by Natasha Jordan
As part of our 20th anniversary celebration, we’re reflecting on our church’s values through the stories and experiences of our Chets family.
As a military family traveling around the world, you experience many cultural, social, and even religious values that are not the norm back home. If you’re like us, you can look past the values that are in stark contrast to your own and see a person created in the image of God who you’ve been commanded to love. Before you know it, a relationship starts to form, and that person becomes family. Then it’s time to leave. This is why it’s vital for our family to connect with the community where God stations us – and fast.
When my husband Marc called me to say we got orders to Jacksonville, our prayer request to our church Ohana (family) was that we would find a church that fearlessly preached the Word of God, where our family could grow in Christ and serve, and with church members we could call family. As we drew closer to leaving Hawaii, I began questioning God about finding a new church home. What if the women’s group isn’t like our old one? What if the children’s ministry or Bible studies aren’t as good? And most of all, what if the church members don’t like to eat as much? I’m so glad God doesn’t make His decisions based on my doubt!
The day we moved to Jacksonville we also closed on our house. What should have been an exciting time was stressful for us. A last-minute confirmation was needed from Marc but he was on deployment and couldn’t be reached. Because of that, the kids and I were unable to get the keys to our house. We were legit homeless.
I called a military friend and without hesitation, she opened up her home to us. The next day she invited us to a church she’d visited forewarning me, “it’s in a school and sometimes the A/C doesn’t work but it’s only five minutes down the road.” The last thing on my mind was going to church but I also knew God had orchestrated all the events that led us to where we were. I grudgingly told her yes and we attended the North Campus at Sheffield Elementary for the first time.
Driving up it reminded me of a church we attended in Hawaii. But when we got there, I was surprised it answered my prayers for a new church home. From the greeters directing traffic to the ushers seating us on the front row, I knew they loved people and had a heart for the broken. On our way home, my 7-year-old son Daniel said to me “Mommy you said that we could stay if the preacher was preaching the word of God. It sounded like he was preaching the word of God, and he was funny.”
The next Sunday it was no question where we were going, and we kept going Sunday after Sunday. After a few weeks I realized the only way I would get to know people was to serve, so we started helping set up and tear down. Those same people who greeted us from day one with smiles and hugs maintained that same demeanor and welcomed us in, confirming their love for people. This prompted me to find a way to serve on Sundays. I remember going to Josh and asking him if they had a student ministry I could help with. He said, “I’ve been praying that God would send a godly woman to help out with students.” I said to him, “I’m not sure if that’s me but I do want to help.”
We’ve been attending Chets Creek Church for about a year and I must say God has blessed us beyond what we could have imagined. He allowed us to find a church that preaches the word of God and lives it out. A church where our family can grow and serve but that encourages us go into the world and teach about how that’s done. We found a family with sisters and brothers to do life with.