Showing posts with label passing on the faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label passing on the faith. Show all posts

hymn cards

I remember sitting beside Rory's grandpa's bed as he was beginning to pass away. Papa was a remarkable man, a powerful speaker and a passionate preacher. It felt odd to sit there and watch him sleep with such labored breathing, seemingly so far away. We decided to sing some hymns to him. For each hymn we could usually get through most of the first verse, belt out the chorus and then end up fumbling over words, inserting la la la's for unknown words and looking at each other in a panic and skipping to the chorus once again. I remember being overcome by giggles that night with Rory. We had been sad for long enough and our emotions snapped the other direction and our tears streamed not from crying, but from laughing, trying to sing verse two of "The Old Rugged Cross." Not the funniest song in the world, but that night, it had us in stitches. And even though this laughter was perfect and helpful for that moment, I still wished I had known the words. In general, I wish I had more lyrics committed to memory. I remember working on the advanced memory loss floor at Mount Olivet Home and beginning Beautiful Savior and listening to the residents sing all four verses. Men and women who didn't remember their own children would remember every word to every verse of these songs that had been shut up in their bones. So to help me, I made these hymn cards for our baby nursery. Rory and I are excited to sing these favorites to our little one. My plan is to have 6-7 hymns on rotation at a time. If I'm super ambitious, I'll change them for different seasons. (Christmas is just around the corner!) But at least we'll have the words visible to look at as we rock and snuggle and coo at each other. My Uncle Jake made the welded metal stand that they are sitting on and it's perfect. They are set on a shelf that looks directly at the glider rocker, so I have a feeling they actually will be used. I've been practicing already.

the snow has melted

...which means summer is really on its way. I know it's still a few months off, but when you work in camp ministry, there is a whole lot that needs to get done before summer can start and truth-be-told, I think I was finding a bit of comfort in the blanket of white that told me it's still the dead of winter.

But after a few sunny days and now a lot of rain, the stuff is almost gone and summer is definitely on its way. Deep breath.

Our summer staff applications are due next Friday, but we already have 75 applications in. This is really exciting and I am confident we will have a solid staff. I spent last week and much of this week interviewing each applicant over the phone and I am encouraged.

I ask each applicant to tell me about their family and faith-life growing up. And I ask them whose faith they look up to and how have they challenged how you live out your own faith.

I love these questions, because more often than not, I hear of faithful, loving families that have chosen to raise their child in the church. I hear about Grandma's who are always praying for their grandkids and how much of an impact their faithfulness has had on the faith development of the college student I am talking to. I hear about a parent who brought the kids to church every Sunday and Wednesday for 18 years while the other parent stayed at home.

I hear about faithful Sunday school teachers, pastors and youth directors. But more often than not, the person's faith they look up to is right within their own family.

In Deuteronomy chapter 6 we are commanded, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commands that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

I have left these conversations thankful that God sets us up in families and that these families are our primary mission field. I am left filled with hope after hearing these applicants tell their faith stories and so grateful for the generations before them who have remained faithful to the call of Christ in going therefore and passing on the faith to their kids and grandkids.

the weight of lent

We just got back from Ash Wednesday service. In my life, Ash Wednesday has always been a meaningful and significant evening, solemn and thoughtful as we begin our 40 days of Lent, looking towards the cross, and what the death of Jesus means to those of us who believe in Him.

I recently saw a Lenten devotional book. It was on Climate Justice, and focused on caring for the earth. I'm all for good environmental stewardship, but I was so frustrated by how this devotional book missed the mark entirely. Lent is about the saving of souls. Not the saving of sea shores. Lent is about Christ coming as God with us, here to take on the very sins of man, to create in us clean hearts. Not to clean our rivers and streams.

Tonight we sang O Sacred Head now Wounded and the words stilled my heart like a comforting friend. There is something to be said for tradition, for only singing particular songs during this season of contemplation and deep gratitude. For me, the lyrics below are what Lent is all about.

passing on the faith

We are right in the middle of 'Believing God' and I am, once again, learning so much. But for me the coolest thing about the study this time around is getting to do this Bible Study with my mom and my grandma. Not to mention the women from all different parts of my life who have also joined in this online study. It is a sweet community, and I am grateful.

When I was in Mesa, I found this list taped to my grandma's bathroom mirror. It's the five statements that the study is based upon, and part of the study is to memorize them. I saw them taped on her mirror, in her handwriting, and in that moment realized what a true treasure this opportunity truly is... to get to study and learn God's Word with my grandma. My heart overflows with thanksgiving for this sweet 10 weeks of growing in faith with her, and for her strong example to never stop learning God's commands and to always follow Jesus.

the christmas road

My grandma sends a devotional email to her family almost every day. Recently she wrote about another christmas memory:

Merry Christmas, dear family. We had a little coating of snow last night. Reminds me of years ago when snow was always expected and accepted at Christmas. Dad and Ed Hybbert would plow roads thru the fields where the snow wasn't so deep in order that we could worship on Christmas at Immanuel. Think of all the fences they had to cut and then repair later.

Just picture that! New roads just for Christmas! Plowed through farm fields three miles away.

I love the community picture this paints, neighbors working together all going to a white steeple church in Southern Minnesota to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. Weather didn't stop them...they busted up fences on the way. What a glorious example they were to their children, getting them to church, raising them in the faith, believing with might that God is indeed with us.

Haste! Haste! To bring him praise!
The babe, the son of Mary.

the nativity story

This season we have watched Rudolph, Elf, The Grinch, The Holiday, Charlie Brown, and we've got many more Christmas classics tivo'd. But my favorite movie for the season is The Nativity Story. If you haven't seen this before, be sure to rent it and find a quiet afternoon, a nice cup of something hot, wrap yourself in a comforter and snuggle up for peace, calm and beauty. The movie moves slowly, but is stunning in biblical storytelling and character development. The Shepherds get me to tears every time. And then our Savior is born. It is beautiful.

I remember when Rory and I lived in Montana, we went the nursing home I was working at on Christmas Day. It was a different Christmas Day than we were used to since we were not in Minnesota. But that day we found a unique community when we gathered all of the residents who had not been picked up by any family for the day. I brought Christmas cookies and we reminisced and then watched The Nativity Story together. And somehow it felt exactly how Christmas should be celebrated...with lonely old friends together in sweet community, dwelling on the birth of our baby God, come to save the world.

thoughtful and kind

My grandma Bredberg's christmas card came today. It was a beautiful watercolor that she drew herself. And inside was this note. I just thought it summed up her thoughtfulness and generosity well. The Jago's adopted from Ghana a year ago, so their share of the money went to that orphanage. Pretty cool, grandma. And like Larry the Cucumber says, "Everybody needs a waterbuffalo. Some are fast and some are slow."

Anne Lamott

Isn't this thought humbing? In a hundred years from now, most every person we know at this moment will be gone (unless they are a baby now and end up being one of the few who live past 100, of course).

I think this quote is especially sobbering when thinking about the process of passing on the faith. If in 100 years there are all new people, and if 100 years ago, there was an entire different group of people, then the importance of every single person serving as a faithful storyteller of the gospel from one generation to the next just can't be underestimated. It actually blows my mind that God entrusts human souls with such an enormous tell the story of Jesus with conviction, with belief, with joy and with sorrow. And that with the Holy Spirit, this holy story takes root in some human hearts within every generation.

This is my favorite topic lately. I have been holding and planning retreats based on this theme of passing on the faith. And the stories I have heard from faithful storytellers are so real and honest and true. I've heard absolute miracle stories. I've heard redemption stories that came on the heels of dark valleys. Our God is alive and living and moving, from generation to generation, and he uses us, like little threads from one generation to the next to spread His good news of Jesus Christ. Just think of that. He takes us way more seriously than we take Him.

Aunt Annie

I have a 10 year journal that I have been HORRIBLE at keeping up with, but I'm trying to do it again (just jot down a sentence each day of something memorable.) So I just looked through it and on November 12th I have written under 2006: "Shepherd of the Valley's 25th anniversary celebration at Eastview Highschool. Family went out for pizza after. AUNT ANNIE HAS BEEN HEALED!!! Amazing story we got to hear over pizza. Praise God!"

This is why you keep a 10 year journal. I loved remembering that moment of hearing my Aunt Annie's healing story. My Aunt Annie had chronic fatigue syndrome for over a decade. Much of the time she was unable to be out of bed for more than an hour or two at a time. And then she went to a prayer retreat to pray for missionary work all over the world. And in one of the services, she went forward for prayer and was healed. Absolutely, in that moment, healed.

I wrote an email to Annie after reading this blurb in my journal. I wrote, "Made me so happy to think of that moment of hearing you share that miracle. I remember talking to Rory at length that afternoon about how I need to pray like I believe something will happen. You know how you forget that sometimes? Like prayer is just routine, but without the belief in God's power behind it? I just did a Bible study all about not just believing in God, but absolutely believing God can do what he says he can do. Love that. I think I'll be learning this lesson my whole life long."

And then I just got this email back. Breathe deep as you read this. Aunt Annie is gentle, thoughtful and wise. You'll want to savor every word.

Thanks Becca for the reminder of that amazing time of worship and the quiet, overwhelming knowing that God was reaching out to touch me and heal me. He is such an awesome God and totally faithful to His promises and His people. Good health is a wonderful gift and blessing, best treasured by those who had lost it and now have received it back. Love and Joy, Aunt Annie

Rich Mullins

"The Bible is not a book for the faint of heart- it is a book full of all the greed and glory and violence and tenderness and sex and betrayal that befits mankind. It is not the collection of pretty little anecdotes mouthed by pious little church mice- it does not so much nibble at our shoe leather as it cuts to the heart and splits the marrow from the bone. It does not give us answers fitted to our small-minded questions, but truth that goes beyond what we even know to ask." -Rich Mullins

A retreat recap

I have had a few friends email me wondering how the retreat went. And I can happily report that it was fantastic. The sixteen men and women who came were delightful and built community so quickly. I love this age one has anything to prove, people actually act like themselves and are excited to learn, enjoy conversation and are enthused about whatever activity you throw at them.

My dad came and led three sessions on the Parables. He knocked it out of the park and everyone enjoyed him, mentioning many times they would like him to teach at the Spring adult retreat. I think we'll try to rotate our speakers and teachers a bit, but I did think that this was the greatest compliment.

My sessions went really, really well and I loved every minute of it. I forget how much I LOVE teaching. This was my undergrad degree and it felt so good to exercise those muscles of taking a larger issue and breaking it down into teaching points, discussion starters and ways to act regarding what was just learned. I love public speaking and storytelling, so to get to share in this sort of way was just a joy. I hope there are more of these events in my future.

My first retreat...

This Sunday I have 16 people coming out to camp for a retreat called, "Love to Tell the Story." The focus is on passing on our faith stories to the next generation, and providing ideas and tools for preserving our faith experiences and beliefs and being sure we communicate those beliefs to the next generation.

I am so proud of this retreat already. And I'm so excited for how God will show up in the stories that I will get to hear of ways he has moved in the lives of the people gathered together.

The best part is that my folks, grandma and aunt annie are all coming. Honestly, the gift of family support and unconditional love and encouragement is just overwhelming to me lately. I feel so ready and able because of my cheerleaders. Dad is going to be the morning teacher, teaching about Jesus' stories and I can't wait. He's my favorite preacher/teacher and to get to lead an event with him is just about the coolest thing I could ever dream of.

So keep us in your prayers. I'm hopeful to do more of these things in the future.

Honest prayer.

I just got an email from my sister telling me that last night Mara prayed, "thank you God that I am funny."

I learned something new.

I'm still doing the Beth Moore Bible Study, "To live is Christ" and it just gets better and better. This week she defined the greek word for Rescue. The word is rhuomai which is "derived from a word meaning to drag along the ground. Rhuomai means to draw or snatch from danger, rescue, deliver. This is more with the meaning of drawing to oneself than merely rescuing from someone or something."

I think I have always thought that to be rescued by God would look something like some big heavenly crane coming and plucking the person needing rescue out of their cicumstances. I have a friend right now who is living a horribly trying season along the lines of Job, and when I pray for him I pray for God to make it all stop. It's just too much for one man. But this definition of rescue changes my thinking. This friend may not have a single circumstance change. He may continue to be dragged along the ground. But my prayer now is that in this process God continues to draw this friend to himself.

Beth writes, "Whether we get to avoid pain and suffering or we must persevere in the midst of it, our deliverance comes when we're dragged from the enemy of our souls to the heart of God. We escape from the clutches of evil every time we draw near to the embrace of God. Delivered from evil. Drawn to God. The rescue has not reaped its ultimate work until we're under His wing."

Doesn't that sound like a good place to be?

This I believe-Confirmation Friend #3

From the This I Believe series...

Before we were confirmed, my confirmation class had to each write a paper called 'This I believe" proclaiming what our faith was grounded in, and what exactly we believed.

When I was home recently I saw at our church the picture of my confirmation class. I scanned the rows of 85 confirmands and started to wonder what they're up to and how they are living out their faith. We know we are living in an increasingly pluralistic time, and I know I have a hard time finding 20 somethings at church on Sunday mornings.

So I started facebooking confirmation friends. And I have been asking them, with your most honest response, what would you write today. (I've also promised that the posts will be anonymous, unless they're ok with their first name being used.)

The truth is, I am a bit nervous for some of the replies, because I love my church and I really think we experienced solid teaching and great foundations for the faith. But my fear is in wondering what I'll find when I know my friends are likely to fit into statistics that are painful to acknowledge.

So here begins an occasional series of This-I-Believe-12-years-later papers, written by friends, honest and helpful.


I am overwhelmed at the willingness of these friends from confirmation (many of whom I haven't really connected with in a decade) to write such thoughtful responses. Here is another from a friend with whom I share MANY great memories.

I believe in one God, who is present always in everything and everyone. God is Love; God is good; God Is and always will be.

I’ve always believed in God, but what cemented it for me as a thinking, reasoning kid (hormonal teen is maybe more accurate…:) was my experience in nature. Nature was a powerful connection for me. I remember watching a sunrise and thinking there just Has to be a God because this kind of beauty was Not an accident. I began noticing the beautiful colors of nature, and the sweet sound of the birds and spring peeper frogs. That moment was the start of a conscious awareness and knowing that our existence was not an accident. To this day when I see something beautiful I say a “Thank you God” to myself as a small prayer.

Growing up in our church was a wonderful, life shaping experience. I think it takes a village to raise loving, self-reliant, happy and spiritual kids, and I am so very thankful for the hours we all spent together at confirmation class, bible camp, church musicals, and lock-ins (boy I haven't that of those in years!) I wish that experience for every kid and especially every teen (the teen years are not easy!... then again the 20s have been a huge time of growth for me too! I can't wait for a breather… Bring on the 30s! :)

In the time since writing my “This I Believe” paper (which if I remember right had more questions than statements!) my beliefs have extended beyond the doctrine taught as a Lutheran. In college I studied many different religions and in the years following I looked into many religious centers and practices. After all the searching I discovered that the belief resonating truest for me is that all religions are spokes on the same wheel leading to the same God. It is my belief that Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, native religions, and indeed every religion that teaches of a power greater than ourselves refers to the same God. This belief led me to my current spiritual home of Unity Christianity, which is based on the teachings of traditional Christianity which feels like home for me but it’s also inclusive of all religions.

In sum, the foundation instilled in me at a young age about the goodness of God is still with me today, and while the doctrine I currently follow is slightly different I am so thankful for all the time spent in our church as a young-er kid.

This I believe- Confirmation Friend #2

From the This I Believe series...

I had a few more friends from confirmation reply to my asking what they believe as of late. The best part of this process has been in reconnecting with friends that I was close to a decade ago. Life is fun and so rich when relationships come back in to your circle. Here's another thoughtful, honest reply.

Interesting that you ask this question, it seems to be a popular topic of late. Since our confirmation, my faith has taken many directions and frankly, I am left a little confused. This confusion, however, I am not worried about.

In late high school, I dated a girl who's family was into the whole evangelical movement and I participated in praise/worship with her during that time. For a while, I felt closer to God and stronger in my faith than I ever had. Eventually I felt very turned off by this flavor of Christianity because I felt like everyone there believed a little too fervently, like faith was this homogeneous thing where you were either in or you weren't. "We as Christians believe..." "But I don't believe all of that and I'm still a Christian, aren't I?.."

Well a lot has changed in my life since then, and my faith has had its ups and downs. I have learned more about eastern religions and read some interesting viewpoints on Christianity by Carlton Pearson. So where do I stand now? I'm not totally sure. I know that I think about my faith as much now as I ever have. But I am as unsure about organized religion as I ever have been.

Ultimately, I have come to believe in these things. It has been more fulfilling to engage in my faith's journey than it ever has been to be "sure" of anything. I believe that keeping an open mind to opposing viewpoints and having discussions with friends/family has been more fruitful for me than taking communion or singing a hymn. The process of faith has trumped faithfulness and I take comfort in that. Maybe one day I'll feel "close" to God and maybe not, but I know that I will have invested myself in the process and that's all I really can do.

"All I do is love you, God
All I do is doubt you, God
All I do is search for you
What else can I do?...

And when I say I search for you
I mean I search for peace
I search for hope,
I search for love
And one day for release...

-Mason Jennings

This I Believe: Church friend #1

(This isn't my confirmation picture...just found this one on Flickr, but I thought it was pretty classic...)
I have had a few brave, kind friends reply to my very personal question that I threw out to many of my confirmation friends:

"So, this is sort of loaded, but I'd sincerely be curious. If you were given a few paragraphs to write your belief statement about what you believe in terms of God and the church and your faith, what would you say? Where are you at? I know that's loaded. But I'd love to know."

This response I am posting below is so candid and thoughtful. And I think the picture painted here is what I was sort of wondering about many of my 20-something friends. Take a moment to read it...the writing is eloquent and honest.

Hey Becca,

So, yes that question was FULLY loaded! I guess I really don't know what to say about my faith. It's complicated? It's been 10 years really since I was involved in anything church-related.

I look back on my time involved with youth group as some really happy times in my life! It was really important to my development to have that community and I think that is one of the best aspects there is to organized religion.

Unfortunately, I wish some of the bad things associated with organized religion were not there. I know it's not every church or every disciple, but I do feel that church/religious choice is the cause of a lot of the lack of understanding between people. I guess it's definitely in a more broad, general sense, because in a more person-to-person sense, I think religious people are very caring and generous. I guess it's the whole saying that one rotten apple spoils the whole bunch.

I wonder at times if life would be easier if I had more faith. I try to remember back to the times I was in the church and think if I really worried more or less about things. It's hard to say. But I do know I questioned a lot of things, even while at church. And one thing that I can remember is that I never understood the God-fearing thing. Like, if God is so great and stuff, why should I be afraid?! I don't know if that makes sense.

This is definitely a conversation that would be easier to have in person I think. But I'll push on:)

I question a lot of things. I always have- even when I was involved in the church. I like learning about other religions and seeing where there may be some similarities and see what are some differences. I think the political power of the church, historically maybe more than today, is disturbing sometimes. I vehemently believe that in the US the separation of church and state is an integral part of our institution.

But then I also think the church does so many good things in the community and are we losing that sense of community as fewer and fewer people go to church. Even people that do go to church now go to these HUGE mega-churches and I think it can be hard to foster as much of a sense of community- it seems that some people will fall through the cracks?

So for me, no I don't go to church. I haven't even been for holidays in a while. I probably would go on holidays if I were with my family on holidays but that doesn't usually happen, whether due to work or being on the outs with each other.

I have been doing yoga for 9 years now and the spiritual element of that is something that really appeals to me. I should do it more because it makes me feel so at peace with myself and the world around me.
So what do you think? Are you surprised? Do you know someone like my friend? Or do you agree with what is written? If you'd like to leave a more personal response anonymously with me, feel free to email your thoughts:

This I Believe.

Before we were confirmed, my confirmation class had to each write a paper called 'This I believe" proclaiming what our faith was grounded in, and what exactly we believed.

When I was home recently I saw at our church the picture of my confirmation class. I scanned the rows of 85 confirmands and started to wonder what they're up to and how they are living out their faith. We know we are living in an increasingly pluralistic time, and I know I have a hard time finding 20 somethings at church on Sunday mornings.

So I started facebooking confirmation friends. And I have been asking them, with your most honest response, what would you write today. (I've also promised that the posts will be anonymous, unless they're ok with their first name being used.)

The truth is, I am a bit nervous for some of the replies, because I love my church and I really think we experienced solid teaching and great foundations for the faith. But my fear is in wondering what I'll find when I know my friends are likely to fit into statistics that are painful to acknowledge.

So here begins an occasional series of This-I-Believe-12-years-later papers, written by friends, honest and helpful.

Great Grandma's Miracle Moth

On the farm my grandmother raised her family on there were two homes right next to each other. The white house was where Great grandma lived (pictured below), the original farm house on the family farmstead. The yellow house was the new house, where my grandma and grandpa lived.

My uncle Wayne was home from Alaska, and they call caught up over coffee in Great Grandma's house, the white house. Wayne and Grandma and Grandpa returned to the yellow house, as Great Grandma climbed the stairs to her bedroom, alone. She went down the hall to close the window when the window lost his grippings and slammed down on both of her hands. Great Grandma was old and frail and with her fingers trapped under this window, she could neither sit nor stand. She was left hunched over.

The window was facing the field, opposite of the yellow house. She cried, “Help me. Help. Help me.” An hour passed. She continued to cry and her voice grew weak and soft. She turned her cries to God. Unable to sit or stand, her legs were growing weak and three more hours passed as she continued to cry for help, “Help me. Help me, God.”

The sun was setting and back in the brightly lit yellow house a moth landed on the living room window. The moth was grey with brown spots, three inches across. Uncle Wayne saw it and commented on how  his nephews would love that moth for their 4H bug collection. So he and Grandpa walked outside to catch it. But just as they got close enough to the window, the moth snuck away and flew towards the white house. Again and again the moth would land and each time they’d just miss it, taking them farther from the yellow house and closer to the white house. And when they came around the white house closest to the field, the moth landed and they caught it.

As they sat to inspect this moth they heard the strangest sqeeking coming from Great Grandma’s. Wayne commented that there must be an owl on the roof. But Grandpa replied, “that is not an owl. That is your grandma!” They looked up and saw great grandma hunched over in the window, whimpering in pain.

My grandma tells me that as they sat on the bed, Great Grandma rubbed her hands and asked Wayne if she could see the moth. And when she saw it she cried and proclaimed, “That’s my miracle. That miracle moth was sent for me. God heard me when I cried.”

We still have that moth and my grandma brings it out and tells this story frequently with her voice proclaiming our all-powerful God who still works miracles today.

I love that God used a dusty grey and brown moth to be his messenger. Isn't that just like God? He didn't send a butterfly with turquoise wings and a magenta body. He sent a not-so-special, run-of-the-mill moth to perform his miracle. Which is good news for us not-so-special, run-of-the-mill messengers willing to do his good work.

Lakeside Chapel

I wrote the following email to a pastor friend while we were living out in Montana. This is the church that we were a part of for six months and was a beautiful glimpse of the kingdom.

Rory and I have been attending a Lutheran church since we got here. But to be perfectly honest, we do not feel like we belong and often end up standing awkwardly in the fellowship hall eating mini muffins while looking at each other, asking what the other wants for lunch. Without kids, I am not sure how we would ever permeate this congregation.

So we started going to a little church right in Lakeside. We thought it was Baptist the day we pulled into the parking lot, but then the bulletin said United Methodist. When we walked in, there were three people who recognized we were new and talked to us until the start of the service. Church began after about 50 people gathered in this small space. The pastor welcomed guests and visitors and asked, "If you are a visitor and would be willing, we would love for you to introduce yourself and tell where you have come from." One woman said she goes to the UM church in Kalispell and just wanted to check this place out. Another woman stood and said her parents grew up in the area and she is back to see their childhood home. We stood and said we are living at the Lutheran camp for the year.

Shortly after the pastor invited everyone to take a moment to greet their neighbor. Now this pastor is new, and it soon became very clear that he has trained this congregation in what to do during this time. Each person was aware of who the new worshipers were since we had all just introduced ourselves, and for the next full 3-4 minutes (which is a LONG time) we had our own greeting line. We did not have to move, but members continued to come up to us and ask- so what work do you do? How can you be here for the year? Writing your thesis? What is your thesis on?...

Then a few moments later the pastor stood and asked for the prayers of the people. He asked for prayer concerns and prayer thanksgivings. One woman said her niece was to have a c-section on Wednesday and asked for prayers. One woman began "As many of you know I have cared for my mom for the last 8 years in my home. But this week I had to leave her at the Lutheran nursing home. (she began to weep) She is in room 39 if you can ever stop in and visit her." And 2 women left their seats to go and sit with her the rest of the service. Another woman held her husbands hand and said, "Clyde's sister rolled her car on Thursday and is in critical condition. We have known for too long that she wasn't safe to be driving." And Clyde sat stone face with tears rolling down his cheeks.

These three events happened within the first 15 minutes of worship. Honestly, the rest of the service was decent. The preaching was fine, the music was comical (sung to a recording that played the melody on one note synthesizer). And yet, I was choked up because I felt so deeply connected to these people already. And did I mention Rory and I were the only ones there under the age of 50?

We miss Lakeside Chapel a lot. It's funny how long it takes to find a church that feels like home. But that was just the thing with Lakeside only too 15 minutes because the community was already so strong and they were eagerly waiting for visitors to walk through the door.