Graciously the saints gave of their time, energy, brains, muscles and hearts, banding together to finish the work necessary to have our first service in our new church building. A once lively and full church building was left vacant, cold and neglected. Filled with dust, grime and mold, it could be difficult to see through it to even imagine what the future might hold for this building (besides possibly something involving a bulldozer).
Today, that building was filled with life once again. Excitement and energy flowed throughout the people. Excitement for a fresh
beginning continuation of the work to be completed. Amidst the commotion and bustling of people arriving, you couldn't help being overwhelmed by the genuine smiles and joy being shared by all. Love filling every aisle, every chair, every pew, every person.
Many years have passed since that building was filled with such joy, passion and love but it was evident today.
The youthfulness was refreshing as children cried, laughed and ran throughout the building. Some one I talked to was reminded of her daughter singing her ABC's for the first time, many years ago in that very building. It brought tears to her eyes as she remembered attending there with her mother and now coming back after many years of heartache and loss in between and realizing that she feels more alive and joyful today than ever before.
My favorite quote from today was this,
"We aren't building this place up and fixing it for us. We are building it for them."
Not meant as an "us vs. them" type of thing but as in, "all are welcome". Our goal is to prepare a place for people to come. A place for people from all walks of life, especially the messiest kind (we are known for our community of "misfit toys") to come and experience the love of Jesus. Not to judge but to love. A place where a community is built from within in order that they may go out. Go out and reach those that are too afraid or have been too hurt to come in.
A place where walls are broken down and lives are restored.
All images were taken by Laura Olson of In His Grace Photography