I know what it means to be adopted. My four sisters and I were all taken in from different families in Hawaii.
Growing up, my family was Lutheran but it never quite made sense to me what it meant or why I should be a part of their religion. So, even though my parents taught us “Christian values,” I wasn’t practicing them. When I became old enough to not be forced into going to church, I stopped attending.
As life progressed, I believed I was in control. I had a job and hobbies and friends but there was a missing piece, a hole on my life that I just couldn’t fill. I had no direction. I allowed anger to rule my perceptions of others, especially Christians. I thought that the church was for “those other people” who were hardcore about the bible and Jesus, and I really didn’t know anything about those things. Because I hadn’t ever read the bible or known about Jesus, I thought I was too far gone for Christ to love me. I resorted to keeping my distance from Jesus because I thought He would be mad at me for being a sinner. Even though I felt this way, I had an interest in finding out more about God.
In 2012, I was working as a custodian in Todd Hall on WSU’s campus. One seemingly normal afternoon of cleaning I came upon the first floor and heard music playing. I approached the room it was coming from and saw people setting up equipment. Curious, I asked a lady part of the group what was going on. She said, “We’re setting up for Resonate Church. We are going to start services here.”
She started talking to me for a little while and asked me if I went to church. I explained to her that I did when I was little, but I had not been since. The lady then invited me to attend that Sunday, and I decided to go. I was nervous and scared. Feeling like an outsider, I sat in the very back of the auditorium. Afterwards I thought to myself, “Yeah that was kind of cool and all… there was good music, but it isn’t for me.” I convinced myself that no one would accept me in Resonate because I was a sinner. However, when they held services during the week I would peek in from time to time to watch them pray and sing.
I then started attending Resonate’s Sunday services off and on when they switched their schedule. I attended whenever I felt like going, and didn’t take it too seriously.
One night I heard about a free movie that was going to be playing on campus and decided to go, because who doesn’t like free stuff?
Little did I know that this night would have a huge impact on my life. I didn’t really realize that the church was putting on the movie. Before it began, two guys named Luis and Colin approached me and started to talk to me. They started asking me about God and Jesus and it totally took me off guard. I was thinking, “Give me a warning or something, I just came here to watch a movie - not get questioned about God!”
Trying to be polite, I continued talking to them. They asked me if I attended church, and what my beliefs were. I was open with them and told them that I believed that there was some sort of higher power, I just didn’t know if it was God. I also talked about how I wanted to know God, but that I had placed it on the back burner of my mind and how I didn’t know if church was for me. We continued talking as the movie started, and Luis asked me if he could pray for me. At first I was weirded out, but decided it couldn’t hurt.
After Colin and Luis left, I can’t really explain what changed in my heart, but their words really got me thinking. I, in turn, was more motivated to attend church and explore who God was and wanted to learn about what Christianity was as a whole.
I decided I wanted to be a part of a Village after hearing about them for a long time in church. I was seeking to know more about community and how that tied in with Jesus. My leaders, Scott and Sierra, were a blessing from God through their patient listening and guidance. I vented my frustrations and thoughts, and they handled it with grace and understanding. While dealing with my anger, I saw others in my community follow Christ with joy, which motivated me to pursue after the joy they had. My community revealed God’s power, glory, love, and grace. My old perceptions of Christianity had turned upside-down.
After months of learning about God’s grace and Christ our Savior, I decided to give my life over to Jesus.
I knew that this is what I truly wanted in my life.
To celebrate my new life in Christ, I thought about getting baptized. That decision was only a thought for some time, though, because I believed that my story wasn’t “big” enough.
That all changed when driving home from Riggins, Idaho.
I fell asleep at the wheel on a perfectly sunny day. My car drove off of the road, over a ditch and through a cluster of trees where it rolled to a stop. I woke up as this happened. I was so scared and was shaking. My car was totaled but I left the accident with only a bruise from the seat belt. I knew I was protected in this accident by God and that it was a miracle my car didn’t roll and I wasn’t seriously injured. After the accident, I knew that I wanted to get baptized because I understood God’s grace both from what I learned in my community and what I had experienced.
The day I was going to get baptized I was so nervous. However, Scott, Sierra, and Resonate’s lead pastor, Keith, prayed over me and I felt a warm, calming feeling replace my nerves. Coming out of the water I felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders. I was given a new life and a new heart.
After becoming a Christian and getting baptized, I have come to realize an important truth: I wasn’t only adopted by an earthly father, but also by a Heavenly Father. I am one of God’s adopted children, and I am an example that no one is too far gone to be redeemed in the eyes of the Lord.