It was roughly a year ago that my journey began with Community of Christ. A little over a year ago, God was not a priority in my life. This is not to say I was a bad person or lived an unchristian lifestyle. It’s just to say after my voluntary departure from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2007 I really didn’t want or see myself being part of any group and I really didn’t give my relationship with Christ much thought.
In 2007, I contacted Community of Christ through their website, however, I wasn’t ready and I’ll be honest, I don’t believe they were ready for someone like me either. The response I received in 2007 was vastly different than the response I received one year ago. I now look back at that experience with relief. I believe that God knew it wasn’t time and that he would later manifest to me when the time was right.
A little over a year ago, I realized that something was missing in my life and I believed it was the presence of God. Naturally, I felt the need to return to the faith of my youth in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I attended for awhile, but it just never felt right. Although, I was an Elder and was celebrated as a prodigal son returned; I just didn’t feel part of that community anymore and soon realized that not only was it not going to work for myself it was also not the best fit for my family.
With the decision leaving the LDS church again, I soon fell back into the habit of staying away from church and God, but this time it was not permanent or lasting. I quickly realized there was still a deeper meaning why I went back and even-though that church wasn’t going to work for me there were things I loved and things I needed to share. Luckily, I soon realized the things I loved was not specific to the LDS church and were more specific to the restoration.
The history and spirit of the Restoration kept calling and I now felt it was time to pursue Community of Christ once again. My response as I mentioned in 2007 was very much different than the response I received in 2012. In 2007, I felt that the church was really unable to speak to me, however, in 2012 this church not only was able to speak to me it was ready to administer to me.
So, what has happened to me over this last year and how has it changed my life? First, Christ is in my life in away he hadn’t been since I was a teenager. I try daily to proclaim him and to share with others what it means to have a relationship with him. Second, I have a community that loves me and is ready to walk with me. Not only the community local to me in Cedar Rapids, IA, but a community that is world wide. I have met so many wonderful people through on-line ministries and local ministries. I have made friends that I believe will be with me for the journey ahead. I have seen a change in myself. The way I treat my family and friends has changed. I’ve become more patient, a little more merciful and less partisan.
A little over a year ago, if you told me I would be active in Community of Christ and be attending church regularly with my family; I would have chucked and laughed. Sadly, removing Community of Christ from the equation, if you told me that I would be proclaiming Christ I would have given a similar response. Truly, I believe I had an Alma the younger experience. I may not have been stricken and unable to speak, but I know that I was changed and I feel the call to share with others my story and experiences.
I’m a part of a great movement. I’m part of a church that affirms the spirit of the restoration. I’m part of a church that is still communing with God. I’m part of a diverse community that not only is local to me in Iowa, but expands the globe. I’m part of a community that affirms the worth of all people and I’m so humbled and excited for the journey ahead.
Over the last year, I have received the Evangelist Blessing (Patriarchal Blessing), I have bore my testimony in service, I have been confirmed a member, I have given time and money back to my local community, and most importantly I have provided ministry to others and have received it in return. All of these wonderful things would have never happened if I didn’t have faith and trust. What will the journey be like moving ahead? I can’t say for certain, but I welcome it and I welcome you to share it with me.