I have to start this by saying that without the teachings that my parents learned through Weigh Down and now the Remnant Fellowship Church that was founded two decades ago, I would not even have been born. My mom had been told that she could not have children with the amount of extra weight she was carrying, but through the Weigh Down program, she was able to lose weight, and my parents were finally able to have children! I was born, and then my sister Rose followed to complete our family of four.
Looking back, I can’t believe where I am today and that I get to have this life and marry Tristen Quinn! I remember early on having a really hard time speaking and relating to people. When I was six, I was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, severe anxiety, fine and gross motor delays, and learning delays. I was very aware of everything that bothered me. What I remember most was how disturbed I was by sounds. I had tremendous trouble at school in the first grade because of how distressed I was by just the background conversation from the other children… I could not deal with any sort of crowds at all. Restaurants could reduce me to tears. I was also so aware of anything touching me. I would only wear shoes that were way too big because I did not like them touching my feet. My clothes were always loose. I would only wear certain types of fabric and eat certain textures of food. I had no friends, and I never thought of anyone other than myself. I was also consumed with worry. I would lay awake during the night terrified that black holes would consume the world… I would get super anxious about random things… I was miserable.
Fortunately, my mom went back to Weigh Down, and through that found the Remnant Fellowship Churches. She lost the rest of her excess weight and began to teach me how to get out of myself. We would go to a restaurant, and she would help me through the situation and help me focus off of the noise and become aware of the needs and interests of others. I remember our family watching Gwen Shamblin Lara on Weigh Down’s “The Last Exodus” class, and I learned so much from watching those videos that helped me to change and connect with both God and others. This teaching helped me come out of all of the things I had been diagnosed with. I learned how to leave the fantasies I had created in my mind and engage in the real world.
“I remember our family watching Gwen Shamblin Lara on Weigh Down’s “The Last Exodus” class, and I learned so much from watching those videos that helped me to change and connect with both God and others. This teaching helped me come out of all of the things I had been diagnosed with.” – Evan
Not only was I healed from those problems, I have been so blessed in so many more ways by everything taught at Remnant Fellowship! Through God’s lead that He gave Gwen Lara on education and finding your gifts early in life, I ended up graduating both high school and college early, knowing what career I wanted to pursue and having practical job skills. I was able to start working professionally in my field very early on and graduated from college several years early with my computer science bachelor’s degree. This is such a blessing for me because before this, I had been a very delayed student and I struggled with academics. Mrs. Gwen helped my parents learn how to identify gifts and how to focus on doing the most we could for the glory of God, which made a tremendous difference in my education and bore so much fruit for me personally. I think one of the biggest things that helped me was learning how to honor my authority – my professors, my parents, and my bosses at work – and how to follow their direction with a good attitude. That has been so very blessed every step of the way and has continued to help me in my career.
Each year God has helped me grow more. One year I struggled with frustration. I used to get so frustrated when something wasn’t working. It literally would become debilitating, but though God I learned to pray and persevere with calmness, going back to the beginning and finding His lead on what to do to solve the problem, and He helped me overcome that frustration. Another memorable year was getting out of my comfort zone. When I was in college, my parents suggested I inquire about undergraduate research with my professors. I was very nervous, but I was certain that this was the lead of God and I was going to do it at the first opportunity. Now, I was a computer science student, but the first professor I met that day was actually in geology. So I asked him first, and he connected me to a geography professor who needed to hire a programmer. So through following the lead of authority and taking a step that was way outside my comfort zone, God opened the door to my first job as a programmer even though I was only 16 years old. All through my career, He has provided opportunities like that from following His lead…and opening doors by taking those steps.
God has truly blessed me from the amazing opportunity of getting to know Tristen. She is always kind and gentle and creates a calmness about her that renders even the most difficult situation peaceful. Her innate Godliness lights up the room around her. Her humility and righteousness create an aura around her that encourages everyone. The Wife of Noble Character from Proverbs 31 reads like a description of her. She is truly the “salt of the Earth”! She has shown me so much by her example. She has shown me how to be more gentle and calm. She has continued to show me how I can better serve the needs of others…and how to be calm and peaceful during all circumstances. It has been so amazing to see how God has led this, and I am honored to be here. I still cannot believe I have the opportunity to spend the rest of my life with her. I am also so grateful to get to be a part of the Quinn family, as is the rest of my family. The Quinns are such an amazing example. Their family continues to raise the bar in Godliness and service to God’s Church.
My cup overflows with the blessings that God has allowed. I cannot begin to thank Him enough, and I want to continue to seek Him the rest of my days! I was once was miserable, but now I am happy and full of true joy!
I praise God, and I am truly in awe of what God has done for me as I am so undeserving for this amazing opportunity to be a member of the Remnant Fellowship Church…and now to be getting married here. My parents joined the Church in 2003 when I was just three years old. As so many have before me, I have grown up surrounded by this body of pure and righteous people, all looking to further their relationships with God. My family moved in early 2008 to Tennessee so that we could be surrounded with the Truth. Although my parents brought me to Church every Wednesday and Saturday, I wasn’t in complete surrender to God and His will in my heart. As I grew older, I could feel myself being pulled by the world with looking at what they did and wanting to try and be “popular” or “cool” in the world’s eyes. I tried to dress and act like the kids in my middle school classes. Even though I was sometimes humbled by God and would stop for a few days, I would immediately go back to trying to get the “good life” in the world. I tried to get away with dressing in a non-God-glorifying way at school to look like the other girls who I considered popular. This was definitely not blessed, especially as it made me start hiding out and being more secretive towards my parents. I started looking sideways and I started to struggle with food, sometimes eating nearly twice, if not more, the amount than I was really hungry for. This led to self-focus and self-conscious thoughts of what I looked like. I was so focused on the “thin” girls at school that I started to secretly hurt in my heart, as my relationship with God was suffering. This focus on self led me into jealousy and beginning to lose favor with God and my parents as I wasn’t focused my relationship with God. After a little while, I started to see that the consequences where catching up to me: my prayers weren’t being answered, I was losing friendships due to self-focus, my parents weren’t able to trust me, and I began to run to food for comfort even more from the pain and loneliness my actions had caused. It wasn’t until early into high school that I started to put these teachings fully into practice. By the grace of God, I saw how I needed to look inwards and change completely to get the blessed relationship with God. I stopped focusing on those around me and how I wasn’t “good enough” and started to pray more and look for my authorities’ lead.
As I put this into practice, the blessings began to flow in and I could feel the peace and love beginning to return to me after so many years of half-hearted love towards God. I began to earn favor from my parents as I got fully under their authority and the sideways focus towards those around me and the control began to fade. I let go of control with food, losing 10 pounds, and let go of trying to control my siblings. I learned to truly love them from the heart. As Gwen Lara has so clearly said, this love towards God and others starts in the home, then spreading to those around you. Since then God has filled my heart with joy and true happiness! The loving direction from my parents guiding me in the way to go has been so blessed with schooling, relationships with friends and family, and my personal relationship with God more than anything.
“By the grace of God, I saw how I needed to look inwards and change completely to get the blessed relationship with God. I stopped focusing on those around me and how I wasn’t “good enough” and started to pray more and look for my authorities’ lead. As I put this into practice, the blessings began to flow in and I could feel the peace and love beginning to return to me after so many years of half-hearted love towards God. I began to earn favor from my parents as I got fully under their authority and the sideways focus towards those around me and the control began to fade. I let go of control with food, losing 10 pounds, and let go of trying to control my siblings. I learned to truly love them from the heart.” – Tristen
Along with being in the Remnant Fellowship Church most of my life, I have also known the Snapp family for most of that time. I remember through the years our families were so close that we would consider them family, having no idea that God would someday bring Evan and I together and unite our families through marriage. I began to realize I had feelings for him when he came over for a game night with my family, and we sat and talked the whole evening. I was surprised to see how much we both appreciated the same things and that his relationship with God was very strong. What really stood out to me about him was his pure, gentle, and humble spirit as well as his immediate submission to his authorities…and not only doing it immediately, but putting his all into the task he was given. It was humbling and mesmerizing for me to watch him be so constant and steadfast in his relationship with God, as it was something I had struggled with myself. I continued to grow closer and closer to Evan as I could see his steadfastness to God, and it made me want to be with him more. I was amazed at his complete contentment with what God had given him, as he never asked for anything but was so grateful for everything. I had prayed for a husband who had those qualities. In the past I always dreamed of the “prince charming” husband, and truly I feel that God has given me a hundred-fold more than I could ever have dreamed of – by the gift and blessing of Evan.
Our engagement day was so sweet and a completely delightful surprise to me! After that Sabbath’s service, we spent most of the day together. That evening he asked if he could pick me up early for the Church’s youth gathering as he had been asked to pick something up at Ashlawn (Gwen and Joe Lara’s home), which was needed for the gathering. I of course immediately said I could go, totally expecting to serve and get what was needed ahead of time. When we walked in, Evan walked with me towards the beautiful “Narnia” Christmas-themed decorations, which Mrs. Gwen had so generously left set up for this moment. He then turned towards me and on one knee asked me to marry him. I immediately smiled and through tears of joy said “YES!” It was such an incredible moment of which I cannot describe, and I am still in awe that God would bring us together and that he would even propose to me! I am so in love with Evan, and in that moment I was completely unaware that there were nearly 30 family members and close friends right behind us watching this moment in our lives. We celebrated and praised God there and then headed to the youth gathering where we were greeted in the most loving way by all of our friends, sharing in the excitement of what God had done. I still to this day cannot believe that I get to marry my best friend and love of my life on June 1st…and I look forward to spending forever together walking in God’s will!