After I accepted Christ as my Savior, I started looking for a church. One Sunday, I came to the corner of 79th Street to pick up a newspaper at the newsstand and noticed that the red church doors at First Baptist were open. So I went in. I attended the service, sitting in the back because I was not appropriately dressed for church. I really enjoyed the service, and afterward Mary Pallaghe shook my hand and said, “You come back, you hear?” Her voice and her smile stayed with me the whole week, and that sentence resonated with me. I came back the following Sunday and brought my children. It has been 15 years, and we have been coming to First Baptist ever since.
One of the reasons that I became a member was because of the fellowship. I enjoy the togetherness, friendliness, and warmth of the congregation. This was a natural process as I started to attend Sunday services and Wednesday prayer sessions, and then got involved in different ministries of the church. My kids started participating in the children’s ministries and quickly made friends. Now they look forward to going to church. Strangers have become part of my family, and I am able to help other Christians and love them like my own relatives. The feelings are mutual, which is wonderful!
I believe God has given me the gift of mercy. I found my place in the church by helping those in need, working in the kitchen, serving others, welcoming visitors, visiting the sick, calling church members to see how they are doing, and by serving as a trustee. First Baptist has enabled me to fulfill my calling by serving other believers in a practical way. First Baptist is like a second home to me—a place of encouragement, spiritual growth, and enlightenment.