Connecting with God Through Worship and Fellowship By Dan Page, Volunteer Storyteller
Nikki West was feeling blessed three years ago. She was happily married. Her children were doing well. She had been clean and sober for years. And while she could recognize a spiritual presence in the natural beauty of the Coastside, something seemed to be missing. She found that missing piece at Mariners.
She had been familiar with Mariners. Her youngest daughter, Sierra, had attended summer day camp. And her husband, Craig, had a standing invitation to attend from a co-worker, Debbie Gehret, who regularly would share CDs of Pastor Paul’s sermons. Finally, they decided to check it out.
“When we first went, we fell in love with the friendliness, the whole energy of the church. The music was a big factor for us. When Paul spoke, I felt like he was speaking directly to me. Everything that I heard I needed to hear,” Nikki said.
She recalls the friendly welcome from Judy Baker and others. “We were blown away by the warmth and friendliness of everyone. I think we met 40 people through Judy that day.” And as the weeks passed, the connections grew stronger.
“After those first few weeks we just threw ourselves into the church,” said Nikki, who in addition to attending regularly volunteers regularly with the children’s ministry. “We just knew that this was what was missing from our life.”
That doesn’t mean that the challenges of life stopped coming. Her husband Craig was laid off from his job and finances got tight for a time. But her new church family rallied around hers, providing financial and other assistance just when they needed it most
Looking back, Nikki now can recognize God’s work in her life even when she didn’t enjoy the relationship she has today.
“I know from the beginning of my addiction to the end that God was always there,” Nikki said. “Mariners helped fill a hole in life: it allowed me to realize that I needed to have a relationship with my God. And knowing what Jesus did for me has lightened my load of shame and guilt that weighed me down all my life.”