Olivia Wolfe, Lakewood UMC, Jacksonville
I began going to church as a skeptical, resistant and broken 9th grader who was following an order given by her mom. My family had never been a church going family and I was angry with God. I was angry at the pain that was caused by my abusive, alcoholic, drug addict father and the pain that I inflicted upon myself because I didn’t know where else to turn.
So my first year in church, at Lakewood, was a journey for sure. It was a journey of first surrendering things to God and recognizing/believing that the actions of my father, who is human and sinful, were not equivalent to the way that our Heavenly Father would treat me. It was a journey of learning how to forgive and how to resist the temptation to inflict pain on myself because of pain that my earthly father caused me. The following three years of high school were the years in which God showed me that serving others was how I felt Him the most. I went on mission trips each summer with the youth group, and my first trip was my freshman year. I remember to this day sitting with my youth pastor on the floor crying about my dad. And I remember my youth pastor, Bryan, saying to me that I didn’t have to give my dad the power to run my life and that God would use all of this to strengthen my ability to serve. Although it didn’t make a lot of sense in the moment, it has proved to be true time and time again. I became a member of Lakewood my senior year of high school but I knew that once I went to college it would be a whole new experience; however, what I didn't know was that I would dive head first into a new ministry where I knew nobody.
After attending Campus to City Wesley for a semester, I began serving on teams as a volunteer- which was really the time when I started to feel a pull on my life that I had never felt before. Now (in 2013) I’m serving as CCW's first intern and that new pull on my life that I felt has turned into a calling that our Father has spoken into my life. He continues to breathe life and abilities into me and I continue to try and respond.
Up Christmas Eve…
Rev. Joseph Kim, Riverview UMC, Ormond Beach
Rev. Kim tells how meeting Christ changed him, and he praises God “for changing me to be the person He wants me to be every day.” He testifies about being in mission with God through being in service to others, preaching, teaching and prayer.