I grew up in a Christian home, surrounded by parents and grandparents who were all very into church. That meant every Sunday I was at church…unless I was sick. I think that was the only excuse that got one out of going to church in my family. And I liked the whole church thing. My friends were there, my mom taught the children’s ministry program, I was intrigued about the bible stories and the people who had such an outstanding faith, and I loved the music. As a child I thought all those things were what made me a Christian. But it was when I was 12 at church camp that I remember feeling the void – that deep place in my heart, that I knew I was missing a relationship with Christ. And that’s when I was saved and later baptized – at church camp. Growing up in church I had wonderful Sunday school teachers, role models and mentors. All of them were instrumental in helping me grow as a Christian in each stage of my life. When I was 14 a friend died of Cystic Fibrosis. It really was my faith that helped me to grieve and understand what had happened. And I studied even deeper, because I knew there had to be more to my existence than the immediate life. I have treasured my life as a Christian ever since. My life certainly hasn’t been perfect – there’s been happy times and times of disappointment and hurt. At times I have felt closer to God than others or have had a stronger prayer life or devotional life than other times. But I always tried to continue to trust that God was there for me. I would remind myself what great things he had accomplished in the bible stories and knew he could accomplish things through me. One of my favorite verses became Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I’ve also trusted that God would lead me to where he wanted me. And he has. To this church as a teenager, to a Christian college where my faith grew stronger, and to a job teaching special needs and at-risk students and families in a public school where I continue to pray for every child with which I work. You see, some people don’t quite understand the importance of helping lead children to Christ. But I do, because that’s where it all started for me. I thank God every day for the people who helped me as a child know God’s love so that for the past 37 years I could help children learn how Jesus loves them and help them on how to fill in their void.