My Faith Story by Kim Shippey

Written by Kim on the occasion of her election to serve as a Deacon beginning in August 2012

I grew up in a non-denominational church, went to a non-denominational Bible College, and became a missionary with a non-denominational mission organization where I went to Germany to work with military youth.  So while I was in Germany, I worked and worshipped at a military chapel, which meant there was a mix of different Protestant denominations there as well.  I think that because of these experiences, I have always been able to adapt to my surroundings fairly easily, and not hold on to the “this is the way it has always been done”.

Back in May in my Bible Study Class, we shared about our first experiences at HBC.  Even though it has been over 10 years, I still remember a lot about that day and the accepting, welcoming spirit that has not changed in those ten years of our family first coming.

One of my strengths that I have embraced along the way is that I am an observer.  I think that this helps me be aware of how people are treated and talked to, as well as be aware of those who don’t always have a voice.  I think this is one of the reasons I enjoy working with the children on Wednesday nights.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some Wednesdays that I leave feeling like I survived the night, but there are many more evenings that I leave having enjoyed something one of the kids has said or done, or just touched by their understanding of God and the world. Sometimes these moments are so quick that they are easy to miss.

This summer our family visited New York for a short visit.  It was my first time to New York and I was able to visit the Statue of Liberty.  As I walked around that Sunday morning listening to the audio tour of the statue, one of the comments made me think about Highland.  The narrator on the tape said that the common belief when people are asked about what the statue stands for it is that Lady Liberty stands for Freedom. I couldn’t help but think that being part of this church means I have the freedom to be who I am.  I don’t have to pretend that I’m perfect, that I always have everything together, or always say the right thing.

This week I listened as 10 of the youth who went to Miami shared some of their experiences with their parents and members of the Missions Ministry Group.  I couldn’t help but remember some of these kids when they were 8 or 9 and in Children’s Choir.  They have grown into beautiful young men and women whose strength in adversity throughout that week and love for each other can be an example to all of us

My strength is not in public speaking, as you may have figured out already, but I can assure you that as your deacon, I will use the strengths that I have to continue the work of those that have served before me.