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Testimonies | New Hope Church, State College

Testimonies

New Hope is exactly the church family that I needed coming to college away from home! I grew up going to a large church, and by the time I graduated I was beginning to become frustrated with what seemed like church politics. Don’t get me wrong, through that church I was able to receive some great teaching, build influential relationships, serve in children’s ministry and on several missions trips. However, when I came to college I knew I was looking for a smaller church community in hopes of avoiding politics in the church and of finding valuable fellowship.

“I feel challenged and encouraged by the messages I hear at New Hope.”
– Cory Ross

New Hope was extremely welcoming, and got me connected and involved right away. I love the mix of college students and families, and it’s so nice to be able to interact with kids even while I’m away at school. I feel challenged and encouraged by the messages I hear at New Hope, and it has been so much fun to help out with children’s ministry!

Through ministry team and the many social events, I have been able to build strong and meaningful relationships and experience real community. Because of this sense of community, I felt led to be baptized for the first time with New Hope. This was both a challenging and inspiring event, and I was happy to be able to take that step surrounded by people who will hold me to the commitment I have made to follow Christ.

New Hope has helped me to grow closer to God, and I think that’s the only sure sign of a successful church.

—Cory Ross

From an early age, I craved the truth and purpose that I knew was in God’s word. I remember hiding in my room, embarrassed to be seen reading my Bible, and poring over it for hours and hours all throughout middle and high school.

Reading the Bible made me so frustrated because I knew God’s promises to the righteous were what I needed, but my sin separated me completely from God. I was unsure of my salvation and thought God didn’t always hear me because of Psalm 66:18, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”

When I came to Penn State for college, I found out that because I know Jesus, God looks at me like I am perfect. Now I am 100% sure that I am saved. Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Now I am so excited because even though I am full of sin, God wants to use me for His plan!

—Sarah Nafziger

New Hope was a place that I could express my faith through different mediums like music, close friendships, spiritual guidance from the pastors and their wives, voluntary baptism, and a LOT of fun times together. What was also great was that through New Hope I really became confident with my singing abilities when I joined the worship team.

“I would say it is an unparalleled church/Jesus/friendship experience for a college student.”
– Johanna Schmidt

The large on-campus ministries at Penn State have a lot of their own strengths, but New Hope in its very nature offers something else. It was the right size that I could feel comfortable talking to the pastors and trust that they cared about what was going on in my life and would ask me about it whenever they saw me. The love that the staff and members of New Hope offered really sustained me through the harder parts of college, always reminding me that my heart and life belonged to God.

The pastors’ families would always welcome me into their homes, and some of the best memories I have are simply the lunches we’d all have at Ben’s house after worship every Sunday like clockwork. I even made one of my very best friends at New Hope; it was very much a bring-your-friends-along type of church.

I would say it is an unparalleled church/Jesus/friendship experience for a college student.

—Johanna Schmidt

It all started in the Rufeners’ apartment, with a bunch of kids studying the Word. It grew into an amazing church and ministry, lifelong friends and much appreciated growth and wisdom.

I am so thankful for all that the Franks, the Rufeners, the Monteiths and those of the church body have done for me and many other Penn State students.

During my time in Happy Valley, we had a very close knit community that was passionate about following the Lord and reaching out to the people around us. I am so excited to still be a part of the ministry today and hear all the work that the Lord has done through New Hope!

—Cara Duffey

I joined New Hope as a freshman. I meant to go to a bunch of churches in my first semester and find the “best” one. However, NH gave me free food (awesome BBQ!) and I liked the people so I stayed. It was a good church home. I was not very involved my freshman year which is something that I regret. I tried to split my time between Cru and NH and really it meant that I was not very involved in either.

“The weekly Bible reading that Robbie started was the very first time that I consistently read the Bible for an extended period of time.”
– Tim Jacomb-Hood

Sophomore year I gave up on Cru and became more involved with NH. Taking over the sound board and joining the leadership board helped me feel involved in the church and helped me feel more comfortable being a leader in the church.

I had two really meaningful experiences through NH. The first was meeting with Pastor Chris on a weekly basis. It was very helpful for me to meet with Chris each week and be able to talk with him about anything that was troubling me or theological questions that I had.

The second was the weekly Bible reading that Robbie started. That was the very first time that I consistently read the Bible for an extended period of time.

—Timothy Wykeham Jacomb-Hood

Quotes from Dan Lee:

On College Students:

It was greatly encouraging to see a successfully growing student ministry at New Hope.

On Children’s Ministry

I love that New Hope has so many kids, and that there is an special effort to teach/raise these kids in a good Christian environment.

—Dan Lee

This past year was my third year at Penn State overall, and my first up at University Park. Coming from Mont Alto, a small branch campus, it was quite a shock to be one of 40,000+ students. I did not know many people, but my girlfriend, Nancy Kammerer invited me to church at New Hope on Sundays and I immediately met some great people. It was a relief being among such great people every week.

As the year passed on, I searched and searched for an internship for the summer of 2013. With each passing career fair, there weren’t any signs that I would actually get one. I kept my faith in God and the people at New Hope assured me that if I stay faithful God will work his plan for me. Sure enough, when it seemed that all hope was lost, I was offered an internship near home in Westminster, MD at the company I had had my eyes set on all along. This has opened my eyes up to how much God has guided me along my path in life and I am eternally faithful to Him.

So now whenever I feel unsure about the way something is going, I will always have this to remind me that God knows exactly what is going on.

—Bryan LaRochelle

How God has used New Hope as a blessing in my life?

This indeed is a very FULL question for me. Chris & I came to State College to plant this church with the Franks and Monteiths. We felt a personal call to come to State College. It has been like the birth of a new child and such a thrill to see her grow!

“How incredibly thankful I am to the Lord for bringing us here and for creating a church called ‘New Hope’!”
– Leigh Anne Rufener

The process of planting New Hope has taught me more than I could even begin to write. I have learned why I truly come to church. I have learned through challenging times that I come to church to worship our King and not to simply gain something for myself. I have learned that people need Christ no matter their social standing. Even though they might look like they have it all together, simply seek them deeper, and you will find treasures of realness in their souls. I’ve learned to give grace, give grace, and give more grace! I’ve been humbled more than I can count and am thankful to learn alongside wonderful, God-seeking people. New Hope has blessed me by showing me people can commit because they see a vision and want to be a part of it!

I’m blessed to see people serve and coming together as a true church. I’ve been blessed to have been served through our church community, such as babysitting, meals, etc… How incredibly thankful I am to the Lord for bringing us here and for creating a church called “New Hope.”

To God Be the Glory great things HE has done!

—Leigh Anne Rufener