Category Archives: Hope Stories

Hope Story: Mary and Bill Newgard

If you hang around the halls of Hope long enough inevitably someone will ask, “What is your Hope Story?”

Ours starts with the TV show, Seinfeld (as most good things do!)…

It was 2006. My husband, Bill, and I were a young married couple and had just moved back to Des Moines from eastern Iowa.

We had driven past Hope millions of times on the way to our home. Both of our parents had raised us to faithfully attend church, but we hadn’t done a very good job of carrying that torch.

So, whenever we drove on Jordan Creek Parkway, we quickly glanced at the building, even though God was urging us to take a much longer look…

We did so one Sunday (not by accident as Hope would say) which turned into three straight weekends, prompted largely by Pastor Mike’s inclusion of two Seinfeld clips and one from ESPN…

It was, shall we say, a “Festivus miracle!”

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We were hooked.

Fast forward a few years and now we were parents to twin daughters, Alison and Jenna.

We wanted the same center of faith our parents gave us, and Hope has been an amazing part of that.

When our daughters were babies, we utilized the nursery during worship so we could worship together without distractions.

When they became old enough to attend Kingdom Quest (Hope’s version of Sunday School), we figured it would be much the same.

A few weekends into the school year,  our daughters’ classroom was short on volunteers and we were pulled in to help.

We quickly realized we enjoyed helping out the “real teachers” – not thinking we were:

A) qualified for such a job

or

B) God wanted any more from us than that.

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Boy, were we wrong!

Today, Bill and I are in our fourth year of teaching KQ. We’ve been so blessed by God’s gentle nudge to get involved in children’s ministry. Had it been more like a 2×4 upside the head, I think we would have pushed back with all typical fears that come with letting Him lead us into serving…

Things like:

  • “How much time does this involve?”
  • “We don’t know all these Bible stories!”
  • “Will we ever be able to attend adult worship again?”

Bill put it best earlier this year. Walking out one Sunday after KQ, he commented how great it is that we can serve together.

In that moment I had a clear sense of what the ministry has brought to our family.

We are blessed every time we teach to be around such bright, caring and enthusiastic kids (many of whom we’ve had in our class for all four years).

They happily raise their hands and jump for joy during music worship. And, despite our stoic Lutheran sensibilities, we’ve become quite the Jesus shufflers, too!

Hope is so big, yet it’s no accident we see many of the same parents around Hope, at school or the grocery store.

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The Bible stories take on new meaning every time we discuss them with the children – seeing them so readily accept the Good News teaches us to hear His word with a childlike heart.

Our family is blessed to be a part of Hope’s children’s ministry. It is our prayer that more families will find their opportunities to serve together, wherever that may be! And, who knows, maybe for them it will be through KQ? If so, we’ll see you there!Serving in a ministry does that to all us, right? You find that what you put into God, gives back tenfold.

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There is an immediate need for KQ volunteers at the 11:00 am Sunday service at Hope West Des Moines for the remaining school year! If you or someone you know is interested, please email children@hopewdm.org

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Hope Story: Rick Amundson

DSC_0807I would consider myself a “crock pot” Christian. A slow cooker.

I’ve never had the big “Ah-Ha”  moment. No switch ever flipped that made me say, “I’m a believer!”

All of the ingredients were lovingly and slowly brought together – set to simmer – and after the right amount of time, I was ready.

After discovering Hope, it started to all make sense to me.

All of the lessons of my life, good and bad, started to point to God.

God’s word was finally put into a context that was relevant to my life.

We are all given our own set of spiritual gifts from God – the Bible tells us this, and so I believe it.

I’m lucky; I know not everyone realizes what exactly their gifts are. But, I know what one of my gifts is, and I get to use it almost every day.

By trade, I’m a filmmaker who gets to tell stories for a wide range of clients, from commercial to corporate. I’ve even been fortunate to have directed a feature film.

But, my question for God was, “How do I use this gift for you?”

In 2006, I got an answer…

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God presented me with the opportunity to join Pastor Pat on a mission trip to South Africa to learn about the needs in an area called Umzimvubu.

Pat asked if I would  document the trip and then present a video to the congregation.

What I saw there was such a strange dichotomy. Poverty, the effects of HIV/AIDS, widows, orphans and the struggles that come from living in an area with no running water or electricity.

But, the landscape was beautiful. The people were joyful, open and giving – praising God for what they did have, not wallowing in what they didn’t have, like I so often found myself doing.

That trip changed my heart. Africa became a part of me.

Months after the trip, I was introduced to Dr. Neil Mandsager, board member of ChildVoice International, Hope’s Mission Uganda partner.

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Northern Uganda is a country ravaged from 25 years of civil war. ChildVoice has been working in this region since 2007, running a program that provides sanctuary to young mothers and their children, allowing for spiritual and psychological healing, as well as vocational training and life skills.

Since then, I have been an active volunteer, creating many videos to help tell the story of how God is working through ChildVoice to transform the lives of broken girls.

I’ve participated in many trips to Northern Uganda – and every trip I take is a God thing.  The door keeps opening, and because I trust His plan, I go…

* * *

Where might God be calling you to go? There’s still time to register for 2014 Summer Mission Trips. Click here to learn more.

Hope Story: Becky Zemlicka

I have always been physically active – not an “athlete” by any means, but active.

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Then, in my early 30s, I noticed my knees were getting sore. Walking and climbing stairs became painful.

In 2009, a surgeon discovered I had a torn meniscus in my right knee. I had surgery and my knee was back to about 90%.

In May 2013, an MRI showed a torn meniscus in my left knee. A second surgery was scheduled for July 31, 2013.

At Hope I have been involved in the prayer ministry for more than 10 years. This past July, I was asked to fill in for Pastor Richard and teach the healing prayer lesson in his School For Listening Prayer.

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During the class, the participants were asked to practice healing prayer. Two students prayed for healing for my knee. Nothing happened. No goose bumps. No miraculous recovery. I remember thinking, ‘well, that was nice of them,’ and resigned that I was meant to be healed by the surgeon.

Monday morning, as I dressed for my morning workout, I noticed my knee felt better and the swelling was down. It wasn’t until my personal trainer suggested I try leg presses that I recalled the healing prayer I had received days earlier.

Knowing my knee wouldn’t bend far enough to do a leg press, and even if it did I would be in pain, I started to say, “No!” But a voice inside me said, “Just try it.”

So, I did.

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My knee slid right in to place with no pain, bending farther than it had in over a year. I pressed my body weight a total of 45 times. I was amazed, stunned… and excited!

The following week was filled with new ways to try out my “new” knee. Running up and down stairs, lunges at the gym, biking with my family, and walking several miles during a family vacation – all without any pain or swelling.

My right knee had improved and my left knee had gradually healed, so I cancelled the surgery for my left knee.

My healing has been nothing short of a life-changing gift from God.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said in the last few months, “Do you realize I couldn’t have done this if I hadn’t been healed?”

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Many people have asked if I can get an MRI to show my knee is healed.

Unfortunately, no. But I don’t need one.

God healed me and my “new” knees speak of his power and glory with every step!

 

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The next School for Listening Prayer class begins in West Des Moines on Monday, March 24 – click here to register or learn more!

 

Hope Story: Eric + Takiesha Goode

IMG_3380_smallEric’s world was one filled with grief, depression and confusion.

He came from a family of nonbelievers… his parents battled a terrible divorce… his best friend committed suicide…

Eric struggled with depression for many years.

My world was filled with pain, anger, guilt and sexual immorality.

I grew up in a world surrounded by drugs and alcohol. A place where I never heard the word “God” unless it was used in vain. Where I spent half of my childhood visiting one parent in prison, and the other half living in unusual places I tried to call “home.”

At the age of 14, I decided I’d had enough and went to the authorities regarding my mother and her addictions. I was taken away from her and placed in a shelter that very same day – but, the pain didn’t stop there.

IMG_3394_smallI became addicted to cutting and my thoughts of suicide worsened. Eventually, however, through the darkness I began to see a little light, when two people, from very broken worlds, came together…

Eric and I met in our high school driver’s education class. Our relationship was rocky and painful through our high school years. It was right after high school that we decided it was time to make a change.

We were invited to Lutheran Church of Hope in 2009 by Eric’s former boss, and soon after, decided to take Alpha because neither one of us knew anything about God.

It was then that transformation happened. A transformation that is unexplainable.

IMG_3376_smallGod opened our eyes and hearts to the wonders of what he has to offer. We began to process our horrible pasts and put them into God’s perspective. We realized God never intended for all of that “bad stuff” to happen to us.

We both turned into two very different people than we were before. Nasty to nice; inconsiderate to considerate; hateful to loving… Repeat: Hateful to loving.

Alpha turned our dark life into a beautiful rose. Our relationship began to blossom into a Godly relationship.

We began to model our relationship after Jesus and it completely changed both of our worlds. Before, our relationship consisted of Eric and I – that’s it. We were selfish, condescending and critical. That’s how relationships were modeled around us, so that’s what we did with our relationship. Once we got to Hope, our relationship became three: Eric, myself and God. We finally had someone awesome to model our relationship after!

We were so amazed by our transformation that we wanted to share it with the world. We became Alpha hosts right after our first session and haven’t stopped since!

IMG_3398_smallEric and I were wed in 2012 and continue to serve together any chance we get.

Currently, we are experiencing God’s spirit through CORE and are now group leaders. Nothing (and I mean NOTHING), is impossible for God to transform. Our story is a true testament to that!

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Stay tuned to NavigateHOPE for future opportunities with Alpha and CORE at Hope!

Hope Story: The Adams

When my wife, Elise, and I were first married, I believed there were just two ways to wealth:

  1. A hefty inheritance
  2. A large income

I didn’t think it was possible to make a big purchase without debt…

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I had never applied the proverbs that discourage debt…

I didn’t trust God to provide blessings in my life for properly handling his money and resources the way he desires…

And, I didn’t yet realize that the money that flows through my hands isn’t mine – it’s God’s!

Shortly after I graduated from college in December 2010, Elise and I bought a home in West Des Moines and began attending Hope.

We participated in a marriage class, followed by the Alpha course. Through these two classes, we experienced a deepening in our relationship with one another, our church and our community.

In spring 2012, we decided to sign up for Financial Peace University, a biblical approach at managing personal finances. This class made such an impact on our lives that we decided to jump in and begin facilitating (we are currently coordinating our fourth class!).

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With each class and session, we continue to be amazed at how much people grow – and not just from a financial standpoint, but also in their communication as a couple, too. It is such a joy to witness the impact these principles have on everyone’s lives.

Through Financial Peace University, and shifting how we think about money, we were given the ambition to eliminate our debt so we can do more to help build God’s kingdom.

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Using the principles from FPU, we scrimped, scratched and sold our way out of all our debt (with the exception of our mortgage – we are currently working on that!).

No doubt, there were sacrifices along the way – like when we sold our Acura and Lexus and replaced them with two, 15-year-old Camry’s.

But, every sacrifice was worth it:

We were able to pay off $91,383 of debt in just 20 months!

We hope our story encourages others in their journeys to financial freedom, and can’t wait to see what the future has in store!

- Casey and Elise Adams

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Stay tuned to navigatehope.org for information on future Financial Peace University courses and opportunities!

Hope Story: Penny Schmidt

DSC_0383_sppI remember it vividly. I was a senior in high school sitting in an English AP class. We had been studying Greek mythology when one day the instructor said, “All religion is a myth.”

That was the minute I started questioning my faith.

I sat, stunned, realizing he was RIGHT! I was no smarter than those in the book, Iliad and the Odyssey. They believed in silly gods, maybe my belief in God was also silly? Someday, centuries from now, people would read stories about our belief in God and laugh at our simple-mindedness…

For the next 15 years, I had no desire to be considered a Christian. I found them to be hypocritical, judgmental and self-righteous (and definitely did NOT want to be a part of any group or organization affiliated with “those kind of people”).

Then, as often happens in adulthood, I found myself searching. I tried out a few churches. And, upon the recommendation of several friends, I ended up at Hope’s door.

DSC_0350_sppHope was different.

It felt friendly, welcoming, and energetic. And, even though it is, it didn’t feel big. Every time I walked into Hope, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit with me. I felt like I was home.

Shortly after I began attending Hope, there was a sermon on Jesus and whether or not he was God.

I had always thought Jesus was a ‘cool dude,’ but God, who rose from the dead? Wasn’t quite sure I was buying that.

During the sermon, the pastor explained we have three choices for who Jesus really is:

  1. You can believe he was a liar – he claimed to be God but was not.
  2. You can believe he was insane – because he believed he was God but was not.
  3. Or, you can believe he IS God.

I was blown away, I wanted more choices! In that moment I realized how much I didn’t know about Christianity and what it meant to be a Christian. I needed more information.

As my knowledge grew, my faith grew by leaps and bounds.

Years later when my oldest child was about to start PowerLife, I noticed in the bulletin that leaders were needed. I thought, “Huh, maybe I should be a small group leader?”

That thought was immediately followed by, “Are you crazy?! Junior high kids are scary! Don’t think about this again!”

During the sermon that day, the pastor mentioned being called by God to serve.

I knew He (God) was talking to me.This made it a little harder to ignore… but I still tried.

I asked several friends their opinions, all of whom I was sure would discourage me from volunteering… Disappointingly, they did not.

A few short weeks later, I found myself in front of 10, 6th-grade girls, serving as their ‘fearless’ small group leader.

DSC_0404_sppAnd, turns out, 6th graders aren’t that scary after all!

What an amazing journey – it was a joy to hang out with them each week, hear their questions and discuss their faith, their doubts and their struggles.

But, what absolutely blew me away was that those girls taught me more about faith than I ever could have taught them.

And, because I was so certain I couldn’t be a small group PowerLife leader at first, I know it wasn’t me, it was God leading me through…

***

 

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Interested in being a PowerLife small group leader? There’s still time! Click here to sign up. PowerLife kicks of Wednesday, Sept. 11! We are still in need of a number of leaders!

Hope Story: Pam Thompson

My childhood was very dysfunctional and included both alcoholism and abuse.

The verbal abuse became my self-talk. I felt unworthy, ashamed and afraid.

PamThompson_RPB_9025webI had a lifetime of bitterness, anger, failures and disappointments.

I attended a Baptist church and had aunts and uncles with strong faith, but my step-father was atheist, and we were not allowed to talk about God.

I believed a place in heaven was earned and I did not believe God could ever forgive a sinner like me. I hid from God and others for fear they would see the scars of my childhood and the sources of my shame…

The first time we came to Hope, Pastor Mike’s sermon discussed what having a “relationship with God” meant. I had so many questions…

How could a good God leave a child alone to suffer like I had?

My quest began with Alpha, various classes, and hours of reading the Bible. I began to feel my heart – and the way I felt about life – begin to change. I realized that this world is broken, because God gives us free will, but God’s heart breaks right alongside ours when we are in pain.

Although I began to realize that God could (and did) forgive me, I still had one big hurdle to clear… I needed to forgive myself. I learned that Jesus died on the cross just for me (how humbling is that?). The creator of heaven and earth would die for me!

PamThompson_RPB_9041_webGreat freedom came from knowing He bore all of my shame, guilt and sin. The chains that bound me for so long were finally gone. I was free because of the sacrifice Christ had made – and, it was a freedom that I never had to earn, it was always there waiting for me. Praise God!

Through my studies, prayers and circumstances, I felt God leading me into prison ministry. My husband and I signed up for a class called Experiencing God. In this class, I met a woman whose husband wanted to start a prayer ministry in the jails. Another woman, released from prison, shared her amazing story. I thought, “God, what are you doing?”

A week prior to the beginning of this class, my stepson told me he wanted me to connect with a woman he had met, but it didn’t happen. A month into the study, he was at our house and we discovered the woman he wanted me to meet was the one who had shared her moving story. This is how God works… there are no coincidences!

During the class I learned much and experienced more. I learned God is my shield. He will carry me, and only he can provide the hope to get me through.

My favorite verse is Psalm 73:26:

“God remains the strength of my heart; he is my portion forever.”

PamThompson_RPB_9181_webI live life constantly seeking for God to match my heart with his. I have grown so much through the classes at Hope – both spiritually and personally – and have a greater understanding of the love of Jesus Christ. Now, when I pray, I listen for Him to speak to me. He speaks to me through scripture, church, circumstances, people and music.

My family and friends see the difference in me. It all points to God.

I’m 60 years old and lived most of my life in darkness, but will live the rest of it in light!

Pam Thompson

Hope Story: Sammy Smith

RPB_7884God called my family to Hope.

I originally resisted the “big church” because my grandparents founded, and I grew up in, a little church in Davenport, IA. That’s what was comfortable to me.

However, with our family, marriage and faith on the rocks, we knew we needed a change, so we decided to give Hope a try.

From the minute we entered Hope that is exactly what we felt…. Hope. Our spirit and faith in love became renewed.

The sermons – every sermon – made us cry. It seemed like the pastors were speaking directly to us and our struggles (I now know this was the Holy Spirit speaking through them to me).

Our story may not be unique, but it speaks to me, and I’ve since felt compelled to share with others. So, let me start from the beginning…

After seven years of marriage, my wife asked for a divorce. We approached this avenue last year and I told her that if she were to ask again, I would not fight her because I wanted her to be happy more than I wanted to be with her. (It is just the way we are with one another.)

I was devastated and broken. Not only from the brokenness of our relationship, but from the brokenness of not being able to care for my family. I had lost my job a couple of months prior and felt like I was letting everyone down. I was not being the man I wanted to be, a man taking care of those he loved.

RPB_7879For a multitude of reasons, my wife decided she had enough. And, I didn’t blame her at all.

Two days after my wife asked for a divorce, I had a dream.

In the dream, we were divorced and eating dinner together, regretting our decision of divorce because we just gave up. Gave up on God. Gave up on our family. Gave up on love.

When I awoke, I stood up. And, for the first time in my life, I decided I was not going to let someone else dictate my life for me.

I was going to fight. My marriage was like my life breath and it was not going to be stripped from me without a fight. I told her about this and told her it was a mistake.

We fought (yelled, screamed, cried and yelled some more). I was finally able to convince her to talk to a pastor at Hope. And we did. We talked to one of the pastors about what was going on – our fears and anger about the current situation.

It opened my eyes.

My wife and I talked and I was given 90 days to show her that I understood what was needed to change within myself, and to build the trust and love within us.

It was a tall order… a miracle was needed.

I prayed that night for strength from God. I needed guidance… and fast.

I signed up for the 33 Series that the pastor we met with suggested I try.

RPB_7751I also felt called by God to purchase a book – Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge. I had heard of this book from Financial Peace University (Dave Ramsey recommends it).

I went and purchased the book and read it in five days. I read it like a textbook – underlining passages, crying over subject matter that spoke to my heart.

This book was the beginning of my road map to becoming a man… a Man of God.

My marriage was saved thanks to the love of Jesus Christ.

In less than three months, my wife and I went from looking for separate places to live, me sleeping on the couch, and trying to figure out how to tell our children about the divorce, to working together on paying off debt so we can buy a house as a family.

RPB_7819I was accepted into a program with the VA (I am a disabled vet) and they will pay for my schooling to obtain my Masters in Mental Health Counseling, so I can work as a counselor in the mental health profession. I believe this is why I lost my job. My heart was not in my previous career. I needed to be able to reach out my hand and help those in need.

Through putting my faith and trust in God, a broken man of 44 years, along with a marriage (and family) on the verge of destruction, were saved.

I am so blessed by my faith, family and our new found life.

 

Hope Story: Chad Holtz

I’m a “crockpot Christian,” if you will.

I grew up in a small rural Iowa town, in a Christian home, with Christian parents.

I put on the 3-piece suit every Sunday and went to Sunday school and then worship service.

As I got older, I went to Wednesday night Confirmation class, was an acolyte and an usher, and went through “public questioning” and was confirmed.

In high school and college, I went through a little bit of a lull in my Christian journey.

Chad-Holtz-2_WebIt wasn’t until my wife and I (and our boys) spent a few years at different churches in the Midwest that I started to re-explore faith.

When we moved back to the Des Moines area, I said to my wife, “I used to go to this little church on Ashworth [Hope]. It was really great except the Pastor was a Bears fan.” (Sorry Pastor Mike!)

So, we visited again. And, although Hope was no longer “small,” just like so many Hope Stories go, we found a home.

Michelle and I continued to grow in our faith walk through getting involved in numerous ways at Hope – through Alpha (both taking the course and then leading), joining a small group, serving for Ignition, leading PowerLife and volunteering in various other ways.

We loved it all! But, something about my spiritual life still didn’t seem complete. I hadn’t found my calling…

So, we stepped back and re-evaluated. We talked and prayed about it. We waited for God to speak.  

Just when I was getting pretty comfortable (ie: lazy), I asked Michelle, “What about a mission trip?” Without hesitation she said, “I think that would be amazing!”

Soon thereafter, Pastor Pat preached about a new mission – Mission Ghana.

I said to myself, “Ok, I’m interested!”

Pastor Pat explained, “We’re going to help them with computers and technology.”

Wow! That was my job at the time.

He went on, “We’re going to help them learn how to farm.”

I was raised on a farm!

“If you’re interested, please get in touch with us.”

So, I did.

And, you’d think the story would end with me going to Ghana.

Not so.

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Mission Juarez

We ended up joining a mission trip headed to Juarez, Mexico, to serve God by helping the “poorest of the poor” who lived in a reclaimed dump, bringing God’s hope and light to living conditions unseen in our part of the world.

And, yet again, it felt like home.

There, our team brought improvement to the community.

We built a house in five days, even without knowing what we were doing.

We brought a load of donated shoes and distributed them. Children, without shoes of their own, scattered around us, trying on multiple pairs – even those those who couldn’t be helped remained gracious.

During the week, our group bonded with one another, and also with the community, most of whom are non-English speaking.

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Mission Juarez

One boy, Martin (pronounced Mar-teen), tagged along with me for the week, and even though he didn’t speak English, we communicated effectively.

One of our most memorable interactions was when he constructed a small battery pack with a wire and played a practical joke, lining up a circle of people and sending around a small jolt. At the end of the week, Martin sent his brother to present me with the contraption—a gift he wanted me to have (a meaningful gesture from a boy who had nothing). I found an interpreter to explain that I couldn’t accept the gift, but thanked and hugged him, fighting back my own tears.

It was incredibly hard to leave.

In a preparation meeting for our first of many trips to Juarez, our leader explained that we would get more from the people of Juarez than we could ever give to them.

This was something I had a hard time both believing and understanding at the time.

But, I can now tell you – without a doubt – the people of Juarez gave me more than I could have ever given them.

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Mission Juarez

They changed my thinking. They changed my view of the world. They changed my heart.

The experience rocked my perception of faith and changed my life. I’ll never be the same again. I thank God for transforming me through loving and happy people that live in a place where they have close to nothing.

I’d have to check the stamps on my passport to remember how many mission trips I’ve been on. Every time I’ve come home better than when I left.

Every. Single. Time.

I’ve had the privilege to serve, and serve alongside some truly amazing people. I’ve seen some of the poorest people, hugged them, helped them, cried with them, laughed with them, sang praises with them and learned from them.

Juarez, El Paso, Jamaica, South AfricaDes Moines… the list is growing and growing.

Imagine, a young farm boy in rural Iowa, sitting with his brothers and parents in a small church and singing his Father’s favorite hymn:

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds thy hands have made

To me, as a young boy in that church pew, the world was pretty small. Today, it is big. Who knows where I’ll be called to serve God next?

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!

Traveling the globe and doing mission work may not be everyone’s calling, but I believe it’s what God has called me to do.

Indeed, how GREAT thou art!

 Chad Holtz

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Interested in getting involved with Missions at Hope? Here’s a few ways you can learn more:

  • Visit the Mission’s page on our website.
  • Stop by the Mission Fair this upcoming Monday (June 24) at 6:00 pm, where you can hear from both local and global mission partners. 2014 Mission Trips will also be announced!
  • Join the monthly Missions e-newsletter.
  • Email the Missions team.

Hope Story: Steve & Amy Davis

We had driven past Hope numerous times wondering what a church that size would be like. We thought it was too big and neither of us had a Lutheran background, but ultimately we decided to visit.

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“Before we even got in the door, we almost turned back. Suddenly, we worried about it being uncomfortable since we were both previously divorced. After talking through our concerns, we decided to go in anyway…”

We’re sure glad we did.

The message that day really hit home with both of us and we loved the style of worship.

The truth is, Hope is a big church. But, knowing “life” occurs within smaller groups, we decided to check into Life Groups by attending an informational gathering.

Before we even got in the door, we almost turned back. Suddenly, we worried about it being uncomfortable since we were both previously divorced. After talking through our concerns, we decided to go in anyway.

Again, we’re sure glad we did.

We sat down at a table with two other couples. By the time the meeting started, our table consisted of six couples total. We were all asked to give a brief introduction and share something about ourselves. After each couple shared their story, we looked at each other with amazement and knew we were all exactly where God meant for us to be. Every couple at our table was in their second marriage…

Following that event, we joined a wonderful Life Group with two couples who have been blessed with long-term marriages, and three who had been blessed with a second marriage.

We share life’s many experiences with one another – our struggles with work, stories about our children, prayers for healing and issues with parenting. We study God’s word and serve together when we can.

And, we laugh and enjoy each others company.

It’s been a wonderful and amazing experience. So much so, that we volunteered to serve as table hosts for Group Launch, to help encourage those looking to join a Life Group. It’s such a joy to see others come together with their Life Group family…

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“We share life’s many experiences with one another – our struggles with work, stories about our children, prayers for healing and issues with parenting. We study God’s word and serve together when we can.”

Every weekend, when one of the pastor’s up front says, “It’s no accident you’re here, we’ve been praying for you,” we can’t help but smile.

We know it’s definitely no accident we’ve found our home in HOPE…