One of the responsibilities of Suzie Nicolosi, our Small Group Coordinator, is to match those who want to get involved in a group with a group that suits their needs. Interested in having a similar experience? Email Suzie today!
Here are just a couple of stories of people who have experienced life change because of their Life Group
Experiencing Answers to Prayer:
Craig and Lauren Marlow share about their experience leading a Life Group composed of young adults, ages 25-35 comprised of both single people and couples.
Last year was a very difficult year as all three of the married couples in our group desired children, and all three were unable to conceive. As a group, we experienced the frustrations of miscarriages and ineffective fertility treatments. It was hard to imagine why God would not bless these wonderful couples with children, but individually and as a group, we learned to pray hard, be thankful, trust God for the outcome – and anticipate miracles! In His way and in His time, all three couples are now experiencing (or anticipating!) the joys of parenthood. Our joy is deeper and fuller as we praise God for His beautiful answers to prayer together. Read their stories below:
Dave and I were excited to start our family. We struggled through many years of fertility treatments, surgery and a miscarriage. We felt God leading us to pursue adoption to grow our family. We’ve never had to let go of our own plans and trust in the Lord’s plans more than through this journey. We could never have anticipated the pure joy that we feel every single day by doing so. By following God’s plan for us, even through the hard times that broke our hearts, we were never alone and felt the Lord’s comforting hands on us the entire time. He was telling us to just trust in Him. Dave and I adopted our beautiful daughter, Ever Cosette, into our family in June of 2015. Every moment that we look at our daughter’s face, we see God’s miraculous work of art that He created just for us, because that’s how deep His love goes. We have never felt more blessed and grateful that she was the plan that was in store for us all along. Our life group was with us through this four year journey and has been such an amazing support and encouragement through love and prayer on our incredible path to parenthood.
Psalm 4:7 You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
It’s always a blessing to have a community of believers where you can come together and be 100% transparent with. When Harry and I got married, right away we had complications with my pregnancies. Within a year, I had three ectopic pregnancies and the emotional scars to match. If it wasn’t for the steadfast prayers and love of our life group family, we would not have managed well. From the studies we watched to the discussions after, we learned patience, trusting in God and actually listening to Him! We had to accept the fact that if God didn’t deliver us from this, we would be okay. In January of 2015, we found out I was pregnant and, of course, we thought this was another ectopic. So we prayed and asked God to give us this baby and He said, “Yes”. From Day 1, it was a roller coaster – I had every problem imaginable, but none of that mattered because we trusted in Him. And whatever problems came our way, we would handle it. I had many complications and the numerous physicians we saw were not hopeful about us having a healthy baby, but we were able to trust in our Savior! Despite the odds, we now have a healthy beautiful baby boy who’s a constant reminder of God’s sovereignty and love! The hard times were really hard, but being in a Life Group, we felt it was a safe place to share and we knew we had a family of believers praying for us.
Dan and I have been attending the Marlow life group since 2013 and our group quickly became family. We have seen so many prayers answered, and, during trials, we have seen how God used this group to grow us all closer together as we grew closer to Him as well. Dan and I we blessed by our first child in January 2013 and we started trying for a second in 2014 but after a few months, we suffered from a miscarriage when I was 7 weeks pregnant. At this time two other families in our life group were also struggling to get pregnant. It was a very difficult time, but the prayer, love, and support we experienced were overwhelming. Still, more time went by and we had no success, but we were thrilled to hear of the Alfords’ pregnancy. Due to the faith that was cultivated by our group prayer, we found out that I was expecting in June of this year! Shortly after this, news came that the Borgs were able to finalize their daughter’s adoption – you can imagine how overjoyed we were that all of our prayers had come to fruition. God is so good, and we are so thankful for our life group family to be there for us when we needed it the most.
Our family has been serving alongside our life group to the Lighthouse Mission as they bring the Gospel to many via their food pantry outreach. It has been such a blessing to be able to serve others, interact with them and see if only for a moment, the seed of the Good News be planted. It has truly been a humbling experience. As a volunteer, you expect to be a blessing to those you serve and, while that holds true, it’s what God does in your own heart that’s amazing.
Week by week, we watch people in need line up – rain, snow or shine – to collect food from the pantry. Just by simply handing out groceries, we get to interact with them, whether it be by sharing a friendly smile or yummy recipe. I remember on one occasion speaking with an elderly woman who was so elated to share a moment with me, even if we were just talking “potatoes” – her face lit up and my heart was full. What a wonderful experience to be a part of- God using food as a connecting tool for His people to bring light and joy into the lives of the hurting. It has allowed us to form good connections with them while God stretches us to go beyond the scope of our own lives as we serve others. Our family is so thankful for Dan and Cindy’s vision in this.
Gio (17): “God has given me a new perspective of my life and its many blessings and how I can be a blessing to others.”
Eva (7): “I was happy that I could help give food to people who don’t have that much.”
What Will Your Life Group Experience Be?
Tom and Gail’s Story:
Hebrews 10:24 -25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
I was asked what keeps us returning as life group leaders…to answer that I need to first give you a little insight on last year:
2011 – 2012 was filled with extremes for us. Full of highs (a missions trip, participating in the Christmas program, the expectation of our first grandchild) and lows (both of my parents passing away and major surgery that had me down and out for seven weeks).
Through each of these moments, Gail and I were blessed to have this band of prayer warriors lifting us up and encouraging us in so many ways. All the phone calls, cards, and e-mails humbled us. As you may imagine there was many times that we weren’t able to attend but this group kept on meeting. There were times when needs arose like the “HUG” events and they jumped right in even when Gail and I couldn’t be there. To be called the leaders is unfair to the rest of our group – they are all leaders.
Gail and I have been in small groups since 1996 and have no plans on stopping. This “family” of ours is intertwined in so many ways and a few have been partnering with us since we started our first group back in 2000. These folks are quite special to Gail and me, and they are one of the biggest reasons that keeps us returning each year.
Next Step for a Young Couple:
Katie and Phil, both church staff members, had been involved in our “College and Career” ministry, but felt last fall that it was time for a “next step”. I suggested a couple of different LIFE groups to them, and after they visited one or two, they felt that Steve and Terri’s group was the right fit for them. Here’s their story:
In the fall of 2011, we were facing many life changes. We had just bought a house and were looking forward to the birth of our first child in the spring. We knew that we needed help, the friendship and guidance of people who had made those transitions successfully. When the Small Groups Coordinator suggested we join the Tozer’s group, we eagerly jumped in.
We even felt better connected to one another, talking about what we learned and how we felt we needed to grow. Being in Steve and Terri’s group blessed us more than we could have hoped.