Life Stories

Betsy Lavezzo

"Being raised in a performance based home, I was taught to believe in my own power and abilities rather than a higher power. While I had heard the Gospel many times throughout my young life, it was never a priority nor did it even have a place in my home. I was taught to work hard to the best of my ability; to strive for worldly success such as money, influence, and power. I followed this life prescription for a long time. Since I was the one in control, I was very selfish. I chose very wrong paths in high school: experimenting with alcohol, drugs, and pre-marital sex. But I was a hard worker, so I was not disciplined for these actions. I graduated from college and obtained a good job working in the corporate world. I had climbed the ladder next in line for management. I had been married for three years. I took trips 2-3 times per year for vacation. However, I was miserable. My marriage was in serious trouble because I was looking for my husband to fill my emptiness. I was 50 pounds overweight because I used food to fill my emptiness. I was also shopping and decorating to fill my emptiness. Nothing made me happy; nothing filled the void in my heart. I felt even emptier once the temporary high of worldly success wore off.

In 1998, I met a Christian who came to work with me. She and I became close and I shared my past with her as well as my current miseries. She invited me to church, and even though I was very reluctant, I attended church with her. The Gospel was preached so clearly that I fully understood what God was teaching me. I really felt God telling me that following Jesus would fill the void in my heart. Since I had reached an emotional low, I had nothing to lose. I committed my life to Christ that Sunday in August 1998. My conversion was not some kind of revolutionary epiphany where a change was seen overnight. It has been a journey of spiritual growth through regular Bible reading, prayer, and meeting with brothers and sisters in Christ. God has given me blessings beyond what I could ever have asked for or imagined. First, He has FORGIVEN ME my past sins. I am no longer the old me, but the new person in Christ. The love that I feel from Him is overwhelming. As if this wasn't enough, He provided me with a great church, New Song, to surround me with His love, mercy, compassion, and teaching. He has given me a purpose that never changes no matter what season of life I am going through. He has stifled desires for drugs, alcohol, and excessive spending. He has given me wisdom from His Word and my brothers and sisters in Christ to help my marriage grow and strengthen. He has afforded my family the ability for me to stay home. He has blessed me with two beautiful girls to raise as warriors for Him. And God is not finished with me yet! I can't wait to see what He is going to do next! If He can do all that for me, what do you think He can do for you?" - Betsy Lavezzo

Teri Murray

"Mike and I have been married since 1998, and have been blessed with 3 wonderful children. When we got married, in the Catholic Church, we both knew who Jesus Christ was, and knew He was the Son of God. Unfortunately, we didn’t know the importance of having a personal relationship with Him. After living over 30 years without Him, we realized the mistakes that we had made. The decisions we were making in life were based on what we thought was best for us and not what God had planned for us. Our decisions included living together before marriage and celebrating life as the normal society does.

Mike has a friend from childhood who had been praying for Mike and I to come to Christ and hoping we would at least come to church. They were attending New Song since the beginning and since it was right across the street from our house, they thought it would be very easy for us to attend. But at that point, we were attending a Catholic Church because that is "what we were supposed to do". One day our friends called us to let us know a famous baseball player was going to be speaking at their church, so we decided to go. That was the turning point in our faith. We heard things from this man that we knew nothing about. We didn’t understand that you were supposed to give your life to Christ and live for Him. We thought as long as you were a good person, and went to church you would get into heaven. We soon found that there is more to salvation than we ever imagined. After 6 months of attending New Song and getting to know people and hearing the message, we gave our lives to Christ. We are now living our lives for Christ and have found the rewards here on earth are tremendous.

God has given us wonderful friends who are our sisters and brothers in Christ who pray for us and give us strength and support when our lives are going crazy or when tragedy happens. When my father passed away unexpectedly, my brothers and sisters rallied around us to give us strength and to pray for us. We love our family at New Song and thank God that he sent our friends to lead us to this church." - Teri Murray

K.C. Saunders

"I grew up attending a Baptist church, and after being denied the opportunity to give my heart to Christ at the age of 8, church attendance became sporadic, at best. At the age of 23, I was finally baptized in the church, but still had not really given my heart to God. For the next two weeks, I played the part of the good Christian, but the seeds had really just been thrown on rocky ground. From that point on, instead of looking to pursue Christ in depth, I chose to pursue music in depth. I ended up playing rock and roll, and living a vacuous lifestyle. I moved from relationship to relationship, searching for something, but not knowing what. I was trying to fill the void in my soul that couldn't be filled by anything earthly or material. Playing music was the closest I could get to a spiritual experience, but even that was lacking.

Giving up on the Monterey Bay music scene, I moved to Beaverton, Oregon where I promptly feel into more of the same lifestyle. After a year and a half, things hit rock bottom. My relationship fell apart, music stopped, and I spent a lot of time attempting to escape through pot and alcohol. And that was getting me nowhere except farther away from God.

About this time, I called my friend Steve Novak in Monterey and told him my life was falling apart. Appealing to the musician in me, Steve suggested a Christian music station, K-LOVE, and gave me their toll-free number so I could get the local affiliate in the Portland area. After an hour of deliberation, I called the number and got the local station information. As I ended the call, without even thinking, I said to the operator, "God bless you." She in turn responded with "God bless you." Before I could even hang up the phone, tears were rolling down my face. As soon as I hung up the phone, I was down on my knees crying my eyes out, telling God to take it all because I couldn't do it anymore on my own. Thank you, Steve (and family).

The void has finally been filled. Now when the emptiness comes, He fills me. I have a peace that I never had before. I'm no longer searching for, or reaching or, worldly things to make me happy or justify me or my existence. This time around, the seeds have been thrown on fertile soil, having been rooted deeply in Christ. Not only that, but this time around the seeds are producing much fruit in my life. Now, when I'm playing music, it IS a spiritual experience, playing to my audience of One. God has blessed me in so many ways, one of which was leading me to New Song. I've been blessed with great fellowship, great friendships, and an even greater relationship with God the Father. And for some reason, God has seen fit to keep me and Steve in the same geographic region. When Steve moves, God ends up moving me to the same town. Three moves in ten years. It's a God thing, Steve. I think you're stuck with me, buddy. Praise God!" - KC Saunders

Mary Lynn Alviso

Mary's mother lovingly shares that Mary came out of the womb singing! As a toddler, whether sitting or swinging, Mary was singing. When she was 3, Mary sat beside the church's piano player, then later stood on a chair at the pulpit, next to her encouraging mom, and helped lead hymns. From singing specials in church and school, Mary's musical journey as a singer, songwriter and musician led to serving on a worship teams and later becoming a worship leader and Teacher of Worship. "God created us to worship," Mary says, "and since the beginning of Christianity, the power of praise and worship has held the keys to freedom and transformation." Mary counts it a privilege to corporately usher Christ's people in the life-changing experience of encountering Him intimately through music and song. As praise triumphs gloriously, the enemy's foundations are shaken, chains of bondage drop away, prisoners are freed, and broken lives rebuilt with joyous abandonment and elation. This is the essence of the Mary Lynn Band!

Mary and her team have been ministering for the Lord since 2008. Their passion for praise allows them to express Jesus' heart in a variety of venues, from Spirit West Coast in California to Nigeria, Africa; and a variety of denominations. Whether singing at retreats, concerts in the park,churchs or prison and recovery outreaches, the Mary Lynn Band humbly opens the floodgates of heaven, exalting God, singing His glory, and inviting His holy presence to revolutionize His people!

Her desire has always been to bring the message of hope and healing through Jesus Christ using the gift of music God has given her.The band has ministered in many venues, as mentioned above, throughout California, including Spirit West Coast Del Mar and Monterey on the JC Muzk Stage and Main Stage, as well as San Quentin Prison. The band has also had the great joy of ministering abroad in Nigeria on 2 different occasions at the VLBC Int'l Pastors Conference. While in Nigeria, they were blessed to be able to visit and minister in several villages and were touched by the passion the people have for Jesus knowing that He is the source of their true joy. The band is looking forward to a return trip soon. MLB is always looking forward to new ministry opportunities and adventures that God brings their way.