Friday, June 8, 2012

A story of God's mercy: Words from my sister, Candace Koole

I beg of you to take a moment to read my little sister’s testimony.  You will be inspired by her, I promise.  If you know me, you know my love for this girl.  We shared a bond called “the wild streak”.  We are just two sassy girls who by God’s grace were spared to live for Him. Being a part of Candace’s journey toward faith inspires me to pray and to trust that God, despite how long and hard we try to run from Him, wishes to have us for His ownJ The reason for this guest post by Candace is that she is now planning on doing missions in Cambodia and desperately needs support!  Please consider supporting her (the information is below).  Sit back, and enjoy…. 

From Candace:
So this is a story about a girl who was born on July 19, 1991…. by God’s grace.

In the beginning…
I was your typical "PK” (pastor’s kid) who loved to be the center of attention.  Naturally, I did anything I could to make my presence known. I was raised in the church and had always heard about Jesus as a kid.  To me He was just some funny guy with a beard and a bunch of friends who thought he was smart.  Around the age 8 I had accepted him to be my Savior, and got baptized just so I could be up in front of the church and experience it with my cousin who was also getting baptized.  I never really understood that Christianity was a lifestyle, or that I needed to actually live for the “guy” saving my life.  I guess some would say I was too occupied with my own will than His.  So, I kept living for myself and for the things of this world. Growing up I was always trying to be a “free spirit”.  I would push the envelope on many different occasions doing the most “radical” gestures and calling them heroic success.  I would do this just to prove to myself that nothing could hold me back.  Inevitably, that was the only thing holding me back…

Searching in the darkness…
Shortly after I turned 13, I began to discover “freedom” in a bottle and other various recreational drugs that my friends offered me.  The same freedom, that I would later realize put me in bondage.  From gutter punk boyfriends, to runaway buses that sent me across country, I continued my hunt for freedom.  Around the age 17 I decided that living on the streets would be the most beneficial adventure in the midst of my self-discovery.  Surfing from couch to couch, man to man, drug to drug, coffee shop to coffee shop… I knew there needed to be more.  There was never enough.  I started to notice my world getting a little grimmer after the age of 18.  I never really realized that it was grim before, but it was as if a light went on and showed me the depths of darkness within my soul. 

…and finding the Light.
Well, right around Thanksgiving of 2009, I was probably at the point of continuous intoxication.  The fact that I would pass out in the middle of the mundane, everyday activities wasn’t a shock to anyone who knew me.   In the middle of putting on make-up one day, I hit the floor.  Totally passed out from substance abuse.  Around that same time I had lived through many near death experiences. I  knew I was fighting something, never asking for help or acknowledging my problem.  Something started to change inside me, it seemed the further I ran the clearer the Lord’s voice became to me. I thought I was going insane!  This God that I hated for so long…. the one that I was angry with… the one I would scoff at with the sound of his name…. the God people were afraid to talk to me about because they knew I would hate them if they even brought up the Bible, or church…this God.  Yes, this God was talking to me.  I didn’t know what to do; all I knew was that it wasn’t normal.  So I decided to check myself into a mental institution for more answers to life’s questions and my personal issues.  I couldn’t possibly hear God. That was out of the question. I’d rather label myself crazy.

Captivated by the most wonderful extreme out there…. God.
After checking myself in, they ushered me to my room.  Where yes, indeed, the lover and Creator of the universe decided to chat with me once again. I took one look in the mirror and that’s when I broke. I started to cry out to him in anguish and in fear.  Then, in the stillness of my sorrow I heard him say, “I love you, you were made for so much more”... a peace had all of a sudden transcended over me and renewed me with a strength I had never experienced before.  Later, after facing my addiction and God, I checked myself out of the chicken coop and it was New Year’s Eve.  I had been very hesitant to making Jesus Lord of my life, because I didn’t know what it meant for me. All I knew was that he must love me enough to save me that many times from death and then personally encounter me while I was all by myself!  That night something changed.  A pull that I’ve never felt before had moved me to such extremes of begging my mother (Carolyn Koole) and sister (Annie Earls) to concur that what I was hearing was the indeed the Lord. So there on the floor on brink of 2010 my sister, Annie grabbed my hand and showed me what it looked like to allow Jesus to come into my life and be Lord of everything I do, to be my Savior.  I had to get to the end of myself to understand that I can’t do anything on my own.  These dreams inside me weren't to fulfill my own will, but for the will of and glory of my Father!

What God is doing in my life today…
In the last two years, I have had many exciting adventures with God.  They’ve led me here, to Tacoma, Washington; A community that I came to visit after seeing what the Lord had deposited into a friend of mine while they were here.  I’ve been living here for about 4 months now, going to a church called “City Central” and they’ve been grabbing my hand while I go through a season of prayer and restoration, in order to bring it to the rest of the world!  I’ve gained so much freedom in who I am in Christ here! I am now confident to say that I am free from my past and any other lie that I had believed before. I am becoming a new creation! I am learning about who He is, who I am in Him, and what more I can do for the furtherance of the gospel.   Really, I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody that there’s Someone who can save anyone. I can have confidence when I say that I will be a missionary for the rest of my life!  I cannot wait to watch people who were in the same place that I was before the Lord was in my life, come to full restoration.

Here’s where you come in…
So, if you wish to walk along side of me in my quest for Jesus! I can help you be a part of my bigger picture!  This summer I’m doing training through my church here called Catalyst Training School.  I’ll be in training for about six weeks learning all about prayer, restoration, and missions and at the end of our lecture phase we will be headed out to Cambodia for a month long adventure of bringing food, medicine, prayer, and evangelism to the people! We pray God’s restoration in Cambodia! I can’t wait!  But I need to raise money for it through support! Please pray about it, because you won’t find a 20 year old more in love with Jesus than this girl (at least in my opinion)!  The best way to help me get to Cambodia is to donate to an online banking account, which would mean it would go straight into my fundraising! Here's a link to it:


Write out a check to “City Central Church” indicating that it’s for my account (Candace Koole) and mail it to:

2522 N. Proctor St #1
Tacoma, WA 98406

I also am in DIRE NEED of prayer!  Please pray I receive clarity for this summer, so I can receive as much as I can!  If you wish to know more about my story or would love to chat, just e-mail me , I would love to hear your feedback or questions! I could talk about this for days!

Hi, it's Annie again... she's going to kill me but this is Candace at Bella's 2nd birthday party dressed as Tinkerbell (because it's Bella's favorite).  I love this picture because it's sassy and sweet, just like Candace!


  1. I'm sweeter than that picture, I promise.

  2. beautiful story - beautiful girl - awesome GOD
    you've been in our prayers - all through your journey candace
    and we plan on keeping ya there...

  3. Candace,

    I want you to know I am very proud to be your Aunt. I wasn't "in" on all that was going on in your life while you were going through it but I knew there were many struggles. I thank God for your transformation and I praise Him that the good has claimed the victory! I encourage you to hang on for everything it is worth and continue, not matter what, in the direction you are headed. We are given only one life to live and I pray you live it from here on out to it's fullest! Uncle Jim and I would love to help support you in this trip you are going to be taking. Please keep us all up to date on how things are progressing. Again, I am very proud of you.

    Love, Aunt Pam

  4. Candace, I'm a member of your father's church and I saw you and talked to you some and I knew there were problems but not the extent. From what I just read I would say you have really grown up recently. I'm sure our heavenly father is looking down on you with love right now. I will be praying for you from this night on that your trip will be sucessful. I'm sure your mom and dad are very proud of you right now and they have good reason to be. You sound like you are indeed growing into a wounderful young woman. Keep up the good work and may God bless you and your ministry.

  5. You guys are all so encouraging! if you have any further comments, feel free to e-mail me! :)

  6. So excited to hear what God is doing in your life! You've always been a ball of energy and I've always known that God would do great things in your life if you would surrender it to Him! I'm so happy that you have found the "true love of your life" and that you are striving to live for him and follow His leadings. You will always have a special place in my heart!

    Love you! Pat Brase

  7. Candace, I knew you would do it! I had so much faith in you, before you had it in yourself. Lots of tears and prayers later....look at you! I love ya girl.

  8. Beautiful, wonderful, love to hear of the Lord's rescue and healing and restoration! I have prayed much for you (Candace) over the last 7 years. May Jesus Christ be praised for what He has done and what He will continue to do in you and through you!! Erica Losch (formerly from CP!)