“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10
Pastor Dieter and his family grew up in Northern Colorado. It was at a home in Loveland that 14 year-old Dieter’s father, Gus Skowron, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and their lives changed forever.
In 1993, the Lord called Pastor Dieter back to Colorado after he had evangelized and started a small church in Chicago. Both of those experiences prepared and trained him to come back to the state he loved so much to begin a work. However, the bulk of his training came from what God had to teach him through life experience.
When Dieter was a young man, he was living life for himself. Impulsive, reckless, and self-centered, he was moving full-speed ahead towards his own goals and dreams. When he was 21, however, that all came to a screeching halt. He felt a lump on his jaw, and the doctors told him he had developed cancer and did not have long to live.
The doctors told him he had developed cancer and did not have long to live.
The news devastated him! He was angry, bitter, and overcome. He was 21 years old! He had his own construction business – he had dreams and plans! He had a beautiful girlfriend, Kimberly Ann, whom he wanted to marry! Here he had so much of his life ahead of him, and suddenly God was taking that from him? He was basically a good person…why was this happening to him instead of someone who was really evil like some rapist or murderer? Why did he feel like he was God’s target?
Why did he feel like he was God’s target?
His parents, Gus and Brigitte Skowron, did everything in their power to help him defeat the cancer. They tried different treatments and going to different doctors and hospitals, but nothing worked! His journey led him to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. As he was walking through a park next to the hospital, God finally broke his will. Dieter realized that God was trying to get his attention. He fell under a tree and repented before God, weeping for all of the things he had done; for the attitudes he had that had caused people harm; and, for the sins he had committed. When he got back to his hospital room, he called all the people he thought he may have wronged and apologized to them.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
No longer was he angry and bitter. He finally realized who he was. God was righteous. If Dieter died from cancer, it would be just what he deserved, or so he thought.
The night before Dieter was to undergo a major radiation treatment on his jaw, his father, Gus Skowron, stayed in the room with his son all night. However, he did not sleep. As Dieter drifted in and out of sleep, Gus prayed and prayed. The young man would wake up to find his dad saying, “In Jesus’ name, in Jesus’ name,” over and over and reaching for his son, grasping the air, then pulling his arm back, as if he were removing the cancer from him. Dieter would fall back asleep, and when he awoke again, he would find his dad in the same position, doing the same thing.
The next morning, the doctors took one final X-Ray before going through with the treatment, but when the results came back it was not what they were expecting. “I can’t believe this,” a doctor exclaimed as he burst into Dieter’s room. “The cancer is dying! The tumor is shrinking! I’ve heard of this phenomenon before but I have never seen it! It’s a miracle!” The Lord had completely healed him!
“I’ve heard of this phenomenon before but I have never seen it!” – Doctor
Other doctors were skeptical. They thought they had better go through with the radiation therapy, just in case, to make sure all the cancer died. They went through with the radiation and, through some kind of error, the radiation destroyed part of the tissue in his jaw. As a result, he can only open his mouth a quarter of an inch–which often causes people to stare when he is eating in restaurants. Miraculously though, the Lord spared him from any speech impediment. When he preaches, he cannot completely open his mouth, but to hear him, you would never know it. He is one of the few cases in the world where this is true.
Dieter came through the experience a very different person, changed and hungry for God. He began praying daily and reading his Bible voraciously. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so my soul doth pant after thee, O God,” became his heart’s cry, as he expressed using the Psalmist’s words in a tune he wrote on his guitar. The Lord began to speak to him and lead him.
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” Psalm 42:1-2
Along with his wife Kim, he began to walk through the doors the Lord was opening for him. He traveled around the country evangelizing as God opened the doors for him to speak. He felt led to start a missions work in Chicago, and moved his growing family there. During these years, he and his wife had three children, Philip, Alisha, and Jeremy.
After four years in the “Windy City”, the Lord spoke to him and told him to move back to his home state of Colorado. His dad flew out, and through a series of God-orchestrated events, purchased some land to build a church in Johnstown. In a dream, Pastor Dieter heard the name: “Abundant Life Tabernacle.”
That was 20 years ago. Miracle after miracle occurred, as God began working and saving people in Northern Colorado. Through the course of his life, Pastor Dieter was healed twice more in his body – once of a completely unrelated form of cancer, and once of ulcerative colitis. The Lord healed his body, saved his marriage, brought him through when people were coming against him with false accusations and evil reports, and through it all, Pastor Dieter has come through it as a man keenly aware of God’s mercy.
A pastor keenly aware of God’s mercy.
Abundant Life has become a place where people can come for healing and to experience the mercy that only comes from God. All that are weary and heavy-laden are welcome. Pastor Dieter has often said, “If it were my church, I could decide who is welcome and who is not. But it is not my church. It’s God’s church.” God has sent people from the north, south, east, and west to the small community in Johnstown.
“It’s not my church…it’s God’s church.” – Pastor Dieter Skowron
Now the Lord is doing something new once again. The church has been growing, and the opportunity has presented itself for the old building in the heart of Johnstown to be sold, and new property to be purchased right off the I-25 frontage road between Exits 255 and 257 at the entrance to the Thompson River Ranch Subdivision. Pastor Dieter has the vision to be a visible church at the crossroads in Northern Colorado. Just like the nation of Israel, which was a monotheistic nation who had received God’s law and were to proclaim the name of the one true God right on the crossroads of civilization in the ancient world, our vision is to be a church that proclaims the one true God right off of I-25!
“I’m just proof God can use donkeys!” – Pastor Dieter Skowron
We at the church recognize that it is nothing that can be done on our own strength. Pastor Skowron has said time and again, “I’m just proof God can use donkeys!” God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. Our goal is to show people the love and saving power of Jesus, and to let everyone know that He is still doing what He said He came to do: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” – Jesus
Pastor Dieter with his family