Ok, it has been a crazy week! I am finally writing post 3 of 3 about the churches that have influenced me.
After 4 months of marriage, Paul and I packed up and moved from Middletown, OH to Cumming, GA. We didn’t know what our apartment was going to be like, where we would be working, or exactly what our lives would look like here. We did know one thing…we would be attending church and training for missions at Vision Baptist Church. Paul would be attending the Our Generation Training Center at the church where he would learn from Pastor Austin Gardner, a former missionary of 20 years, and other men in the ministry.
It was a hard transition at first. I missed my family and friends at home, and we were still newlyweds adjusting to our new life together. Paul dove right in, training and learning at the church. He often would stay later than he thought he would just chatting about world evangelism. I have to be honest, I felt like he had a new mistress! I will write more on this later. However, due to this time spent training and learning from these men, I saw the Lord working in Paul’s life. I was encouraged to become more involved, to be more faithful with my Bible study and my Christian witness, and to find relationships to help nurture my desire to serve the Lord, as Paul had found.
At first, I have to admit, I thought everyone at Vision were absolute lunatics. I felt like all anyone ever talked about was missions and strategy on how to win people to the Lord. It was like they were all caught up in some competitive game, but I wasn’t sure who they were competing with. Now, I just realize these people were all just super in love with Jesus and want other people to experience His great love! Now I know I am one of the crazies, and I could not be more proud to be associated with these loony-toons!
It was not long before I had found many friends at Vision, and I was feeling more and more at home every day. We began attending the young couples class, which at this time just had a handful of couples. After a few months of attending, the class had a “relaunch” that was all about reaching other young couples in the community. We became very involved in this class and its outreach, and this served as an incredible time of growth and learning for us in our marriage and ministry.’ I found that the sweetest bonds are made in service to Christ! This was true in our friendships within the church and between Paul and me.
After a year, Paul was entrusted with the responsibility to lead the youth group. I was not at all interested in leaving our class where I was comfortable to this, but, looking back, I can see how the Lord used this time to grow me as an example for him, teach me about discipleship, and strengthen my heart for youth.
I’m finding it difficult to describe in any succinct way how Vison has impacted me. I began to write a list so that I could expound, but I’m pretty sure no one is interested in reading a whole book in this topic, so I will leave it as a list. Since attending Vision, I have…
-been encouraged to read through my Bible (still working on this!)
-found incredible discipleship relationships. I have been discipled more than I have done discipling, but there was just a lot of work to do in my life! I cherish these relationships, and will continue these. This was at the heart of Christ’s ministry, and I believe it is within these types of relationships that Paul and I have experienced the most growth!
-met really awesome missionaries! I think sometimes we get this idea that missionaries are these poor, sad people, but I found just amazing people who love the Lord and are excited to be doing His will in reaching the world for Him!
-had an encouraging network of God-honoring wives and mothers to have friendship and accountability with. I am so thankful for these ladies’ investment in my life.
-been introduced to expositional preaching, in which the Pastor preaches right through books of the Bible in order. I have learned so much about the Bible this way that I never knew before!
-learned how important it is to have a humble spirit and a desire to learn
-learned that loving Jesus should be the motivation for everything I do.
-learned what it means to truly be a WITNESS in this world!
The most life-changing thing that Vision has done for our family is plant a seed in our hearts for the country of India. I explained how the Lord directed us to India in a previous post, but I will give a concise version here. Our assistant pastor, Trent Cornwell, had begun studying about India. He developed a passion for reaching this country that is obvious and contagious to all who meet him. After hearing his heart at missions camp last summer, we began fervently praying that the Lord would send workers to India. After many prayers, a request to send someone turned into a plea to send us. We were willing if he would send us, and we were desirous for the people of India to hear the gospel. The Lord continued to work in our lives through Trent and Stephanie, Jim and Autumn Roberts, and our pastors and spiritual mentors to encourage us to pursue the goal of getting to India with the intention to church plant. I can’t imagine where we would be or what we would be doing without Vision Baptist and its people’s investment in our lives. Because of my husband’s conviction, I believe we would be somewhere, serving Him, but I believe we are more excited and prepared for having spent these last two years at Vision.
We are very thankful for our “second church family” and for all He has done through Vision Baptist church in our lives and in lives of many all around the world.