This is my testimony.
I can't remember when I first went to church, but I do remember one time when I was 4 years old, at a church activity, in Grand Rapids. This was before we moved to Florida, of course. I don't remember much about that, except that I did not think the activity was fun. My parents were not at the church with me.
The year is 1991. I did not really go to church in that time, and I hated Sundays, because it was the most boring time of the week for a kid. But, I also was turing 12 that year, and I wanted to act like a grown up, like most kids do, but I could not sleep as late as my parents could. The latest I could sleep was 9 am, which my parents stayed in bed until the afternoon many times! Well, my birthday is October 4. Two weeks later, my aunt invited me to her church, because some karatee people were coming. Of course I wanted to go. Now, in 1992, the church was getting ready to celebrate it's first anniversary. There were about 30 people that went. I thought that was cool, and I started going to church again, but I didn't really think much about God, and being a christian, because I didn't fully understand it When I turned 13, there was no teen youth group, because I was the only teen, so I stayed with the little kids. There was only one class for them. Well, kids 6 and over. There wasn't really a youth group until I turned 14 1/2. We went to camp that year, and that was a fun camp. It was a camp in TN, that I can't remember the name right off hand, but I know it was so cool. Oh, the name was Fort Bluff, and it was on top of a mountain. There were 10 people that came. Kids my age, and I thought that was cool. That was when I was saved, and I understood, in a way, what God was about, and I dedicated my life to Christ.
1995, The church had grown to over 150 people in the matter of 3 years that I had been going. I knew everyone, and everyone knew me. This was when I started to become the strong christian that I am today. This is a year that I will never forget. It is the year that my church, Suncoast Baptist Church, had a teen youth group. There was 5 teens that came every week. But, we also had 5 leaders that year. That was the only bad thing. Now, I think the best thing to ever happen was when a guy named Tom Whigham decided to take over the teens. He is the greatest influence in my life, and even though he doesn't know it, he is the person that I looked up to, though sometimes I didn't act like it. I would joke about him, to him, but sometimes I was really mean to him, without realizing it. He is the reason I am the christian I am today. If I had a problem, I would talk to him, and he would help me out. He was there for everyone in the youth group. When he became the youth leader, the youth group just exploded! By Oct 1996, we had over 20 teens coming. I admire Tom for what he does, and I am glad that I got to meet him. It was a sad time when I had to leave Florida, and kind of unexpected, also. I found out two days before I came to Michigan that I was coming. I knew the day was coming, but I thought it wasn't for another couple of months still. That was a sad time for me. It was so hard to say good bye to everyone, espically Tom and the youth group. It was such a great group, and I truely miss them. Since I have moved, I have gotten just a couple letters from him. I guess because he has been so busy and everything. I got a letter from him one day, and they moved to Sarasota, FL, and he is the youth pastor of that church, now. I know that group is in good hands. I know that I will never meet a person exactly like Tom, but there will be people who are there for the youth group, and will help teens. I am so thankful for my church, and Tom, because without them, I would not be the person I am today, and I can't bear the thought of how I could have turned out, just knowing what is out there. Thank you for taking the time to read this. This is emotional for me. Everything is written from my heart, and there is not a single lie in here. I didn't even relize that I admired Tom so much, until we had to write a essay at school about a person that has made the greatest change in our life, and then I realized it was Tom. I know there will always be a place in my heart for my youth group, my old church, and Tom.
I have found a church up here that I like, but nothing even compares to my youth group in Florida, and isn't even comparable to Tom Whigham. All I can say is that Suncoast Baptist Church is the luckiest church on earth.
The church that I help at is Covey Hill Baptist Church. Over time, I have grown to love it. I do help out with the van children again. Working with kids isn't for everyone, but for me, it comes so simple. I get along very well, and I have a very high tolerance level with kids. Sometimes they can annoy other kids, but the key to working with kids, is to be able to understand them, and view things from their point of view. That's why many adults can't work with children. They just don't understand each other. To a child, someone that understands them is very special to them, and they don't ever want you to leave. Working with children in a church is another form of working for God, even though you may not realize it. Everyone is a child at one point in their life, usually at the beginning, and when you start them on the path of christianity early on, it only helps them as they grow older.