My FBCDB story...
In the Fall of 2014, I started Florida Atlantic University as a freshman. I was thirteen hours away from home. After a month or so of being in Florida I was starting to feel really homesick. I decided I needed to find a Church nearby. I googled, "Baptist Churches." There was one in Boca and while I was looking at the one in Boca, I noticed another hit for First Baptist Church of Deerfield Beach. There was just something about it that I knew that's where I needed to go to on Sunday morning.
I still remember that first Sunday. Driving up and seeing how it was a small little Church, I just loved that. I love it because it seemed like everyone was close by and close knit. I don't remember the first sermon but I remember my first impression of Pastor Jeremy. I believe my thoughts went something like this, 'he is young, is he the real pastor?' Then he began to pray and preach. All I could think about was how he had so much wisdom and when he speaks anyone could tell God is speaking through him. I held onto every word he was saying, and already I was excited for the next Sunday. I left and called my mom and dad. They told me to keep trying out other Churches that I might like because I might like another one, but I told them, "no, this place feels like home". I didn't need to try any other Churches. I now where I belong.
I attended the Church on and off. I was a college athlete. I got injured, so I had to take trips home often and went through surgery and therapy. A couple weeks after Christmas I wasn't doing well. I was in lots of pain with my injury and found it impossible to continue my life as an athlete. My mom came to visit me and we talked it through and I decided it was time to give up swimming. Swimming had been my whole life and I had put swimming ahead of everything. Well the next Wednesday night I was in the Bible study. After service I went and later I was talking with the preacher's wife, Stephanie. She and I decided to go get Starbucks sometime together. We both love coffee. That was the beginning of a sister bond. The next Sunday in Church, Jeremy preached about fully submitting your life to God, putting Him first before all. That sermon stayed with me. It kept working on my heart. After that sermon, I started attending service every Wednesday night and Sunday morning. Then when there was an opportunity to be in an outreach activity, I volunteered! I wanted to help others and I wanted to get to know the people in the Church better. That outreach was Laundry Love. We went to a laundry mat and helped do the laundry for people. We provide the money to do the laundry and we also provided detergent. Most of all we provided an ear to listen, a friendly smile and the word of God. Many people that day learned that FBCDB was a place that God looks down on and smiles. But that day I learned something. I learned that these people were my family. The guy that ran the laundry mat asked a Deacon of FBCDB named Cleat if I was his daughter. Cleat just laughed and so did I. No, Cleat isn't my dad but after that day, I will always call him dad. He is an amazing man. He is so loving and caring. He is funny and makes me laugh. He radiates Godliness.
Easter Sunday was closely approaching and, well being so far from home, I had no plans for Easter Sunday and though Stephanie and Jeremy didn't know this, God did. Stephanie asked me what I was doing and I told her coming to Sunrise service. I didn't have plans afterwards. She invited me to hangout with her and Jeremy all day. She didn't know exactly what they were doing but I was welcome to join them. I gladly accepted the invitation. I ended up spending the whole day with them, like literally the whole day. I met them at the Church around 6 a.m. and I don't believe I left their house till around 10 p.m. I can honestly say that is my favorite Easter. The whole day was amazing. The part that showed me I had found family was that night for dinner. It was Steph, Jer, CJ and I.
This was the first time I really got to know CJ, but I also got to know Jer even better. Steph and I had really gotten close having dinner before Wednesday night service, but even then that night I got to know her even better. Steph made some coffee for herself and me because Jer and CJ didn't like coffee. Jer made steaks. They were some amazing steaks! We sat down for this lunch/dinner around five. We didn't get up from the table until 10 o'clock. That is when CJ and I were leaving. We sat there for five hours talking about everthing. That night I gained two brothers. We grew as a family. That night I learned that when Jeremy first met CJ, they went to Starbucks. I just said they didn't like coffee, and they decided on Starbucks. Jer orders a refresher, while CJ picks up one of the kids chocolate milks with a bendy straw. CJ is the new NextGen Pastor. He is the perfect man for the job. He answered God's call. I'm so thankful he did because if he hadn't I don't know how I would have met him. He truly is a role model to the youth. He acts like a kid. I tell him that all the time, but CJ is also very wise. He gets his wisdom from God.
The first day I walked into the Church I felt like this place was home. I just didn't realize how right I was. Steph and Jer are truly my brother and sister. I can go to them with anything and I know they will pray for me and they both care. Cj and I pick on each other just like a brother and sister would, and Jer definitely joins in on that. Steph and I talk like sisters do. With Cleat, I have another dad. He tells me to make sure I get good grades, and he can't wait till I graduate so I can come back. He said he would help me find a job because he knows tons of people in Deerfield Beach.
Another woman at the Church I have gotten to know is Heather. Mrs. Chada, she is another sister of mine. I had the opportunity to come back to Florida to join the Women's retreat. During this retreat, I got to catch up with Steph but I also got the chance to meet some other women that I never go the chance to really know before I had to come back home to North Carolina. Mrs. Chada was one of the leaders. We are both blonde, blue eyed, so we say we look alike. We both love froyo, mixing birthday cake and chocolate together with sprinkles on top, perfect combination. Mrs. Chada and I discovered that our favorite book and chapter in the Bible is the same. We both love Romans 12. That weekend we grew closer to God and also to each other. This church, FBCDB is not just a building with people inside. FBCDB is a place full of God, love, and family. This place has been imprinted on my heart. I miss everyone there daily. They make you feel you are welcome. You are a part of them, no matter what you look like. If you have tattoos or piercings, if you have been a drug addict or if you are an alcoholic; No matter your past you are forgiven by God and the people of First Baptist Church of Deerfield Beach. They will not judge you. They will look at you the way God does, and that's with loving eyes and they will welcome you with open arms. We are all sinners. We all have things in our past we are not proud of. Once you walk past the threshold, you are a part of them. You are in there family forever and ever.
I maybe thirteen hours away, but I know that once I finish college, if it is in God's will, I will go back down there to be with my family.