Our attendance in Abu Dhabi was sporadic and besides the Bible study I did, we never really got involved. I definitely wanted to change that. I desperately want to have a church home that we can become involved in and that Emerson can grow up in (at least while we are here.
I started by looking at non-denominational churches with a contemporary feel. I also tried to stay within 10 miles of our home because Jesse already commutes 40 miles round trip during the week. I thought it would be nice if the church had a good children's program and maybe even a women's Bible study. I've been to tiny churches and huge churches and I think I prefer something right in the middle.
Unfortunately finding what I was looking for is not quite as easy as it sounds. There weren't a lot of churches in our area that jumped out at me. It kind of reminds of me buying a house. When you are looking you love so many things about two different houses and you wish you could combine them. Most of the churches that I really loved are just too far away for a weekly commute. I even looked into some of the more traditional churches in our area and they are all quite small and don't really seem to offer much outside of the regular services on Sunday.
Last week I finally narrowed it down to two in our area that I wanted to visit. I shared them both with Jesse and we agreed on one to try first. I think the fact that the service didn't start until 10:45 was part of the appeal. Or perhaps the fact that jeans flip flops are acceptable... Anyway, we decided it was a worth a try.
When we arrived there were two ladies directing children to the proper rooms. I loved that they had a check in system for the kiddos. Apparently there weren't a lot of kids that day because they combined them all into two rooms with 0-2 being all in one room. Emerson went right in without a second look back at us and we headed to the sanctuary.
Everyone was incredibly welcoming and we definitely felt at ease. I liked the music (although it was way too loud for my taste) and I felt like the sermon was just what I needed to hear. The whole feel of the church was very contemporary and I'm still on the fence as to whether it was a bit too contemporary for me. I do know for sure that we liked it enough to go back and try it again. I have a feeling it's going to take several visits to decide if it's right the place for us.
If Emerson had a vote, I think she'd say we found just what we were looking for. When I went to pick her up she was the only toddler in the room and she was having a blast being the big girl. One of the teachers was doing a flannel board story with her and she was mesmerized. She didn't even see us come in and she was just grinning from ear to ear. It was so precious. Before we left the teacher told us that she had learned a memory verse and had earned a sticker for being able to say it. She repeated it for us and I was so impressed! I love that they worked with her and now she knows her very first memory verse, Matthew 28:20. Of course, I had to get a video:
We're looking forward to going back this week and trying it out again. I know this is not one of those things that you can rush into and it will probably take us some time to find the right fit for us.
I am quite certain that God has great plans for us as we search for a church that we can call home.