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The Value of a Church Community

The Value of a Church Community
I have a confession to make. Mountain Life is the first church where I have become truly enmeshed since my parents sent me to a Lutheran school in the fourth grade. To be completely honest, it didn’t take much effort to be active in that church. The school was attached to the sanctuary itself. I was a member of the children’s choir, an acolyte, and active in the youth group. Not only was I baptized there, but I also went through confirmation classes and became a member.

Despite joining two other churches in my adult life, I never made the effort to get plugged in. But when my husband and I joined Mountain Life Church (MLC), everything changed. Just a few months after moving to Park City, I hosted a table at the annual Women’s Christmas Dessert. When my twins started first grade and I had extra time, I started a Bible study for moms of kids of different ages. I volunteered at Vacation Bible School and taught 5th and 6th grade Sunday School with my husband. When our kids went to college, we became ushers, joined a couples Life Group, and continued to build deep, rich relationships within Mountain Life. But it wasn’t until I recently had back surgery that I realized the true value of being part of a church family. You’re never alone.
A Church Family Rallies 
In February, after years of managing back pain with injections and physical therapy, I was told that surgery was imminent. One glance at the MRI confirmed there was simply no space between two of my vertebrae. I left the surgeon’s office with his words, “We’ll see you in April unless something changes,” echoing in my ear. The very next night I was in the ER with excruciating nerve pain. Surgery was scheduled for 10 days later. The surgeon told me to prepare for a three-month recovery, and that I would spend the majority of the first month flat on my back or slightly reclined.

As I struggled with the pain, which hadn’t completely resolved in the emergency room, and to take in the magnitude of what lay ahead, I reached out to my mentor, and asked her to pray with me. Then I texted two of my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) friends asking for advice since both were nurses. In between the phone call and texts, two girls from my Life Group just happened to check in and I asked them for prayers as well. For the next week and a half, these five women would be my touchstones. And I never would have met a single one of them if I hadn’t been a part of the Mountain Life community.
MOPS – The Power of a Network of Mamas
After the surgery, the MLC family stepped up. Big time. Batches of cookies, chocolate bars, flower arrangements, cards and texts were delivered at just the right time. And I had a steady stream of visitors to keep my spirits up while I lay stationary.

The local MOPS chapter, which operates out of Mountain Life, and where I serve as a Mentor Mom, started a Meal Train for my husband and me. Those sweet women, all busy mamas of littles, brought us meals every other night for the first month of my recovery.

I became involved in MOPS after “crashing” a meeting, with the sole purpose of listening to the guest speaker. After I’d chatted with her and was heading out the door, two MOPS leaders asked if I’d like to be a Mentor Mom. I agreed, having no idea what the position entailed.
Fast forward four years, and this organization has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. Not only do I get to mentor amazing young mamas, lifting them up in prayer and listening with the perspective of experience, but I also get to enjoy their kiddos and watch them grow up. The hugs and artwork from their littles are the icing on the cake.

But the best thing about MOPS is that it is a group of women who genuinely love the Lord and care for each other. I’ve witnessed the power of prayer from our MOPS Bible study, sixteen members strong, and the unconditional friendship of moms on the leadership team, who are 20 years younger than me.
Life Groups – An Essential Component of Mountain Life
Even though Life Groups are part of MLC’s foundation, I didn’t plug into a women’s group until about a year and a half ago. And boy do I wish I had done so earlier. My Life Group has enriched my spiritual walk with thought-provoking Bible studies and vibrant discussions in a welcoming, non-judgmental atmosphere. As my friend who suggested I join said, “It’s a group of mature women – not in terms of their age, but in terms of their faith.” I’ve learned so much from each of them.

After my surgery, one of my Life Group friends brought over dinner. Her arms were laden with a Joy Box filled with gifts that each of the girls in the group had contributed to help me pass the time. Another member of our Bible study gave me over a dozen magazines that included a crossword puzzle book and coloring book. When I called to thank her, she said, “I had so much fun picking them all out for you since I didn’t know what kinds you would like!”
As often happens, friendships have formed outside of the regular meeting time of our Life Group. A couple of the girls and I hike or snowshoe together regularly, depending on the season. Another moved to Savannah, but we still connect via Zoom and phone calls. The richness of doing life with other members of the Mountain Life family makes it that much sweeter. Because God never intended us to journey through life on this earth alone.
By Liz Yokubison
Liz Yokubison is a freelance writer and author.
You can follow her on her website, www.lizyokubison.com.

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