"I went from not wanting to wake up to thanking God each morning for a new day to continue His work!"

Three years ago, June 8, 2014 my youngest brother committed suicide at the age of 24 years old. Nothing can ever prepare you for learning that type of news. When I got the phone call that early Monday morning I literally fell to my knees and belted out a scream that left me feeling completely lifeless. The pain that I felt was completely unbearable and in that moment all I could think to myself was how am I supposed to go on without my little brother? All I wanted to do was pick up the phone and call him, but I had come face to face with the realization that I'd never have another conversation with him again which left me in complete agony.

In the days that followed I experienced the most negative emotions a human could possibly experience, from sadness, despair, and agony to anger, guilt and even shame. I thought to myself that I'd rather be dead than to live a life feeling these emotions every day and I had hoped to not wake up in the morning so I don't have to experience the pain all over again. Those thoughts scared me so I decided to attend the local church that my parents had been attending. I surrendered my life to Christ that Sunday and began attending church regularly. Going to church helped me tremendously, however I wasn't connecting with anyone at the church. I became discouraged from attending due to the lack of fellowship and I began watching sermons online from home. A friend had told me about Pastor John Gray and I had been watching him online for months. One night I had come home from a long day and felt hungry for the Word so I prayed to God for a sermon to speak to me that night. I not only watched an amazing sermon from Pastor John Gray but I had also discovered Elevation Church through Pastor Steven's sermon "3 Habits of a Healthy Heart". That sermon changed my life forever. I began researching Pastor Steven and Elevation Church after binge watching I don't know how many sermons. I knew I had to go to this church in person. So that I did! I drove alone to Charlotte from The Bronx just to experience the start of "7 Mile Miracle". The experience changed my life forever. The Elevation staff and volunteers made me feel so welcomed like I had never felt before in any other church. All I could think to myself was "I want to be a part of this!" I realized that I was able to still connect and be a part of this amazing church all the way from New York and that is when I made the decision to volunteer.

I chose the Welcome Team because I wanted to be able to congratulate people on their decision to accept Christ into their lives. I know how crucial it is to connect with someone when you first make that decision, I also know it is very easy to backslide when you don't have the encouragement and connection that you need to keep pushing forward in faith. So I want to be the encouragement for people to keep going, keep fighting and pressing forward. I just hope my story will reach others in order to help them overcome whatever pain or hopelessness they may be feeling. I went from not wanting to wake up in the morning to thanking God each day for a new day to continue His work! I'm not saying I don't still feel pain, I just learned how to trust in God and know that " In all things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose".