Wow! Can’t believe it’s been over 20 years since we came to check out a church named Hope! We were new to the area after following my husband, Rick, around the prior 20 years in the Air Force. Our family had struggled to find our place to worship ever since returning to the States from a three-year stint in Japan. After moving to Memphis, we were not actually sure where we fit in. My daughter, Erin, and I acted as scouts for the family, visiting churches in the area. Some were too big, some too small, some too cliquish, and some so unwelcoming we almost ran away! Erin and I would go, then after checking one out, we would report back. The family would dress up and try out a promising one for a while, but then we would move on. I saw an ad for Hope in the paper and a drama ministry they had going on. Erin was into backstage production, so we decided to attend. We knew we had found our church after just one service…so the next Sunday we brought the boys…and we never left!
What has made us stay? And, how has Hope worked in our lives? Well, the drama ministry didn’t last, but the music drew us in. The early preaching, mostly by Craig Strickland, reflected some of the struggles that families like ours go through – and gave some suggestions as to how to handle them. The Youth Group played an important part in our kids’ lives. Meetings and trips with like-minded kids helped develop a faith that still runs strong with our daughter. During a struggle with cancer, I was surrounded by people who made me realize that the love of God’s people and prayer could work wonders!
Hope became family for us, when we needed one! We were accepted, and now we accept those trying to find the faith family they need. God’s love is what we all need, and that’s what we found at Hope
[Rick & Diane Cressman]