Finding a Loving Church Family
We all know we are encouraged to find a church to be involved in, once we are students here on Bison Hill. Many visit multiple churches or spend much of their time on Bison Hill before they find that loving church where they belong. I am so fortunate to have found such a loving church where I belong even before I came to school here.
My mom, dad, aunt, uncle, grandparents, great grandparents, and my sister all attended OBU. That being said, I have been around OBU my entire life, whether it was coming to homecoming every year, soccer camps, tours, or just random visits (especially when my sister was a student here). I am so thankful for the background my family has had not only at OBU but also in the Shawnee community. All of my family was involved in a church when they were Bison themselves. In fact, that is how my parents met, because they were involved in the same church.
However, my sister became involved in a small church called Trinity Baptist Church in Shawnee. She went there and was able to help with the youth group and much more all four years of college. She was even able to go to Falls Creek with them in the summers. One year, my home church, Journey Church, Catoosa, went to Falls Creek the same week as Trinity. Because my sister went there, too, she brought us all together a couple of nights to have our nightly devotional. We played games with them and traded off who led the devotion. It was through a couple visits to Trinity (with my sister) and mainly this week of Falls Creek, that I kind of got to know the people at Trinity. One night in particular, I was talking to the music minister of Trinity after the evening devotion. He told me I should come visit Trinity whenever I get to OBU, because he knew I was planning on coming. Keep in mind, I was only going to be a junior in high school. I told him I would and I could not wait to be there.
The next year of Falls Creek, my sister had graduated and worked through her first year of teaching in Anadarko, Oklahoma. She joined a new church, First Baptist Church, Anadarko. So, she went to Falls Creek with them, and I decided to go with them as well. We actually ended up staying in the cabin right next to the cabin Trinity was staying in, so I got to know the people of Trinity Baptist a little bit more that week. They again told me I should come visit whenever I got to OBU (this was the summer before my senior year of high school). Again, I was thrilled at the idea of going to Trinity whenever I got to OBU.
Another year and a half goes by and I am finally headed off to college. I never prayed a ton about what local church God wanted me to be involved in until the first week of school. I was always dead set on going to Trinity, and my mind would not change. As Welcome Week kicked off and we heard literally everyone telling us about local churches in the community, and realizing how many churches are actually in Shawnee, I began to wonder. I wondered if I was really supposed to be at Trinity, or if God wanted me to be somewhere else. So, I began to pray very heavily throughout that week, and still do just to make sure I’m where I’m supposed to be. The first Sunday, I obviously went to chapel, because that is what you do when you don’t know anyone and are a scared incoming freshman.
Almost a week had passed by and it was about Thursday afternoon, when it kept hitting me harder and harder that I needed to keep praying about where God wanted me to be. Before this moment, everyone had been asking me if I was going to such and such church because that was where they were going, but I always told them no, I was going to Trinity. So, I prayed that from then on, lthat whoever asks me next about what church I planned to attend that Sunday, I was going to go to church where they were going. Now, you might think this is a silly prayer, and it may be, but this is what happened. After this prayer, no one the rest of the day said anything about church. The next day I was in Thurmond Hall turning in some paperwork (for this blog, actually) when I ran into the music minister at Trinity (he works here at OBU, along with the youth minister). He asked me if I was coming to Trinity on Sunday and I said yes. He made sure I knew how to get there and what time it started. After this encounter, not a single person said anything about church before Sunday. This made me know that Trinity Baptist is where God wants me to be. Now, do I know why? No I do not, but I am slowly discovering more and more reasons of why it is where I belong.
I have continued going to Trinity throughout this year, and it has been a fantastic year. It may not be the typical college church, as I am actually the only college student, but it is still where I belong. The adults have already poured into my life, whether they even realize it or not. They have taken me in under their wings and allow me to be involved in so many things. The thing I love most about Trinity is that the people are real. There’s no show and it may not be fancy, but the people of the church are truly loving and caring towards the community, young people, and especially each other. I see in each of them how much they care and live such godly lives. I thank them all for already investing so much into my life, probably without even knowing it.
This is my story of how I found my church family here in Shawnee. I know many of you have a wonderful story, as well. But, if you don’t, I encourage you to find a church where you can not only be involved, but also invested. If you are struggling to find the church where God wants you, just keep praying. I know there are tons of people praying for you, including me. Just don’t give up. God is still here.