He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

11 October 2010

Meet Nichelle...

Miss Nichelle has been a good friend of mine {and many, many others}for the past couple of years. She is a fantastic, deeply invested mother of two {soon to be three} and a strong woman of faith with an impressive story. I, personally, have been a believer since I was a little one and still stand in awe of the wisdom that she posses as a new-er believer. Because of all this, and more, I asked Nichelle to share her story and she graciously accepted.

Hi. Iʼm Nichelle. Iʼm 28 yrs old. Iʼm married to the love of my life, Anthony. We have been together for 9 yrs, married for 5 yrs. We have 2 beautiful daughters Alexa is 5 and Charlie is almost 3. We also have a bun in the oven which is due to come sometime in May 2011.

I was born and raised in southern California. Most of my life was in a small
town called Temecula. I went to Christian school most of elementary, but after we moved quickly learned we couldnʼt afford it anymore.

My parents divorced when I was14. My dad was an alcoholic up until about 8 yrs ago and died as a Christian about 6 yrs ago. I didn’t see him after my parents divorced until he was on his death bed. My mom took care of my brother, who is 4 yrs older than me, and me. She worked hard and struggled to provide for us, but she definitely did the best she could and I love her for that.

As a teenager I never really sought out church or Christianity but I did believed and prayed (in my time of need). I never did drugs, and didn’t drink until I was 18 yrs old. I guess at 18 I thought I was mature enough.

At 19 I met Anthony. This tattooed, pierced, long haired, metal head, who was very sarcastic, honest, confident and independent boy. At first I was not pleased with him but quickly became friends with him by hanging out and drinking with mutual friends. After awhile of hanging out I grew a crush on this cute boy. I still remember our first date. Boy did I fall head over heels for this boy. I learned quickly that he wasn’t just all the things I listed but also very sweet, romantic and loving. I think I fell in love with him the day he asked me to be his girlfriend. We moved in together 9 months later (March of 2002) so he could go to college. After school we stayed with a friend for awhile.
We got engaged Jan. 12th 2004 and bought a house in March.
I got pregnant in Oct (which is when I stopped drinking).
We got married Feb 26th 2005 and had our first child Aug 14th 2005.
Our lives really changed right after our wedding.

 Alexa . 18 months

Anthonyʼs brother, Gabe, (who was a Christian) lived with us since shortly after buying our house. He would talk to Anthony about God a lot (usually after he would get home late at night and trying to avoid any party we may been having). The two of them would sit on the counter of our kitchen and get into heated debates both trying to point out their side. A little while before our wedding Anthony finally gave in and started going to a verse by verse study on Wednesday nights at Gabeʼs church (which I didnʼt know about cause I was working). Then a week after our wedding Anthony and Gabe invited me to attend church and without even thinking I said “yes” and went. The following week we went and the pastor did an alter call and, being the first, Anthony literally stepped forward and gave his life to God. I can still hear the band playing ʻHere I Am To Worshipʼ while the pastor prayed over Anthony and the two of us crying our eyes out. I donʼt know when I became a Christian but I do know I did always believe I just never followed.

On our way home neither of us spoke. I think we were both in an “ok, now what?” kind of thought. We got home and threw away all CDs, movies and alcohol and became involved in the church and became missionaries in July (a month before Alexa was born).

Anthony became involved with Student Venture which is an on campus ministry and was called to raise support so he could focus more on the students. I donʼt know why it never seemed crazy to me that my husband was quitting his job and going to raise support right before having a baby. Matthew 17:20 says if
we have faith as small as a mustard seed than we can move mountains. Iʼm not saying I have that much faith. But I know Anthony and thereʼs no way he wouldnʼt not provide for his family. Plus, Matthew 7:7-11...vs 9 “…Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he ask for a fish will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask.” This just proves not to me anxious or worried about anything. So I guess it’s always been easy for me to rely on Anthony, to have faith in him, and be supportive. I know his heart and itʼs after God so shouldnʼt my heart also be after Godʼs and following my husband. By Godʼs grace he has given us hearts to do ministry, to reach the lost and to spread the good news. Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

So he did student Venture and a part time pastoral job until Feb 2008. Which is when we moved to Springfield, MA. Whereʼs that?!

Thatʼs what we thought when we first heard about it too.
So months before March around Oct 27th 2007, and a few days before our second child, Charlie, was due, we moved from the house we owned to a house we rented. We wanted something bigger and closer to his jobs. Then days after having Charlie we were approached by a friend to move to Springfield and help with a church. We always felt called to church plant, we just thought more like Northern California not on the other side of the map. After lots of prayer, talking, seeking, crying, etc. we decided to move.

Charlie . 18 months

I will tell you moving was probably the hardest thing Iʼve had to do.I had to leave my family (I have always found family to be very important) and they werenʼt supportive of us leaving. Friends. A city I know and love. I had to take my 2 year old and 4 month old to a place Iʼve never been to, heard of, or even know what to expect. How can a mom take her babies away from a good life to move into a bedroom. Literally when we first moved to Springfield we were all in one room of our friend’s apartment.

I clung to scripture.
Nothing can comfort you like God when you are in a place alone, nowhere to go, and not knowing anyone.

I really tried to just enjoy my time with my girls, while Anthony was trying to get a job, help at the church, etc, but I really was selfish just felt alone and sorry for my girls. There were a couple songs Jeremy Camp songs, “Revive Me” and “My Desire”, and the verse from Dueteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, Destroy!”, that really helped me to pull me out of the low place and made me realize Iʼm not here for me or for my girls. I am here to do Godʼs will not mine. Itʼs not about me.

It took me a couple months to really get it and about a year to come to really realize that I am here to stay and make this my home. We have had a difficult
journey at times, like our last house was on the second floor of a double family house. Our kitchen was barely a kitchen we had no oven or stove. Our bedroom didnʼt really even have flooring (we laid down a long carpet) and the heating didnʼt even really keep the second floor warm. The privacy was out the window cause our friend had his office on our floor too. But it was a home and our friend was nice enough to let us stay with him and even bought a building soon after we moved into their house and, as soon as Anthony could fix the third story apartment up, our friend allowed us to live there, Which is where we have been for about fifteen months now. In the first couple years we also did some church hopping to get to know other churches around here and have made some great friends over the time.

Things didnʼt really work out between our friend and the church we came here to start but we knew we were still here to start a church. So, a year ago we started The City Church. Starting a church is a lot more work than I could have imagined. Itʼs a slow process to get the word out about the church, to get people to come and even find help in so many things we didnʼt even know weʼd need help with.

Anthony's Ordination . May 2010

Most of the last year I have felt blessed that God has called us to reach his people and have been willing to go and do what He has called us to. He has provided and taken care of us in many ways that seem impossible. We have a had a place to live when we had no money. We have met friends that generously give the girls clothes as their kids grow out of them, free stuff for our house and random things that weʼve needed. We have also been blessed with random checks or donations right when we needed them most. I canʼt thank God or the people that have helped us enough, but itʼs a very humbling place when you live on a salary of support and actually need the help of others. So not only do we have to ask people, churches, organizations, etc. to support us and what we doing but we have to show them that we are actually doing it. Anthony works hard everyday working on his messages, reaching out to our congregation and people around us, making sure is family is provided for and taking time for us. He never really stops and he loves what he does, and itʼs really hard not to love him. I see the passion and drive God has given to him and I get inspired by it. I thank God that he has given me a husband that doesnʼt give up and doesnʼt get discouraged in hard times. I think God has really blessed us with each other. It seems as soon as one of us may be having a hard time God gives us the strength to up lift the other. Weʼve always been there for each other and find our marriage a blessing.

God is faithful that is for sure.

I also have been blessed to be able to stay home with my children. Even though at times when they want to go somewhere and we canʼt afford it or Anthony has the car I know they get sad, but I hope they will learn, as it has taken me time to learn, that life is about God. And they will see the good He has done instead of the hard times that we may have gone through. Honestly I think without the hard times we wouldnʼt be where we are today and so passionate about God.

Through planting the church we have lost some friends, grown distant with others and miss, like crazy, some of the friends we would see at the other churches we went to. The girls have also been affected by this but it helps us pull closer as a family and helps us understand the importance of life. We still try to stay in contact with as many as we can but it gets hard, at times, when thereʼs so many other things going on. We started homeschooling Alexa, building relationships with friends in The City church, and doing activities with and throughout the church.

So this is our journey we are still on a road of battle but we know the outcome is more beautiful, rewarding, encouraging and greater than what we deserve (eternal life). I also know what He has gone through for me and how can I not tell others of is great love and the gospel. The song “How Deep the Fatherʼs Love” comes to mind, if that song doesnʼt break you I donʼt know what will.

Charlie & Alex . 2010

So I pray the girls will understand the gospel and will have a great passion for God, more than I have, and serve him full-heartedly. I pray they find Godly men to marry. I pray God continues the drive the passion in my husbands. I pray we keep seeing Gods love so we can pour it out into our marriage, our children, the lost and the church. And when this journey is done I pray God will say He knew me, and “you have done well my good and faithful servant”, not because I am great but because I did all things for the glory of Him. 2 Timothy 4:1-7 vs 2 “Preach the word: be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with complete patience”...vs 5 “As for you, be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfilling your ministry”.

Thank you God for being my rock, my strength, my fortress, you are all I need
and I love you.


  1. hey just wanted to thank you for sharing my story. I feel blessed that you would want to share it w/ others. Just also wanted to add our website just incase anyone would be interested thecitywithin.org
    God bless

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this! It was seriously exactly what I needed to read right now...God is in control and he is good.


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