We moved to Milwaukee from our home of 25 years in New Jersey. We had a great home church there and the church family was a big part of our lives. We’d both come to faith in Christ at that church, as had our 3 children. Laurel had a great job teaching preschool and Tom was engaged in leadership at the church. We had both served together in Youth Ministry there for many years.
Tom started coming to Eastbrook about a year ago. He had a new job in Milwaukee and we were in transition from our home in NJ. Laurel was still back east working at the preschool at our church there. When Laurel came to Milwaukee, she wanted to get involved at Eastbrook, so she went on the church website to see about joining the Women’s Bible Study on Friday mornings. Since it was July, the groups were meeting in people’s homes and Laurel found the contact info for a woman who was hosting a group near our home. Mary was incredibly welcoming and invited Laurel to come out that week to join her group. Mary also invited us to join her Life Group, which was having a social gathering at one of the homes about a week later. The Life Group was also very welcoming to us.
We really saw Jesus in how Mary cared for us during the transition to a place where we had no family and hadn’t established a circle of friends. She not only tended to our spiritual needs but she also brought us a delicious meal while we were unpacking from the move.
Early in our time at Eastbrook, one of the couples from our Life Group saw us at church and came to sit with us. It might seem like a small thing, but Gary and Dianne helped us to feel like a part of the church family and encouraged us by this practical demonstration of God’s love.
While we were at our first Life Group meeting, several of the women were asking Laurel what she had done in NJ. Laurel had been a preschool teacher for many years but there are certification requirements in Wisconsin that preclude her from teaching preschool here. Laure Herlinger invited Laurel to come and see the Sunday School as there is always a need for workers in the Children’s Ministry. We both visited the classes and Laure invited us to become teachers for Third Hour for the new school year. We knew that God had a place for us to serve here but were surprised that it all came together so quickly.
But God had planned for us to come to Milwaukee where His people have welcomed us with open arms. There are so many examples of how God prepared things for us here in Milwaukee, a place to live, and a new church family at Eastbrook. We are so grateful to God for Eastbrook Church where we have come to be a part of a multi-ethnic and intergenerational family that shows us a glimpse of what heaven will be like. We love our Life Group and are excited to be a part of what God is doing here “…to proclaim and embody the love of Jesus Christ in the city and in the world.”