What church are you serving in at present?

Westside Initiative, SB/ Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara

Briefly describe your testimony of coming to Christ:

My story begins with my parents’ stories: how God led both of them to Himself in ways which their families did not model for them. God called them together and blessed them with a loving church community to raise their children in. As my parents were faithful in their ministry, both to their church family and to their biological family, God blessed them.

I inherited in this blessing. I grew up with the firm understanding of God’s great love for me and for the world. I have had countless numbers of people pour into me in my childhood and teenage years, encouraging me to be kind and sensitive. Throughout my college years, I had peers and mentors show me what it can look like to be bold and intelligent in Christian love.

I have been given much. I pray that I can multiply even a fraction of what I’ve been given.

Briefly describe your understanding of God’s calling on your life:

The church has been home for me: I love her and mourn with her when we do not represent God’s love well—when intelligent and compassionate people turn away from the church because they believe there is no space for them. My hope is to be an agent of healing and change in the church, building communities characterized by sensitive intelligence, practical justice, and dignifying compassion.

I have much to learn. My aims are to be able to provide counseling, support, and teaching in intentional, God-centered communities. My plan is to go to seminary, study counseling, and continue living in missional, multicultural community with our Westside Initiative in Santa Barbara, learning more what it means to share in God’s liberating love.

How did you come to the Free Methodist Church?

I started attending this church because of people. My brother attended a Free Methodist Church, and my Bible study leader Kelly Soifer encouraged me to go.

I stayed at my church because of the clear love I saw both poured out on me and on those around me. The church welcomed me with open arms and graciously supported me through internship opportunities. The church showed its care for the poor through openly and frequently addressing social justice issues. The church showed special care for its congregation through rejoicing and mourning with the praises and pains of the people in their midst.

I committed to the Free Methodist Church because of our stand for social justice, for equality, and for a theology of love. The more I learned, the more I knew that I wanted to join hands with this community in bringing about God’s kingdom.