When I moved out of my house to start my freshman year at Columbia College, I had a strong sense of freedom to do whatever I wanted. I used that freedom to hang around people who never had my best interests in mind and influenced me negatively, similarly to what happened in high school.
I felt no obligation to go to church in college, so I didn’t. However, each Sunday morning that I didn’t go to church I felt more and more of a weight on my heart. It felt like a voice was calling me to go and when I ignored the voice it would only get louder. I figured I was just feeling guilty for not attending church so finally I caved when I found out about Anthem Church from an old friend.
The next Sunday I showed up completely confused as to why I was there because I didn’t know anybody and felt no obligation attend. I might not have wanted to be there, but later it became clear that God wanted me there. I took two steps into the door and was quickly greeted by Luke, the Salt Director, and now a strong influence in my life. After talking with him, I took a few more steps and was greeted by Nathan, who ended up being one of the closest friends I have. During the service, I watched two girls get baptized, who also grew to be friends.
Although everyone at Anthem was extremely inviting and friendly, what drew me in was the joy they all had in Jesus. I had been chasing joy my whole life but had never found this kind of joy. For much of my childhood, money was an issue, and because of that, I saw having money as the solution to a fulfilled life. I had already begun to discover that if I chased money, no amount would be enough to satisfy me. But when I saw the joy that these people had in Jesus, I could tell it was a pure joy that filled their heart. Knowing this, I began to follow Jesus not sure what that would mean, but knowing it would be worth it.
I attended Anthem Church, Salt Company, and connection group every week. I loved that everyone read and taught out of the Bible! I was in awe of everything God’s Word was teaching me and within a month of coming to Anthem I started to read it for myself. Much of what I read I had never heard before, despite the fact that I grew up with my parents taking me to church. The people at Anthem quickly became my family, and they continually push me towards Jesus. God drew me into this amazing family and continues to grow me. In March, Nathan baptized me, and in May I was off to Southeast Asia to share the Gospel message that saved me with those who had never heard it before. The past year has been nothing short of outstanding in terms of what God has done in my life. I am forever thankful that God would give me a family like the one at Anthem Church.