The past five to 10 years have been extremely difficult for me, not only from a career and financial perspective but also related to my physical and mental health, so a few years back my wife and I moved back to Cincinnati from our retirement home in Jacksonville to be near our kids.
In 2019, my daughter invited me to come with her to Crossroads. It started as a chance to connect with her, to talk before service each week, or grab lunch and run errands afterwards, but I eventually felt that if I was going to continue to be part of Crossroads on the weekends I either needed to fully commit to it and join a group as recommended or stop altogether.
As a teenager I had been involved in youth group and loved it but had gotten away from it and hadn’t really returned to religion as an adult. I decided to join a Welcome to the Revolution group and learned a lot including that I don’t and probably won’t know everything but I get more right than wrong and I will get to a new level of understanding.
After that I ended up connecting to the Alpha group at Mason, which is where I made the commitment to be back close to the Lord again. There was a diversity in this group in many aspects including life stage and world view. I liked that because I typically look at an issue with a skewed or one-sided view. Everyone was so genuine. Covid interrupted our in-person meetings, but we were able to continue to connect on Zoom. During that group I went through a period of extreme pain where I couldn’t move my arms that led to three surgeries. That group prayed for me and the surgeons who cared for me and they provided support during that difficult time. I came through with flying colors and I’m just so happy and grateful for that.
As we were in our second session of Alpha I heard about baptisms happening at Crossroads in early November. I made the decision to get baptized in the dark Mason parking lot and all of my group showed up to support me and my family, which was humbling and touching. One of the young moms in my group even came with her kids and one of them decided to get baptized as well. I didn’t expect to get emotional, but I was the old guy in the tub balling my eyes out. After the baptism, our group gathered under one of the parking lot lamps for a socially distanced family picnic celebration.
Now our Alpha group is sticking together and growing through a Bible study every week. We also have a group text where we share sometimes goofy stuff and sometimes very serious stuff. I’m just very grateful that for whatever reason I’ve gotten back to the good place where I was at 16 or 17. I’m surrounded with great people again. Now I see what’s in front of me and I’m finding ways to give back to the community because that’s the next step I feel called into. -Roland R.