Melanie Bograd can’t even remember the first time she knew that Jesus was her Savior. She accepted that truth when she was very young. But at a Forest Home camp in the seventh grade, Melanie’s faith began to shine outwardly as she made an inward decision to dedicate her life to Jesus.
After coming home from that impactful time, Melanie joined the Servant Leadership Team of Ventura Missionary’s Middle School Ministry. She began to learn leadership skills, ministered to her peers, and participated in community outreach.
When she entered high school, Melanie’s friend group didn’t happen to attend Ventura Missionary’s High School opportunities. She lacked the confidence to engage with those she didn’t know well and pulled away a bit. However, it was also during high school that Melanie began to serve in Children’s Ministry, and there, her confidence began to grow.
It was also in one of her later years of High School, that Melanie participated in a Rooted Discipleship group. Rooted is a ten-week experience hosted by Ventura Missionary Church twice a year that provides an opportunity for people to actually do and experience the rhythms encouraged in the Bible – things like prayer, serving, and sharing their story with others. Melanie says that being in that group with other high school girls changed her life. She says, “It brought back a lot of conviction by helping me ask myself how I was actually living for Christ. And being in that community of girls was so rad!”
Melanie now serves as one of our Student Ministry Interns. She is a drummer for the student worship team and leads the eighth-grade girls, having led the same group since they were in sixth grade. She says, “Seeing them grow and mature in their faith is so cool!” Melanie has also been known to play the cajon for our Sunday morning livestream services.
Since January of 2020, Melanie has felt a really heavy call to Youth Ministry. Though in the past she never considered herself a people person, she now loves hanging out with students and can see herself leading them for the rest of her life. She is very passionate about leading worship, pastoring, and teaching.
Melanie is also passionate about the environment and takes seriously the stewardship responsibility we’ve been given in the book of Genesis. Because of that, she also will be attending online courses in Environmental Science through Humboldt State University this fall. She’s not quite sure how God will combine these two callings, but she knows He has a plan.
Melanie has an abiding relationship with Jesus, which explains why what is reflected through her life is so beautiful. She says, “I’m in a constant state of prayer. It’s conversational. I pray for students and other things as God brings them to my heart.” She also says that since quarantine, she has been pouring over Scripture, really soaking in the meaning, rather than just doing a short devotional each day.
Even though salvation is a gift that we don’t have to earn, the book James describes the connection between faith and action. Melanie’s life is a compelling example of James’ words in chapter 2, verse 22 – her faith and her actions are working together, and her faith is made complete by what she is doing. Activated by the expression of what she believes, Melanie’s faith is alive – or to borrow an environmental science term – organic.
We can’t wait to see how God continues to write your story, Melanie. We will be praying for you!