Coming to Albuquerque we knew that we needed to immediately begin building community. We looked to the church as a natural place to meet and connect with people. Our experience in Akron during residency, of not connecting in a church we attended for 2 years and then having Meredith prematurely and realizing their was no one coming to support us, pray with us and help us taught us the importance of the church. And caused us to change churches and focus more time and energy in the church. This lesson continued as we relied on the support of several churches during our time Kenya.
So, we began "the church hunt" or "the church shopping". I think most of dread those terms as we sound like consumers: just looking for the church that will meet our needs. And yet we needed a church that would meet our loneliness and replace it with community and friendship.
Our second Sunday in Albuquerque we were invited to attend Hope Evangelical Free. And all I can say is that the people there have got it right from introducing by name and remembering our names, asking questions and taking the time to listen, inviting strangers to activities, and directing you to people that could help our family connect. We were immediately loved by that church and that in turn testifies to the love of Christ. We've learned that this welcoming didn't just happen, but took work and intentionality from the church. It also meant people willing to call us to go to playgroups, have dinner, join in on a BBQ, go running, meet for breakfast, introduce us to missionaries from Tenwek, invite us to a child's birthday partg, and play the piano as a means to get to know us. And so God's provision continues through the church.