Encounters with Jesus


Though any church planter would agree that the seasons of planting a church are not best represented in high notes only, accounts of extraordinary encounters with Jesus can be a great encouragement.

Ryan and his family are on mission in Ponoka.

Ryan and his family are on mission in Ponoka.

God called Ryan Keehn along with his wife Serica and their five children to plant a church in Ponoka, Alberta about a year and a half ago. Since moving to Alberta, they have made great efforts to build intentional relationships, opening up their own home to gather people from their community. Through their obedience, they have been given opportunities to share the good news of Jesus with several individuals.

Here, Ryan recounts one such story:

For the first 14 months of living in Ponoka, we had been gathering as the church out of our home, once midweek, and each Sunday around dinner time. We would have a time of worship, and then enjoy a meal together. This season of the church plant was beautiful and it soon became apparent that we were outgrowing our living room. We began meeting on Sunday mornings at an older Alliance church building.

On the first Sunday that we met at the building, we were greeted by a few new people, including a new family of a man called Kenny, his wife and their two children. It was nice to meet them and I looked forward to getting to know them better.

Then, four days later I got a text from Kenny: “Hey man... I was wondering if you would be willing to kinda take me under your wing and mentor me towards Christ?” Are you kidding me? I thought, Me, an evangelist, getting asked by a young man if I can lead him to Jesus? Count me in! I answered right back and asked if we could meet that evening at Tim Hortons for a coffee. Kenny said “Yes.”

As we sat across from each other in a booth at Timmy’s, Kenny shared with me much of his life story, which included many hardships, losses, doubts, questions, hurt, pain, brokenness, and anger. And, in that very booth, as we kept talking, with unmatched love, God broke in to this broken man’s life. What a gift!

Though he had heard the gospel before, I encouraged Kenny to take a hold of it, embrace it with all of his being. We prayed and it was beautiful. Right then and there, Kenny encountered Jesus in a fresh way. As a pastor, there is nothing that brings me greater joy than moments like these.

Since that coffee at Timmy’s, Kenny says, “God has been working on me like I’ve never thought possible, man.” He knows, sees, and feels God moving in his life. This past Easter, he was willing to share a little of his story at church and he did an amazing job... It was clear to all that were listening that God has been at work.

May this story inspire you to greater hope in the God who does new things.

Excited by what God is doing through Ryan and Ponoka Community Church?

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You can follow along with what's going on in Ponoka through their Facebook page.

AlbertaBethany Nickel