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    A Place to Belong

    How a simple invitation to church changed my life. November 17, 2017 by Andrea Kozowy
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    Feature Articles
    Andrea Kozowy (Photo: Captain Laura Van Schaick)
    When I was 26, I felt stuck in a rut. I was unemployed, living in my parent’s basement and depressed. I needed a fresh start. I moved to a new city without a job or knowing anyone. But although I didn’t have a plan, God did.

    I grew up in La Ronge, a small community in northern Saskatchewan. Life was predictable, yet comfortable. My dreams were simple—finish high school, get a job, get married, start a family.

    My parents were churchgoers, and always took me along to Sunday school. My mom modelled the importance of serving, and as a teenager I helped alongside her in the nursery. But over time, I slowly lost involvement. It happened so gradually I almost didn’t notice that I had wandered away from my connection with the church, and with God.

    Then, just after high school, I started dating someone. When I got pregnant, what had been a simple, predictable life seemed to be spinning out of control. My family supported me through this difficult time, but I had become so distant from God that I didn’t turn to him for help.

    The next few years were a struggle. My daughter was living full-time with her dad. That’s when I decided to move to Prince Albert, Sask.

    Over the next year and a half, I explored many different opportunities. I took a course in early childhood development, and worked as a store clerk and housekeeper, trying to find my niche. Although I made some friends, I was still struggling to find a place to belong.
    My confidence is growing as I discover what it means to be created in God’s image, and to know that he loves me unconditionally
    Then one evening last February, a woman came into the store where I was working. I chatted with her politely for a bit before she introduced herself as a Salvation Army officer. Her name was [then] Lieutenant Laura Van Schaick. She invited me to come to church the next day. Even though I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t hesitate.

    When I stepped into The Salvation Army church that first Sunday, everyone welcomed me. During the coffee time after the service, I felt comfortable sharing in conversation. The worship and the fellowship reminded me of what I’d been missing. I realized I needed to reconnect with God. I repented of the time I’d spent away from him and asked him to come back into my life.

    Over the past several months, God has been reminding me of the importance of being connected with a church family. In June, I attended women’s camp at Beaver Creek Camp. I’m training to be a Sunday school assistant, and I’m working at the Salvation Army thrift store.

    My confidence is growing as I discover what it means to be created in God’s image, and to know that he loves me unconditionally, even after so many detours and bumps along the way. And I am sharing this good news with others.

    I still don’t know exactly where God is leading me, but Jesus reminds me, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear” (Matthew 6:25). Rather than fear the future, I need to trust in God. I just purchased a Bible, and the verse on the cover has become my hope: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:6).

    While I still love going home to La Ronge to visit with childhood friends and family, and I’m working on my relationship with my daughter, moving to Prince Albert has been a time of growth for me—a place where I’ve renewed my connection to God. I’m so thankful Lieutenant Laura invited me to church.

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