From Paris, With Love

by Elodie Sophie

I've always known that my life was missing something in regards to God. Neither of my parents have religious backgrounds and the only times I went to church were for funerals and weddings. I always thought that church was an ancient place where people go to listen to a moral lesson and to be scolded for your sins. Why would I want to pursue a God who runs a place like that? During this past year of my life, I have faced hard situations and questions about myself. I wondered why life is so difficult, despite my good intentions. These questions and challenges prepared me to start building a relationship with God, even if I didn’t quite know where to start or what it meant.

Elodie and Amy
Elodie and Amy

Last week I came to Antioch21 Church while visiting my high school friend from France, Amy Peterson.  Antioch21 caught me off guard.  It was so different from what I thought church was.  Everyone was open and relational, instead of condemning.  As soon as the pastor started talking about loving your enemies, I felt like he was talking to me.  I was so deeply touched by everything that was said during the service.  My brief time with Antioch21 challenged my whole way of thinking about God.

I realized I found what I’d been looking for!  I've been searching for a relationship with a God who fills me with hope, instead of judgment;  I've been looking for community that is open and accepting, instead of closed.  I have now come to realize that God offers love and forgiveness.  He fills you with strength and hope in the midst of despair.  The day I visited Antioch21 church will be forever engraved in my mind, as the day I began to build a relationship with God.

Since being back in France this past week, I have bought myself a Bible and have been reading non-stop.  I've discovered so many answers to my questions and gained so much insight at a heart level.  Now, I'm wholeheartedly building my new relationship with God and hope to get baptized.