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How We Found a Church Family

Written by Libby Pence on

It was Mother’s Day of 2017 when my husband Augie and I first walked through the doors of College Park Church. After a six-year stint in Chicago, we had moved back to Indiana and were about to embark on the dreaded “church shopping” journey. College Park was much bigger than any church we’d attended in the past and we weren’t sure it’d be a good fit for our church home.

We walked in as worship was beginning, and I found myself in tears throughout the worship set. Now, Augie might say, “You were six weeks pregnant—of course you were crying!” But it was so much more than that. I felt the Spirit move in my heart that morning. I remember turning to Augie halfway through service and saying, “I think this is our church.” In all, we visited one church. College Park was home.

Augie and I have a passion for singing, so we started looking into worship arts opportunities right away. We went to the Next Steps Area after the service and learned how to join a Small Group, the choir, and Mom’s Connection. Little did we know, God was creating a beautiful tapestry of support around us in preparation for a season of significant pain.

Walking Through Trial

In the Spring of 2017, my thirty-one-year-old brother Tanner was diagnosed with stage four testicular cancer. Tanner was so ill, his doctor transferred him to a hospital here in Indianapolis, and my parents came to live with us for the next two months. In April of 2018, in a miraculous answer to prayer, Tanner accepted Christ as his Savior. One week later, he passed away.

In June of 2019, death appeared on our doorstep again as we said goodbye to my loving grandfather.

Grief was followed with brief joy as we shared with family that we were pregnant with our third child. One month later, we lost our baby to a miscarriage.

The Blessing of Church Family

Throughout this time, we were surrounded by compassion and care: continuous prayer, kind notes, a restaurant gift card, countless meals, and encouragement from our church community. Tirelessly, these brothers and sisters helped lift the cross of three deaths in fifteen months. They reminded us that God does love us, that He weeps with us, and that He will never leave us. Repeatedly, I have wondered how we would have survived the last year and a half without this community. They are one of the greatest gifts God has bestowed on us since moving to Indianapolis.

Two weeks after our miscarriage, I went to an exercise class, and the instructor happened to be a member of our church—we had never personally met. At the end of the class we were chatting and, before I know it, I’m crying, and she’s praying for me. Picture that. Two strangers, standing in the middle of an exercise studio, holding hands and crying out to God. Our connection? Our sweet Savior and College Park Church. Our church is more than a building, more than a worship song, more than a great sermon. It is a community. Our church is family. It’s our home. 

Libby Pence

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