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Growing up there was always something missing. It never felt like my relationships I was making with people were clicking. I, at times, felt a bit lost going through life. Some of my friends would talk about going to church and it always sounded interesting to me but I only went occasionally with my family. In the 7th grade the girl that lived down the street from me invited me to her youth group. I was a bit “iffy” at first but she loved it so I decided to give it a try. As soon as I walked in the room I felt instantly welcomed and I felt like I had a place to belong. The room was colorful and had artwork all over it, and was the perfect size so it was inviting and not overwhelming. For the next two years, I continued to go to church with her and the people in the youth group were some of my closest friends. After eighth grade ended, her and I fell off, so I started feeling like church wasn’t for me and I stopped going. I had wanted to go to church, but things didn’t feel the same as they used to. The church was switching youth leaders and I wasn’t close with the girl who had bright me; I felt like I didn’t belong at the church anymore. A While after I stopped going I had stopped talking to everyone at the church and it had felt like I had lost all my friends and I didn’t really fit in with everyone. I had continued to feel like I didn’t have many friends until sophomore year when I met my best friend, who has a big presence in the church setting. When we were sitting on her couch in her living room one day she was getting ready to leave for the youth group so she invited me to go. A ton of emotions had come over me since I hadn’t been to a youth group in a while and I was nervous to go because I had thought that church just wasn’t for me. I decided to take the risk anyways and it was the best decision that I have made. Everyone at the church welcomed me with open arms and the youth leaders are always supportive of you no matter what. When I walked into the church Mitch, the youth leader, immediately introduced himself and everyone started to come over to get to know me. After the initial greeting it was as if I had been going there for years and I had already known them. Joining this group has presented me with many opportunities and I have created many relationships. I grew relationships with the people at the church but I also grew my relationship with the lord and I feel as if I’ve found myself as a person. I’ve attended every Sunday that I could, every event, and found my people. I can’t say this is where I would have seen myself freshman year thinking ahead to the future, but I’m glad that this is my life. Going to this church has made me more comfortable and has made me look at life through a different perspective, always seeing the good.

© Sierra Richardson . All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team and we can put you in touch with the author’s teacher.