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Victoria's Story: What God has Done

God worked in my life by bringing me to First CRC when I was lonely and overwhelmed by life. I had been begging for help when long time friend Milly D. appeared and invited me to choir. The group made me feel so welcome and obviously loved one another so much I felt like I was with family that first night. The sense of belonging was so true. I hadn't felt that in many, many years. A severely damaged sense of self worth was restored to me as I began to turn my heart back to God with whom I was so angry.

Then I started attending services and met all the other wonderful people. Beth P. invited me to Bible study, and I fell in love with all the ladies. Finally having people to talk to about ideas important to me was wonderful. The love there is indescribable. When I needed a job, Shirley and Nancy offered me temporary employment in the church office. When I had a business, the church patronized it. When I couldn't pay my rent, they paid it for me and gave me money for food and gas. When I got laid off, Beth approached me about a Stephen minister. My Stephen minister probably saved my life more than once through this ministry.

I lived down the street from First Church for 16 years. Why did it take so long for me to hear God calling me? Milly had invited me repeatedly, and I had attended some book studies and been to Long Scraggy Camp on several work weekends. Like many people, I was feeling unworthy of love from those not obligated, such as family. Boy, had I gotten lost in the labyrinth of my own self-hatred. There is more to tell but those are the highlights. I can never express to these people how much their love means to me, and how much I love them, even the ones I never got to know. Their contribution to the community of life, hope and right-thinking put me back on the path of who God meant me to be. The music is the best of any church I ever attended (as a preacher's kid, that's a fair sampling). The level of participation, innovation and daring is compelling and uplifting. Ok, I have to stop, but I could go on.

After being out in the ugly, ugly, hateful world alone, never again will I take my church community for granted or be without one. I have sat through hundreds of sermons and homilies, and Pastor Joel is a rare gem of clarity and poignancy. Christians preaching Christianity isn't as common as we would like.

With thanks and praise,

Victoria

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