Share Your Story | Jen Dreizehn


On July 28th I was sitting at the airport in Oakland, CA with my 2 year old son awaiting a flight to Long Beach. I had spent the week with a retired Navy SEAL and his wife, my brother and sister in Christ, because I needed to get away from my home of Catalina Island to process some new transitions God was calling me into. I retired from the Army a year ago and these were the closest friends I had who not only provided the solid scriptural advice, but also understood this transition from military life to civilian life. 

My son and I had made this flight many times and it is only a simple hour. For some Godly reason our flight was delayed…repeatedly! Looking at the clock I realized that there was no way we would make it in time to catch the last boat home to the island. I asked my friend Amber if we could stay with her in Long Beach and we stayed with her upon landing. 

This was a Saturday night. There was no rush to get home on Sunday, so I googled “church long beach” and there was one a few blocks away within walking distance. I looked at the website and figured it might not be too bad. Especially, because there is child care; oh the glorious “take my kid so I can worship Jesus for one hour please and thank you!”

Upon walking into Franklin Middle School I was greeted by a man (you were super awesome! I am so sorry I can't remember your name!!! mTBI problems). This man not only directed me to where I drop off my 2 year old, but offered me coffee and my son donut holes and stood to talk with me until Ezio, my son, was checked in. 

I would have to say that the most impressive thing about Garden was the amount of love that the volunteers, staff and fellow parents showed my son. An entire village came out to show my son love and laughs and compassion. I held on tightly and repeatedly tried to memorize his number incase it showed up on the screen. Not only did his number not show up but no other child’s did either. 

This is the juice! Where Jesus said, “These are your people.” (Ruth 1:16) The worship leader had me locked in. Again, I can’t remember names… sorry. She took the time to stop everything and prepare our hearts for worship. That is key! One of my struggles over the past couple years is worship with fellow believers. She took us through a process of letting go of our week, letting go of our anxieties and then brought us into true worship of our God through her song selection. 

My first Sunday was a guest speaker. One thing that is funny to me is that someone told me, “I’m sorry you didn’t get to hear from our main pastor.” Hello, do you know Jesus has anointed your church? Every single word this man spoke was directly given to me that day and he was highly anointed to speak. 

So to not make this a novel let me close with this; Why do I travel from Catalina Island to be part of Garden Church in Long Beach? 

1st - God shows up every time and speaks directly to me through you

2nd - Worship is WORSHIP

3rd - My 2 year old son, Ezio, directly sees God’s love through the people who love on him. 

4th - Jesus told me to come!

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