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.
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.