Pilot mountain fall sunrise

The Founder's Story & An Encouraging Message

About 4 years ago, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, called ulcerative pancolitis. Ever since, it has changed my life and turned it on its head. Ulcerative colitis (UC) is chronic, meaning I will have it for the rest of my life. It's also a form of IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). In short, it causes your immune system to overreact to many types of foods, which causes inflammation, ulcers, and more in the large intestine. Also flares of bad pain, gas, and bloody, soft stools often accompany these. It's no fun, to say the least. Those who have bowel issues, like what happened to me, know that it is a VERY humbling process. But for me, it has also been much more than that...

When I was diagnosed, I was glued to video games, I didn't listen to my parents as well as I could have, I ate junk food constantly, I was selfish, and I took many things for granted. Even so, I was never a "bad kid". I made A's and B's in school, never drank or cussed, I was a "good Christian". But up until I got UC, I was only a Christian by name. Once I started struggling with my new disease, I started to search for spiritual help. I tried reading the Bible, but didn't understand it. I questioned if I was even a saved Christian. I couldn't tell people why I believed in Christ; I didn't even know why He had to die for our sins or why this "Jesus" guy was so important. Honestly, I didn't really care until now... But that all changed when someone told me about a Christian YouTuber, named Melissa Dougherty. It was those first few videos I watched on her channel that showed me what was wrong. My view of God was twisted and incomplete. During this time, I was going from medication to medication. ...Nothing was working. I was struggling with so much and begging God to help and forgive me, but never seemed to get through to Him... But that was because I hadn't truly given my trust to Jesus. Once I did - when I was finally saved by God's amazing grace - I began to change. Things were a little easier to deal with, I stopped spending so much time on things that didn't really matter, I was able to start beating my addictions, I began finding the answers to my life questions, and I am now becoming a better man and a true Christian. The Bible started making sense, I started to love righteousness and not sin, I finally had a relationship with God and didn't just know about Him. I was and am finally turning into the godly man I hope to become. And I know now that being a Christ follower isn't about being perfect (we can't achieve that level of perfection), or success, or money, or material things. Rather, it's about how we steward the life He's given us - if we live for ourselves, or for Him. And out of that, everything else flows.

I'm still fighting my UC, but thanks to a medication that helps make it more tolerable, I'm able to do things again. All along this journey, God has been right beside me. He led me to an amazing biblical church where I've been able to serve and join a community group. I've made so many friends, started this shop, grown so much, and He's not even done with me yet! Like Paul, I have a "thorn in my side." But, like he wrote, I'm grateful I have it! Not because it's easy to deal with (it's not) or because I get attention from it (I don't) but rather, it is a constant reminder of my need for God. And not only that, but it allows me to share the Gospel in ways I never could have predicted.

So, my message to anyone who reads through this is: Trust in the Savior. Repent of your sins (I'm sorry if you haven't heard it before, but you're a sinner just like the rest of us. The Ten Commandments can be used like a mirror to show you how God views your sin. Every time we go against His will and put 'me' in front of Him, we are in sin.) Every time we sin, we are hitting the  nails that pierced through Jesus' hands and feet that hung Him up on that cross. Every one of us has earned our wages and we will continue earning them until He finally calls us home. We've all earned His wrath a hundred times over. So please, don't just know about Jesus/God, know Him. Look to have an actual relationship with Him. There's far more to Him than Christmas or Easter celebrations. Once you repent and believe in who and what He is, you'll have the Way, the Truth, and the Life you've been searching for. You will be washed clean by the blood of the Savior and be born again with a new heart that loves righteousness instead of wickedness. Jesus' death will cover you from those wages you earned and you will be forgiven. And because He rose from the grave and defeated death, He'll give you eternal life as a free gift upon your salvation. My friend, if you have yet to repent and fully surrender your life over to God, please seriously consider it. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, so don't wait! You won't get everything you ever wanted - God is not a genie - but, I can promise you, following Him is sooo worth it! May God give you wisdom!