Our Leadership Team

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David Saenz

Pastor

Born into the Catholic Church and raised by a single mom, I was the youngest of 5 children (1 sister and 3 brothers) while in Southern California. Since we didn’t have a father in our house and my oldest brother was nearly 15 years older than I, he was the father image I had growing up. As a young kid, my oldest brother was my hero and I wanted to be just like him. As he got older, he became a Jehovah’s Witness and so as I naturally followed in his footsteps. I was fully committed to the organization and was baptized at a relatively young age (age 11) for most Jehovah’s Witnesses. Being comfortable going door-to-door, conversing with people, selling Watchtower and Awake magazines, attending annual assembly gatherings, and being dedicated to the weekly meetings was really all I knew growing up. As far as I was taught, everything outside of the organization was worldly and satanic; and I was warned not to step outside of the organization, or question anything for that matter.

As a teenager, I became more naturally and respectfully curious, and seriously believed in Jehovah and wanted to honor Him. Meantime I met a young girl who got my attention in high school and I began my focus toward her. As we got more and more involved, I began to skip Kingdom Hall meetings. Over time, I was visited by elders from the organization after several indicators from my lack of attendance (or lack of dedication) was raised. After several questions from them, I admitted to my sin that we had committed. But I indicated that I recognized “it was sin and I already asked Jehovah to forgive me.” I was then instructed to go to the Kingdom Hall and repent before the remaining elders. I didn’t sense that was correct since I had already confessed and repented to God to forgive me. I was then told that I had a certain timeframe to perform this otherwise I was going to be “dis-fellowshipped from the organization.” I respectfully would not agree to meet their demand, so I was formally kicked out from the organization.

Meanwhile I had already begun going to a Christian church with my girlfriend whose family was raised in a Pentecostal church. After attending church service, and enjoying the Youth Ministry it had on Friday evenings, I began to attend that church. My girlfriend’s father was a minister and I had joined their family one evening (Aug 1980) as he was a guest speaker to an all-black, on fire for Jesus, Pentecostal church service! All I remember was the pastor of the church giving an alter call, and I felt the Holy Spirit almost literally tugging my heart to come to the alter - so there I was, weeping for my sins that Jesus had died for, and for the Holy Spirit to come into my life as I said a sinner’s prayer.

That night I remember going home and praying when I went to bed that evening. Wanting to please God I remember saying something like, “Jehovah I’m not sure I understand what I did this evening, but it felt right. I just want to please You. So please show me somehow that what I did was something that You agree with.” As I recall, I had a peaceful sleep that night. When I awoke the following morning, before I could realize that I was awake I said, “1 Corinthians 2:12.” I had no idea where that came from because as far as I could recall, this was not a verse that I had heard the night previously. I was so excited about what had happened that I called up my girlfriend and told her what took place. She said, “What did the verse say?” Well I hadn’t even looked it up yet, so while she was on the phone I searched it in the Bible. It stated, “Now you have received not the Spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” This was God’s confirmation to me that what I had done the night before of asking Jesus to come into my life, was a real event; and more importantly, that it pleased God. It has become my life verse.

That day I remember running across the street to an elderly neighbor who was a dear friend of the family to tell her about it, and much to my surprise she told me that she had been praying for me. While still in high school, I recall being on fire for Jesus and excited about what I had done. In addition, I had a teacher who taught a “Bible as Literature” class that I had informed, and she told me she had been praying for me as well. Finally I had an English teacher who I had informed, and it turns out he was also a born-again believer. Both teachers allowed me to give my testimony as a part of my classwork, which was very exciting!

As a senior in high school at age 17, my girlfriend and I were married (I would not recommend this for anyone), and at age 18 our son was born. Julie and I have had our struggles, mostly due to our immaturity thinking we were ready to be married at such a young age.

I was always fairly serious about church, but didn’t fully understand the relationship that Jesus wanted from me. Getting older and raising a family, we began to get more involved with church (thanks to Julie). Around the age of 25, I began to have a strange thought and feeling about one day preaching/teaching and pastoring. Getting more involved with church ministry, I had attended Bible College, and eventually was ordained by Calvary Chapel of Simi Valley (Pastor David Guzik).

In the early 90’s by circumstances orchestrated by God, we ended up in Great Falls Montana from Southern California. Encouraged to begin a Calvary Chapel, eventually Calvary Chapel of Great Falls was formed. After about 7 years, other personal family circumstances had risen, and we had relocated back to California. Returning to California for several years, but longing to return to Montana, and after our children were all raised and married, both Julie and I returned to Great Falls Montana in 2015.

Having pastored a church previously, and once again being encouraged to plant another church, and after much prayer and direction from God – Calvary Chapel of Cascade County was formed.

Julie and I have just celebrated our 37th year of marriage (2018). We’ve been blessed with 4 wonderful children that have given us 12 grandchildren (with one on the way). God is good.
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Michael Paparella

Elder

I was born and raised in Connecticut, the oldest of 4 children.  My mother was Jewish who came to faith, and my father pastored 2 churches for several years (one of which he planted).

I grew up in the church, but like many of us so often do, I drifted away after graduating from High School.  I enlisted in the Air Force the next year and after that went to college, got married and basically wandered through life without direction or purpose.  Years later, I met a friend who was a believer and we started talking about Jesus and the Bible.  I then began, slowly at first, to delve into the Scriptures and listen to Bible studies on the radio.

It took me a while to get saved because I already knew God was real and that Jesus was His Son. This led me to unknowingly create a wall between myself and the truth, as I thought I already had the truth.  Listening to a Bible study one day, something the teacher said struck me, and even though I was learning God’s word, I remember actually saying out loud: “Oh my God, it’s true!” I finally had my first real glimpse and understanding of who Jesus really was and what He did, and my heart was changed.  I gave my life to Jesus, and I’ve never looked back.

My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 119:71 “It is good for me that I have been afflicted that I might learn thy statutes.”  The first 2 plus years of my walk were mostly spent working and caring for my increasingly ailing wife, Sue.  Having the radio on when I was in the car listening to Bible studies was something that kept me grounded and focused.  After Sue died, I began to open the scriptures daily and really study them.  While reading Psalm 119, I got to verse 71, and realized, in a certain sense, it was a truth I was living out.

For Sue’s memorial service I selected Romans 12:9-21 to be read.  Shortly after I asked God, “Now that I don’t have to take care of Sue anymore, what do You want me to do for You.”  That was when ministry began for me as God put on my heart to study the scriptures, and to write.  I then started sending what I wrote to everyone on my e-mail list.  This also led to what I call my Homeless Ministry, loosely based on Romans 12:20-21.  It started with giving a bottle of water with a dollar bill secured to it to people standing at the entrance to Walmart.  As God began to bless my little ministry, I wrote a gospel tract and put it in a baggie along with what God had blessed me with financially, and secured that to the bottle of water.

Early on, when I began to realize it was God directing my path, it told me something about how personal our relationship is, something I hadn’t fully understood. This fueled in me a desire to want to know Him better and to finally learn what it really means to walk with Him.  I decided to set aside some time every day for what I refer to as my prayer closet time, and my personal prayer and communion with Him has really blossomed.  This led to conducting my life from a God-centered perspective in everything.  I’m still a work in progress, as all born-again believer are, but making it my top priority keeps me focused on what really is important.

I love to walk, taking in God’s creation, sometimes praying as I go, sometimes just marveling at what I see or what Jesus has done in and though my life.  I really enjoy reading and preparing for our Men’s Bible study.  I have 1 son, 2 daughters, 11 grandchildren, and 7 great grandchildren.  I’m humbled when I consider just how blessed I really am.  Thank you, Jesus…
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Jaysen Basu

Elder

Raised in a Catholic home, my family and I didn't really attend church on a regular basis, so I never really had a relationship with Jesus. After hearing the Gospel preached clearly for the first time by a military chaplain, I got saved in 2010 as I was stationed in South Korea. My favorite Bible verse is Ephesians 6:10-18 as the passage speaks to me that there is always a spiritual battle being waged reminding me of my constant dependence on the Lord's protection. Know how empty life can be without Jesus, my heart for ministry is to reach out to those who are lost. I want to help save people and help them develop a personal relationship with Jesus. Recently, the Lord has caused my relationship to grow in Him by putting a desire in my heart to commit to reading my Bible daily. Although I was already a Christian, I struggled with reading my Bible on a daily basis. Today, I see this as a more personal and intimate moment I get to spend with Jesus. I also enjoy spending time with my lovely wife Elizabeth and my two beautiful daughters, Jaylin and Adaline.
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Jim Leeming

Elder

Raised in a Christian family in a suburb of Chicago Illinois with an older sister by both parents. Sundays were dedicated to Sunday school and church. At the time we were pre-liberal Congregationalists and Presbyterians. Initially during high school wanted to become a chemical engineer but decided to enlist in the Navy. During the Pacific War we carried anti-submarine nets and floats on a Liberty Ship to place in front of friendly island moorings. We had no chaplain aboard but when moored at the islands we serviced, attended church ashore. After serving in the Navy, discharged in early 1946, I graduated from to the University of Illinois as a Metallurgical Engineer. While married and raising a family, we lived in San Clemente, CA. During this time I was asked to visit a nursing home for the elderly and give a talk one Sunday. From this event, it changed my life as I started in my spare time visiting hospitals and nursing homes and from time to time in the churches I attended and gave sermons on my relationship with the LORD. This resulted in becoming an official visitation representative for my church. During the 30 years of this ministry, I was compelled to help old folks in our churches with minor home repair jobs and had cards printed up and distributed containing, Proverbs 27:10, “Better a friend nearby than a brother far away.”

Served as an Elder for a large Presbyterian church for over 20 years. Three of those years as a discussion leader with Bible Study Fellowship but had to resign when my wife decided on a divorce!

Spent over twenty years providing the morning sermons at the Beartooth Nursing Home, the last ten years gave or arranged the Sunday morning service at East Rose Bud Lake. MT.

Got saved over 60 years ago while visiting a nuclear power plant in Oak Ridge TN when one lonely night I had a strong desire to get down on my knees and ask the Lord to become the focus of my life!

My favorite Bible verse is 1Thess. 5:16-18 as it’s the only verse that specifically tells us what is God’s Will for our life!

God continues to convince me that He is precisely Who He claims to be and has done exactly what He has claimed to have done!

I have four wonderful daughters, eight grandchildren, and twenty of the cutest great grandchildren you’ve every seen! I enjoy spending as much time in God's great outdoors as possible and being positively amazed at the beauty!

I am forever grateful to have been able to travel across this great country with my family, walking through the woods, visiting our National Parks, boating on Lake Michigan and down the Mississippi River and able to appreciate the mighty work of His Hands!

GIVE

 

God has really blessed us here at Calvary Chapel Cascade County in 2017, and is beginning to use our fellowship in some wonderful and exciting ways. If you would like to support what God is accomplishing through us, so that in 2018 and beyond we can reach more souls with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and really make a difference in people’s lives, please prayerfully consider donating, but only if God lays it on your heart to do so. For your convenience you can either send a check to Calvary Chapel Cascade County, PO Box 1508, Great Falls, MT, 59404, or you can click the Paypal button below.