Corban and Laura Cooper are members of Mars Hill Church Shoreline. In 2008 they met a Colombian family who had just relocated from Florida to Washington in the play area of a McDonald's. They kept in contact with the family, praying for them often and helping them when they could. Years later, one of the children, Sara, asked the Coopers if she could come with them to Mars Hill Church. Sara is now 14 years old. Below is her story, told in her own words.
We’re from Colombia, and I was born into a Catholic family. I went to Catholic school through third grade, and I learned about God, Jesus, and the Bible. But I always thought something was missing. I never felt connected to Christ, or really understood what it meant to know God. I guess that’s why, when we moved to Washington and could no longer afford a private Catholic school, it was easy for our family to fall out of the routine of Catholicism. We went to church less frequently, until one day we just stopped. Eventually, I stopped believing God even existed.
It wasn’t until last October that I even thought about Christianity. I was at a sleepover with three of my friends, two were Christians, and one was Orthodox. When we got to the subject of faith, I could really tell they believed in and loved Jesus. They talked about God as a friend, as someone who cared and loved them. One of the Christian girls invited me to come to her church, and I thought it could be fun.
After the sleepover, I told my mom I would like to try going to a Christian church and she was very supportive. She asked her good friend Laura and Laura’s husband Corban if I could go to their church.
My mom and Laura met at a McDonald’s only a few days after we moved to Washington and they immediately became friends. Laura and Corban were always very caring and generous. My mom knew they were Christians because they’d invited us to Mars Hill Church a few times before.
I started going to Mars Hill Shoreline every week and I loved it. I was learning about Jesus and was starting to see him in everything. Every single sermon had a huge impact on me. But the Sunday that affected me the most was the Christmas service. Everything about it blew me away. The sermon, the music—it was all beautiful. For me, though, the best part was the baptisms. I loved seeing how happy the people getting baptized were and how happy the rest of the church was for them.
After Christmas, I really wanted to learn more about Jesus and get involved with the church. I went to Mars Hill Students the first night in January. That was when I really met Jesus for the first time, and he saved me from sin. I was happier than I’d ever been before and it was all because Jesus was a part of it. Students Ministry was great for me because I learned about Christianity in a way that was a lot easier for me to understand and very interesting because it was geared for teenagers like me. I was more certain than ever that I wanted to be baptized.
I had that opportunity on Easter. With the support of my family, Laura and Corban, and other friends I’d met through Students Ministry, I was baptized. It was the best day of my life. I couldn’t have been happier.
Since then, my faith in Jesus has only gotten stronger, and I see Jesus in everything around me. I know he’s there when good things happen, but I also know he’s there for me when I’m struggling.
Summer camp this past August was an amazing experience. At first, I was a bit nervous about going, because it would be my first time going to an overnight camp. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and by the end of the week I was so close with all the girls in my cabin. I could share anything that was on my heart with them, and I’m grateful that they were there to listen. I’ve been able to continue my friendships with them since camp. That has been a real blessing to be able to talk to them as my sisters in Christ.
My faith grew so much during those days at summer camp. One of my favorite parts was the sermons. Pastor Adam Ramsey preached about how Jesus is always there with you, and I felt like God’s presence was there the whole time. Those sermons have helped me through the school year so far to know the God is with me. My faith is so much stronger than it was before summer camp, and with every day, I feel like I get closer to Jesus.
I am so thankful for the time I got to spend at Mars Hill Summer Camp, meeting new people, having a blast during free time, but mostly just getting closer to Jesus and realizing his amazing presence everywhere in my life.
Overall, Jesus has been the best decision I’ve made in my whole life. I am so happy he saved me.
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