Youth Leader Breanna McCracken
I'm Breanna McCracken (formerly Anderson) and I have just recently married the love of my life (Kenny). I live here in New Castle, but I grew up a few towns over in Grove City! I have an older brother who lives in Vancouver, WA, and two younger brothers who are still in middle and high school in Grove City.
My dad's dad, who I refer to as my PapPap, was a pastor at a Methodist church when he was still with us. I didn't know him very well, as he passed away when I was very young, but growing up knowing this had a huge impact on my faith. When my parents were still together, we would attend church every Sunday and made God the center of our lives. I attended a private Christian school for Kindergarten and first grade. One day on the bus ride home from Kindergarten, one of my friends asked me if I had asked Jesus Christ to forgive my sins and become my Savior. I asked how to do this because I hadn't yet done so, and she told me to pray to him. I made the decision that day to pray for forgiveness and asked Jesus to be a part of my life when I got home.
I attended public school from 2nd grade through high school. Between experiencing the peer pressure present in public school and having my parents separate and divorce at such a young age, church and my faith became something I never really thought about anymore until high school.
I started attending the youth group and Sunday school classes at the church my mom would occasionally take my older brother and I to, and eventually went on a mission trip with that group after my freshman year to Mexico. This mission trip was super influential on me. I kept attending youth group and events associated with it for a few years but eventually started attending a different church and its youth group by my senior year in high school.
I then attended a small Christian college known as Waynesburg University to continue my education and also continued to compete in track & field there. I chose Waynesburg University because my older brother attended there and I felt called to go to a small Christian school over any of the big state schools; I didn't want to get caught up in the party scene. Unfortunately, freedom got the best of me anyways at this small Christian school, and I did not give my relationship with Christ the priority it deserved.
I attended another mission trip, this time to Puerto Rico, after my junior year of college. On this trip, I fell very ill. I spent a lot of the week in our hot dorm not able to participate in fun events or help out with setting up our challenge for the local high school kids. I took this as a sign that I needed to make a change in my life and ask for forgiveness again. I gave my testimony at the top of a mountain our group climbed on one of our final days in Puerto Rico (when I was feeling better) and made a conscious decision to prioritize Christ in my life again.
The following year, I graduated and moved back home to Grove City. I began working at a restaurant where my now husband also worked while he was finishing up college, which is where we met. We fell in love, moved to Pittsburgh for 2 years, moved to where we are now (in New Castle) in January 2019 and began attending Wayside Emmanuel Church.
Kenny and I are so excited to start this new chapter in our lives of being a part of this youth group and hopefully help local youths stay committed in their walk with Christ!"