This is our story...
Mending Place is made up of a collection of stories. Like the community we live in, our individual stories are unique, yet connected to the neighbors around us. Here are some of our stories...
The First 10 Years of Mending Place
Elisa Allmon’s Story
My life before Christ was filled with addiction and voices of mental illness.
I grew up in a middle-class family, going to suburban schools, and had every advantage at my fingertips.
However, I chose not to take those advantages.
I was home a lot by myself and started smoking weed by the age of 10.
I chose to hang out with the wrong crowd and made bad choices.
I would go into convenient stores and we would steal at the age of 11. I would skip school to hang out with boys, drink, and get high.
At 12 years old, I did cocaine and meth. By the age of 13, I did hallucinogens.
When I got pregnant with my first child, I stopped everything. Only after his birth to begin popping pills and start the addictive cycle all over again. Drugs and the voices of mental illness ruled my life.
I lost so much to that lifestyle and those poor choices. I lost marriages, homes, cars, my kids and myself. I spent 25 years living that way. Until one day, a friend invited me to church. My life started to change the very first time I walked into Mending Place. It was during 21 days of prayer that I was up for a few weeks straight from meth. I was sitting at home and felt like the Lord was talking to me.
I went to the bathroom and the Lord told me to put down the drugs and told me that He had me.
I called a friend to pick me up for 21 days of prayer, scared to leave everything I knew and was comfortable with behind. It was in the church bathroom that I believed to have been delivered.
I was prayed over and felt an inward struggle. After that encounter, I never heard the voice of mental illness again. It was slow at first, but after a few years of faithfully attending, reading my Bible, and learning how to talk to God I began to see real life change. God has delivered me from addiction and mental illness. I found my self worth in what He says about me. I have a happy and healthy family, and I’m almost 4 years free of addiction and mental illness. I thank God for his grace and mercy, and thank Him for Mending Place.
Gina Manley’s Story
Hello, My name is Gina Manley,
I grew up in a middle class home with two parents who loved me.
I had a good upbringing and my parent worked very hard in the corporate world to provide the best life possible for my brother and I.
However, as far back as I can remember, I had suffered from a low self-image. Most of this was a result of being bullied, either by my brother and his friends or by other kids at school. Much of my time throughout Elementary School and the first part of Jr High School was a very lonely existence.
It was in Jr High that I was raped by an older guy who I finally opened up to, trusted, and liked. That incident cut me deep. He and his cousins laughed at me, told me what a whore I was and from that point on I felt like trash.
I bought into the lie and stopped caring about myself, or anything else for that matter, and spiraled into a world fueled with alcohol and pot. My goal was to stay high 24/7.
When I started High School, I began skipping a lot of class and eventually dropped out. I ran away from home with an older man who I was convinced loved me, only to be dropped off a couple days later at a truck stop in Oklahoma.
Scared and once again lonely, I made a decision that I was going to do what I must to survive and be accepted
I began a life of prostitution and more extensive drug use.
By the age of 17 I terminated my first pregnancy. I felt at that time that I had no choice. I couldn’t take care of myself, let alone a child. After the abortion, I was left feeling empty and like I had finally lost everything that I had left.
Shortly after that, I was introduced to crack cocaine and intravenous drug use. I always felt guilty every time I used and told myself that one day I would stop. Eventually that lifestyle lead to exotic dancing, pornography, and more extensive drug use to numb the pain.
After getting pregnant again, at the age of 20, I gave birth to my oldest son Tyler. I went back to school, got a job, quit dancing, and stopped drugs; but that was short lived. By the time Tyler was in school, my father passed and I went back to using and supplementing my income with dancing.
Once I started using and dancing again, I felt like a failure as a mother and ended up terminating another pregnancy. I would eventually attempt suicide. I just wanted all the pain to stop.
At the age of 25 I gave birth to my daughter Kayla. Her father and I married when she was 9 months old and two years later my son Shawn was born. My marriage ended after 10 years. Shortly after that, my mother passed away, and once again I spiraled out of control; but this time, as a “functioning addict” who tried her best to hide it.
While at work one day, a friend asked if I would go to church with her. After several no’s, I finally said yes. Nothing else in my life was working. After that I began an intimate and personal relationship with Jesus Christ and was instantly delivered from drugs and alcoholism.
Being a new believer, I had many questions and little did I know, that my now husband Gene Manly, would be the one God would use to help me find the answers. After all the broken and abusive relationships, God sent me Gene. He is my true soul mate and we help each other.
I believe I am strong, I am saved, and God loves me…
In the name of Jesus-Amen.
Ryan Estep’s Story
My name is Ryan Eastep, and I was born into a broken home. My dad left my mom when she was pregnant at the age of 17.
I grew up jumping home to home, living with my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, and the men who came in and out of my mom's life. When I was 10 years old, my mom left me with a friend of hers. This is a man that my mom thought she could trust, but he was a predator and molested me. This continued for 6 years. I was a very confused boy. When I look back, I still wonder and question why I was never able to tell anyone. By the age of 13, I was drinking, and smoking weed. By the age of 15, I tried cocaine, ecstasy, and mushrooms. I was trying to mask my life with everything I possibly could. At 17 years old I dropped out of high school and got into a relationship with a woman that I got pregnant. We lost custody rights of our son; and it was at that point that I knew I have fallen into the same cycle of life as my parents. I met Michele who was beautiful, amazing, and full of life. I didn't know at the time that she would be my future wife. She became pregnant, and unfortunately my cycle of self-destruction continued. I became a meth addict and had fallen hard. I was homeless, finding a place to sleep every night. In 2012, I was introduced to The Gospel for the first time. I read through the book of Matthew and it changed my life forever. Greg McHargue prayed with me that night and that was the beginning of my journey to knowing Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
In 2014 I attended Mending Place. I got sober and God gave me a vision of restoration for my life. I became a living Testimony to those around me. I got to see my daughter for the first time. Although I relapsed in 2015, I quickly decided to hold myself accountable to God's purpose for my life and moved into a sober living home. It was there that I built relationships that were healthy. One of the stronger ones being with Heath Duncan, who seeing my relationship with God, went into business with me. God is in the business of restoration. He brought Michele back into my life and on July 19th, 2017 we were married. I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, including loving my wife the way that she deserves and giving my brokenness to God to restore. When I deserved death, Christ gave me life!
These are our friends Jonathan and Jordan. They have been warming the hearts of our Mending Place family since October 2017. He was first introduced by his brother in Christ, and decided to call it home.
When asked why he loves Mending Place, Jonathan said, "Our pastor preaches The Word accurately and doesn't cut corners. He doesn't water down the gospel or try to make it feel good. He gives the truth and challenges me to grow both spiritually and as a man." Jonathan really admires Mending Place, and believes "The entire church shows the true love of Christ."
When it comes to his 4 year old son Jordan, he is super enthusiastic about coming to church and learning about Jesus. "Mending Place puts a high emphasis on raising the next generation and I enjoy seeing that growth in my son."
Coming out of a 10 year addiction, Jonathan chose to "... lean on the wisdom, knowledge, and community of Mending Place."
Jonathan, you and your son have been a beautiful display of a father's love to his child.
We are grateful that you "...absolutely love it here."
Talia and Antonio's Story
Hi, my name is Talia Quezada. Most of my life I was raised by my grandparents. My mom was off, not being a mom, and my dad was always in jail. I was envious of my cousins, because they had parents; and for me, my grandparents were my parents. I always had a hard time trusting people, because the two people in my life that I should have been able to trust, had failed me. I had a lot of anger in me, because of how selfish my father was. I also live with a feeling of constant rejection, because my mother was never around. I didn’t want to be anything like my parents, but I brought anger and rejection into my marriage.
I’m Antonio Quezada. I grew up with my dad working all the time. He was hardly around, but when he was around, he was abusive to me. My parents divorced when I was in 5th grade, due to unfaithfulness. I began getting into drugs and gangs, because I felt like it was the only place that I was wanted. I didn’t have a home life. I didn’t want to be anything like my dad, but I brought unfaithfulness, drugs and rejection into my marriage.
Talia: Antonio and I got married 7 years ago. Our marriage wasn’t the strongest when we started out, but we also didn’t think things were going to get worse.
Antonio: I took a director’s position at work, and began working long hours. Talia would get angry, which began to push me away.
Talia: Antonio’s long hours lead to me feeling like a single parent.
Antonio: I began using drugs and alcohol again and was unfaithful.
Talia: I felt rejected. Like he was choosing these things over our family.
Antonio: I began to feel bad, because I didn’t want to lose my family.
Talia: I started attending Mending Place.
Antonio: Later I began to come.
Talia: We were just co-existing and contemplating divorce.
Antonio: Until one day, I reached out for help. For the first time, in a long time, we felt hopeful.
Talia: As we went to counseling, we felt as though our marriage was reborn. That it was brought back to life.
Antonio: Our marriage has seen so much growth.
Talia: And we are hopeful for the future and what God has instore for us.
The Batchman’s Story
Hi, I am Renee Batchman and this is my husband Steven Batchman.
In 2011, we found ourselves going from a family of six, to a family of nine. My brother was dealing with a drug addiction, so Steve and I stepped in to take care of his kids.
What was supposed to be days, turned into months.
Steven and I were responsible for three more kids. That's a lot more food and a lot more diapers that we just couldn't afford.
We knew that our family needed help, so we went to the United Methodist Open Door Food Pantry.
I remember feeling like Steven and I had failed each other and our kids.
But I know now, that was one of the many ways, God was providing for our family.
We are now able to provide for our kids without assistance, but we do it with the same humbleness that we had several years ago walking into the food pantry.
Being a part of Mending Place, has strengthened our family in so many ways.
We are excited to be a part of a church family that gives back to the same community that once gave to us.
Serving at the hygiene pantry was an amazing experience for our whole family.
We were all grateful to serve those in need.
Meet Audrey Schultz
I didn’t hesitate when Abigail, worship leader at Mending Place, invited me to do live painting during a few songs at last Sunday’s service. I consider it a privilege to serve God with the talents He has given me, and I have been honored to have done over 20 live paintings in the Wichita area, mostly in churches.
A few years ago, my husband and I managed World Impact’s camp, Morning Star Ranch. It was there that the people of Mending Place found a special place in our hearts. We were truly inspired by some of our first guests at Morning Star, pastors and wives of the (UCA) Urban Church Association. We met Pastor Dioane and Heather and heard their vision for the church. My husband and I looked at each other and said, “This camp will be for all the urban churches.”
Mending Place’s dynamic story of two Kansas congregations merging into one church is thrilling. I was excited when Abigail shared with me the songs she wanted me to paint to. The first one, Old Church Choir, instantly brought forth the picture I should paint; the image of a choir member in a familiar choir robe. It seemed to me to be a lively celebration of these two churches blending into one.
As I continued to seek God’s guidance as to what to paint, the song lyrics led my thoughts and it became clear how the painting should end. I was considering several options, but I kept seeing an image of someone worshiping, looking into His creation. Perhaps water?
I went back to Mending Place the next night for the 21 days of prayer and the topic for the evening was strength and power. Ephesians 6.10 says “...be strong in The Lord and in His power and His might,”. In God’s general revelation to all people, massive water and vast sky display God’s might and power. Just the vision I had seen!
I wanted the congregation to be left with an image that would remind them to worship in such a way that when they see the beautiful sky, they would praise the Lord! Or, when they consider the vastness of water they would worship His power and might. I rejoiced this week when a beautiful sunrise, just like I tried to represent, was gloriously on display!
Before I decided what to paint, I was not aware that the sermon Pastor would be giving was on Luke 5 with an emphasis on “going deeper. “Put the boat into the deep water...” Even though I always plan out what I’m going to paint beforehand, the Holy Spirit never ceases to amaze me in how He moves and brings everything all together.
Thank you,Abigail, for blessing me with the opportunity to share my love of the Lord Jesus Christ with the precious people of Mending Place.
Meet Kersten Taylor
If you haven't met Kersten, you're missing out!
She's a beautiful young lady who is never without a smile.
Kersten is a part of our Youth Ministry, Tru Identity. She loves coming because, "it's geared towards youth, it's easier to understand God's word and it's more engaging."
When asked the question, "What has inspired your growth?", she said, "Everyone who has taken the time out to teach me every Sunday, be a mentor to me, and inspired me to pursue a relationship with God."
Kersten is excited for the future because she is excited to see how God will work in her life and in the lives of the other students.
Kersten will be graduating soon and going off to college. We love you Kersten and we are so proud of you!
Meet Dion "D.C." Brazelton
This guy right here is a wonderful example of the next generation of ambassadors. Meet Dion Brazelton, also known as, "D.C." This October makes three years of D.C. attending Mending Place. He feels that our church is a "great environment that encourages growth." And he sure has grown!
You can find D.C. serving on the Worship Team, teaching in the Kids Ministry, and leading our young adult ministry "The Mix".
D.C. says Mending Place allows him to become whoever God wants him to be inside and outside the church.
We love you D.C. and we are honored to be a part of your story.
Meet Rodney & Cristy
Meet our friends Rodney and Cristy!
They have been attending Mending Place for "five wonderful years".
Cristy has a heart to serve in the Kids Ministry and Rodney enjoys serving at Head-to-Toe Hygiene Pantry and distributing back packs with our Backpack-to-School drive.
When asked why they love Mending Place, they responded, "The members are very caring and loving people, we love the hard work and dedication that goes into teaching the next generation, and we love our Worship Team and Pastor".
"We enjoy coming to a church where we can learn and grow".
Our church believes that your kids are a beautiful example of our Value Statement "It's better to build strong kids than to repair broken adults".
Thank you Cristy and Rodney for your faithfulness to Mending Place!
Meet Lee & Peryl
These are our friends Lee and Peryl Yeager.
Lee and Peryl have been part of our church for two years.
They love how welcoming Mending Place is and how Pastor Gates teaches The Word of God so everyone understands it.
Mrs. Peryl serves on the hospitality team and prayer team, and Mr. Lee enjoys serving where needed.
When asked why they love Mending Place, the Yeager's responded, "Jesus is number one".
Lee and Peryl are excited to enter into a new season with the church and believe that Mending Place is "full of love".