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“I always woke up Sundays with a sense of doom.”

Becky also said she grew up in a “Bible-thumping home”; not only was her view of Sundays unappealing but so was her view of God.

“God was punitive and controlling,” Becky recalled. “God only lived in the pages of the Bible. I rarely ever saw him in my everyday life.”

She decided to take a holiday from church and everything it represented. Despite the small measure of relief she found in her rebellion, she experienced an underlying sense of loss. During this dreary season of longing she first learned of New Hope Hillside in Calgary, Alta., through a relative who had periodically attended the church.

“From the first moment, I felt like I had come home. I found many of the things I had been craving,” said Becky. “No pretensions, expectations, or dress codes. Just an open invitation.”

The underlying theme that God is everywhere changed Becky’s whole outlook on life.
Now New Hope Hillside pastor Rich Braaksma has brought the skills and experience he gained as a church planter to his new position as Western Canada Regional Leader with Home Missions. Braaksma is excited to help church planters across the region reach the people like Becky in their own communities.

One of the things Becky remembers about those first Sundays at New Hope Hillside were the stories.

“I was reintroduced to old, well-known Bible stories and ideas that became new and deeply personal for me. I found time and again that I was experiencing wonder from things I had grown tired of.

“I know God has always loved me, but now I find it easier to love him back.”

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