Hello everyone! My name is Gabriella, but I have many nicknames, so for now, I’m Gabby!
I’ve been going to THRIVE Youth Ministries basically since it started, and it has been by far the best decision I have ever made. When I first started coming to THRIVE, I was a typical teenager, fitting in with what society was molding me to be. Regardless of the fact that I grew up in the church atmosphere, I never really felt like I belonged. Then I heard that our church, FBC, hired a new youth pastor. I thought it was surprising because our church never had a youth group before and it was going to be a really big step. I decided to give it a try and I knew that if it was too “churchy” for me that I just wouldn’t go back. The first time I went, we were in the living room of this little red house that is right next door to the church. It was everything I expected it to be. But towards the end of the service, Pastor Franco played a song. The song was, “How He Loves” by Jared Anderson. The song really touched my heart and that was the day I decided that this is what I wanted to do. This is what God had planned for me all along. It was so emotional for me but I loved every minute of being in the presence of God for the first time.
I can talk about why I come to THRIVE forever, but most of all I come to THRIVE because it makes me who I am today. If I didn’t start coming, I would have never gotten to know God. I would have ended up being one of those popular girls in school doing whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted and didn’t worry about the consequences. Now, I read my bible, I pray more often, and I just thank Him for the little things in my life because those are the things that are the most underappreciated.
My relationship with Christ has been the strongest it’s ever been. I can’t get enough of God. He just keeps me wanting more and more of Him day by day. He has blessed me in my life in so many ways that it would probably exceed this page. Even during the more difficult times, such as when I was diagnosed with Crohns Disease at age four, I can still see God’s blessings. Doctors completely missed the diagnosis simply because of my age. It was a difficult battle, and it took an extreme toll on my family. But with God, it has shown me a whole new perspective to life. I can’t say it enough how much I’m thankful to God for this, and especially since I am no longer on medication. Without being at THRIVE and learning about God’s love, where the rest of the world might see a reason to lose hope or joy, I’m able to see God’s blessings in my life.
THRIVE has given me the best friends anyone can ask for. When I come to THRIVE I don’t have to worry about putting on a smile, being judged or being made fun of. I know I have true friends that were handpicked by God, and it liberates me to truly be myself. There are no cliques. Nobody is EVER separated into groups. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done, because when you come to THRIVE and see God, all of it is washed away clean. You are renewed. You can get through any obstacle in life with God by your side. All you have to do is GIVE GOD THE TIME TO MOVE, and He WILL move!
THRIVE is such an amazing group to be a part of because we have such diversity. Regardless of who we are or where we come from we’re all brothers and sisters in Christ, and we love each other and respect each other equally. This shows that we are growing spiritually, as well as numerically. We never go by the numbers though. We’re not here just to get people to come and have a good time. We’re here because of the one and only Jesus Christ. We’re here to glorify God in every way possible and spread His word so EVERYONE can hear of His unchanging, revolutionary, and radical life-changing love!
All in all, I love Christ first and foremost, but I also am grateful for THRIVE and the second family in Christ God has blessed me with through them.