Cedarview Church desires to be a community who is “Loving God, Caring for people”. This is incredibly true! Since attending Cedarview, I have noticed many of the initiatives taken to show the love of Christ to others and to the surrounding community of Paris in tangible ways. There has been the creation of a food bank. There is a vacation bible school open to all children in the summer. There is also a 12 step group, Celebrate Recovery, that meets weekly and is open to all those in need of support and healing. Many fundraising and global relief efforts are always underway. Cedarview Church also has a wonderful resource library and café where people can relax while enjoying fellowship. I love Cedarview Church—it’s a blessing to all!
Mr. and Mrs. Anonymous
Born and raised in a good Christian home. Started hanging out with the wild crowd at school. Moved from the big city to a small town. Felt alone and it seemed like the only people that accepted me was the same type of crowd that I hung out with in the city. My life inside and outside the home were totally opposite. I moved in with my boyfriend at the age of 18.
I was born into a family where both parents were alcoholics. My parents divorced when I was two years old. I spent most of my childhood moving from one parent to another with a short time living at my Uncle’s house and being cared for by my Grandmother. My Grandmother was unable to take care of us anymore and moved into a nursing home. This is when I started to rebel. I started to hang out with the wrong crowd and so the party life began. I moved in with my girlfriend at the age of 22.
We both had the same circle of friends and had lots of fun together. We did quit the party scene for a while and in that time we had our first child. It wasn’t long before we slipped back into our old habits. It was when our child started kindergarten that we realized that he needed to change our lifestyle.
So we moved to Paris for a fresh start. We both got good jobs. We had a nice place to live and soon after came our second born. All was great for a while but not for long as we feel back into our old habits and hang-ups.
We hit our bottom and we realized that we could not do it on our own. We sought help from the Pastor at Cedarview Church. The Pastor told us to start attending a twelve step program and then he would work with us. We attended a twelve step program and at the same time got marriage counselling from Pastor Gerry. It was at this time that we invited God into our marriage.
One of us was still struggling with cravings for his drug of choice and one night he got on his knees and prayed to God to take it from him. It was nothing short of a miracle, the cravings never returned.
We discovered another twelve step program called Celebrate Recovery, but this was a Christian program. We became heavily involved in Celebrate Recovery (CR) and are now Leaders in the program.
We have learnt through our past mistakes that we could not do it on our own and that we needed to let God take control.
My name is Ashlynn Disher. I am twenty-two years of age, and I live in Paris Ontario.
Most of my childhood life, I grew up in a Jehovah's Witness household with two parents.
When I was eight years old my parents stopped being involved with the religion as well as my fathers parents.
A year after, my parents had gotten a divorce and I had new step-parents with both my mom and father.
As time went on I always longed for something greater, but I had no idea it was Jesus I was looking for. I was hurt, broken and in need of a Savior but I had no idea that this is what my soul needed.
I would visit my mother and father on a week on, week off basis. My mother was in school, and not able to fully support me so my father had won full custody of me in court. My father and I were pretty close, but as time went on we grew apart. Years after my parents split up my mother and I stopped talking to each other, and my father got engaged to a new woman who became my new mom. Shortly after my half brother Kayden came into the world. Things seemed great, but in reality they were not. I felt a sense of abandonment with my father because Kelly (my step mom) started to take on the parent role as my dad just seemed to go to work and pay the bills. A couple years later of my step mom and dad dating, they ended up breaking up and my father went into a downward spiral. I lost again my family unit, my sense of belonging.
It wasn't long after that a good friend of mine invited me out to youth group at Cedarview Church in Paris Ontario. She would always say to me, "Ashlynn, come out to youth. Our grade eight graduation is at this church so you can use the stage to practice your song you got asked to sing for graduation. You can do it after youth is over to help you become less nervous for the actual day". Meanwhile she wanted me to become saved because she knew the hardships I was going through with my family. I started coming out to youth more often, and more often and eventually at the start of grade nine Pastor David Dwarka had the privilege of leading me to the Lord in a local Tim Hortons.
It was crazy, but I started to understand what I was longing for for so long through the early years of my life. After I accepted the Lord, I was just so passionate and on fire for God. Not too long later after high school I went to Bible College in Peterborough Ontario at Master's College and Seminary. I graduated with my degree in Theology, youth work. I am now in the fund raising process to head out to Victoria Island, to work with Youth for Christ Missions.
I can honestly say it has been a tough journey, but God never said it was going to be easy. But that He would be right there with us through all trials whether hard or easy, valley or mountain top.
Reflecting back on my life, it is cool to see how God works. How he uses people all the time, through so may different circumstances. What I didn't know until much later after I became saved was that a close friend of mine's mother knew my family when I was a young kid. She used to sell Mary Kay product to my grandma before the internet came along. This woman would go into my home, collect the money from my grandma, give her the makeup product and leave. But little did I know this woman listened to my grandma in our kitchen, listened to her talk about my parents and the hardships they were going through. She was exposed to seeing me a little girl in my house watching Jehovah Witness videos and eating cookies as a kid. My now best friend's mother left every day praying for my family and that one of those kids would find the love of Jesus. Little did I know that person she was praying for was me.
It is amazing to know that God cares about us and works in His timing for the right reasons, for our best benefit. My story is a testimony to that, and the look on my best friends mom's face when she saw me walk through those church doors in grade eight. Knowing I was that Disher kid she prayed for as she sold Mary Kay product to my grandmother. God has a plan for all of us, but the most amazing part is He uses us to move and do amazing things. That is why I strongly believe we need to be in active relationship with Jesus so He can move and work through us to minister to other people. Sometimes I think to myself what would happen if my best friends mom didn't pray, or if my other friend did not invite me to youth group. Where would I be now? Would I even know the Lord?
In the spring of 2015 I started to experience some chest pain and discomfort. I chalked it up to stress as my husband of 24 years had passed in the summer of 2014 after a struggle with mental health. Now in my early fifties I was faced with raising a five year on my own without a permanent job and no health benefits. As we moved into the fall, I mentioned my symptoms to my family doctor who sent me for a stress test. I went for the stress test and after it was completed was told by the technician to go immediately home, rest and then call my family doctor. Of course this alarmed me and I called my doctor immediately who had the results, and I was booked in to see the cardiologist within a day or two. Upon meeting the cardiologist, he expressed his concern over the poor results of my test. I was given an appointment for an angiogram the next day in Hamilton. The cardiologist told me the best scenario would be I would have a stint put in and the worse would be that I would have a bypass. He felt as a result of my test the latter would be the case. I came out of there in tears and on the way home was crying out to God. Heaven was a little sweeter for me having lost an infant daughter, my husband and both my parents, however I was not ready to go home yet. I did not want my girls to lose another parent. They had already been through so much with their Dad’s struggle with his mental health and then his sudden and tragic death.
I had so many friends and family praying for me when they found out the news. My church family at Cedarview was instrumental in giving support to my family. Somehow peace surrounded me as I went in for the procedure next day. Upon coming out of the anaesthesia I heard the surgeon say,” I hope I have a healthy as heart as she does.” When I returned to the cardiologist he was sceptical and sent me for a more in depth test. He told me that a false positive reading for the first test was not a possibility because the results were so extreme. I had the second test and returned to the cardiologist who shared the results, stating that no major concerns were found. This was a far cry from the first results for sure. I can’t explain it , but I can only thank God for His healing and believing He did a work in my body. The cardiologist is continuing to monitor me and I have not yet been permanently discharged, but I am anxiously waiting for that day!!!!
I'm thankful to share how God healed me at church one morning about 8 months ago. I had been having constant pounding in my right ear for weeks. I saw my doctor and he was concerned and booked me for an MRI and CT scan at our local hospital. Between the MRI and CT scan I went forward for prayer at church. One of the pastors prayed for relief and peace from the constant pounding which was happening 24/7. I noticed almost immediately that it was gone and praise the Lord, it has never returned. I went the stroke clinic in Hamilton and they said everything seemed fine. I recently went back for a 6 month check-up and all is still well. Thank goodness for prayer and a God that heals!