Jacob Heisterkamp

Jacob Heisterkamp

I was born and raised mostly right here in central Iowa. I was blessed to have bible believing parents, who raised me up going to church, and teaching me the Word of God. At the age of 5, attending VBS (Vacation Bible School), I listened to my pastor share that I was a sinner, and was in need of a savior. After he was done I had questions about what this meant, and my teacher and I went to a back room at Saylorville Church and talked. She shared some scriptures with me, the one that stood out was “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. That whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And, with a child-like faith, I placed my trust in Jesus right then and there. I praise the Lord for my salvation at a young age, but I had much learning left, and it wasn’t painless.

About a year or so later, my parents noticed that one of my eyes seemed to be larger than the other, and decided to have it looked at (like a normal parent would). After seeing a few different doctors, we found out that I had a rare form of cancer, Acute Non-Lymphocytic Leukemia. It is a cancer of the bone marrow, and had spread to most all of my body, with a small cluster of cancer gathering in my eye socket that was pushing on my eye. The doctor had to tell my parents that there was a 10% chance I would survive it.

Over the next 2 years I underwent radiation treatment, and a bone marrow transplant. But I have a rare blood type, which made it impossible to find a blood donor, so an experimental treatment would have to be performed – a self-donor bone marrow transplant. Needless to say, the conditions were set up for God to do the miraculous. And He did. God was more than gracious to me, I am still here, so the only conclusion I can draw is that He isn’t done with me yet.

At that age, I barely remember any of the hard times, just the laughs I had with the nurses, and getting in trouble as a 6 year old should. My parents were rocks, trusting in the Lord completely. Although not without tears and lots of prayer! But God used this trial to affect their lives more than mine. My dad followed the Lord’s leading to the ministry through the whole ordeal. He is now the pastor of another church plant in Polk City, Iowa, where God is working mightily!

As I grew up, I played the good kid. Doing mostly as I should (my parents may say otherwise). But lived more and more for myself, and forgot what God had done for me. As high school ended, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. Thinking it would please my parents, and knowing some friends were going, I went to Faith Baptist Bible College for a year.

That year was the turning point in my life. I turned away from God. I told myself there was no joy in following God. So for the next few years I tried desperately to find joy in other things. Drinking, drugs, sex, friends. It was almost like I leap frogged from one thing to the next, each one left me feeling unsatisfied and looking for something else.

While I was living this way, I once again found myself at the mercy of God. One day I noticed that I wasn’t able to taste anything on one side of my tongue. That led me to start seeing a couple different doctors until finding out that it was a Cavernous Angioma on my brain stem. The radiation I received when I was little had damaged some blood vessels, which started to get tangled as they grew. By the age of 19 they had become a mass the size of a golf ball, and was putting pressure on my brain stem. I was again facing a life threatening condition, with a surgery that would likely leave me unable to walk on my own.

Again God showed undeserved mercy on me. He was in every detail. Providing a referral to the #1 brain surgeon in the world. Providing a place to stay for my family and I. And a recovery that was nothing short of being obviously God’s handiwork. A month later, after being told it wasn’t possible, I was back at work serving tables at Applebee’s.

Again, God saved my life, and again I would not give it to him. I went back to living for myself.

The only thing I learned from that was to get rid of the drugs and excessive drinking. Instead I looked to a relationship for joy. I met a girl, and we dated for 3 months, got engaged, and was married 3 months later. Life was going well for me. I was married, got promoted, bought a house and a new car. My joy was in those things, but God started to work on my heart, and over the next few years brought me back to him. It was slow going though, I was back in church, and even joined a small group with my wife. But my life was still mine, and I wouldn’t let God have it.

3 years into our marriage, my wife left. There was a note on the bed, and divorce papers arrived a week later. That was it, I lost it. I was broken, ashamed, everything I put my joy in was taken away from me in an instant. But I would learn that this was God, breaking me, so that I would finally look to Him for my joy. A blessing in disguise.

God had worked on me during the last year of my first marriage to get me in a small group. A group of solid believers who came to my side when everything fell apart. They reminded me that God was still jealous for me []. And again God worked on my heart and drew me to himself.

Since then I can’t even list all of the ways God has provided for me, and taught me more about himself. But one thing stands out the most. Christ died for me. He knew what a wretched person I would be, and how I would fight against Him to find my own joy. How I would dishonor his name in the way I lived my life, while calling myself a christian.

Now my desire is to seek after Him [], and live in a way that I am driven and compelled by Christ’s love [].

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The summer of 2011, Greg Pollak approached me about coming to help plant a church in Altoona, Iowa. It was a long answer to prayer, as I looked for direction from the Lord in my life. Greg wanted me to come help with all the tech stuff. I told him I’d pray about it, but I knew that instant God had prepared me all my life for this opportunity. So I moved in December of 2011 to Altoona. And to this day I am still serving the Lord at HPC.

God wasn’t done blessing me yet. August 5th of 2012, Stacey and I started dating, and we married on July 12th, 2013. She has truly been a Godsend in my life, with a heart for the Lord that is contagious. And it pushes me everyday to seek more and more after my personal relationship with Jesus.

I am a new creation [] in Jesus Christ. I have been blessed beyond measure, and have found my Joy in Him alone.

 

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (ESV)

Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? (ESV)

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (ESV)

14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; (ESV)

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (ESV)

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (ESV)

Deacon
Jeff Jontz
Administrator
Mindy Sanders