Growing up from as far as I can remember my family never went to church. I can even remember plain as day one time we were driving to a baseball game and my mom said we don’t need church we have a baseball diamond. Growing up, until I was about 13, it never bothered me to ask, or even think about church. All I knew is that my parents always had something fun planned on a Sunday, so it never really bothered me. February 3rd, 2013 is my little brother Myle’s birthday. That was really the day I saw my mom and dad change. When my brother Brayden and I were asked to leave the room after Myles was born, I knew something was wrong, because we couldn’t meet him. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared because I was. This was the first time I remember ever asking God for something. As my grandmother took us to the food court, I remember thinking to myself, God, if you’re there please don’t let me lose my little brother. But that’s about as far as it went for a while. Shortly thereafter we started attending church in Collinsville, CT. Throughout my teenage years I went to Collinsville Congregational with my parents. Looking back at it now as a teenager, I never really fit in anywhere, and so going there was easy, because all the other people that were there were my friends from school or my neighborhood. I would go off and on towards my senior year, but it wasn’t until I started at Dicks Sporting Goods that I had all but stopped going to church regularly. I went on Christmas Eve, Easter, and any other days that were important to my parents. While working at Dicks Sporting Goods, I met this girl. Everyone had told me that she was the one for me and I believed it. During our relationship, I had stopped going to church, even on the “big holidays”. I started spending every weekend with her. When she went off to college, I would go and stay at UConn. Shortly before the summer of 2019, we broke up. That led to me getting angry with God and walking away and ignoring Him entirely. It was around this time, in 2019, that my parents started attending Beulah Baptist Church. When the Lord called them out of Collinsville, and put them into Beulah, my parents started asking me to come to church with them. For the next 2 years, I spent every Sunday trying to avoid God and attending services with Beulah. I had always believed that while at Collinsville, it didn’t matter what you did, or what happened, you were fine if you believed on Christ. One night, while I was over at my friend’s house, my friend asked, “aren’t you supposed to be some good Christian boy?” From that point on God started to work this uneasiness in me. I started to question what I had been taught in church growing up, but I never did anything with that. In May of 2021, God had pulled me out of Dicks Sporting Goods, and gave me a job at NEFCO. It was shortly thereafter Bro. Caleb Owen was sent to preach as one of the potential pastors for what is now Remnant of Grace Baptist Church. The weekend he was here to preach, happened to be my mother’s birthday weekend, so we all went out to eat as a group. That night Bro Caleb asked me to join them the next day (Saturday) for services along with Sunday. I had declined Saturday but decided to come Sunday. August 15th, 2021 was that Sunday. When I walked in, I wasn’t looking for anything. I went to appease my mom for her birthday. That service Bro. Caleb preached on the narrow way, and even from the start of Sunday school, God was showing me myself. It was in the morning service that God had told me it was time to get in the narrow way. From that point on God had worked it in me that this was the correct way. That this was truth, but I was still too prideful to listen. When it was Bro Josh’s turn to come up and preach, I had decided to skip church and attend a Red Sox game. God used that choice to show me how important it is to be at every service and not want to miss a single second of what He was saying to me. I ended up missing a great message where Bro. Josh preached on how our hope is not in ourselves but in God. After that night I was kind of stuck in neutral, until about the end of November, when Bro. Joel Clayton was called to be our pastor. It was his first weekend he was up when he preached on choosing which path to walk and whether you want the things of the world or the things of God. In that, God spoke to me, and told me it is either hockey, or Me. At the time I was playing hockey every Sunday night after church. Without a doubt, I knew then, that if I continued playing hockey and being around the guys, and all the drinking, and other activities that ensued, that I wasn’t going to be able to find God. If I continued picking the world over Him and neglecting what God was saying. Shortly thereafter God had given me direction to talk to Bro Joel about talking to a girl. I tip toed around because I was nervous but through this God showed me, I wasn’t following His instructions. It was but a few weeks of asking about this girl, but never talking to Bro Joel about it, that Bro Joel preached on king Saul in 1st Samuel. When Saul was sent to wipe out the Amalekites, all the women, children, the king, and all the livestock, Saul took the king prisoner and kept the best of the sheep and the oxen as offerings to the Lord. God taught me through that, that He gave me a direction, and that I have been just as Saul was, just making comments, rather than trusting God and His directions He had given me. Over the next few weeks, I was floating through services sitting there hearing, but not doing anything with what God was saying to me. At the end of April, we went to Beulah for 5th Sunday. On our way down Bro. Joel and I were talking about my relationship with an ex-girlfriend and how I had gotten mad at God for allowing us to break up. It was in this conversation where God started to show me that even in that breakup with her, He had shown grace towards me. If God had not shown me grace in that, I would not be here today. I probably wouldn’t have come to church when God called me, but I still could repent of my anger towards God in that situation. That Saturday while there, Bro. Caleb preached a message about what kingdom you serve. If you’re saved you are serving God’s kingdom, or the kingdom of light. But, if you’re lost, you’re serving the kingdom of darkness. It was in this message God showed me that I wasn’t doing anything with the messages because I loved the darkness more than Him. After that service I didn’t understand why I had given up all the worldly things on the outside. But it wasn’t until the next morning that God showed me that it wasn’t that I had cleaned everything up that would mean I loved his kingdom, but that it was in my flesh, that loved the darkness. The next morning as I was reading Mark 7, God showed me that it wasn’t just what I surrounded myself with that defiled me, but what was in my heart that defiled me. It was through this God showed me how prideful I was. He blessed me by pulling me out of my old job that kept me from coming and hearing from Him. Also, that it wasn’t me who said that it was time to come to church, but God who called me (yet I still couldn’t believe that either). So later, that Sunday Bro Joel preached on pressing toward the mark and how Christ is our goal. We need to be pressing to get to Him, seeking after God with everything we have to find Him. Just like always, I nodded my head and agreed with what I was hearing but didn’t do anything with it. When that June camp rolled around the Wednesday before Bro Joel preached on how we need to come being prepared to hear from God from day one not two or three days in, but right from the start. In that God had showed me why I didn’t get as much out of November as I could have if I had gone in with the right heart. That Monday morning Brother Scott preached. For some reason it’s not what he preached that I remember but what Brother Terry Owen had said after and shared about his struggles and how every time he got into a position where he needed God he would cry out and God would help him. Through this God showed me that even though I hadn’t been through the same hardships as Bro Terry, there were things that God helped me with and provided for me that not everyone had, and just how prideful I was to not turn around and give him thanks for what he had done. However, after talking to brother Joel, in true Tiegan fashion, my pride choked it down, and didn’t allow if to amount to anything. God spent the next few days at camp working and hammering away at that pride in my conversations. Not just Brother Joel, but others in the camp. As camp ended and I was headed back home I was sitting in the Memphis airport and all I could think about was how blessed I was that God gave me brothers that genuinely cared, not just for me as a person, but my soul as well. Something that you couldn’t find in Connecticut and believe me I tried to fit in any way I could. Over the next few weeks, no matter how thankful I was, my pride and my unbelief would choke it out with thinking that it was all too good to be true. I spent the next couple weeks just looking at myself and not believing a single word that was being preached to me. One day over the summer, Brother Joel preached on how God was going to work in a man to make him ready to come, just as how Rebekah was ready when Abraham sent his servant to fetch his bride for Isaac. It was that service I was feeling like God was never going to finish what he started and that he was going to leave me to die. During that sermon God said to me I want you. Then Brother Joel preached out of Romans 11 and how God will graft the wild olive branch into the tree. It gave me hope that God would do what He had just told me. Yet I still couldn’t break, and I didn’t understand why. The next few weeks leading up to Brother Terry’s meeting were tough. Brother Joel had preached on the parable of the rich young ruler. In that, God was showing me that even though I had let go of my worldly friends, and I gave up hockey, there was still something I loved more than God, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I would talk to Bro Joel but every time I did the conversation would go the same way of, I don’t feel like I should be renewing my season tickets for the Red Sox. When Brother Terry came to preach his meeting, I didn’t give much thought at all to what God had said to me. In fact, I had been so convinced that I needed to be so focused on what Brother Terry was about to say to us I didn’t even think about what God had been dealing with in me. The first few sermons Bro. Terry preached I didn’t listen. So, when that Wednesday rolled around, I was so down that I wasn’t getting a word of what God was saying. I started questioning if God was ever going to finish his work in me when Bro. Terry started preaching, God reminded me in Ezekiel 36:24-26 where he would pull me out of the world and give me a new heart and put his spirit in me to cause me to walk in his statues. When Brother Terry read that before he even started preaching, God was telling me I could trust that He would do what He was telling me He would finish in me.
That Friday Brother Joel and I went to the Red Sox/Yankees game. In that game, God showed me light on what it was that I loved more than Him, the Red Sox, and wanting to be the spotlight, and the center of attention around me. Bro Joel and I discussed on my way home that regardless of how much I cleaned up the outside, going to those games showed me what was wrong, and that I was willing to act like a fool in an attempt to make everyone around me like me. God was using that to explain to me why it grieved me so much to go to those games. God was showing me it was more than being the center of attention at the games, it was being the center of attention everywhere. It wasn’t but a short while later I went to another game. This time with my friend Nico. After the game, on our way back, we got to talking about how I was no longer playing hockey. I told him where I was at but nowhere in our conversation would I talk about the work God has done in my life. In more than just hockey but in other stuff, in life like going out with him, and the rest of my worldly friends every weekend, or how God just didn’t have it on my heart to date anyone at the time. Instead, the conversation revolved around what I was doing. It was that men’s prayer meeting when God showed me, I was ashamed of His name. I would go out and be talking to people outside of the church and in talking to them nothing that I had discussed with them was about the work that God did in my life. I would not give Him the glory. It also went as far as all the conversations were shallow and just statements of I or me. Basically, not acknowledging the work that God has done in my life. That night when we were praying, I broke, and for the first time in a long time, I told God I was sorry for being angry at Him, and that I was sorry for being ashamed of His name. When October rolled around Brother Joel, my father, my childhood friend, and I were all supposed to go golfing. Well, that day we got rain from hurricane Ian in Connecticut and our round was canceled that morning. But I was stubborn enough to try and still go so later that day, so I picked up Dan, and he and I headed off to play a round of golf. The next morning there was a lot of conviction on me and seeing myself for who I really was. Leading up to today (October 9th, 2022) God was showing me I was blind, outside of the camp, and stumbling around. No matter how much I had tried to clean up the outside, I was still fellowshipping in heathen ways. So last weekend, when Bro Joel preached on how we should be thankful for the time God has appointed us to repent and turn to Him, and even just the time to hear His Word, I couldn’t t get thankful. Later that evening he preached a heavier message. God showed me through that message that I wasn’t thankful because I wasn’t believing God, and that I had taken advantage of the time He was giving me to hear what He was telling me. This morning (October 9th) in Sunday school, when Bro Joel was continuing his lesson on faith, God showed me where I was stuck in believing Him. Abraham had to look forward to the cross where we can look back on the finished work. In that He showed me that I wasn’t looking back on the finished work I was looking forward to God finishing His work in me. When we got into services the girls sang about how God thought I was worth it to come and die for my sins. Bro Joel didn’t preach his intended message as God was leading him in a different direction. After we prayed, the girls got up and sang the song again. For the last few weeks, the need for being in the camp has been getting stronger. Bro Joel got up and spoke on Luke 17: 11-19. It was in this God showed me that I was still outside the camp and that my sins had been forgiven. He showed me that even though I was going to church I was still unclean on the inside. Christ told the ten lepers to shew themselves to the priests and that they were clean, but one turned back and gave Him thanks. It was in this that God shewed me the work was finished that I could rest in that and give Him thanks. When Bro Joel had the girls sing one more time. It was as if God had pulled a cork and all I could do was thank God. He loves me enough to pay for my sins and to allow me into his camp.