I have never felt this way about a church before. I have always had a relationship with Jesus, but have never had fellowship like this. The people welcomed me with open arms. They say hello to me by name.........by name, this is a new thing. I've been a member of 2 big churches in Orange County and been anonymous except in the smaller bible studies groups or evening classroom studies. I did attend a smaller church right after we moved to Arizona but was ignored by all except by the person who brought me.
I chose Valley Baptist church out of the local church directory in the newspaper. I was fearful to go to a new church for the first time, but the Lord helped me push my fears aside. I was welcomed and said hello to by several friendly people. It's a small church, just about 100 people on a packed-in Sunday--it's been less this summer, due to people being on vacations.
I have been going since July, but last Sunday I officially joined the church. I go to the Sunday bible study with church services afterward. I go to the Wednesday evening bible study and the Thursday ladies luncheon bible study. This is a good way to get to know people who have the same morals and values as myself. When I walked into this church for the first time, it felt like home. What a marvelous feeling!
The pastor works full-time at a secular job at an IT Manager. He also does church counseling at another church and still manages to deliver a meaningful sermon on Sunday and facilitate the Thursday bible study. I respect him and admire his love of God and how much he cares for the congregation. His wife, Linda is a wonderful woman, humble and caring. She opens her home for the ladies Thursday bible study and provides iced tea and snacks for us. We usually stay for several hours and she is a courteous and caring hostess.
As I get to know more people, I am getting more joyful. Since my friend, Julie, died last December, without realizing it, I had pulled back from people. I felt isolated out here in the middle of nowhere. Going to this church, I have met lots of people who live in Tonopah. They are an independent bunch. They like living in the wide open spaces, but are friendly when you get to know them.
Oh and yesterday, thanks to my husband, we finally met some of the neighbors. Two sisters who both work, so we don't have much of an opportunity to socialize, but I intend to invite them to dinner soon. They are close friends with some other neighbors, so we will maybe meet them too.
Things are going great, since I have begun to engage in life. Praise the Lord for bringing me along at my own pace, setting aside my fears and giving me fellowship. Today is a day of JOY!