5 years ago my husband and I were driving to Queen Vic Market on a sunny Melbourne Sunday morning. We deviated from our usual route and along the way we saw a couple of fit & happy people on a street corner feverishly shaking signs that said LIFE. I thought they were advertising a new gym in the area! Later on in the day I looked up LIFE on the internet to see what this new gym had to offer. Turns out of course that it wasn’t a gym, it was LIFE church. I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t a new gym.
At that moment in time I didn’t understand a word about the Christian faith or the Kingdom of God. But it did plant the seed in my heart. In 2019 I had a conversation with a colleague at work about books we would like to read and I surprised myself by blurting out that I’d really like to read the Bible, as I had actually never read it. So, I went in search for a “user-friendly” Bible, one that anyone who didn’t have a PhD or a Theology degree could understand. Thankfully, the TV show Full House had come to Netflix and I of course, being a major super fan back in the early 90’s, started to creepily follow the cast on Instagram. The actress that played the oldest of the sisters from Full House would speak regularly on her Instagram about Jesus & the Bible and was very open and honest with her experiences. She eventually released her version of the Christian Standard Bible and it was just what I was searching for. February this year 2020, I ordered my first Bible. The day received it and opened the box I felt an enormous weight lift from my shoulders and I stood there hugging that Bible, just like I used to hug my teddy bear when I was little. I hadn’t even read one page of it yet, but I knew this was going to change my life forever.
It was then that the little seed of LIFE sprouted. I looked up LIFE again on the internet and found that they now how podcasts of their previous services, so felt I could sneakily listen in and nobody know I was there yet. A few weeks passed and then the virus hit and lockdowns began. And so too did the first online services. I watched in awe of the Pastors in the services. They were so nice, friendly, dressed well, cool glasses, some with tattoos and looked genuinely happy to be there sharing their experiences and visions. I immediately felt like I was home and that these people are people that I want to get to know. During the online Easter service I participated in my first communion with God. I was alone at home watching the service so I quickly went to the kitchen, grabbed a glass of water and some flat bread and I “communed” with the church and God. I said the prayer that Ps Nadia and Ps Craig always say at the end of the services to the new comers, committing myself to get to know the Lord and his word. That day in my heart I officially became a Christian.
I plucked up the courage to click on the Next Steps link a few weeks later. I was nervous and excited for that first online meeting. Nervous that maybe I am not Christian enough because I’ve never been baptised and I haven’t yet finished reading the Bible. Excited because I really wanted to be a part of something, something meaningful and fun! At that zoom meeting I was so relieved to meet Ps Nadia, Ps Craig, Tahlia and other new comers. It was great to see that they were welcoming, funny, non-judgemental, caring, with lively kids in the background and all of us introducing our dogs to each other online!
My husband and I are now in the Alpha group together and I’ve joined the Sistahood group. We love the online prayer meetings and having a laugh with people at LIFE. Everyone I have met online throughout my journey so far have been fantastic. I never feel scared to ask a question or share my experiences with the online groups. I learned that none of us are perfect, we’re only human and we’re all together getting to know the Lord and his word.
I am eternally grateful for the happy crazy roadside team shaking those LIFE signs, and I’m also glad it wasn’t another gym.