Our stories are His story.
Mother’s Day 2018 was the day that changed Luis Suarez’s story. When he stepped through the doors of Hillside, he had no idea he would also be stepping into a renewed relationship with God and into a community he didn’t know he needed…
Seven years ago, Luis left his church in Orange County after some frustrations and battles had hardened his heart quite a bit. A sudden move back to Rancho Cucamonga exactly one year ago this month left him feeling dejected and frustrated.
In the O.C., he felt comfortable, safe and content with no relationship with God. The move, however, brought up some new feelings – ones that made him start to question his heart.
“Looking back on it now, I can see that the move back to Rancho was a true blessing,” Luis says. “It took us out of our comfort zones and made us search inward at our hearts.”After his wife, Wendy, began to feel her heart being tugged on by God, Luis began to ask himself some questions. He credits her with giving him the push he needed to turn back to God and reignite his relationship with Him.
Luis and Wendy began to look at churches for a place to set down roots and grow in community. After finding Hillside online, he listened to one of the most recent sermons, which happened to be from the Walk the Line series Pastor Aaron walked through earlier this year.
Nothing is ever a coincidence when it comes to the details of our stories, and as God tends to do, the message Luis listened to was on expectations.
“I heard something that resonated right away with me and exactly how I felt in that moment,” Luis says. “Pastor Aaron told us, we have a choice in the path we take: a path of bitterness and anger, or a path of quiet trust.”
After their first visit to Hillside, they never left.Luis and Wendy attended the Next Steps class to learn more about how to get involved at Hillside and felt the desire to get more connected. They decided to sign up for Rooted and learn more about how to grow in relationship with God and others.
“Church is much more enjoyable once you go beyond being an attendee and start to build relationships with people within the church,” Luis says. “Hillside has been a place where we can be open about our daily struggles that we go through. There are people who are ready to take on those battles with you and press on!”
Through Rooted, Luis learned about the strongholds that had been hindering his spiritual growth and relationship with God. After feeling the weight of them, he released his strongholds to his Father and found a new freedom in his faith.
“I feel a deeper connection with my Father, there is no doubt about it!” Luis says. “God revealed Himself in so many ways through Rooted, which has only drawn me closer to Him.”
“Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:2
No one is ever too far gone or too far removed from the love of God. The beauty in all of our stories comes from knowing that our stories are all part of His greater story. God has created each and every one of us with a unique purpose, and when we step into life with Him, we get to celebrate entering into His work here on earth!
We continue to hear more and more stories of redemption and transformation coming out of our student ministries, support groups, baptisms, and Rooted. And while we celebrate all God is doing here at Hillside, we know there are still so many that need to hear about the hope and love of Christ.
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When you give, you sow into the Kingdom-work that is happening here in our church, in our cities and through our ministry partners around the world. As we approach the end of the year and you plan your year-end giving, would you consider stepping out in faith and giving back what God has graciously blessed you with into the ministry of Hillside?
Whether it’s a consistent gift of $50 or $5,000, or moving into giving with generosity, abundance or even sacrificially - we know God will stretch every dollar for our good and His glory!Give Now