d had led our family to become part of the Wayne Hills Baptist Church and on August 16, 1992, Dave and I were each baptized for a second time, this time knowing what we were doing and why. Having a 3-year-old and an infant, we were led there primarily because of its children’s programs but also the deaf ministry, which was important to us as parents of a severe-to-profound hearing-impaired little boy. (God later restored his hearing to a range he could verbally communicate because his mother was inept at learning sign language! But that’s another story for another day!) Little did we know, God brought us to Wayne Hills because He had something for Dave and I as well.
I was baptized around the age of 15, very much understanding I was a sinner but I was never discipled or taught what to do next. I was left to try and figure it out on my own. As a result, I developed a rather legalistic view of God, one where it was very much about “doing” to earn God’s love rather than “being” in a personal relationship with Him. When we came to Wayne Hills, I remember one of the first events I attended was an Experiencing God Weekend. I sat in small group discussion with people who seemed to “know” God and who talked about God “speaking” to them. I listened as they shared things God was showing them from the Bible as if they were able to make sense of it and actually seemed to understand it enough that it was changing the way they lived. I heard people talk about how God had worked in their lives and had completely transformed them, some of them even sharing with tears. I truly had no clue what they were talking about but, boy, did I want it!!
That Experiencing God Weekend was almost 30 years ago and it marked the beginning of me trying to figure out how to get what they had that I didn’t: a real, up-close and personal relationship with God and a hunger for His life-transforming Word. That weekend sent me down a path and I have yet to look back! For fear of leaving someone out, I will not even attempt to name all the pastors, staff, teachers, leaders, men, women, teens and children of Wayne Hills who have influenced my life. Neither can I recall each thing that impacted my spiritual growth. I heard literally hundreds of sermons, sat through as many Sunday School lessons, attended revivals, treasured time spent in ladies Bible studies, went to retreats, was blessed by individual counsel and mentoring all while simply and thoroughly enjoying the fellowship of my Wayne Hills family. I was also blessed beyond measure to be able to serve over the years in all sorts of ways. I began as a helper in Cubbies which quickly turned into being director, taught children in a variety of ways, led ladies Bible studies and retreats before being asked to serve on staff of the church. On staff, I had a wide assortment of opportunities to serve and grow in ways I never dreamed including all sorts of administrative roles as well as working in family ministry where I developed my love and passion for counseling, leading grief and other support groups, women’s ministry, Fun Bunch ministry and, to my surprise, some of my most blessed days were spent in youth ministry.
I had no clue what God was up to that day long ago when we were baptized and placed our membership with Wayne Hills! But God did. In fact, He orchestrated every single bit of it because He knew what He was preparing me for 30 years later. God knew I would need to know Him in a very real and intimate relationship. He knew I would need to be a student of His Word. He knew I would need tons of training and experience in leadership, teaching and administration. He knew I would need to learn to see and love people the way He does and care about their souls and overall well-being. God knew.
So, to Wayne Hills Baptist Church and especially to all the people who are part of my Wayne Hills family, I say a humble, heart-felt, “THANK YOU!” I will be forever grateful for your love and friendship through the years and for the role each of you have played in order that I would be the person I am today and that God’s will for my life would be accomplished.