Thank You To The People Who Welcomed Me With Open Arms
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A Massive Thank You To My Church Community Who Welcomed Me With Open Arms

Thank you for your intentionality in building community and in getting to know those around you, even those who you aren't similar to.

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A Massive Thank You To My Church Community Who Welcomed Me With Open Arms
Bekah Pounds

Before coming to college I'd gone to the same church for 15 years. These people grew up with me. They saw me during the awkward braces phase or the entirety of middle school for that matter. They saw me grow from a young tyke to a mature young adult ready to go on and take on college. SO after 15 years of being known and loved by a Christian community, my parents dropped me off on the steps of Hinton James dormitory where I had no church group or any form of community for that matter.

Fast forward two Sundays into college and I agreed to go to church with one of my Bible study leaders. I was thrilled to at least have one person I knew going into this new experience. Don't get me wrong, anyone who knows me is well aware of the fact that I am a pretty big extrovert, but even I get nervous when I don't know anyone in a situation. So Sunday morning rolled around and I woke up to a text from Laura saying she wasn't feeling well and that her roommate was going to take me to church. Cue pounding heart and clammy hands. If I'm completely honest, I strongly considered texting her back and not going to church that Sunday. But I didn't, and I couldn't be more thankful that I didn't let my reservations get in the way of one of the most incredible Christian communities I have ever been a part of.

As I said, I knew absolutely no one going into College Collective that morning. By the time I left I'd already met and talked to more than a handful of people who made me feel so welcomed and as if I'd been there for years. My first Sunday at Chapel Hill Bible Church completely changed my outlook on the Christian community and what it means to be known and loved well. Never before had I seen a group of people cherish and care for each other so well. Never before had I seen a group of nearly 200 people be so undivided and so accepting.

Now, two and a half years since I first stepped foot in Chapel Hill Bible Church, I can't stand the thought that I almost missed out on such a great community. There's something so uniquely special about this group of people. They took me in when I felt alone and so unknown, and they got to know me and cared for me at my best and my worst. The friends I've made since being a part of CC aren't just friends that when we see each other around campus or at church on Sunday we wave and give a polite smile. No, they get to know the broken and ugly parts of my life. They see the struggles I face in biology or the embarrassing moments where I rip my shorts on a hike. Also, they celebrate with me in my successes no matter how big or small.

Most importantly, though, they demonstrate Christ to me in the purest and most encouraging ways.

Never have I had people take my burdens on them so sincerely and actively call me and sit on the phone at 11:30 p.m. praying for me before I went to college. Never have I had people be so willing to drop everything and take me home during the middle of the day so I could make it to my great grandpa's funeral. Never have I been so loved and encouraged.

To all of my friends within College Collective and those who I didn't get to know so well, or didn't have the chance to meet, thank you. Thank you for your intentionality in building community and in getting to know those around you, even those who you aren't similar to. Thank you for lifting me up when I felt like the stress and the pressures of college were too much to handle. Thank you for taking on my burdens and accepting at my best and my worst. Thank you for loving me and getting to really, truly know me. Thank you for being my safe haven and home away from home. Most importantly, thank you for being a community whose core is based on the Word of Jesus and lives that out so well.

There are so many moments I could tell where I've seen CC have an impact on my life or friendships I've made through CC that have been life-changing for me. I'll stop here for now because I know in the next two years there will be a multitude of other moments where I see CC being such an encouragement to me and the college campuses in the area. I just wanted to write this because I don't think I have ever truly expressed how incredibly thankful I am to be a part of a community like this. That first Sunday I never would've imagined that two years down the road I would look back and realize that one group of people could leave such a huge mark on my life.

Each and every one of you, in some way, shape or form, have played a role in helping me to grow as a person and in my walk with Christ. I will forever be grateful for all of you and the memories I've been able to and will continue to be able to, create with y'all. I love you all so much and words are not enough to express the gratitude I have for all that you've done for me.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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