My name is Tony George. I was invited to attend Faith Chapel—a Foursquare church in Billings, Mont., pastored by Stan Simmons—for the first time on the Saturday evening before Easter 1998. I listened to Pastor Stan that evening but wasn’t paying attention to what he was saying as much as I was analyzing the way he was saying it. I had done my share of public speaking and was impressed with his presentation skills.
Pastor Stan asked everyone to bow their heads with him in prayer, and even though I didn’t know much about church services, I suspected he was bringing the service to a close and that I would soon be on my way. He then asked a question: “If you are here today and have never made a decision to receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I want to give you an opportunity to do that.”
In that moment, I couldn’t breathe, and it felt like my heart stopped beating. Then I heard: “If that is you, there is a stirring going on inside of you that you can’t explain. In a moment, I am going to ask you to raise your hand and let me acknowledge with you that today you are receiving Jesus.”
I felt I had to raise my hand if I wanted to live. Before he asked, my hand was in the air, and a series of events began to unfold that changed the course of my life forever.
Bonnie, now my wife, was initially exposed to Faith Chapel by being invited as well. She attended sporadically until God spoke to her on a specific issue. At one point she had made an appointment with Pastor Ron Todd to discuss a particular concern. She left his office with an understanding that caused conviction, and this began to change the course of her life.
Our next level of involvement was through community groups. I was on fire for the Lord while Bonnie was still seeking. We attended different groups; I was continuing to grow in Jesus as she was coming to know Him.
We began serving at church after attending a series of classes. I taught 5th-and 6th-grade Sunday school classes, and Bonnie was a greeter.
We formally met at a Bible study I had put together that a mutual friend had invited her to attend. We met with a group of people for over a year. Near the end of that study, Bonnie became a Sunday school teacher and was teaching 5th and 6th grades during the same service I was, across the hall from me. I began to court Bonnie, and we were married within a year in December 2002 at Faith Chapel, kissing each other on the lips for the first time on the platform!
Bonnie and I have a passion for helping people come to know Jesus and have a closer walk with Him. I have been serving as the director of men’s mentoring; we both still teach 5th and 6th grades; and we also mentor individuals and couples. The investments that individuals at Faith Chapel have made in us are too numerous to list. We are so grateful for the teaching and equipping we have received, and continue to receive, that enable us to be thoroughly qualified to do the work God has prepared for us to do.