This is My Church Too!

-          Jennifer Park

My name is Jennifer Park. I go to Georgia State University and I am studying early childhood education. I grew up my whole life going to church with my mom and my brother. We’ve been going to the same church since I was in elementary school, so it has been over ten years since then. But I felt God leading me to Bethany, so I decided to leave my old church and to start attending here. It’s been almost 5 months since I have been here, and I can really say that God has been giving me a lot of challenges and blessings.

            I have never been to another church for Sunday service so I remember being really nervous my first week at Bethany. I didn’t know what to expect or what to do, but since I already knew a couple people from Ecclesia it went better than I had expected. The first couple of weeks I started to attend Bethany were really full of blessings. God gave me so much courage and helped me step out of my comfort zone. I usually do not like change and it is hard for me to adjust to new environments, but I was so willing to get involved and be an active member of the church. And I was really challenged to read God’s word and to have my alone time with Him.

            A month or so passed by and it was great. I was attending church every week and I was staying committed. It’s only been a short time since I have been to Bethany so I didn’t really see it as “my” church, I thought of it as “their” church and that I was simply a visitor. I would get frustrated at myself for thinking this way, and it slowly got harder for me to go to church weekly. And then I realized how little I knew the people from Ecclesia, whom I thought I was really close with. Plus, I gradually started to not feed myself with His word and I began to question myself a lot. Like if moving churches was the right thing to do or my faith in God.

I really doubted everything, but what kept me going and continuing to stay at Bethany were my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. There were always a handful of people that warmly greeted me and initiated conversation with me. Not just the standard “How are you” and “Good, thank you” kind of dialogue, but they genuinely were curious about how I was doing. They would purposely include me into groups to try to get me involved and feel like I was part of their church. At first, having so many people try to help me made me feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. But seeing their efforts and kindness, I grew thankful and encouraged to keep attending Bethany. Seeing their giving hearts, I started to see the blessings and good things that I haven’t been able to see before, because I was so focused on my own negative thoughts and feelings. I started to see all the memories I have already created with the people at Bethany and realized how this is “my” church too.