From BFFs to my dad’s brain cancer

How I learned to bear fruit 

Photo: Vi Siemens

Katy Unruh is baptized in the Portage diversion of the Assiniboine River Aug. 19, 2012.
Photo: Vi Siemens

I used to think everyone lived like my family. My parents loved me and taught me about Jesus. I knew Bible stories, both the familiar and the lesser-known. I went to church every Sunday. I knew that God is good and powerful. But, for a long time, all this was just words to me.

When I entered Grade 2 in a new town, I was no one’s best friend. Thinking there was something wrong with me, I’d do whatever it took to get people to like me. I even offered to pay some girls a quarter each if they would let me play with them in their snow fort.

When I started high school, I felt really overwhelmed and insecure, so I generally went along with whatever my friends were doing, even when it was mean or insensitive. The few times those of us who went to church hung out together, we acted as though we were better than everyone else, even though we didn’t behave any differently.

My thinking began to change in November 2010, when my family found out my dad had brain cancer. I knew God was already right beside me, but now I acknowledged it.

Yet, for a while, I just lived – going to school, church, and youth, watching Dad steadily get worse.

July 2011 was a turning point: I did the Leadership Development Program (LDP) at Valley View Bible Camp, MacGregor, Man. Surrounded by people who loved God and wanted to serve him, I fed off of that, got closer to God, and learned great things.

During a guest speaker session on prayer, we had to partner with someone we didn’t know well, and ask God how to pray for him or her. My partner Dawson heard the word “apples” and saw a tree spreading its leaves around: he thought it had to do with the fruit of the Spirit and sharing my faith with other people. Then he opened his Bible and started reading: “A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad” (Matthew 12:33, NLT).

I hadn’t been representing Jesus very well at my school. I called myself a Christian, but I’d been producing some bad fruit. I needed to share my faith at school and where I lived.

On Sept. 29, 2011, my dad died. It was tough, but God has helped me make peace with the chaotic things in my life. I was sad, but I know my dad is now having a party with Jesus.

Through all this, God brought me closer to him, showed me he has it under control, and gave me “a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27, NLT).

God has been constantly revealing new things about himself to me and teaching me. According to Romans 6:1–4, getting baptized represents leaving sin behind and moving forward into a new and holy life with Jesus: “we have died to sin…were joined with Christ in baptism….[and] by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives” (NLT).

Getting baptized is a proclamation of my faith, the next step in my walk with God. What I want most is for everyone to know God like I do – better than I do. My part is to share with people how God has impacted my life.

Kathy-Author-Image—Katy Unruh, from Community Fellowship (MB) Church, Newton, Man, was baptized Aug. 19, 2012, in the Portage diversion of the Assiniboine River, where she presented a version of this testimony. 

Her father’s story was published in the April 2011 MB Herald.

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