Our Stories

God called me to the Christian Ashram.

Asher and Cassidy with their mom, Bonnie Houser

Bonnie Houser shares what it meant to her and her children to go to Redwood Christian Ashram for the first time. “I took a leap of faith and came. My children set the example for me this week. I have such an overflow of love.”

Before going to the 2022 Redwood Christian Ashram, I was very unsure in my faith. I had only been actively attending church for about four years and I would only show up to church maybe once a month. I had belief but I had no idea how to build my faith. Going into the Ashram both my son, Asher and I were very unsure of what to expect, especially because this was so far outside our comfort zone when it came to church.

On the first night, I was completely shocked to see my shy, quiet son stand up and say how he wanted to learn more about God and Jesus and wanted to make more friends while attending Ashram. He set the example for me going into the week. Almost immediately, it was easy to start seeing God at work. Asher quickly joined in with the Tongan Youth Group and was able to secure a spot with them in their cabin. This experience carried over into his life after we came home. He has joined the Tongan Youth Ministry where he has been able to make new friends, attend events, and be a part of performances. He found, not only a group of friends, but friends who are loving and encouraging to a child who has experienced bullying and has struggled to feel a part of anything.

For me, Ashram marked the true beginning of my journey into faith, not just belief. I fully anticipated feeling out of place and completely out of my element while at Ashram. Though I was faced with certain activities that were 100% out of my comfort zone, by the end of the week I was completely open to these activities and experiences. Since coming home from Ashram, I have begun reading scripture, attending church regularly, and even taking on a position on one of the church committees. I have a shelf full of devotionals that I read daily as well as other Christian literature that I use to help broaden my faith and understanding.

God called me to the Redwood Christian Ashram to show me the path I needed to take to bring myself closer to Him. Had I not followed that call, the last year of my life and my son’s life would have looked very different. I thank God every day for giving me the courage to immerse myself into something I was so unsure of, because it was the most spiritual experience. It has truly brought my family closer to God.