Jun 4, 2022
REACH + RESTORE + REPEAT
It is not unusual to see children following their parents in submission to Christ but, when a parent follows their child in this way, we take notice. The story of our sister in Christ, Julie, is one of those stories.
Julie’s son, Adam Cole, already had a radical testimony in our church. Pastor Arthur Gonçalves met Adam in the summer of 2020 during our weekly outreach and prayer service. At the time, Adam was an addict, living in the woods, pushing a grocery cart filled with his earthly belongings through the streets of Sanford. He was broken and hopeless but, by the Lord’s providence, he met Pastor Arthur and his life would never be the same again. At that first meeting, he responded to the Gospel and entered a local recovery program.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 5:20
Over the course of the next 18 months, Adam’s life changed dramatically. In addition to living clean, Adam engaged in ministry, started a business, began restoring his relationship with his mother, and bought a house with her so that she could relocate to Florida from Indiana.
And that’s where we began to see the Lord work in the life of Adam’s mom, Julie….
Julie’s life had not been easy. She lost her mother, her older son, and her husband over a short period of time. Her relationship with Adam had been a source of stress and worry as he had spent time both incarcerated and homeless, living in the woods. She felt hopeless and depressed most of the time – she couldn’t remember the last time she had felt joy. She attended church in Indiana, but her experience there was more about social activity and entertainment than Gospel-centered growth.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17
When she moved to Florida in August of 2021, she began to see in an up-close and personal way how Adam had changed. She was curious about the God who could transform a life in this way, and she began attending our Thursday night Prayer and Outreach service. She would slip quietly in and out, keeping mostly to herself unless approached by others. But she began learning about the God of the Bible and about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When Restoration Church of Sanford began Sunday morning services in January of 2022, Julie committed to weekly attendance. She found that the more she learned about the Lord, the more she wanted to know about Him. She shared with a couple of people that she was trying to “do the right things” so that she could be a Christian. She quickly learned that she couldn’t be “good enough” and that she simply needed to put her faith in the One who had already done the work she could never do.
She began reading her Bible and talking with others about what it said. After many conversations with Adam, Pastor Arthur and the women of our church, the Lord opened Julie’s eyes and heart to see His goodness in the Gospel. She recognized her need for a Savior and she put her faith and trust in Christ and in His work on the cross.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
Julie & Kim Melnick
The change in Julie was visible – her countenance had changed. She began to exude joy, stay after service to help clean-up, and minister to others. It was evident to all who knew her that she was indeed a new creation!
On April 17, 2022, after our church’s first Easter Sunday service, Julie was baptized in the presence of her church family. She declared that this was a sign of her confession of faith in Christ and her obedience to Him. Her joy was evident to all as we celebrated the work of our glorious God.
We are so grateful for what God has done in both Adam and Julie’s lives and for the impact that their stories have had on our church. The Lord has given our people a front row seat to watch Him transform lives and this gift of His grace continues to increase our faith, inspire our praise, and encourage our sacrificial service.
Our mission at Restoration Church of Sanford is to restore all people from all walks of life back to God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Our method is simple: Reach. Restore. Repeat. The Lord is just getting started with our church, but we look to the future with confidence in the Sovereign power of our Lord to continue to work for our good and His glory.
Written By Kim Melnick
Covenant Member of Restoration Church of Sanford