As a child, Caroline moved from state to state and wherever they lived, her mom would take her and her siblings to the Catholic church nearby. The Catholic church taught Caroline the importance of Jesus, but the rituals and ornateness left Caroline feeling far away from God. Caroline didn’t know any alternative narrative about Christianity and eventually she stopped attending church. As a young adult, Caroline attended art school and rented a room from a woman who was into the New Age movement. Caroline felt confused about God and figured that she was agnostic. She finally encountered the truth about Jesus and His love for her when a coworker gave Caroline a Bible to read. At first she was hesitant about the coworker because he was one of the “born-again” Christians she had been warned about, but as she read the Bible, she understood that it contained the truth about who God is, His love for her, and who Jesus is.

Caroline’s Newfound Faith

Still, Caroline wasn’t attending any church on Sunday mornings because it was difficult for her as an introvert. Besides, she was too busy finding Mr. Right to marry. She found him when she was 32 years old and after they were married for 17 years, he suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack and was gone. “What now?” Caroline thought. She became interested in reading about heaven and near-death experiences and finally the truth of salvation became clear, and the Holy Spirit came upon her and she invited Jesus into her heart. Nothing was the same after that. Everything was new and different. This is the personal relationship with Jesus that everyone talks about.

She felt warmed by her newfound faith, but with her husband gone and family out of state, Caroline felt painfully alone and knew that she needed to find a church. No more excuses! She remembered a cute little Bible-based based church that she had found online that wasn’t too far from home. She drove by Living Bible Fellowship Church in Gettysburg, PA many times trying to get up the courage to attend. Finally, she came and everyone was very welcoming including David Jacoby who was the greeter and the first person she spoke with. She felt like she was home.

She has learned so much in the short time she has been at Living Bible Fellowship Church in Gettysburg, Adams County, PA. Caroline was baptized in a chilly country lake shortly after she began attending. Caroline says, “Living BFC is more than just a church service; it is a family.”

The Start of Living Bible Fellowship Church

At the same time that God was working in Caroline’s heart all those years ago when her coworker gave her a Bible, God was working in Clyde and Carol Snyder’s heart to organize a church plant in Adams County, PA. Clyde and Carol had attended BFC churches their whole lives. When they moved to Adams County, the closest one was in Harrisburg so they attended Grace BFC for five years while the Lord put in their heart to start one in Adams County. Grace BFC Harrisburg commissioned them to begin a church plant. About a dozen people met in their home every week, a small but faithful group. They moved to five different places before obtaining their current meeting place, a small church building on a country road.

God brought many folks along the way. One couple met Carol and Clyde at a local diner. Others came through a New Mover’s mailing list. One couple moved from Mt. Carmel BFC and another from Berean BFC in Stroudsburg. Another lady attended a ladies retreat at Cedar Crest BFC and found out that Living BFC was near her home. Edward Ritter grew up as a pastor’s kid in the BFC and moved to Gettysburg. The group is still small, but it’s a warm and caring group who eats a full meal together every Sunday.

During the Living BFC reception into BFC Conference as a particular church this past April 2024, Pastor John Hanner noted that Living BFC still has a long way to go in growing the church to capacity and then sending out to church plant. They have been utilizing game nights, GriefShare, and other meetings to reach their community in the name of Jesus Christ. They are praying for God to provide someone who can take over the social media presence and other ways to let their presence be known to the community. Pastor John asks for continued prayer for God to bring more people into their church fellowship. It’s been encouraging to see God already answering that prayer with people from far and wide including from the country of Kuwait.

Brought Near from Far Away

In 2021, Brett Gibbons was deployed to Kuwait. His home base was California, but he wanted to move elsewhere. As a huge history buff, he was drawn to the Gettysburg area. He purchased a home in the area sight unseen while overseas. Once he bought the house he immediately started looking for a local church. He Googled “Reformed churches near Gettysburg” and his heart sank because it looked like there were none nearby and he was going to have to drive over an hour to find one. He didn’t want to do that again; he’d had a long commute to his last church—two hours one way! Then he decided to search a different way. He did a Google maps search to see what churches were close to the house he just purchased. He found Living BFC was the closest—about 500 yards away! He went to the website and was delighted to find the Articles of Faith and the solid Biblical truths including the doctrine of election. Once he returned from deployment, he moved into his house and visited Living BFC. On his first Sunday, they sang his favorite hymns and believes the Lord gave him that experience as a blessing to show him that he was in the right church. Brett also noted that the people of Living BFC are warm, genuine, humble, and Spirit-led. Brett is currently deployed to Kuwait again but is looking forward to returning home to serve as an elder of Living BFC.

At Living BFC, the believers strive to live and love as Jesus to see others live and love as Jesus. Continue to pray for Pastor John Hanner, his wife Lisa, Carol, Caroline, Brett, and all your BFC brothers and sisters in Adams County. Pray for the unbelievers in the area that the Holy Spirit would work in their hearts and bring them to salvation and growth in Jesus Christ through the ministry of Living BFC.

Watch the full version of testimonies from Living BFC. Video was originally presented at BFC Conference in 2024.


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