Fred wanted to be in the driver’s seat of his own life, but then God intervened.
“[Fred] has a very rough background,” said Bruce Gritter, pastor of The River Community Church in Edmonton, Alta., and a local mission leader for Resonate Global Mission. “Through the course of his life, he’s had some ups and downs. He told me: ‘Every time I try to drive the bus of my life, I end up in a ditch and get really stressed out.’”
Fred was looking for peace and guidance. He believed “something” was out there and that the world did not exist by accident—he just was not sure what that “something” was.
When Fred moved to Edmonton with his wife and son, he wanted to get involved in the community. He volunteered at a Canada Day celebration that The River, a church planted with Resonate’s support in 2002, hosts in partnership with other organizations.
There he met Bruce and was invited to attend The River on Sunday for worship. Fred had little experience with the church and was skeptical about Christianity, but his wife was a believer and suggested they attend as a family.
As soon as they walked through the doors, they were welcomed by The River’s community—not just one or two members, but several. “When folks first start coming to church, we go out of our way to welcome them,” said Bruce. “We make a point of talking to them and finding out more about them.”
Week after week, Fred and his wife returned because of the friends they made. And each week, Fred learned more about what it means to give one’s life to God.
He just wasn’t sure whether he wanted to.
Pinned to His Seat
Then Fred attended a weekend men’s retreat led by The River. The event was filled with discussions about how Jesus makes a difference in people’s lives, especially in the midst of challenging circumstances. Fred knew it was time to make a decision.
As the men around him continued to talk about giving their lives to Jesus, Fred tensed. He fidgeted. Several times, he said, he tried to get up from his chair and walk away—but each time, there was an unexplainable presence keeping him pinned to his seat.
“I just literally couldn’t get out of my chair,” he said.
Noticing Fred struggling, a few of his friends gathered around him, laid hands on him, and prayed.
And Fred gave up trying to control his life and asked God to take over.
Confident in God
Fred was never confident about leading his own life, but he left the retreat confident in God. A few months afterward, he was baptized along with his eight-year-old son, who had been attending The River’s programs for youth.
“When I asked Jesus into my life, I felt I could trust God had a plan for me. He had a future for me,” said Fred. “That gave me a lot of peace in my heart.”
Thank you for supporting The River community. Because of mission-minded people like you, Fred now has the peace of Christ in his heart.