Welcome to our brand new series, City Girl Sessions! With our next City Girl event right around the corner, we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to share a powerful testimony with you all. Today, meet Gennesis Guzmán, a faith-filled, powerhouse young woman from our church! She gave her life to Jesus at a City Girl event and has been completely transformed.
Cari: So, first tell me about yourself.
Gennesis: My name is Gennesis. I'm a college student pursuing education and deaf/hard-of-hearing studies, sociology, and human rights. I should be graduating in a year and a semester, so I'm excited. I can't wait!
Cari: That's so exciting! And how long have you been coming to My City?
Gennesis: I've been coming to My City, like actually planted, since November 11th, when I attended my first City Girl Night.
Cari: Awesome! Can you describe your first City Girl event for me?
Gennesis: So I remember that I was coming to My City here and there when it used to be at UNO's campus. My sister kept asking me to attend, and periodically, I would check it out with some friends. Still, I found myself thinking, "why would I go if I know I'm going to be doing the same things I'm doing." So I told my friends that I couldn't bring myself to go. However, Debonnie, who happens to be one of my sorority sisters, saw that I was coming to church from time to time. She came to me and said, "Hey, I bought you a City Girl ticket."
I told Debonnie, "honestly, thank you. But I'm not going because I have to work until eight." And that was pretty much it. She said, "it's okay. I bought you the ticket. You can go either that Friday or that Saturday." I began thinking it through because I would either be showing up late or having to adjust work. I also told her that I had a house party to attend Saturday night, so I would be leaving City Girl early to make it to that party. Debonnie told me, "as long as you come, that's fine."
I ended up going Friday night. The City Girl theme was "Alive." I made it, but I was all the way in the back. And then she (Debonnie) saw me and came and said hi. I remember her saying, "I'm just so glad you made it."
So then, on Saturday, I remember that she text me and said, "Hey, are you coming?" I told her, "yes, I'm not going to let your money go to waste." And in my mind, I was like, "Thank you for buying me the ticket, but honestly, this is pointless. Because I'm still going to go to a house party afterward."
I remember I did my makeup. I was in full-blown glitter and had on all black because I knew I would go to the party afterward. I even thought to myself, what's the point of me going?
Cari: Right. So what happened from there?
Gennesis: I thought, "she spent money, I don't want it to go to waste, so I'll just do it for her." So I ended up going on Saturday. I remember I told my mom, and she said, "I guarantee you, you're not gonna go to the house party later."
I remember thinking, "yeah. Okay, mom."
The night ended up being pretty cool. I didn't sit with Debonnie because I was still just trying to sit way in the back. And I remember the message was about being "alive." I was sitting there "listening," but I wasn't paying attention. I was like, "yeah, you know, I've heard this stuff many times. It doesn't phase me."
“BUT WHERE MY CHANGE OF HEART HAPPENED WAS DURING THE ALTAR CALL.”
The pastor said, "how many of us want to be alive? How many of us are walking dead, not actually living?" When he said that, it gave me a flashback to all of the things I was doing and how I was not getting life from anything I was doing. And then something started happening in my heart, and I remember they were singing the song Here Again.
It wasn't singing the lyrics, but reading and genuinely thinking about the lyrics that got me.
Can't go back to the beginning
Can't control what tomorrow will bring
But I know here in the middle
Is the place where You promise to be
I'm not enough unless You come
Will You meet me here again.
That "will You meet me here again" had me sobbing. It was at that moment when I decided, "alright, God. You have seen me teeter-tottering back and forth, and I'm so sick and tired of this the way I'm living. I came in so broken and empty. So God, if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this. But I expect you to show up for me in this." And I remember just sobbing and sobbing and sobbing.
“I REMEMBER I RAN (TO THE ALTAR), I DIDN'T RAISE MY HAND.“
Cari: That's amazing! What happened then?
Gennesis: I remember that people were laying hands on me, praying for God's love to fill me up. Once it was time to leave, I couldn't bring myself to go to the party anymore.
Cari: So obviously, City Girl changed your life. Where are you now compared to where you were then?
Gennesis: I grew up Pentecostal, and I remember always thinking, "the church is only for good people." I didn't believe I belonged there. The enemy grabbed ahold of my thoughts and kept me away from church and community. So it was a process, but slowly, when I began coming to the church again after City Girl, I remember that old mentality I carried began to break off. Now I can honestly say I have a relationship with God. That was the dynamic shift for me. I used to know of God, but now I truly know God.
“I USED TO KNOW OF GOD, BUT NOW I TRULY KNOW GOD.”
Cari: That is so beautiful. So, having been skeptical about City Girl and church in general, what advice do you have for women who are thinking about inviting their friends to City Girl?
Gennesis: I remember that when Debonnie was trying to get me to come to City Girl, she told me, "Hey, I'll buy your ticket, but I'll also take you to dinner. I want to." She went above and beyond trying to get me to go. And even now, I have another sorority sister I've been trying to get to My City or City Girl. And I told her, "I will pay for your ticket. Let's go to dinner and catch up too." I presented it City Girl as an event that you can't walk away from without gaining anything. When inviting others, I also use my testimony. I tell my friends to look where I am now and what I have gained freedom from; a horrible thought-life, depression, arrogance, pride, and anger. Now I have wholeness, joy, peace, and grace because of what God has done in me.
One piece of advice I would share is to never give up because God doesn't give up on you. God had been knocking at my door every single day for so many years. Even though I never answered, He kept knocking. It wasn't until that one person decided to go above and beyond to buy me the ticket, take me to dinner, and invest in me that I finally answered. What looks like an insignificant moment to you, God can use. Because of that one invite, I am where I am now. Debonnie's dedication to me produced fruit in my heart that has brought about so much freedom in my life. All it took was taking me to dinner and being there for me.
Cari: Thank you so much for sharing your testimony.
Today, Gennesis serves on frontline and kids Worship, Digital Content team and City Girl production team, and is a My City Intern. God has been so faithful to her! This is just one of many incredible City Girl testimonies. We are so excited and expectant for how God has moved and will continue to move in our City Girl ministry. He is truly in the business of completely transforming minds, hearts and lives, and we are believing that He will continue to move in mighty ways through this next event. All it takes is one moment for a life to be forever changed.
Prayer: God, thank you so much for who You are. Right now, we lift up every woman to You that is attending Sunday’s event, as well as every single invite that has been sent out. We are believing that You’re moving in hearts right now, that You’re freeing up calendars, providing financially and making a way where there is no way, God. In your Word it says that through Your mighty power at work within us, You are able to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. God, do the impossible in the hearts and lives of all attending this event! We love you so much Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.