Daniel Larsen

Alicia Koepke

Daniel Larsen
Alicia Koepke

I once was confused and someone else. Now I understand and have faith.

I was raised Catholic. I went to CCD classes on Tuesdays, which I dreaded for I missed soccer or basketball or dance on those days. I never really understood the stories or heard any real life application when I took these classes. It felt like a waste of time, but I did it, because that was what was expected of me. Growing up, we went to church on Christmas, Easter, for weddings, or when people passed away. I did not understand the stories. I followed through the ritualistic mass, recieved my communion, and went on with my day. When I walked out of church, my life did not change, nothing was new, who was God even?

Time went on, I went to a lutheran college and took a religion class which I really liked. I studied how different religions had church and celebrated God. I enjoyed attending a Greek Orthodox church as part of my study. It was interesting to partake in their ceremonies. When I moved back to the area after college, I became a busy bee, always working more than my teaching job to make money to hopefully buy a house soon. I was in a toxic relationship. I ended up getting my masters degree and getting a new job in Des Plaines at Chippewa Middle School in August of 2017. 

In January of 2018, Amanda Krasinski gave me a postcard inviting me to Alpha at her church, Mission. Amanda and I just met in August by working together at Chippewa. My response was : “Is it super Jesus-y?” At the time, I did not know who Jesus was. I was confused, and a little scared when she asked.

I committed my time. I asked questions. I voiced my concerns. All of a sudden, I noticed I was trusting people with my life stories that I didn’t even know. The break up I was going through felt easy, it felt right. I was learning who Jesus was and who I was. I was still confused, but eager to learn more. I met people who knew what I was going through. I made new friends that I love so much! Go TABLE ONE! I started feeling the holy spirit with me. 

I was helping a student with some math homework during study hall and he kept talking to me about his pastor and his confirmation. He started wearing his cross to school everyday because he said it was a promise he made with his pastor. One day, he asked me where my cross was. All of a sudden, this student and I called each other out in the halls showing each other our crosses. 

I was curious. I was intrigued. I went through Alpha another time after this first time. This time, without anyone else, but for myself, and this time I volunteered to help. I continued to take notes. I started praying out loud. I started actually going to Mission church on Sundays. 

I brought my parents there for the first time on Easter of 2018. I started going every Sunday. I realized that if I didn’t go, I would watch on Facebook Live, and I’d feel like something was missing.  Mission became a part of my life. I felt awkward all of a sudden when I didn’t go to Mission on Sundays. I needed the testimonies, I needed to hear the stories, I needed to feel whole.  I even started praying out loud on my way to work every morning, and blasting worship music afterwards (which is how I still start all my mornings!)

Yet again, I still went through Alpha a third time. I met more new friends! I heard more stories of the holy spirit. I confirmed that my life has changed since I started a relationship with Jesus. I am more patient, more positive, and more eager to read the Bible. I constantly am using my YouVersion app. This is when I decided I need to get baptized! On March 22, I went to get my own Baptism gift, a reminder that God is always with me no matter what, a tattoo on my right wrist that says “God is greater than the highs and the lows.” It is true. God is always with me. I have no idea where I would be today without my faith.

God has given me strength, good friends, and a more positive outlook on life. He has made me more patient. I surrender to Jesus and welcome in the Holy Spirit because He has made me a better person and I constantly feel Him making my life better. I am being baptized now because after going through Alpha 3 times and meeting so many amazing people, I know I cannot live my life without my faith.