I came to Encounter Church about 2 years ago, broken, scared, and did not know my purpose in life. I joined 2 small groups my first year. The more I studied, the more I felt stuck in a fog, confused, angry, and frustrated. The enemy attacked me daily.
In small groups, I learn to recognize the devil's voice and how to shut him down. Many times, I came close to giving up but heard Pastor Phillip say, “The answers are in the book.” I felt inadequate and could not understand the verses or find the different books of the Bible.
That day I made the best decision of my life. I decided to fight the devil, but knew I couldn’t do it alone. Sundays are great, but I needed more, so I joined several small groups. The groups are tremendous gifts! I could relate to the words of a song "I don't know what love is but I know what it's not.” However, now I know God loves me so much that he crucified his only son to free me from all my sins. God sent wonderful fellowship with people that love and support me.
I learned God picked me and my life even before I was born. All the pain and disappointments my life carried were all to prepare for my purpose. I am no longer a victim. I am a good person, full of love, understanding, empathy, ready to serve God and others.
In our small groups, I could study Bible verses and adapt them to my life. I am accepted, safe to share, and comfortable knowing all the feedback and directives from my new friends are from God's teachings.
The other day a friend asked me how I could be so accepting. Things are still pretty challenging in my life. I don't have to control this life, in fact, I can't because God has it. He knows the plan. I need to let it unfold. My small group helps me by letting me know honestly when I try to revise God's plan.
If I can claim a purpose for my life today it would be to share the importance and miracles of small groups and their gift of fellowship, freedom, peace, acceptance, and lots and lots of love. All we must do is ask and step out of our comfort zone and receive the gift.
(Janice is the one in yellow and black!)