#iamRefuge: Erica

thirsting for satisfaction

I didn't grow up going to church or hearing about Jesus. When I was sixteen a friend invited me to church and I went thinking that it might make me a better person, since my background was one of cheating, abusing alcohol, taking drugs and using others for power or love. I had no idea who I’d find!

water to my soul

The person who spoke shared about his own struggle and pain having grown up in an alcoholic family (like mine) and how when he met Jesus, he found the one he was always looking for. He shared about this man Jesus, who is God, who came and lived the perfect life I could never live, who died for my sins (which I knew were many)—and all this in order to bring me into a relationship with God who loves me and would always be faithful and true.

It was like water to my soul—words especially perfect for me in that moment, even when I wasn’t looking for God. Everything in me said, “Yes, this is true! Jesus is the One I have been looking for.” Since that moment my life drastically changed as I began walking in an entirely different direction and I have never looked back. That was fifteen years ago and it just gets better and better!

What are some of the things you think are really great about Refuge?

I love how genuine people are at Refuge! Everyone is honest, sincere and just truly being who they are. They are real when they struggle or when they’re full of joy. It’s easy to be with them because what you see is what you get. I also love that we are such a random group of people that would never really be put together for any other reason than our mutual love for Jesus. Because of this, it feels like a real family when we gather because everybody is included, everybody is valued and cared for—no matter how different we all are. There is unity and affection because we are indeed a family, we are the family of God, full of diversity in all its beauty.

How are you involved in life at Refuge?

Having been at Refuge since the beginning there’s probably not many things I haven’t been involved with at some point! At the moment, my greatest influence is in leading our prayer ministry team. It’s such a powerful service to our church and I love getting to serve our church by praying for folks and with them. I also love to help with the worship music and I co-lead one of our community groups for ladies during the week.

what about Refuge encourages your faith?

I think I am most encouraged in faith by two aspects of our church each week. 

Every Sunday we start the service by inviting people to share about what God has done in their lives over the last week. It’s so faith building to hear what God is doing among and around us in people’s real, every day lives. I love that bit.

I also love getting to pray for folks. At the end of each service we invite folk to come back to receive prayer for anything they may need it for and it’s so encouraging for me to get to pray for people. The reason why this is so encouraging to me is because I come to the end of myself very quickly when it comes to praying for others and I have to wait and fully rely on what God will do for that person—both in that moment of prayer and way beyond it! I hear stories often of God using that time, and after it, to really speak to people and to change circumstances and hearts and that fills me with fresh faith in what God is doing and is able to do.

If you could tell anyone Just one thing about Refuge?

If you are looking for a community of people who love like family (aren’t we all?!) then please come. Anyone and everyone is welcome from all backgrounds—come and explore the life and love of this man, Jesus. Come! 🙂