Justin Ryker Swick

Justin Ryker Swick

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pretty Amazing Leaders

This weekend Ryan and I were blessed to get to see a couple of pastors who have been so influencial in our lives.  God has really put some great people into our lives, at just the right time, and that goes for all the pastors who have helped us along in our journey as well. 

We continue to be blessed in this way, as we have an amazing pastor here also; that we are able to listen to and learn from on Wednesdays and Sundays. Pastor T.J. has been more than supportive in helping us on this new journey in our lives, with the passing of Justin, our growing faith, and becoming part of the church as a whole.  We really feel we are part of a church family, and there is not a sermon, that we are present for, that does not speak to us, or touch our hearts in one way or another. So a special thanks to Pastor T.J. for your messages, support, and guidance. 

While we were in college, Ryan and I attended Journey Christian Church in Wayne, Nebraska.  Don't get me wrong we were college kids and didn't attend church nearly as often as we should have, but regardless with our lack of obedience, God still placed another amazing pastor there for us to learn from and listen to when we were willing.  Pastor Troy at Journey Christian Church was kind enough to do our wedding ceremony for us and counsel us as we were preparing to become husband and wife.  This weekend we had the opportunity to attend one of Pastor Troy's services once again.  It was really exciting to see how much the church had grown in just the few years that we moved away from Wayne.  The growth really is remarkable, and the church was packed with people of ALL ages.  I am not sure if I have ever seen such a diverse group of people in one church sanctuary before, and the REALLY cool thing about this was that EVERYONE was just so excited to be there.  A young lady had decided to dedicate her life to Jesus Christ and was getting baptized, afterwards, the ENTIRE congration gave her a standing ovation.  I got goosebumps!  That was really cool to see.  I have never seen an entire church be so proud and show this young lady just how glorious that decision was and that it would not go unnoticed, they would make sure of it! I was moved. Well done Pastor Troy!!

We also were blessed to see another pastor and his wife this weekend that has helped us more than any other couple through our journey as husband and wife.  Ryan and I were struggling financially, we had two kids, we were both in college, trying to get placement for student teaching, which ultimately meant working a full time job, being graded on it, and not getting paid; with that we would have very little time for another job while still taking care of our children and nurturing our marriage; that is when things started getting really rocky for us.  Pastor Chuck and his wife Connie, took us under their wing, counseling us, guiding us, providing for us in some ways, and holding our hands so that we could make it to the next stepping stone, becoming stronger in not only our marriage, but our faith as well.  Because of their love and support we were able to finally open our eyes, hearts, and minds, and let God work in and through us, and He did. He made everything more beautiful than we could have ever imagined.  Once again, Pastor Chuck and Connie were there to support us this weekend, as they showed up at our Sioux City book signing, roses in hand.  They are just amazing people, thank you both so very much.

It is going to sound like we go through a lot of churches, but there is one more Pastor I cannot leave out, and we did go to a lot of churches, we have moved a lot trying to get a firm foundation on our futures, jobs, and had to go where the opportunities presented themselves in different ways.  I think we are where we are supposed to stay for quite awhile now, hopefully. :) Unless God has another plan for us.  While I was doing my student teaching in Princeton, MO we honored to meet and attend Pastor Russ's sermons, and also get to speak with him one on one.  He is a great encourager and a very insightful leader, who also has done some really amazing things with the First Christian Church in Gallatin, MO.  This is not only a church that we attended, but also one that I was able to work in after graduating, in their daycare that is provided in and through the church.  It was a great experience and one that I will cherish forever.  The church and the daycare is filled with very amazing people; children and adults alike. 

Thank you all so much for helping us through different seasons in our lives, we truly are blessed with amazing leaders of faith.  We are so thankful for each and everyone of you.  Pastor Chuck, Pastor Troy, Pastor Russ, and Pastor T.J. thank you, thank you!

If you are ever in need of a good sermon here are the links to both Pastor T.J's and Pastor Troy's services; both of them are great pastors who have an incredible talent of speaking and teaching the Word of God.
http://www.journeychristianonline.org/messageaudio.php Journey Christian Church Wayne, Nebraska: Pastor Troy Reynolds

http://www.firstchristianiowafalls.org/sermon.asp First Christian Church Iowa Falls, Iowa: Pastor T.J. Norman


  1. Finding a church that provides growth and support that is based upon biblical teachings along with a place of fellowship and worship of God seems to be very difficult to find. Many churches preach humanism and are greedy. Well, after reading this, maybe it isn’t as difficult as I had thought to find the good ones. It’s Easter so that’s a good time to start looking again.

  2. We had a hard time finding a church that we really felt like "home" at, and prayed long and hard, but God definitely has provided us great church "homes" on our journey and we are very thankful for that!