I have been at Heartland for nineteen years. I believe God brought me here to save me from who I would have been. I had a lot of anger issues because of abuse in my childhood. I was in the dark back then. I’m in the light now.
When, I was ten years old, my grandmother adopted me. She was a Marine, and she adopted me when she was 68. She helped me a lot with my anger and frustrations. Three years before I came to Heartland, my grandma helped me get to know about Jesus. Then she sent me to Heartland Christian Academy so that I could get more help. And I did.
I was on medications for hyperactivity and problems. God opened the opportunity for me to not take those meds anymore. At first school was hard at HCA because of my anger and issues. When God came in, I became peaceful and school was a lot better.
Finally, I got saved at Heartland. I felt peaceful. Most of my childhood was chaos, so I was happier and better after I got saved.
One of my favorite memories was lunch time at HCA, hanging around with the teachers. They helped me with academic problems. My English teacher, Karen AbuSaada, was one of my favorite teachers. She taught me how to diagram sentences and made me feel comfortable. She really helped me with things I needed. If I had a problem, I could go to her and talk to her.
Graduating from Heartland Christian Academy was special because I didn’t know I could do that. A lot of adults had told me I wasn’t going to amount to anything. Heartland has helped me to prove them wrong.
After I graduated, I stayed in Heartland for Bible College. I wanted to learn more about God and life; the theme was to Prepare for Life. Darin Rihanek was one of my favorite HCC teachers. He showed me how to prepare for life and also taught me things in class that I enjoyed.
I decided to stay at Heartland after Bible College to work and learn more about life. I got my own apartment, and I enjoyed that. I also have friends here. We would go bowling, play mini-golf, go shopping and just have a fun time.
God has changed a lot in my life. He has told me that I’m going to help a lot of people. That they will understand Jesus through me. He has answered my prayers. One big change in my life is how God changed my anger into being considerate and caring for people.
In this next season, God has told me that I need to help people who have been abused like me, to be a light to people. To be a servant. I learned in servanthood class that you should serve people.
I would like to thank Pastor Charlie, Laurie, and all the leaders here for being here whenever I needed them.
I appreciate everyone in Heartland, and I love you guys.
Editor’s Note: It has been a privilege and a blessing to have Jacob in our lives. His grandmother, Barbara Johnson, was a Methodist pastor in Shelby County for many years and a faithful friend to the Heartland community. We send our love and prayers with Jacob as he joins his sister in their home state of Iowa (go Hawkeyes!) and begins his next season.