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Ian and Lyndsay serve: A story from the launch of Mars Hill Olympia

Briefly explain your background and how you came to Olympia

Lyndsay: In the last year of my graduate program I had to do an internship, and since it’s a national accreditation for my program I could literally go anywhere. My husband (Ian) and I had a conversation about “Do we stay and put down roots in Colorado, where we were living, or do we take this opportunity and go on an adventure?”

Little did we know that God was totally working in our decision-making. One day at work some of the guys where talking to Ian about the Pacific Northwest. Ian came home and said, “Have you ever been to the Pacific Northwest?” He went on to describe how the guys at work had been talking about it and how cool it sounded. He then suggested we go there, and I just said, “Ok, why not?” I started looking for internships in the Washington/Oregon area, Googled the school districts, and sent out numerous e-mails.

It was always Olympia that seemed the most interested in having me and constantly pursued me. I can totally see Jesus’ hand in that, now looking back, but when they actually offered me the position Ian and I just looked at each other like, “Are we really going to do this? Are we going to move 1,200 plus miles away to a place we’ve never been where we know nobody?” But we both decided that we wanted the adventure. So we moved out here.

It was exciting as my new job got underway and Ian found a job. Everything just seemed to fall together. What we thought might only be a yearlong stay turned into a decision to stay much longer—especially because of Mars Hill Olympia.

How did you end up attending Mars Hill Olympia?

Ian: When we moved here we bounced around several different churches in the Olympia/Lacey area. None of them really stuck out to us. We were both frustrated with our luck, and so one day Lyndsay voiced her frustration with a co-worker. This co-worker said her son had been going to Mars Hill Church and that we should check it out. We went the next Sunday and have been going to Mars Hill Olympia ever since.

Lyndsay: The cool thing was that all through our marriage I had been leading the charge with anything that had to do with religion. The first week we went to Mars Hill Olympia Ian looked at me and said, “We’re coming back.” That was the first time Ian had ever said anything like that and I remember thinking, “If Ian says we’re coming back then this is the church we’re meant to be at, because he had never shown so much interest in a church before.”

How did you meet Jesus?

Ian: The first Sunday we came to Mars Hill was the first time I had really ever heard the gospel presented in a way that stuck. We started attending the Doctrine class that very same week. Quite frankly a lot of it was over my head and I lost interest pretty quickly.

It wasn’t until I attend a Men’s Advance, and met several of the men I am still very close with to this day, that I began to have a whole different view of Christianity. I saw these guys that had a lot of fun, where awesome guys, and loved Jesus!

I started working in facilities and with the kids at Mars Hill and it began to feel like home. Jesus claiming my life wasn’t really a particular moment for me. As I read my Bible and began to be around other Christians, my love and hunger for Jesus grew and grew. Before I knew it I got baptized and my whole life was completely different.

Lyndsay: I grew up in a Christian family. Around the age of ten was when I would say I prayed the prayer and asked Jesus into my heart. All growing up, I would describe my faith as immature and saturated with work-based theology. I basically just tried to be good and it wasn’t until I came to Mars Hill and went to the doctrine class that what I knew in my head really made its way to my heart and changed me. Jesus saved me from my religious mindset.

How did Jesus save your marriage?

Lyndsay: First off, I’d just like to say that we had no business dating or getting married in the first place. I had been a Christian since I was young, and it would be fair to say that Ian was somewhat of an agnostic. Even when we were dating I felt convicted and gave Ian the ultimatum “You have to believe in God or our relationship will be over.” Of course he said he believed in God and we made up and ended up getting married.

It wasn’t until we started coming to Mars Hill that God really opened my eyes to the fact that our marriage had not been built on him. We would both have to reconcile ourselves to God before we could start to rebuild our marriage with him at the center.

Ian: We were that couple with different religious beliefs that ends up getting divorced. When we started off we did what would please each other for selfish gain. I’ll do this for you, if you do this for me type stuff. We really started to learn a lot during the Real Marriage sermon series and study. We began to see our marriage totally differently and started talking about things we had never talked about before.

Lyndsay: Being in a community group with other married couples who showed us how to live in repentance to God as well as one another was also a huge part of transforming our marriage.

What does it mean to you personally to have this new church building?

Ian: I speak for Lyndsay here when I say that she has always wanted our home to be warm and welcoming. It has been so amazing to be able to bring that sense of home into this new church building.

Lyndsay: I like being able to point out the building to people, because it’s pretty close to where I work, and say, “That’s it. That’s our home, and we’d love for you to come to it!”

Ian: There’s something really cool about the permanence too. With the other locations we’d set up and tear down and it would look like Mars Hill Olympia for a couple hours then it would go back to looking like a school or whatever it was. We are both just really excited. It’s an exciting new step for Mars Hill Olympia.

In what ways have you two been able to help with the renovations of this building?

Ian: It was a huge burden at first, but due to a medical leave from work, I’ve been able to spend a great deal of time at the building helping out. Due to the medical issues, I have some physical limitations, but with all the community groups coming out to help I’ve been able to step up as a project manager of sorts. So I’ve been able to float around encouraging and leading people in the projects at hand. It’s completely been by God’s grace, the timing with everything, because there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than helping out here.

What does Mars Hill Olympia mean to you personally?

Lyndsay: Mars Hill for our family has meant home. Moving from Colorado, away from all of our family and friends, and having no one was horrible. But God provided us a family with Mars Hill Olympia. Jesus totally had a hand in that and it’s been totally amazing because he knew just what we needed. He knew that we needed to be introduced to him as well as the church body that is now our family. Our community group, the people we serve with, the new faces, the kids running around, and the pastors—we love all of them and they are our family.

Ian: I agree a hundred percent. It’s so cool to think that when we came here we knew no one, and now more than ninety-five percent of our friends have come directly from meeting people at this church.

Just a short example of this is one day when we were talking with a pastor friend of ours in Colorado. He was asking about how Mars Hill operates and he was explaining how he deals with a lot of shut-ins and does a lot of hospital visits. He asked during this conversation if, God forbid, one of us ended up in the hospital, if anyone from our church would come to see us. I looked at him and said, “There’s not a hospital room big enough for all the people that would come see us if we were in need.” My friend was just floored by my answer because he had never experienced a church like that. That’s just kind of when I realized how much this church meant to us, and how much of a family we had become.

You two are always running around serving in some capacity. Which areas do you serve in and how has serving been an encouragement to you and others?

Lyndsay: I have been serving in Mars Hill Kids since I’ve been coming here, so two years now. I was heavily involved in the younger classes, and since coming to the new building I’ve been the service lead over all the classes for at least one service a week. I get to pray for the volunteers, parents, and kids and it’s been such a blessing to see what God’s been doing there.

Ian: I jumped in pretty quickly as well with helping with the facilities team. After a year or so I became the facilities lead, and am still filling that role. I also serve in Mars Hill Kids regularly, helping out with the two-year-olds’ age group, which is a lot of fun. My time gets crunched, but I also enjoy filling in as a part time greeter. I was out there with umbrellas today helping people from their cars. Whether I wear an “I can help” badge or not, I love standing outside and saying, “What’s up?” to people. It’s fun.

Lyndsay: We were both asked if we could help greet today and we were like “Sure, why not?” We both had so much pent up excitement we needed something to do!

We love hearing people’s stories. If you would like to share your story with us or read more stories, head over to our stories page.

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