Olivia* was 14 when her mother passed away after never fully recovering from a car accident. That was just the start of her grief—but God met her at Destination CRC, a Resonate church plant in St. Thomas, Ontario.
Grief and Doubt
After Olivia’s mother passed away, she and her father worked hard to find joy again—but neither believed in God, especially not in a God who carried their grief and pain, and Olivia’s father began to slip into depression. Worrying that his depression was also a burden to others, he withdrew from his family and friends. He checked himself into the hospital instead, and they told him he was well enough to go home.
He was not.
Olivia was 18 when her father died by suicide.
But Olivia was not left alone or without hope. God had already begun drawing her into relationship with him and a new family. Six months before her father died, one of Olivia’s friends who attended Destination CRC invited her to the church’s weekly Stone Soup dinner.
“[The Stone Soup dinner] was a come and see moment,” said Beth Fellinger, pastor of Destination CRC. “A place to ask questions.”
Olivia felt anxious walking into Destination CRC, but she wanted to go. She had a lot of questions about God and why he allowed bad things to happen to good people, like her mother and father. She hoped that the dinner would be a turning point for her faith and life.
And it was.
But Olivia did not just find faith at Destination CRC—she also found a family. Even though she sat down to eat with mostly strangers, she felt like she belonged. When her father died, she did not carry the pain of loss alone.
“Church became a comfort and the congregation surrounded and supported her,” said Beth. “People at Destination CRC know they are all broken, so sitting and listening and sharing with her in the tough moments is natural.”
The congregation helped Olivia find a place to live, encouraged her to finish school, and comforted her in her grief. They also discipled her.
Now 20, Olivia is walking closer and closer with God. Beth notes she is a valuable member of Destination CRC—not just because she joins Bible studies and goes on mission trips, either.
“Her empathy for others is remarkable,” said Beth. “[She uses] her faith to help others through their own pain.”
Praise God for believers like Olivia who have found a family at Destination CRC. Please pray for her as she continues to grow in her faith and share God’s healing love with others.
*Name changed for privacy.