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- Living Life (12) Testimony — Daniel Kim
Hey everyone, it’s Daniel. Today, I want to talk about how Living Life impacted my life.
To start, I want to go back to about a year ago. At that time, I was living in Waterloo as a student, so the biggest things on my mind were doing well in my classes, meeting new people, overall living my university life to the fullest. These things were mostly everything I could think about. So, my church life before Living Life started was quite dull and felt like a routine. Waking up at 7 AM every Sunday morning and spending 3 hours on the GO bus to get to church every Sunday almost felt like a chore. Looking back, it’s really sad how I felt about church. In high school, I had heard how easy it was for university students to fall apart from church and God, and I don’t think I was an exception. I gradually became less enthusiastic about coming to church. As I grew more and more distant from God, I noticed that I would feel upset more often. Stress and loneliness often overwhelmed me, and things like talking to my parents about school made me feel depressed and cornered. Although I knew that this was thanks to my negligence, I kept convincing myself that I could fix these problems on my own. Even though the answer to my problem was in my reach, I procrastinated solving this problem and I resorted to other ways of dealing with my stress, like playing video games and hanging out with my school friends. This went on for about a year, until living life registrations were announced.
Honestly, at the time, I simply saw Living Life as just something to check off my list of “series that I’ve completed at church”. But then I remembered the problems I was going through, and I saw it as an opportunity to reconnect with God and take some control in my life. Something that worried me about taking Living Life was that it would be running at the same time as my first semester of second year. But with enough encouragement from others, I signed up. Going into the first class, I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I just left it up to God and Caleb and proceeded on through the weeks. For 13 weeks, I got on a Zoom Call with Caleb and he talked to me about God and church life. With every session, I learned more and more about how God works in people’s lives, and I found myself inspired to apply it all in my life. I don’t want to spoil any of the good stuff for anyone who hasn’t taken Living Life yet, but I will say that it was enjoyable for me because it seemed like a different environment than a typical Sunday service, which felt fresh and was enjoyable. Simply doing the Bible readings and attending each session was enough to make me feel like I was connecting to God again. It was easy, and most importantly, it was rewarding. By the end of the 13 weeks, I really felt like the choice I made to take Living Life was right.
Before Living Life, I was constantly feeling lost, stressed, and alone. These emotions were really bothering me, and the worst part of it was that I would never turn to the right solution. And although Living Life didn’t turn me into an overly passionate and intense Christian, it was the space and time that felt new and fresh, where I could connect with God and learn more about him. Basically, it was just what I needed. To be honest, I’m still dealing with those feelings that I felt before those 13 weeks. The difference is the confidence I have that I can look to God when I’m overwhelmed. Being reminded every week that God was in my life helped me see that I wasn’t alone. The wisdom I got from each lesson revealed what kind of God, God was, and it made me excited to indulge in this relationship I had with him.
I want to thank the people that encouraged me to take Living Life, Pastor Caleb for making every session engaging and leaving me with inspiration and excitement, and obviously God for making such meaningful impacts in my life. Thanks for listening!
- Starting Point (3) Testimony — Seoyeon Yoo
Hello everyone, I am Seoyeon Yoo and I will be sharing my experience with you all on my journey with Starting Point. I was introduced to this study by my youth leader Esther Sung, but in all honesty, I took Starting Point impulsively not knowing what I would be getting myself into. However, now that I’ve experienced it, I could have not been more grateful for this opportunity. It was a study full of reflection and healing.
Before I took Starting Point, I was not in a good mental state, and it felt like I was drowning in my own anxiety. I was avoiding my problems, people, and places; just about anything really. It was something I was struggling on for quite some time which eventually put a toll on my relationship with God. The whole concept of faith and maintaining this “Christain lifestyle” seemed so confusing and difficult for me. I had many people in my life walk out of faith, and when it is people who you look up to that give up on something they were so deeply passionate about, it complicates what you were told is true. It was almost as if the path to move further was getting foggier each day where it resulted in extreme loneliness and no sense of belonging; I didn’t know how to reach out for help. This is where Starting Point entered my life.
As said in the beginning, I made the decision to take Starting Point without hesitation. I went into the study with this mentality, “alright, just 8 weeks, you can pull through”. So for the first couple of weeks I found myself extremely guilty because I was doing the “homework” I had to get completed, the day of. It wasn’t until session 3 (Trust) where I took it seriously. I paused and questioned myself “how can I know where I stand with the invisible, silent God? What if Starting Point is a chance for me to restore my faith in God?”.
There was a story about Abraham in session 3. A man so flawed, and imperfect as we are, was chosen by God. Abraham had a rocky faith, and was unsure of the promises God made; like me. It was impossible for me to even fathom that God had a plan for me as I dreaded every second of my life. However, what really inspired me was that Abraham did not run away. He stood by God’s words and became righteous. This is where I realized the righteousness available to Abraham is available to me as well. To all of us. Through Starting Point, I realized it is not just me who has struggles with my faith. I thought God, who seemed so close but so distant at the same time was nowhere to be found. However, God was always there for me in my darkest moments. I’ve always had an invitation to experience His love. I just didn’t realize it until now.
Starting Point was yet another reminder that God never changes. My life after Starting Point has definitely put me in a better place with God. I obviously did not take Starting Point expecting change but realized I rather took it to find a “starting point” to rebuild that loving relationship with Him. And yes, I’m still struggling with the problems I had before, however, I’m in a much happier state right now. It is something I’m continuing to work on, but this time, I know God is by my side. Starting Point made me more knowledgeable and helped me reflect back on past experience with faith.
Being able to communicate with God was the hardest and throughout Starting Point, I was able to figure out what strategy works best for me. I started having conversational prayers with God, where I gave my thanks and shared my struggles. I wanted to believe He had listened so I was patient, and there I was, given a blessing. Remember the loneliness I had shared? A friend whom I was never close with contacted me one day (and this was towards the end of Starting Point), and now I’m proud to say that she is one of my closest friends right now. This was the first time, in a long time, where I felt that God was listening to my prayers and working through them. In addition, I felt I belonged not just to God but loving people of Him. I was reassured of His Grace.
The pathway to move forward that seemed so foggy, is now getting clearer where I can continue to move further. God was always here and always will be. I definitely feel his presence more than I did before, and am continuing to strengthen my faith with Him. I still get doubts and fears sometimes when it comes to the future, but I am assured that God has a plan for me. For all of us.
I thank Pastor Caleb for making this happen despite the circumstances, my incredible youth leader, and the members who were a part of this Starting Point journey with me. Thank you for listening.
- Starting Point (3) Testimony — Angela Kang
My name is Angela and today I will be sharing my Starting Point bible study testimony. For 8 weeks, I took Starting Point, a bible study where we learn more about Jesus and where we can freely ask questions about faith in a conversational environment.
Looking back, before I started Starting Point, I was very unstable and under extreme stress, trying to balance grade 12 and university applications all during the pandemic. During this time, Sarah, my youth Sheppard, asked me if I wanted to take Starting Point. Due to all the school work and deadlines, even when there were Starting Point announcements, I never really considered or thought of doing a bible study during this busy time in my life. But after some reflection, I realized I wasn’t as connected with God as I was before the pandemic.
Furthermore, although I knew for sure in my heart that God was real, I didn’t know who he exactly was. Therefore, in hopes of reconnecting with God and being able to re-experience the starting point in my faith, I decided to take Starting Point without really knowing what to expect. Each week, we got to learn more about God’s gifts of love, grace, and forgiveness and by sharing each of our experiences of how God worked through our lives, I was able to realize once again how powerful and loving God is. I slowly began to feel his love and although it took some time at first, I felt understood and realized that God was with me even during all of the small details of my life. I realized that even if I was unworthy, God still loves me and showers me with love every day, even if I don’t notice it.
The main thing that I felt God was telling me through Starting Point was: Angela, why are you stressing out, trying to do everything on your own? Take a rest and let me take control. It was hard to understand and truly believe that at first. It took me 8 weeks to finally open up to God and let him take control of my life because God’s promises and gifts were too good to be true and it seemed out of reach during this time of great stress and pressure. With the help of this bible study, I was able to slowly build a more trusting relationship with God.
Before I was overwhelmed because it felt like even if I did so much work, I still had a pile of work left to do. Now, although university applications, grade 12 deadlines, and covid is still present in my life, I no longer feel overly stressed about the things going on because I know that even if I seem to go off track, God always guides me back to his very own unique plan for me. I realized that God’s gift of peace was ready and it was only waiting for me to accept it.
Starting Point was an opportunity for me to feel my starting point again and to re-connect with God, helping me find peace in him. I was able to feel and experience his endless love again. Lastly, I would like to thank Pastor Caleb for leading our discussions and my youth sheppard Sarah for encouraging me to take this bible study!
- Living Life (12) Completion
Congratulations to Daniel on successfully completing the Living Life!
May you continue to grow into a mature follower of Jesus!