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When Everything Changed: Jeno's Story

January 10, 2022
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Jeno Jorgenson is a tough guy. He grew up in Chicago, lived on his own from the time he was 15, and later joined the Marines. He was raised without faith or religion because his parents wanted him to have a choice. Now he’s married to Lynn. She grew up in Anaheim Hills as a devout Catholic.  

Lynn’s sister is a long-time attendee of Friends. When Jeno first heard her speak of the church, he thought it was like a TV megachurch — the kind that’s just after your money. He visited when his nieces were baptized in 2018, and the atmosphere was exactly as he expected —stadium seating, big screen, lights, and an over-the-top setting. However, one thing wasn’t as he anticipated. He says, “I’ve traveled the world and led people into combat, but I’ve never had anyone talk to me like Pastor Matthew did. We started going every Sunday because I wanted to hear more. I wanted to hear the next part, and the next part. I didn’t really feel like I fit in, I just wanted to listen.” 

And so he kept coming. In fact, he brought his friend Andy along, too. Andy wanted to join Alpha, so Jeno reluctantly agreed to go. Once they were signed up, a friend picked them up and they started attending regularly. During the meetings, Andy told his story, and that moved Jeno to share his. He went deep with his newfound friends, knowing he could ask any question and not be judged.


So much did they enjoy the experience that at the end of the sessions, they went on a retreat — one that several other churches were part of. However, once they arrived, Jeno felt himself resisting. He fell asleep in the first service and then, when everyone was in the room and they brought in the Holy Spirit, he says, “I felt like I was in a timeshare sell. They wanted to close the deal, and they invited us to accept Jesus. ”There were people praying for people, and at that moment, I thought to myself, “This is not for me. This is not what I came here for.”


Thankfully, since he’d invested so much time, he decided he would take a risk and have a brief conversation with God. He said to the Lord, “Listen, if you’re real — if you’re for me, then just give me something — anything — some kind of sign, and I will give you everything.” Then his answer came. 


He was sitting next to his group leader, Tyler, and at that exact moment, he felt him slap him on the back and say, “Can I pray for you?” “It was like a flash of light,” Jeno says. “He prayed for me, and then he walked away. But I was stunned. I had my answer, and that was my sign. So I said ‘okay, God,’ and I walked up to the stage. I dropped to my knees, opened up my hands, and started crying. I said, ‘I believe in you, and I will do whatever you want me to do.’ Right then, a light came into me, and a sense of relief.”


“It changed everything.”

After getting saved, he was asked to write his struggles on a note card. However, he says, “When I went to write things down, I couldn’t express anything. I closed my eyes, and for the first time in years, there was clarity. I’d had really bad PTSD with flashbacks of helicopters, fireworks, and even nightmares, and at that moment, there was no noise. It was all gone… a weight had been lifted from me. It was such a gift from God.” 

He was rejoicing in his newfound peace, but he still wasn’t sure about reading the Bible. While he owned several that were given to him in combat, he somehow felt unworthy of the Word. It took his friend Tyler putting a different spin on it for him to reconsider. When he was asked, “Do you think God cleared your mind so you could fill it with His truth?”, his attention was arrested. He started reading, and he didn’t want to stop. Jesus began to speak to him — and then came conviction. He says, “One of the parables made me ask myself, ‘How can you receive forgiveness if you’re not willing to forgive others?’ It was like Jesus said to me, ‘You have a lot of stuff to fix yourself.’” 

Since he was kicked out by his mom at age 15 and lived on the streets while growing up, he was carrying a lot of baggage. He was the firstborn, so there was pressure to be the best, and when he moved out, his brother became angry and power hungry. After years of pain, he took the tough step of setting boundaries with his family — and this caused him to feel more alone. 

Jeno knew he had walls to tear down and issues to work through, and that’s why he joined Rooted. 

After going through this powerful 10-week experience with his wife and friends, he realized that it’s okay for Christians to struggle. The Holy Spirit broke strongholds in his heart, and he found healing connections with other believers. In fact, when the course was over, he knew he needed to be baptized. He wanted to show the Lord that he was serious about his faith, especially after being delivered from so much. 

Through Rooted, his life was changed. He says, “I feel like my purpose now, with Jesus, is to spread His Word and help guide people to His calling for them.” 

Ready to go deep with God and others? Join Rooted and unlock the abundant life you’re made for!