by Bev Amsbary Davenport

Choosing a church … and  Connecting
In 1968 my husband, Doug, and I moved to Escondido. The first thing we wanted to do was find a good church where we could worship the Lord with others, experience good Bible teaching, and connect with other people. EFCC was recommended to us by the church we came from in San Gabriel, but I thought it was too big and we decided to look around town. We kept coming back to Emmanuel Faith, because we enjoyed the worship service and the faithful teaching from God’s Word. One day there came a knock on our door, and there stood Pastor Jim Welch, he asked if “we had a few minutes.”  Jim asked if we would help start a newlywed Sunday School class with other couples. It was then that we started serving the Lord at EFCC.  Before long most of the couples in our class were serving the Lord throughout the church in a variety of ways. Our newlywed class included now longtime members the Seelys, Overstreets, Conways, Moens, Kiesels,  Neilsens and  Graumans, to name a few.

Serving Opportunities … and working with the kids and teens.

I remember being the game coordinator for the Eveready’s girls program on Wednesday nights over on 7th Street. What a joy to see these kids so hungry for not only playing but learning God’s Word. Francie Overstreet was leading the girls, and they loved her as they were learning to love our Lord. Francie went on to be our Children’s Director, for many years. Our own children loved coming to the different programs and made lifelong friends here at EFCC. We loved the fact that their friends went to school and church together. Another blessing was to bring neighbors to Wednesday night programs to learn about the Lord. Some of these kids are adults serving in the church today.

My husband, Doug, and I moved on to serve in our High School Department. We loved mentoring the students and I ended up using my administration skills planning the programs for 20 years. I served under Don Talley and Greg Lane. One of the precious gals in one of my Sunday school classes, as a freshman, moved into our home, Lisa Bruce Sharp, and became a part of our family. Today, she is still a daughter and sister in our family.

My memories are filled with the wonderful opportunities I had to watch young people hear about Jesus and begin a process of knowing Him as their Lord and Savior. Sunday Night Live with small groups meeting throughout North County; The Door, after football parties held in the Family Center; Special Events put on by our summer staff; faithful sponsors over the years who are still serving our Lord – just a few of the highlights.

We were privileged to watch Pastor Greg Lane come into the high school ministry as a longhaired freshman, and develop into a man of God who serves him faithfully. Greg was my boss in high school ministry and later as I worked as Women’s Ministry Director at EFCC and he had moved onto Life Stages Pastor. His gifts have been so valuable to EFCC over the years. Greg has now served for many years on EFCC staff. His love and passion for our Lord is shown in all his work, and EFCC has been blessed to have a man with his gifts, abilities, and loyalty of growing up in EFCC. Another product of our theme verse, Psalm. 145:4.

 In the high school ministry, we saw how much value our camping ministries have in all our lives. Having time to get away and focus on the Lord and listen to His voice is a must in a world with so many distractions. Life changing decisions are made in the many camping ministries that we at EFCC get to experience. We had the privilege of going to Hume Lake every summer with the kids and Forest Home in the winter. Now, many of the kids we discipled are sending their kids to the same camps. God is good and so our theme verse from Psalm 145:4 – “One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.” – is lived out in many of our ministries and families.

The worship and the faithful teaching of God’s word … Growing Opportunities

Sitting in Emmanuel Faith worship services has taught me to learn to worship the Lord with any style of music. I grew up loving music and have always loved EFCC’s music and concerts. It is not about me or how loud the music is or if I know the songs or not. It is about me coming into church saying Lord teach me today and may I really focus on you and worship you in spirit and truth. So, we choose the service we are comfortable in, and I say, “Lord I love you and I’m here to worship you. “ When we want to worship and learn, God is faithful to teach us and work in our lives. Pastor Dave Hook is teaching me new ways to worship my Lord  –  I love his heart to bring us to the throne each week.

I have always appreciated the faithful teaching of God’s Word from our pastors. I think sitting under Dr. Strauss taught so many of us how to really apply God’s Word to our lives. He was a faithful pastor, who taught us how to live and how to die. His wife, Mary, and I are still dear friends, and she has taught me so many things about trusting in a sovereign God.

In 1979, it was a joy to see Dennis Keating come to EFCC as a newlywed as our college pastor, then become my boss when I started serving in Women’s Ministry, to today as our senior pastor, faithfully teaching God’s Word and shepherding the flock. I love how he says, “if you have your Bible and I hope you do,” his love for baptizing believers in the outdoor pool, his passion for planting churches, and his vision for EFCC. Dennis is my pastor and friend, and I hope he never stops singing in the office. As a young college pastor, Dennis shared the gospel with a college student, Chico Goff, and today we all see how his faithful sharing of the Word to another generation is being fulfilled at Mission Hills Church. Thank you Dennis for your faithfulness.

My Heart’s Desire to serve in the church … Director of Women’s Ministries

In 1990, Dr. Strauss, asked me to be the Director of Women’s Ministries. I had worked with Mary Bell Walden and Wilma Ooley over the years in women’s ministries and felt God moving me into Women’s Ministry. The 18 years serving in Women’s ministry allowed me to use my administration gifts and work with many women in the church. One of my goals was to allow the women in the church to use their gifts and abilities to serve the Lord. Thus God raised up about 35 ministries, great outreach events, wonderful retreats, and gals who love using their gifts for His glory. The variety of ministries and taking women to Amsterdam to encourage missionary women at a retreat are memories I will always cherish: God using His people to server others and to “declare His mighty acts.”

During those 18 years the Lord gave me lifelong friends, women who served our Lord together, served the women of EFCC, and had lots of fun sharing life and laughing. One of the young women I mentored has been a wonderful, loving, caring, fun friend. I watched Vicki Stone raise her son as a single mother and continue to serve our Lord with all her heart and love for others. Today she is mentoring young women in our church.

The women’s ministries encouraged women with struggles to use our Care and Counseling Ministries, which started the Set Free Ministry under the Direction of Kathy Moratto. Again, I have had the privilege of seeing how the Lord uses and develops the people who have come through EFCC ministries. I first met Kathy on the girls softball field: She was about 10 years old, and I was a coach. Kathy came through our ministries as a kid. She has a real heart and compassion for those with needs and God allowed me to witness another Psalm 145:4 experience.

Doug Amsbary …

My husband, Doug, became business Administrator in 1985, and God called him home December 1, 1999. Oh, how he loved serving the Lord here at Emmanuel Faith and loved being on staff. When I look around I still remember how his heart so longed to make it easier for the pastors to serve and do their ministries and not have to focus so much on the business part of the church. He often brought work home and sat up late at night with his faithful dog, Bear, as he worked on the budget and books for our church.

My life now …

Before I retired I reconnected with a gentleman I knew as a child, Harlan Davenport. The Lord brought us together after both of our spouses passed away. We have been married 9 years. Harlan retired as a pastor in 2003. We both love belonging to EFCC and know that God is not finished with us. We are members of the Lamb’s Kin Sunday School Class and live in Champagne Village. God has blessed me with two husbands who loved the Lord and desire to serve Him and have encouraged me to serve Him faithfully.  May we continue to ”live a life worthy of the Lord, please him in every way, bear fruit in good works, grow in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).

Another Psalm 145:4 story ….

Last, but not least, our new Women’s Ministry Director is another reflection of Psalm 145:4. Lynette Fuson was born Lynette Conway. Her heritage at EFCC goes back a long way to charter members: Great-grandparents Robert L. and Wilhelmina Nielsen, Grandpa Robert Nielsen and Great Aunt Wilhelmine (Dr. Willie) Nielsen, who loved to teach children and helped train many Sunday school teachers.

Her father and mother, Milt and Janet Conway, were friends way back in that Newlywed Sunday School class that got us connected at EFCC. I helped give Janet a baby shower when she was expecting Lynette.  My daughter, Laurie, and Lynette grew up as dear friends at EFCC. Lynette still calls me Auntie Bev, and oh the JOY of watching her lead the women of EFCC. To know she loves the Lord, serves the Lord and declares God’s mighty acts is a blessing and joy.

I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to learn, grow and serve at Emmanuel Faith. It is what God called me to do. As a child I always wanted to work in ministry. God gave me the desires of my heart. Now as I continue on my path, God calls me to be faithful, still. He wants His love to continue to shine forth and wants me to not be afraid to share His love. It is easy to get discouraged in this world, but I know when I keep my eyes focused on Him, He gives me the strength I need for each day. We all must continue to pass on God’s love to the “next generation,” it might look different in how it is done, but we know God’s love never changes and we will see “them” declare His mighty acts.

Now I hope you share your Psalm 145:4 story with someone!