Westside families and sow seeds into the next generation.
Jodi Carlson admits that her life seems to have two layers. One is the “show worthy” layer and the other is unseen. “I’ve kept the other layer of my life hidden because shame tells me to,” she says, “ But it’s here that the Lord has done His deepest work, and it’s here He continues to meet me.” As Jodi faces two disabilities that have become a thorn in her side, she has learned to lean into Jesus in raw, authentic ways. Again and again, Jesus has powerfully met Jodi.
With a passion to see the next generation truly experience who Jesus is, Aaron Schrader stepped out of the walls of the church where he had served as a youth pastor, to brave the halls of a local high school as a teacher. Aaron is committed to reaching kids who would never step foot into at church setting. He chooses to be present in the lives of his students and brings his faith into the sometimes volatile world of the public school setting with subtle, yet life-impacting steadiness. His students and their families experience authentic care and God’s love in some of their most challenging moments through Aaron and his committed approach.
Equipped with nursing skills and a willing heart, Heather Morehouse expected life to unfold with somewhat normal simplicity. Little did she know that God has purposes beyond her expectations. Called to serve as a nurse and bring God’s presence to the frontlines of disaster relief areas and war zones, Heather has seen more devastation and pain then she could have imagined. But she has also seen her compassionate, powerful-working God who is present amidst suffering. With eyes wide-opened to the desperation and suffering in the world, Heather will continue to go where God’s called her, empowered by His love.
Amidst the rough and rugged waters of Lake Victoria are distant shores teeming with people. These isolated islands are the very places that missionaries, Brent and Virginia Earwicker, are called to go. Compelled by a compassionate love for the lost and unreached people groups even further beyond, they bravely board boats and sail these unpredictable waters alongside their Bold Ventures Ministry team.
Facing tragedy more than once in his life, Trey Anderson has encountered God in tangible ways through the community that God placed around him. Community isn’t always easy, but it is a powerful agent of change in a hurting world. Through God’s people and the power of worship, Trey has walked through loss as well as miracles that have shaped who he is and how he sees God.
Love came down. This is why we gathered this Christmas season. We are a thankful people overwhelmed by the amazing work of God in our lives. Christmas at Westside is a reflection of the life we now know because of that love. We gather and watch as God makes His presence evident among us. We long to honor Him and see Him with fresh eyes this time of year.
Already facing the heartache and weariness of brokenness in his family, Eddie Torres was faced with a devastating phone call that shook his faith. God’s response to his trust has made all of the difference for Eddie and those that he inspires with His faith walk.
With a desire to grow their family, Shanda and Ross Ackerman believed that God would be faithful to His promises. For years their journey was filled with pain, waiting, and loss as they faced infertility and complications. But God is faithful. The last 7 years shaped them deeply and ultimately has left them amazed and humbled at the grace and power of Jesus.
Stirred by missions adventure on the islands of Lake Victoria, Uganda, Peri Gregory returned home with a call to become a nurse; caring for both the physical and spiritual. In the thick of nursing school Peri faced intense opposition, exhaustion, and extreme doubts of her calling. But God was there all along. He pursued, steadied, and empowered her to grow.
After her family was betrayed by close friends, Noel Wood was faced with a decision; close her heart to people and to the Church, or risk trust and live in community. What Noel learned next challenges our views on community, the Church, and God’s unchanging purpose.
Faced with decisions about what to pursue in her future, Alicia trusted God to unfold His unique plan for her life. Using her artistic talents to reveal God’s glory has become a life pursuit and calling.
What might happen if you and I were awakened to the truth that we have a greater influence than we know? Inside each of is the potential to be change-makers, inspiring others to go further and succeed. Inspired by this thought, Westside hosts the Global Leadership Summit to allow leaders to grow.
Jesus truly saw people. He stooped down to the lowly to lift them up, to remind them of their value, and provide for them where they had lack. Jesus gave sight to the blind, healed the sick, forgave the sinner, and raised the dead. But, Jesus also fed people.
“I remember when I was young, striving and trying to find my voice and to gain unconditional acceptance. I began to think that music was the way out.”
When darkness surrounds and life is unsteady, Shelbi leans into her faith and finds hope in a promise. A promise that a God will use a bakery to mend wounds and open doors.
Wearing a hoodie, jeans and some converse, Josiah Stern, looks like your average seventeen year old. Except that he’s not. Behind that slightly scruffy face and sweet smile, Josiah wears a badge of honor. A badge not desired by any, but nonetheless earned. Josiah earned it along the rough road walked alongside his family and those impacted by the devastating disease known as ALS.