Monday, November 19, 2012

month of {gratitude} day 18

Today I am so thankful for our church and I was reminded why in a major way today. Tonight was our church's annual Night of Thanks and Vision Dinner. Since we started attending Peine Ridge Church in January of this year it was our first chance to attend. It was so neat. We had the opportunity to hear about all that God had done in our church in 2012 which was awesome and such an encouragement. We also got to hear about what our pastors have planned for 2013 and pray together as a church.

Last year in January when we set out to find a church we were feeling desperate. We had tried several churches and the last thing we wanted to do was to be "church hoppers". But, we also knew that we wanted to attend a church that was teaching the Bible correctly... and the whole thing. We also wanted more than a place to just show up on Sunday mornings. We were looking for a church family. And that is hard to come by these days.

The first Sunday we walked into Peine Ridge it was so different from any church we had tried in our entire married lives... people came up and said "hi" to us... We got invited to join a Peine Family (small group) by everyone we chatted with, and a family invited us out to lunch after church and one of the pastors asked us to come to his home for dinner later that week. After years of never being noticed at a church, I cried when we got home. Really good tears.

But, we still had to really think and pray about it. Because although everyone was so nice, Peine Ridge was different than any church we had been to before, and we wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing. Peine Ridge believes in more simplicity and less programs... so there wasn't a long list of ways for me to get involved and do things outside of serving and joining a Peine Family and that made me a little nervous if I would be able to be connect with people. It is also a "family integrated" church which was a completely new idea to me. Families are always together at Peine Ridge. Kids are in the service, with us in small group, and well... kids are everywhere. They want church to be a place where families can be together and parents can be discipling their own children. I thought it was awesome but it was a complete change from our last church where there was childcare for everything and they made it clear that children were to not be in the service because of the distraction.

But, within a few weeks we knew that Peine Ridge was where we are supposed to be and last night only confirmed that. I could never list all of the things we love about our church. I am so thankful that we found a place to not only be a part of a community that is wonderful but we found a place where God is working and we get to be a part of that. Hearing stories last night about what God is doing through Peine Ridge not only in our own church and the people there, but in the community, in St. Louis, and even across the world in Indonesia was beyond encouraging and exciting. I am so thankful to God for bringing us to this church and for using it in our lives.

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