Sunday Morning my family and I arrived at Church right at 11am. It was the first time for my kids to be back in Willmar and they were super excited. One of Alise's good friends was standing on the steps and Alise ran right to her. Luke bolted out of the car and just sprinted into familiar territory. I was afraid that he might be sprinting right down the center aisle of Church but figured it would make for some good memories.
It was strange to be there and to not be on staff. We sat in the very back and looked at things in a much different light then ever before as we were now "visitors" so to speak. What my family and I witnessed that morning was a beautiful thing. Pastor Dan appropiately had changed the plan for the services as he dealt with the sudden tragedies and grief head on. What I saw was a Church living out Romans 12:15 when Paul tells us to mourn with those who mourn. It was evident on Sunday that the Church's heart was aching with those of its body who were hurting, it was a beautiful thing to see.
It wasn't just Sunday morning either. The whole week I saw the true love that the people of FCC held for each other. My family and I were welcomed back warmly by the pastoral staff new and old. I enjoyed working together with Rocky as he takes the baton and continues the race as he nows leads the youth ministry of FCC. My family is so blessed to have so many great friends and that was very evident this weekend. It was wonderful to see everyone and we were so humbled and grateful for the welcoming back that we received. Cliche as it sounds it blew us away.
All in all there was just a lot of love in the air in Willmar this last week. It is beautiful to see people allowing God to transform their lives. People who give control of their lives to God to be used as ministers of his grace and this is what we witnessed. It was harder than ever to leave, knowing that the people you love and care for are dealing with so much grief. I can relate to many of our college students who struggle to deal with tragedies such as these as they live in a place where no one really can understand. However I am comforted knowing that our friends back home who are dealing with so much pain are surrounded by so much love. Thank you for showing us what a true community of Christ followers looks like. May we all continue to love and pray for those around us who are hurting.