A Testimony of My Time at The Bridge Church in Carson City, NV
The Spirit Awakens Me
There are many things in my life that I have made spiritual decisions based off of what I have learned in my church growing up. I have realized that I have missed out on an essential part of growing in my relationship with God. I was saved when I was 12 years old and went to Calvary Chapel in Chico, Ca. I spent a lot of my time with my grandmother Levita, I asked a lot of questions about God when I was younger, and she would show me the scripture instead of answering but still explained things from a Calvary Chapel perspective. When I turned 18, I went to Calvary Chapel Bible College in Murrieta, Ca. I thought that it was going to be amazing; however, I ended up realizing that God was bigger than what they were teaching, and something just seemed off in my heart.
I was almost so indoctrinated, my thoughts on the Holy Spirit seemed set in stone. I was not about speaking in tongues, prophecy, and weird spiritual things. I believed that Paul was clear in these things. If you had asked me what I thought about this years ago, I would have told you that it was all just a feel-good setting that takes your focus away from the most important thing which was your relationship with Jesus Christ. I had a lot of scriptural knowledge but never really allowed myself to go further with it.
Fast-forward to 2016-2017, I was not in the best place with God and defiantly not in the best place in my relationship with my wife and others for that matter. I was bitter, angry, and lost. I knew I was in a bad place, spiritually speaking. I had resentment from having to move to NV because I had a good job and was moving up to become a Director of Surveillance in Bishop Ca at a local casino I worked at. I did not understand why we had to struggle in NV when we were set in CA.
The reason we moved was that my wife is diabetic and was pregnant with our son Ezra, we chose Saint Mary’s in Reno as the hospital my wife would give birth to him at. We ended up at my in-laws in Dayton, NV, and I had got a job in home automation after roasting coffee for a short time. This was when my life was starting to head the wrong direction. Just as the time Trump was elected President, my in-laws sold their house, and we moved to Carson City. My wife was feeling abandoned by her parents, and our son was having non-serious medical issues, I felt like no matter what I did to help my wife that I would just be the center of her frustrations. I also developed a stigma and just started to not really care, which I can testify to you only made matters worse! This continued for about a month into just moving into the apartments we were living in at the time.
It seemed one day out of nowhere I had a thought to go to the San Rafael Coffee shop because that’s where I remembered we delivered a 6 LB roaster when I worked at the San Franciscan Roaster Co. and they had some darn good coffee. I was off early on a weekday and stopped there before I came home (and yes, I was avoiding going home that day). However, that is the day God started to bring me back to Him. I had met Nathan and remembered him from months prior. I think I asked him to surprise me when I ordered a drink, ended up being a nitro cold brew, and it was amazing! It seemed funny to me at the time, but Nathan started to poke a little bit spiritually and witness to me. I think I had let it roll for a little while before telling him that I believe, and I too have a relationship with Christ. I believe I said my relationship was not where it should be, and I know I have a lot of work to do to be where I want to be. But God met me where I was right then! We ended up talking for a while, and I also was able to meet Bryce Antila, and we shared for a while as well. God made a divine appointment, and this was just the beginning. Nathan invited me to come and eat at the food cart that night before I left the coffee shop.
I came home feeling God in my heart for the first time in a while, I told my wife what happened, and I told her that I felt we should go check out this food cart. Reluctantly she agreed, we saw Nathan there, and he told us about the food ministry and bible study, praise and worship night and Sunday service. It was kind of rainy and cold, and they were doing BBQ burgers. We got introduced to a few people; it was the first time that I had met Randy. After we had left, I asked my wife if she would like to go to church on Sunday; she wanted to. I kept pressing to go to the food cart and to get into Thursday night studies, praise and worship, and eventually had become a regular thing in our life.
At the beginning of all this, things were a little weird for me. There was a lot of talk of the Spirit at bible study and especially Friday night praise and worship. I felt my guard come up the first few times. I kept thinking about how I am supposed to grow closer to God when everyone is just getting “spiritual.” My wife had finally convinced me to start going to the Men’s groups; she saw that I had a zeal, I was reluctant because I still felt I was abandoning her and the kids to go to church. As she did not always want to come.
The first few times I had started dedicating time to attend Monday’s and Thursday’s I still had a guard up but was listening and taking things in. A lot of teaching had always revolved around the Holy Spirit. I started thinking, “Well, maybe there is something to this.” As I started warming up to the church, I started to test what Tyson and Randy had been saying and praying about it, reading the verses they had referenced in their teachings. I had started feeling something different in my core, more of awakening then I had ever experienced in my walk with Jesus! This made me want to get my family in order, in which I had no idea where to start. But what we were going over in men’s group at the time stuck to me, I didn’t even have to ask how to get my family on board because our topic was “Cleaning House.” This started shaking me in my core again!
I would go home, and re-study things we had just went over in church, and then I would put it into practice in my life, cut out stuff at home slowly that I thought were causing influence. After I would test the teachings at church, it seemed like my heart fell in place with it in perfect agreement. One thing I learned was to Test All Things! This was a lot of what I lived by; it was my favorite quote from Paul! I just had not been testing things the way I was supposed to.
I started letting go of my stigma of the Holy Spirit that was instilled in me. From there, I began to surrender to the Holy Spirit. As I started doing this, I remember in the men’s group, we had worked into “what are you holding on to.” At this point, I realized the Spirit was really doing something with me. The Lord had guided me into the very topics we were going over in the men’s group in real-time. I actually felt lead by something other than myself.
Testimony of Experiences
After I had dropped all guard and let down my defenses, I was truly free. The Spirit was leading my life, and the things I had gripped onto previously, I felt I had no need for them anymore. I cut the things that distracted me and kept my focus from God out of my life. I had totally immersed myself with prayer, the word, and Godly people. I became a witness at work and noticed a huge change in my “work personality”. Things at home had order, as I was the example as I should have been and applied our studies in men’s group to my life because that was the whole point! Influence was not welcome in my home, and although we had plenty to worry about, I did not allow worry in my heart. Through this change, I learned to pray without ceasing, really speaking with the Lord, and putting my rest in Him brought forth a lot of unexplained things to us.
I remember on multiple occasions we were out of money and bills were due, as my wife would remind me that we were in trouble and start to worry, I would just say that God will help us. Sure enough, we get a check from Comcast because we overpaid them on equipment, $45.00 that we needed for a bill that was due. We were hurting financially again months later, and as My wife would remind me again that we were not doing well with money, I told her to have faith, that God would not allow us to be without food and the supplies we needed. Sure enough not only did we get a check from our insurance for $350.00 but the Lord had told me to ask, (yeah I know I actually asked for help, I was surprised too!) I told Nathan what was going on during a Thursday night study. I was specific to only ask if anything could be spared in grocery or food. Nathan said, “hold on” went upstairs for a few minutes, and came back down and said, “come with me.” He had given me about a week worth of frozen meals from Costco that held us over until my next paycheck.
Things started getting even more amazing as I found myself serving in the food ministry, Not only was I able to serve God but all the people in need, and others serving. It was about listening to the Spirit and praying for opportunities to share with others; it was a totally selfless experience in my life. One day after serving at the food cart, we did bible study, and Tyson was teaching. He opened up prayer earlier because the lesson’s context had to do with praying for our own lives. I remember this vividly as I found it difficult to want to pray for myself when I had just made a habit of praying for others. Tyson had told us to close our eyes, and let the Spirit lead us into what to pray about. I, for some reason, felt distracted as I felt a presence almost a radiance coming from my right side in front of me. Then a thought came to me that Tyson was going to speak prophetically, and no sooner than my thought ended, he spoke. He mentioned that he knew there was someone that needed immediate prayer, and it had to do with something serious with that person specifically. A woman raised her hand that was in front and directly to the right of me as well. I was floored! How could I have known this? I didn’t know what to say. I hopped a couple of rows back to Nathan, and I couldn’t get my words right at first, but I told him what happened, and he said, “That’s Awesome” he told me he calls things like that Kisses from the Spirit. Before leaving that night, I also introduced myself to Tyson and told him as well, and he said with a big grin on his face, “own it!” I never understood why this happened, but I know it grew my faith a lot.
Another time during a Friday night praise and worship, I was signing and surrendering myself, I had been to enough of these nights to know God does a lot, but this time was a time I had finally learned to let my guards down. I felt God’s presence so abundantly that I never noticed the tears literally falling off my face from the joy of being in His presence, I heard Randy on the mic saying if you need to be prayer or feel the Lord is calling you for prayer to come up. I don’t even think I noticed, I moved directly toward him and Shawna. Randy and Shawna laid hands on me and started to pray, I felt like I was almost in a cocoon of comfort, there was a radiance of peace like there was nothing to worry about or ever have worried about. I was with the Lord! I remember the words: you are anointed. Randy and Shawna literally held me in place from falling to the ground, and as I came back, he looked at me and asked me if I was alright, I think I was smiling and just said: “I’m great.” I just walked back and started worshiping again. Later that night, I talked with Randy about it, and he said not to be surprised if I start having dreams.
It was the Friday after that I had a dream that we were outside with grass all over and he said that we needed to dig with shovels, and we would find something. It was everyone in the church at the time (2017) digging their holes in a clockwise motion, finding these empty rooms where you could tell people were living in. They were like a normal living room or bedroom unearthed with signs that people were previously there.
Just as quick and unexpected as we found ourselves into Carson City a week after Thanksgiving, we were moving back to Bishop Ca. As much as it hurt to leave the area and the church, I knew not to question it. God trained me through the discipleship of the leaders at the Bridge Church and through servitude. As I look back, I see the Bridge Church as a model of the church we read about in Acts. Randy’s heart to find and raise up men of God to become leaders and teachers was the same heart I have now. The church should not have one person to look up to; it should have many, and we should all have that same heart, so when the Spirit calls the church to move, it can move.
I testify that these words are pure and true, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord! So that anyone who reads this may know that the Bridge Church follows, listens, and makes their decisions only upon the authority of God and the Holy Spirit that gives them intercession. There is nothing that is done without the Lord’s authority in their walls. I pray that The Lord continues their good and faithful work, and that is becoming a beacon of testimony in Carson City!