God stories

hear about what God is doing in and
among the people of storyhill church

Andrew Lovedale

Andrew Lovedale_1.jpg

As a young boy, I gave my life to Christ at a crusade in Kaduna State in northern Nigeria. The first test of my faith came after losing my dad and watching helplessly as my mother and siblings were tossed to the streets with nothing. 


Kneeling before God at the altar, I asked Him, "Why me?" Right there and then I made a renewed commitment to Him that if He used me to change my family’s situation that I would serve Him for the rest of my life without any doubts or questions asked. Soon after, basketball found me and it became an outlet. 


At Davidson College, I not only gained a quality education but my faith also grew because He placed me on a rare team where I had teammates who loved the Lord. From the moment I stepped into Belk Arena, my question of “Why me?” changed from one born out of need and a dire situation into one that reflected gratitude. Over the years, the Lord continues to multiply the seed He once placed in my heart, one of service. 


He has turned my test into a testimony and flipped my family’s misery into a ministry. We are growing as we continue to find our place in God’s story at Lake Forest Davidson. 


Andrew is the Founder and President of Access To Success, a non-profit organization that educates youth and strengthens communities with a vision for a sustainable, thriving Nigeria. A2S is one of Lake Forest Davidson’s official mission partners.

Bella Witherow

As someone who was not raised in a very religious household, I had always thought that people who were religious only were because that is how they were raised. I then found God at 18 years old. I had been curious about God and church for a few years, I had even started reading my Bible a few years ago, but I was always too insecure about getting a “late start” to really buy in and go into a church.


I eventually convinced myself that I did not really believe in God because I was only reading my bible for comfort in a hard time, so it did not count. When I came to a new town and started college with no one that I knew, I was still curious about God and decided to explore that curiosity. Through some friends who were more connected with the religious life at Davidson, I found Lake Forest Davidson and was so comforted by the idea that “so long as you don't have it all together, you'll fit right in". My journey with faith has had some ups and downs and I by all means do not have it all together.


I have had a lot of personal struggles with my faith, but the biggest thing that I have noticed since committing to my faith, and its ups and downs, is the way God has been working in my life. I have noticed Him in the people in my life, in the good days, in the bad days, and as a point of strength in my life. My journey is far from complete, but I am so excited for what it means in my life.

Gail Gilpin

Gail Gilpin_1.jpg

I was telling my son Nick about my frustration trying to find a church. I’d gone to several and just wasn’t feeling it. I saw the Lake Forest sign at Davidson Elementary on a Sunday so I checked it out. I went a few times and really, really loved the worship and the preaching. But I just wasn’t feeling “connected.“


I said to Nick, “Nobody’s really done much to help me get involved more.” He looked me right in the eyes and said, “Well, what have YOU done to get yourself more involved?” Talk about the simple truth! 


So, I went to the church website and reached out to the middle school ministry and ended up serving there for a year. I went through Welcome 101. I signed up to be a Greeter and participated in the program that helps provide folks with meals. I joined the start-up team for the Chapel service. I joined a Community Group. 


There’s even more, but the bottom line is I got myself involved all by my big-girl self! God is so good!

HC Oakes

I’ve been on a spiritual journey my whole life. I was raised in a Christian family and I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior and was baptized when I was 15. After college, I got a job, got married, had three boys and we raised them in the church. 


After going through a divorce that took me off-track from God, I met Leesa. We dated for a few years and married. Leesa has been the best thing that has ever happened to me in many ways and getting back on track spiritually has been the most important thing I’ve done. We began going to church together, meeting some great folks, and the light was back.  


We moved to Cornelius in 2014 and started looking for a church home. We found one at Lake Forest Davidson and feel so blessed. Like us, I think people resonate with the idea that “if you don’t have it all together, you’ll fit right in.” Lake Forest helped take my faith on an upward slope, helping me grow closer to Jesus.  


One of the big learnings for me is discovering joy and peacefulness in community in ways I never experienced before. I have found taking steps like these and getting involved is important and tremendously fulfilling as one grows their faith. 


I count my blessings every day. God is good and I am good with God. I am still on a spiritual journey. … 

Jacob Andrews

Jacob Andrews_1.jpg

I have been part of Lake Forest since I was born. My family and I moved to the Davidson campus when it started in 2011.


When I was in middle school, I felt I needed to contribute to the church, and serving in KIDS ministry gave me a different appreciation for church beyond just sitting and listening to a sermon each week. Being able to see kids gain a better understanding of God each week is something that makes serving in KIDS ministry unique.


As I go off to college, my years of serving in KIDS ministry shows me the value of continuing to want to go to church and being involved in a church family.

Liz Mandel

This past year has changed my entire life. 


I was raised in the church, although I never really understood what it meant to know the Lord. For the past few years, I was distant from God, consumed in a life of evil. I’m an alcoholic and addict in recovery, and for a very long time I suffered from not knowing the good in the world, and the goodness of our Heavenly Father. 


I was introduced to the Lord in a way that I never thought was possible. A hand filled with love and grace and God’s goodness was extended to me. I came to know who Jesus is, who He really is. In coming to know Jesus, I have found the freedom that He wants all of us to feel. I have felt His love, I have experienced His grace, I have understood His sacrifice. 


Lake Forest Davidson has helped me tremendously along my journey, not only building up my relationship with Christ, but guiding me through His word so I can know Him in love, grace, and forgiveness, and how to walk with him in faith. 


I am so grateful to be a part of a community of people who believe in Christ, want to walk with Him, and support one another along their journey.

Liz Mandel_1.jpg

Nageotte Family

Nageotte Family_1.jpg

You could call the world shutting down in March 2020 our saving grace in a way. We had been wanting to try out Lake Forest Davidson, and this was the perfect opportunity. Sitting on the couch with my family and our fluffy labradoodles was our weekly routine.


When the field opened up, we packed up our lawn chairs and escaped the house we had been stuck in for months. We couldn't wait to meet people in person that we had been seeing on TV. Once the weather got colder we were sad to leave the gorgeous field, but happy to be warm in the Y.

From Emily: Each week, we can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for us at church. My faith has been growing all my life, and I am thankful for the experiences that I have had that have shaped me into the person I am today. Lake Forest Davidson feels like home, and I am happy to have my mom, dad, sister, and the Lord by my side.

The Nageotte Family now serves together on Sundays in various areas including College Breakfast, Meals Ministry, Set-Up, and KIDS Ministry.

Paul Imhof

In 2015, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had God in my corner and even though I would never wish this on anyone, I was ready for the fight of my life. For the very first time, I read daily devotionals and read my Bible. Through the journey of radiation, surgery, chemo, colostomy bag, etc., I never felt alone. Through all the good and bad days, I felt His guiding hand walking me through it and never felt abandoned or alone. I was cleared by my Oncologist on December 21, 2020! 


Jesus really showed me His love and his desire for me to trust in Him and how to go about living with Him every day. 


Serving on a few different teams at Lake Forest Davidson and joining a Bible study group has strengthened me and allowed me to meet some amazing people. When I finally answered God’s call to serve, I found it gives me great joy while building many wonderful relationships! One cannot help but get stronger in faith by serving God and others.

Paul Imhof_1.jpg