How did you come to Cypress UMC?
After our oldest daughter Macy was born in 2007, we were looking to settle down. We had visited a few churches in the area, but we were hungry for a place to call home and get plugged into. We were married in a United Methodist Church in Houston in 2003, and we felt lead to raise our children in the church as we had been. We researched United Methodist churches in the area and CUMC was the first church we visited. We came the first Sunday to the 9:30 service and just happened to sit in the back on the left. We looked around and were surrounded by numerous young couples about our age. The next Sunday, we came back and were approached immediately before the service started by a young man named David Streefkerk and his wife Marcia. They invited us to the Compass class and made sure that we didn’t get away after the service was over. We were quickly welcomed to the Compass group and were given the nickname “The Schlotzsky’s” (as in the restaurant) because no one could pronounce our last name Kleihege. The Compass group has been such a large part of our lives. We have made life-long friendships and are blessed by their presence daily.
Our church family has stood in the gap for us many times. In 2009, we discovered, unexpectedly, that we were having twins. When they arrived, the Compass class and several other church families provided dinners for us for an entire month. What a BLESSING!!
Recently, we have experienced some major health problems with our oldest daughter. As we make our way down this scary, unknown path, we are constantly reminded of the support system that surrounds us. This church has gathered together on numerous occasions to pray for us and lift us up. It is a feeling like no other; knowing that so many people truly care. Each one of the emails, text messages, phone calls, hospital visits, and meals keeps us going. We are blessed, truly blessed, by the hearts of this church.
Where have you volunteered at Cypress?
We have assisted with communion, children’s choir, food drives, pumpkin patch, cooking turkeys, Mayfest, Three Wishes, CAM food pantry, and Mission’s Gala. Both of us have also taught Children’s Sunday school. A few years back, the Compass class agreed to rotate teachers for the 4th-5th-grade class so we had the opportunity to be a part of Children’s Ministry. Jackie currently sits on the Finance Committee and I am a regular Usher at the 9:30 AM service. I also sit on the Endowment Committee. In early 2010, we were also a part of the Seeking God’s Path (Long Range Plan) Church Retreat and it meant a great deal to us to be a part of that process.
Is there a particular ministry that is dear to your heart? Why?
I would say missions ministry is one area that we are striving to make a bigger part of our life. We are now in the Impact Sunday school class, which aims to do mission projects as part of the curriculum. It is easy to get caught up in the everyday hurriedness of life, but when you are doing missions and outreach it grounds you and makes you realize what is important. We feel strongly that we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ, and to lend a helping hand to others without regard to what you can gain in return. Wee Wuns has also been a blessing for us. It is another ministry that has changed our lives. Our oldest daughter Macy spent 3 years in the program and our twins Sadie and Will are currently attending there as well. The teachers and staff are truly amazing and have become part of our family.
Do you have a giving story on how giving to the church has impacted you?
Jackie and I believe, whole-heartedly, that giving to the church is vital in our faith journey. But honestly, we have really struggled in the last couple of years with tithing. We used to be regular tithers but we have had some financial troubles lately. I have had a job change and we have had some medical issues with one of our children. During this shiny gods Sermon Series, we sat down together and said ‘we gotta do something, even if it is giving $50.’ We made a budget and looked at the good, bad and ugly of our spending and prayed to see how we could begin to put God first in managing our money. We continue to ask God for guidance and are striving to give more according to His will.
Where do you see God moving in this church?
I see God moving in our church in many ways. For one, the recent 10-4 Capital Improvement Program was a large, overwhelming project. It could have failed. But instead, this church pulled together, stayed focused, and drew our resources together. As one church body, we were able to revamp many areas that were in great need. The people here showed that even though making changes is hard, with God leading the way, it is not impossible.
We have also seen many changes in ministry and leadership throughout our time here. It can be discouraging and cause tension if you let it. However, we know that God’s plan is great. We believe He will continue to bless this church with new leaders and abundant growth. We must remain positive and faithful even when times are tough. We are called to do His will, not question it.