by Kelly Johnston
We’re chatting with Lisa, a Lakelander who stays active with the church’s youth and small groups. We ask Lisa how she first found out about Lakeland over 12 years ago.
“We drove by and it took us three times to figure out what the service times were because there wasn’t a sign and we couldn’t get a hold of anyone,” she shares with a laugh. “But we eventually made it.”
With her history with Lakeland, Lisa has many memories. “Dressing up for the family dance ages ago. Getting baptized in the lake, that stands out.”
Every summer, Lakeland gathers on the shores of Longview Lake and celebrates the rite of baptism. From celebrating with swimming, sand volleyball and other picnic activities to gathering together on the beach and blessing those about to take the next step in their journey of faith, we love hearing from Lakelanders how much this event means to them.
Lisa’s sharing prompts us to ask about her journey in faith.
“I was part of Gen 2 with Dan. Those retreats helped me deepen my spirituality. Steve & I both have demanding jobs & it can be hard to stay focused on our faith and solitude time.”
“I’m interested in disaster relief. Steve & I are hoping to do more of that when we retire. I also have a heart for rural communities and domestic violence survivors. I served on the board of Lexington House of Hope for a few years. I remember feeling a huge boost in my faith when we were helping with cleanup after the Joplin tornado. My job was to evaluate home sites and determine what needs the family had. As I listened to families, I sometimes asked if they would like me to pray with them. Everyone I asked said yes. It was a boost to my faith to experience prayer in such a way. I’m not much of a talker but those were special times of connection.”
“I didn’t have a big coming to faith moment or turning points. It’s been more of a gradual journey, bits and pieces. With small groups, I have been leading women’s groups for 8 or 9 years. This year, I’m volunteering with the 2nd graders. It’s hard, there’s a lot of them. It takes three people.” She laughs again. “We’ve got some runners”
To wrap up this portion of our interview, we ask what one of her favorite sermons was.
Lisa pauses and tilts her head to the side. After a moment she speaks, “Garrett’s story about when there was a tornado and how he hid the kids under the porch steps and how his kids didn’t understand but how it was the best thing for them, protecting them from something else, and how God does that for us.” A slight smile tugs at the corner of her mouth. “That really stuck with me.”
When I walk in the midst of trouble, You revive me. Your right hand saves me.
by Kelly Johnston
Lisa Hontz is a familiar face around Lakeland’s church. When she sits down with us, she’s dressed in sneakers and blue jeans. Brunette curls frame her face. Her answers are succinct, speaking to the organization and effective leadership skills we see in her dedication to her church community.
We start off by asking how long Lisa has been with Lakeland. “I’ve been at Lakeland since 2006, so 12 years. It’s a long time.” She laughs. “Someone described me as an old-time Lakelander once and I thought ‘really’?”
Lisa knows that the journey of faith can have ups and downs. When we ask her what advice she would give to those experiencing a low, her answer is simple and straightforward. “You’re not alone and get into a small group. Go to the kiosk and ask for someone to talk to about faith. You’re in the right place. Lots of people helped me when I was struggling with my faith.”
From supporting Lakeland’s youth to running her own small groups, Lisa stays active at the church. After 12 years, we’re curious as to what makes Lakeland the place for her to be.
“Authenticity, the people who tell their stories, the pastors.” A small smile crosses her face. “I like both our pastors and the messages they deliver. They’re different.”
Her time with Lakeland has included not just activities in Lee’s Summit, but trips to places all across the country. “My favorite memory is the hiking trail with the youth group when we hiked in South Dakota. At the end of the night everyone went around complimented each other and it was tear-jerking and vulnerable and…” she pauses and gifts us with another smile “it was wonderful.”
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
ABOUT MY STORIES
Every month Pastor Marta Gillilan and members of the Lakeland Social Media Team interview an individual, couple or family. From struggles in faith to joyful events, Lakelanders are sharing their stories through the “Humans of Lakeland” blog series. Get to know the people who call Lakeland home.
by Kelly Johnston
We’ve enjoyed speaking with Mary Holeman, our most recent My Story Lakelander. To wrap up our interview, we ask Mary how she stays involved at Lakeland.
“There’s a lot,” Mary says with a big smile. “I’m a greeter/usher, and I like helping out in the nursery. I don’t have any grandchildren so I get my baby fix there,” she adds with a throaty laugh. “I’m also part of Welcoming the Stranger.”
A member of our interview team mentions that Mary has remained involved with other initiatives throughout her years at Lakeland.
“Oh yes, I started Lakeland After Dark, my people and a few other non-Lakeland friends just to spend time with in a social setting. I did Lectio Divina.” Her smile softens. “I was honored to be a part of one of Dan’s Lectio Divina first retreats. I’m just so blessed to be here.”
From her sparkling St. Patrick’s day outfit to her boisterous laughter, Mary’s story has been a joy to share. We ask her for one last thing before she goes; a fun fact about herself. “I’ve been on four cruises, and the last one, a Lakelander asked me ‘Can you be ready to go on a cruise in a week?’ I got to go on a free cruise after someone dropped off. Another blessing!”
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Mary!
For from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace.
ABOUT MY STORIESEvery month Pastor Marta Gillilan and members of the Lakeland Social Media Team interview an individual, couple or family. From struggles in faith to joyful events, Lakelanders are sharing their stories through the “Humans of Lakeland” blog series. Get to know the people who call Lakeland home.