There are so many things that you tend to miss when you make a big move. With our move from New Jersey to Ohio, I figured it would mostly be conveniences. Having the best pizza, bagels, and Chinese food right around the corner was pretty nice. Being able to be a stone’s throw from a proper mall was downright delightful. But, the thing I didn’t realize I’d miss the most was church.
Sure, there are plenty of wonderful churches in our new area, but as all Christians know, YOUR church is home. It’s the place where you feel you belong. It’s the place where you see familiar faces, and hug them dearly each week. It’s the place where you heart sings and your soul rejoices. That happens when you are in your church.
A little something you should know about me before we continue: I didn’t grow up in the church. My parents are Muslim, so I was raised in the Islamic religion. While this is the religion I was raised in, my parents encouraged me to learn about all other religions, and they never forced me into practicing Islam.
As a matter of fact, for a few year when I was younger, we even celebrated Christmas. We got the tree, did the decorating, and exchanged gifts. When it was Easter, my mother was always open to letting me tag along with friends for Easter service at their church. She bought me the pretty pastel dresses, and I got to hunt eggs with the rest of the kids. I didn’t know it, but I was experiencing the childhood that I would end up giving my own kids.
So, my church back home in New Jersey is special to me. Why? Because it was a learning church. Since I didn’t grow up in the church, I never experienced the whole “sitting on grandma’s lap during service while eating candy so I would be quiet.” Or the “laying under the pews, while Pastor talked for hours, and eventually falling asleep.” I also never “when to Vacation Bible School or Sunday school, and learned all the little kids’ songs about the Bible.” Well, I learned the Father Abraham song when I went to summer camp, but that’s another story.
My Pastor, David T. Demola, has a way of speaking to the members of the congregation that are newer Christians. We never feel left out, but we always feel like we are learning how to appreciate the Word of God. While I have been a Christian for 14 years, there is so much more I need to learn. There were 20 years where I wasn’t immersed in this part of my spirituality, and our church always made me feel like I was on the right path to learning it all and at my own pace.
Also? Faith Fellowship Church is where I was born again. A friend of mine invited me to their Easter service when I was 20, and that day, I became a child of God. I knew in my heart that Jesus was our savior, and I prayed a prayer to repent my sins and follow Him forevermore. Faith Fellowship is where I was baptized. Faith Fellowship is where my husband and I celebrated our first Sunday as a married couple. Faith Fellowship is where our Pastor blessed our first born when he was still in my belly, proclaiming that he would do great things in the name of the Lord. Faith Fellowship is where all 3 of my children learned about the power and grace of God. Faith Fellowship is part of who I am as a women, a wife, and a mother. I miss it so much.
Now, I know that finding a new church home in our new neighborhood will be exciting and fun. I’m looking forward to it. And while this new church won’t be able to take the place of Faith Fellowship in my heart, they will be part of the continued growth of my soul. I’m already thankful for this new church, wherever it may be. I will always be thankful for our church home, the one that makes me miss church daily, the one that will always be part of our lives. I miss church, and for that I am grateful.