BY MARIA JOSE PAEX MAESTRE, GRACE ATTENDER & ROOTED PARTICIPANT
When I arrived in this city two years ago, I tried coming to Grace once. However, at that time, I did not feel at home. Maybe it was because I compared the church where I attended in Miami and the atmosphere was very different, among other things. We continued in the search for churches, but couldn't find a fit. At that time, God told my husband and I to try Grace one more time. I felt Him say, ""You must try it one more time. The language barrier will not be the limitation for you to worship there."" After a year, we went back to Grace and felt like the message was directed towards us. Without a doubt, God was working on us that entire year, and His work paid off that day. Since that day, we have felt like Grace is our family. Our lives have been changed and blessed in so many ways by this church. My children love going to church and my husband and I do too. We look forward to the days when we serve as it gives us another reason to attend. We truly feel at home because of the people, the atmosphere and how this church has changed our lives.
So, a few months back when they talked about Rooted, I knew I needed to sign up. I wanted to meet more people and grow in community. I signed up for the pilot this summer, and after 10 weeks, I can easily say Rooted has had a huge impact on my life. It helped me to open my mind and heart to difficult situations. I was judgemental and only saw life in black and white. But, now, I see things from a variety of perspectives and realize that there are people who really are going through difficult situations. And, the things that I complain about are just things and not real problems. It made me see that God continues to protect me and that I have never gone through tribulations where my life is hanging by a thread. It made me so much more aware and I am grateful for that. Being in Rooted also helped me to know that God had a call for me! And, I honored this call by completely surrendering my life and getting baptized in June.
Since getting baptized, I feel clothed to face any test of life. I feel victorious in Christ Jesus! The Holy Spirit has become part of my life. And, I am willing to live according to His word recognizing that it is not an easy road, but with the help of God, I will be able to achieve it. So...basically, Rooted changed my life because I have never had a better relationship with God!
If you're thinking about going to church or taking one step further and joining a group, I want to tell you not to fear, I feel that we are in a time where God is calling all his disciples, where He is preparing his sheep for his arrival, it is time to believe, to stop fearing because we are his children and we do not have fear. To stop fearing being judged for belonging to a religion. Find a church like Grace who will make you feel at home. I can assure you that once you do, your life will be changed.