“Be sure you have your Sunday clothes ready for the morning,” My dad would say to my brother and I the night before Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas services. Attending the three services seemed to be a requirement for we three Southern Baptists.
As we made our way into the large white church my grandfather attended, the same one at which my cousin preached, the crowd of people always overwhelmed me. Saying good morning to everyone was a must.
“Let’s go find a seat with Grandpa,” My dad would beckon my brother and me.
About an hour in, I was prying my eyes open like a freshmen college student in an 8 am class. I knew church was where I wanted to be, I just didn’t feel a part of it, and I have always struggled to find people similar to me who would keep me interested in church and enjoying God’s true grace.
Further down the road, always staying true to my three services, I met a girl… I give a lot of my faith credit to Emily. She introduced me to Genesis, a UALR campus ministry. Aptly named, Genesis was truly my starting place, where young people like me were looking for a life with Christ. Genesis is a renovated house on the corner of 28th Street and Fair Park Boulevard. I mention this because the homely feeling I got from walking through that squeaky screen door and smelling freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies let me know Christ was waiting for me whenever I needed him. Since that day, I hear young curious lives walk in the door and always ask, “who lives here?” I never answer the question, I just let them take it all in—just like I did my first day there.
After a few months of participating in the campus ministry activities, Emily and I decided we needed a church home on top of Genesis, so we commenced church hunting. You know how it goes; you attend a service, and you just know or just don’t think so. One fall Sunday morning, we decided to try out some church on the corner of Mississippi and West Markham, the one with the stained glass.
That morning, I was overwhelmed with welcomes. Little did I know I was walking right into a sanctuary of people I already knew and people with whom I would grow closer.
Since that fall day, two years ago, Faith Lutheran has been the church home I always needed, full of great people leading me closer to God. A few months ago, someone challenged me to acolyte. You might be wondering how bringing God’s light into church is a challenge. Well, I’m blind, and carrying fire through an obstacle course with God watching isn’t exactly my idea of a relaxing Sunday morning. However, walking that fire down the middle of the church and listening to people change their views on what can and can’t be done makes me realize we all are part of a world larger than ourselves, and setting an example is the least I can do to change it for the better. That being said, my favorite bible verse is Matthew 7:5, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.” Throughout my faith journey, one thing has stuck out to me the most, and that is whether you can or can’t see the fire doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Eric, an Arkansas native, joined Faith Lutheran in the fall of 2016, with his then-girlfriend, now fiancé, Emily. Eric serves in worship as the acolyte and crucifer, led part of our financial health focus of A Life in Balance, as well as sharing about his vocation as a writing instructor and graduate student at UALR. Eric is active in the Arkansas School for the Blind’s Alumni Association, where he serves as treasurer. Eric wrestled while in school and has coached wrestling too. Eric is new to Lutheranism and he shares his faith, curiosity, and openness in this community. Eric is easy going, enjoys playing music, being in nature, and takes on any challenge he encounters with determination and enthusiasm.