I grew up in a local church with parents who were very active in the church life.
As a kid, I thought that bad things never happened to people in the church life, but then my parents got divorced when I was 13. As one might imagine, this was extremely hard for me and at times I was even embarrassed that this happened.
However, the brothers and sisters in the church shepherded me in a very practical way and prayed for me and every member of my family. Some families even took me in as one of their own children in order to provide a stable, loving and healing environment for me.
I grew up most of my life in one city and then moved to two other cities after I got married. When I moved I was afraid that the saints in these new localities wouldn’t know how to take care of me and all my struggles, because they didn’t know me as well.
However, my testimony is that the Christ in them is more than sufficient to meet my every need, whether big or small.
Thus far in my life with the Lord, I have learned that He sovereignly arranges crises in my life in which I have to decide whether I will continue to follow Him in this way of meeting in the local churches or not. When struggles, hardships, transitions, or offenses come, we have a choice to turn to the Lord or go another way.
No one is forcing anyone to stay in the local churches. Instead, in my experience, the saints in the local churches just want everyone to be a normal, happy human being and be full of the enjoyment of our wonderful Lord Jesus.
Every major life transition has been difficult for me, but I have received specific, definite, clear, and immensely helpful shepherding and fellowship from the saints in the local churches in every situation.
After I graduated from the Full-time Training in Anaheim, I served on a campus team full-time for 6 years, but then wanted to attend nursing school. In tears I opened my struggle to a leading brother because I wasn’t sure if I was cut out for nursing school, yet he spoke words of encouragement that empowered me and gave me the confidence to move in that direction.
Not once was I ever discouraged from pursuing higher education or becoming a working professional. Now, years later, I am a registered nurse, and I am happily married with children. The leading brothers just want the best for us humanly — to get married, to have a family, to have a good job, and to just be happy in every part of our being.
The saints in the local churches, and especially the leading brothers, have spent a lot of time to pray and fellowship with me and those whom I love. They have lost lots of sleep for me and gave up their personal time to spend time with me and listen to my most personal struggles.
When I was in college, one leading brother even brought me gas when I ran out of gas one time in the middle of an intersection. I am here because of their shepherding and I truly believe that we live the most blessed human life in the church life.