I don’t live too far from Connecticut, so when the announcement was made that Hillsong was planting a new location there, I thought to myself, “Oh, God might send me there.” But to tell you the truth, I didn’t want to do it.
I was just feeling settled at Hillsong NYC, building good friendships and finding my place. I thought, “No God, I feel comfortable here. I don’t want to go into the unknown.”
What changed my mind was a series at TMNGHT called Storytellers. We got to hear the insane stories from the “OG’s” of Hillsong NYC and how their beginning was a part of the foundation of Hillsong East Coast. I realized I wanted to be part of the beginning of something.
To my surprise, I was asked to step into a leadership role and the first thing I felt was, “Wait! I’m not qualified to lead people! I’m only twenty-one.” I was intimidated by the responsibility to help bring the culture of Hillsong to Connecticut. But I knew God was calling me there.
Over this year I’ve watched the volunteers flourish in what God has called them to do. Seeing them now, I am in love with this location. I love how fresh their love for Jesus is and how willing they are to do whatever it takes to make the gospel known.
I wish I could say it was all smooth sailing. Truthfully, as we were just starting midweek services, life took a difficult turn for me and my family. The night before we launched the first service, my grandma passed away and it hit us hard. But it was nothing compared to what happened next.
That same weekend, a close family member was involved in a police shooting. The court hearing a week later was horrific and traumatic as a tidal wave of guilt and shame was thrown on us by the media, who were there to get a headline for the news. It wrecked us.
That very night after the hearing, I was dropped home with nothing but my car key. I sat in my room and cried out to God, exhausted, feeling ashamed, deeply hurt, and at a complete loss. It was also the night of our third midweek service. I knew I needed to be there, worship, and fight everything that had come over me. With no phone and a vague memory of how to get to the venue, I just started to drive. I prayed, “God, you need to lead me to the church because I have no idea where I’m going.”
When I arrived, I told my lead what happened and he told me to rest. I sat in the back. When worship started I felt instantly connected. It made me think of David and King Saul. Saul called on David, knowing that God was with him, to play the harp which eased his anxiety.
At round-up after the service, I shared what I thought about David and Saul, and how encouraged I was. The band stared at me in shock. I had no idea that just before service, they had prayed that very thing over the team. That they would be like David, easing the turmoil and anxieties of those coming to worship.
That’s when I knew Connecticut was going to be something special. Seeing God move in that way, and feeling so at ease in a place where I barely knew anyone, I knew, “Ok, I need to be here, because, on the worst day of my life, this is what trusting God looked like.”