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Brian grew up in a rough neighborhood in a broken home, where violence was no stranger. Even as a child, he didn’t know what it was like to feel safe and secure. And even though he attended church and knew about Jesus, he never felt as if anyone “had his back.” Not even God.
He remembers from a young age believing that God existed, and he knew that Jesus died for his sins, but God seemed distant, impersonal, uninvolved—and unforgiving. As Brian grew into manhood, none of that changed.
Falling in Love
When he began dating Amy seven years ago, she came with a ready-made family of four children. Not long after, Brian and Amy found out they were expecting a baby. Though not ready to commit to marriage, Brian’s deepest desire was to provide Amy and the children with a home much different from the one he’d grown up in.
He worked as a welder during the day and earned extra money as a hockey referee at night. In between his two jobs, he would take care of home responsibilities. He was pushed to the limits, and over time, the busyness and stress took their toll. In the winter of 2013, Brian found himself physically and emotionally exhausted, and his relationship with Amy began to suffer.
One night, sitting in his basement and feeling like he was at the end of his rope, Brian cried out to God for help. And although he had resisted going to church with Amy in the past, he told her he would like to go with her to the church she and her family had attended for years.
Coming to Church
It was December, and when Brian walked into Wheaton Bible Church that Christmas season, he immediately felt comfortable.
Lon Allison was teaching that morning, and Brian was drawn to Lon’s sincerity, calmness, and happiness—all things Brian wanted to see in his own life.
It was the very next month that Brian signed up for the Alpha Course, and on the first night he noticed that the speaker, Andrey Tsupruk, shared the same qualities he had seen in Pastor Lon.
Brian listened as Andrey shared the story of how he had come to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Andrey went on to say that Christ is the answer to our human longings.
Coming to Christ
Even though Brian had always believed in God, that evening he put his faith in Christ in a whole new way. He came to understand, deep in his heart, that what he was hearing was true: that God loved him and that through Christ, Brian could have a new life.
Brian continued to come to church, saying he learned more about God in a few months at Wheaton Bible Church than he had his entire life. And over those weeks, he started thinking about his relationship with Amy. In response to what he was learning, he decided that he wanted to honor God by asking Amy to marry him.
She said yes.
They began attending the Preparation for Marriage class at WBC and planned a summer wedding. But knowing that their marriage was still several months away, and wanting to be right with the Lord, they met with Pastor Ted Coniaris, who encouraged Brian and Amy to have a marriage ceremony right away—even if they were going to have a bigger celebration later on. And since their Alpha friends had become like family to them, why not invite their Alpha class to the celebration?
Very quickly an upcoming Alpha gathering was transformed into a “preliminary” wedding. Since each Alpha meeting already includes a delicious meal, it was a fun challenge for the Alpha team to quickly add a few special touches to their regular routine—including a donated wedding cake and some simple but lovely decorations that transformed that meeting into a special occasion.
On March 27, 2014, Brian and Amy were married, exchanging vows before God and their Alpha friends, along with some family members as special guests.
Growing and Changing
Before coming to know Christ, Brian was angry. He listened to angry music because it made his own anger seem not so bad. Now he listens to Christian radio, filling his mind with loving and positive words. He looks forward to growing in his relationship with God, who no longer seems distant and impersonal but who has given him forgiveness and provided the way for Brian to personally experience the same joy and peace he found so appealing in the lives of Lon and Andrey and other Christ followers he has met.