I first came to FBC when I was a college student at U of O. The church I grew up in was so small you couldn’t help but know everyone else, but this was different. At First Baptist I could just blend in, go to church, and leave without being noticed.

I moved to Portland after graduated, but then came back to Eugene to start a new job. I came back to First B and I knew I wanted to be different this time. I was determined to get involved, but it was still a little bit overwhelming.

One day, one of my co-workers invited me to go to a women’s tea party at First Baptist. It was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I decided to give it a try. I brought my sister with me, and afterwards we went up to the front and introduced myself to the worship leader to see if I could get a copy of the songs.

We starting chatting, and as Dave Mertz asked me about my story, I mentioned that I had just started a new job as a dentist. He talked about the Thailand dental ministry, and a year later I was excited to get on a plane and head halfway around the world with the team. Finding a way to use my skills was a key turning point to finding a place to belong. I started to see all the opportunities around me at First B and once I was a little bit more proactive I was found a community here and a place that feels like home.

I began helping in the Middle School Ministry and found real community in a Life Group. It’s come full circle now, because I play music on the worship team and get to encourage others to step towards serving and become a part of this church community.

— Carolyn