I suppose I should also mention that this church is not in our town, but it is a 40-minute drive for us.
The first Sunday we arrived at the church and were met outside by a gentleman who was very friendly. He asked our names and where we were from, how we found the church and if we were homeschoolers. He was thrilled to find out that we were homeschoolers and said that he can always tell homeschoolers at his job. He works for a local tourist attraction as a guide and he said that homeschoolers ask more questions and ask intelligent questions compared to the public schooled students. He told us we were going to love this church. Then we went inside and were greeted with more friendly faces.
During the little bit of social time between the Sunday school and church service time, one of the teen boys came over to invite our boys to gather with the group of teens that were talking in an area. Our boys hesitated and looked at me, and I told them to go. So they got to meet some of the teens from the church, while my husband and I spoke with some of the adults. It was a small church, only about 17 people besides us.
Everyone is together for both Sunday school and church service (all ages). That is what "Family Integrated" means, so our children were with us the whole time.
After Sunday school and church were over, one of the ladies asked if we wanted to join them for lunch. She said that a group from the church would be going to a restaurant nearby. We said no as we were a bit overwhelmed on this first visit and wanted some time to process.
We went to the nearby Burger King for lunch, and the boys and I said how much we enjoyed the church, how much we liked the people and were impressed by their friendliness, and that the pastor's sermon was good as well. My husband reminded us that we weren't going to make a decision on just one visit. So, we anxiously awaited the following Sunday.
The following Sunday, we went back and were again greeted by friendly faces. We, again, enjoyed the pastor's sermon, and he had informed everyone that his current Sunday school lessons would soon be ending and he would be starting a series on "apologetics". We had no idea what apologetics was, but he explained that it was to teach how you can know what you believe and be able to defend it to people who challenged your beliefs. It sounded like something I really wanted to learn and so did Anthony.
After this second visit, we were convinced that this was were we needed to be; that God had led us to this church for a reason.
We returned to our current church the following week and gave notice in the teen department that we would remain just a few weeks and help to find a replacement to teach the junior high girls Sunday school class I had been doing my best to teach for a couple of months. (I say "doing my best" because I had originally gone in as a helper and was suddenly thrown into the teaching position when the present teacher stopped showing up and then just quit. Some of the girls in the class were very angry with me and wanted to know why the teacher wasn't teaching and a couple of them told me they didn't want me as a teacher. They were very disrespectful and unkind, so I wasn't sorry to leave teaching this class behind. I did, however, feel bad about leaving a couple of the girls behind, who did seem to appreciate me, but we had to do what was best for our family and go where God was leading us.)
Part 3 will be posted on Wednesday.