Friends of KSM,
Our Leadership Institute (LI) class of 2015 has fully launched with ten participants, each with a mentor, supervisor and organization host that will be involved in their 9 month journey of letting “God’s story change their world.” And they are all using the first KS workbook, too!
This higher level of our Leadership Institute would not be possible without our new part time staff addition: Branden Hubbell. Branden is our LI program administrator and bringing needed gifts, partnership and passion to our work. Pictured above is Branden (right) next to Craig (left) an(middle) Hamilton. Craig is serving as Branden’s “House Dad” and mentor this year. Here is Branden’s own testimony and story:
My Kingdom Story Experience
God’s timing could not have been more perfect and more profound. My Kingdom Story journey officially started in September of 2014, but the story actually starts about 8 months prior when God finally got my attention.
I had been dating a girl who was a non-believer for about a year prior to my personal face plant. It was through the ending of this relationship that God would finally break me of my old way of thinking. The break up sent me into a depression, one deeper than I had ever experienced. So deep, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it out. I remember saying to myself one day, “God, if you are who you say you are, you are the only one that can get me out of this.” I didn’t completely surrender when I made that statement, but it was the real beginning to my faith journey. I gave my eternal soul to Christ in 2010, but I had not given Him my full earthly life until 2015. It was in 2015 that I decided to give God a real shot in my life. I decided that I would start to listen and follow what God had been whispering to me for years.
God slowly started to bring me out of my depression and I started to hear more clearly the calling that God had on my life: I was to be a teacher/coach of some sorts but what I was afraid of was being called into vocational ministry. While I knew I was saved, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to give myself over to God in that way. God, as usual, had a different plan for my life.
As I started to recover from my depression and the light returned to my thoughts, I started to consider more seriously that I was being called to full time ministry. I was to use my passion for teaching and equipping people for God’s Kingdom. However, I had no idea how I was going to go about that. I reached out to a friend who connected me with John Lewis, and Kingdom Story Ministries.
Having the time to really study and learn God’s word over the summer I learned I needed something more. I needed a foundation upon which to lay all my thoughts, questions, spiritual growth, and faith walk. That foundation was learning God’s Salvation story. I had read many books of the bible but I had no idea how it all fit together; I couldn’t see the cohesiveness of scripture that was very prevalent yet hidden from sight. John started walking us through the story and my eyes were thrust wide open to a world I believed existed but couldn’t see until I started this experience.
The experience for me was more than your average participant; John noticed in me my passion for teaching and my depth of knowledge of scripture from someone who had no formal training. He felt prompted to take me under his wing and started mentoring me. The hope was to unpack or uncover more of my passion for teaching. John allowed me the opportunity to teach several of the classes during my first year with Kingdom Story Ministries (KSM). It was a life changing experience. Not to mention, after 3 months of being in the Leadership Institute, John asked me if I would like to go to Beijing, China to help further the mission of KSM there. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would be traveling overseas, let alone doing it for the Kingdom of God.
The gifts of this new calling did not end there. For many years I have had financial struggles, and in the midst of my depression, those struggles turned into real problems. I ended up losing my apartment, a job, and I already mentioned the girl. But God works in mysterious ways; to empty us of worldly things we hold so dear, in order to fill us up with spiritual life that only God can provide. In this context, I was given the opportunity to live with a host family in Fircrest. This has exponentially reduced my financial issues on various different levels, as well as boosting my spiritual walk with God having a family surrounding me that loves the Lord. Craig and Jill Hamilton have been a blessing to me far more than I can express in words, and I only hope that I can continue to share their blessing as I continue to share the Good News of God’s Story with all who want to hear.
Taking the KSE has shaped my life in such a way that it literally has become my “way of life.” Every biblical question I encounter I filter through God’s bigger story. Each person who asks to know Jesus, I take them through the story. I have the ability now to tell people God’s Salvation story from memory, from beginning to end.
As a student who is taking this class, you will become engrossed in a world very different then your own. You will be challenged to change your perceptions of God, the world, and of yourself. If I could only relive one experience in my life, it would be this one, and all aspects of it.