Growing up in a town with 15,000 people, I never thought I’d end up in one with only 2,000. From the time I was born until I was 10 years old, I grew up in Elmore county Alabama. There, my mom stayed at home and my dad worked at a printing shop in Montgomery. There in Millbrook, we lived close to Prattville which has many shops and restaurants, and things like that. We also lived close to a lot of family members. All of my mom’s side of the family lives around there, and a lot of my dad’s side as well. I went to public school at Coosada Elementary from kindergarten through second grade, then I went to Airport Road Elementary School from third to fourth grade. Little did I know that after fourth grade, I would be moving to one of the smallest towns in the state of Alabama. But before I get into all of that, let’s start from the beginning.
Now that you have some background information this story will be a little easier to tell. Anyway, like I said, I grew up in Millbrook, Alabama, and it was a small-ish town, but no where near as small as where I’d end up. We went to church at Coosada Baptist. Coosada Baptist is a pretty big church. It’s still steadily growing. At that church my parents taught fifth grade Sunday school for a good amount of time, and my dad played the bass in the praise band for worship before the sermon every Sunday. My family, grandparents, and my aunt and her family all went to church there. I got baptized there, and so did my brother. Coosada will forever be a place I have a special place for in my heart. After being at Coosada for eight years, in 2011, we started our journey in ministry as a family.
In 2011 my dad was called to be the music minister at a church in Greenville, Alabama. This church was a plant church called Lifeline. This church didn’t have a building, so the YMCA in Greenville allowed them to have church there on Sundays. I know some of you may be thinking, “Church at the YMCA? That can’t be church…” I used to think the same thing. I always thought that the church was the building, but the church is the people. Wherever you meet to worship God becomes church. After a few months or so, Lifeline moved to the movie theater in Greenville. We had church in a MOVIE THEATER! I know, crazy.. But like I said, church is where people meet to worship. It doesn’t have to be a specially built building labeled as a “church”.
My family and I stayed at this church for fourteen months. Those fourteen months were some of the greatest months of my life. Lifeline was full of great and wonderful people, filled with the love of Jesus. After fourteen months at Lifeline, my parents made the announcement to my brother and I, that we would be moving to a small town in Pickens county called Aliceville. I had no idea where Pickens county even was, so as you can imagine, this was gonna be a big change. In May of 2013, my dad moved to Aliceville, Alabama to be the youth minister there. The next three months were some of the hardest ones I’ve ever been through. My dad didn’t get to come home often. He was living two and a half hours away from me, my mom, and my little brother. Everything was really tough. My mom was going to nursing school at the time, so all throughout the summer my brother and I had to have a babysitter. This was also really difficult, because I had to leave all of my friends, my school, my community, my family; everything was changing. I was only ten, but even at that young age, I was mature enough to understand that the change was going to be drastic.
In August of 2013, me, my mom, and my brother moved to Aliceville. Even though I knew the change was gonna be huge, I was really excited about moving. It was all a lot of fun to me. I’m also pretty good at making friends, so that wasn’t a big issue either. The preacher’s daughter and I hit it off. Although she’s three years older than me, Allie and I were still best friends. When we went to school a few days after we moved, things changed. Since Allie is three years older than me, she was already across the hall. At this point she was in the eighth grade, and I was in the fifth. When you reach seventh grade at Pickens Academy, you go to the high school hall, so the fact that my best friend couldn’t be there beside me was hard, but I made friends in my class as time went on.
Even though moving was “fun” it came to be harder as months passed. I started to miss being able to go five minutes down the road to a Target, I missed being able to eat wherever we wanted, I missed the bigger school that I went to. There was big change. Now, though, I really love this change. My classmates have become like my brothers and sisters (especially because there are only twenty eighth graders), I have made different friends because of the awesome youth group I am a part of, and I have come to love the small town atmosphere. Although my journey was hard getting to Aliceville, I’m so thankful for this journey. It has led me to become BEST friends with Allie, Bryanna, and so many other people. It has led me to be a part of a wonderful church. Even bigger, this journey has led me to my calling. The calling to missions. Without moving here, I wouldn’t have felt that calling and I wouldn’t have started this blog with one of my best friends.
I’m so thankful for my dad and the calling he has accepted to lead youth ministry in Aliceville. It has led to so many great experiences already, and I can’t wait to see what else my future holds. Thanks again for reading what Bryanna and I have to say! It means the WORLD to us!