I sat in church at Maple Grove Evangelical Free Church on Wednesday night for our Thanksgiving Eve service and thought to myself how grateful I was for being able to call the church home and the people family for so many years. But then another thought occurred to me. That thought was “This is where I grew up!” I grew up in the Lord at Maple Grove EFC!
Since accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior I have gone to one church, Maple Grove E Free. It is where I joined my first bible study, had my first mentor and learned so much in those first couple years. In those days, I was like an infant who’s eyes just opened up and I saw this whole new world around me. This new world was one of freedom and grace. I had such a thirst for the Word and I drank it all in. I learned about forgiveness, both the forgiveness that Jesus gives to us but also my forgiving others. I learned of love, an unconditional love that I didn’t know even existed.
The first time I went on a short term missions trip it was with Maple Grove E Free. We went to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. It was here that I first worshipped the Lord with believers in another language and learned the words to “Open the Eyes of My Heart” in Portuguese. To this day when I sing “I want to see you”, I sing “Eu Quero Ver Ti”, the English doesn’t even come out of my mouth. I went on this trip with people from MGEFC that have become family to me. The prayer partner I had on that trip is now my mentor and a woman I feel honored to call sister.
Through the years I have gone to Brazil, Poland and Haiti with MGEFC and have grown through these trips. I have grown to know that God has called us all to fulfill His mission here on earth, to declare His name to every tongue, tribe and nation. Because of this and the people that have taught us, supported us and helped us in good times and bad I feel equipped to serve God in the mission field.
As I sat and looked around the other night I also realized I would be leaving “home” soon to venture out and be obedient to God and His call. We all grow up and have to leave “home”. It’s a bittersweet time as we prepare for the move to the field, finish support raising, and saying good-bye to our church family. I think everyone is excited when they finally leave “home” but truth be told…we always know as Dorothy said…”There’s no place like Home.”