Growing up in Augusta, Georgia, Monica’s parents were active in church and made sure she was there every week. “My grandmother taught us that church is the place where you get your spiritual strength renewed and where your experiences, your relationships with people there are important,” she said.
As an adult with her own family, Monica instilled the same belief in her own children, ensuring they also actively participated in church. “There is not a time I don’t remember going to church,” said Monica’s daughter, Lillian.
Monica and Lillian have lived in many places. No matter where they live, church is important.
After they moved together to Indianapolis seven years ago, they began looking for a church community. “It took us awhile to find the place that was right to us,” said Lillian. After visiting several other churches, they knew that right place when they came to First Baptist Church of Indianapolis.
“I had driven past several times,” said Lillian. “I always thought I wanted to attend, but living in Fishers, we were trying to find a church close to where we lived. It got to the point where we decided to just come.”
That was two years ago. After that first time at FBC Indy, they kept coming back. “We were comfortable here from the beginning,” said Lillian. When they joined on March 6, 2016, they were already active in the church. “It was like we never were visitors but when we joined, it was nice to say we were members,” Monica said. “A lot of people said they thought we were already members,” said Lillian.
Lillian began ushering approximately one year after they began attending FBC Indy. Ushering is second-nature to her because she ushered in her childhood church. “That is a great way for me to become involved,” Lillian said.
Lillian and Monica have been involved with the church in other ways. They have volunteered with the church’s effort to tutor children at Nora Elementary School. Monica regularly helps with the Food Pantry. So does Lillian when her work schedule allows.
“I like what the church does in the community,” said Lillian. And not just in Indianapolis and the Nora neighborhood! She also likes how the church’s outreach extends throughout the world. “I feel like the purpose of American Baptist Churches is to bring the message of Christ to the world. That’s a good mission.”
Monica, now retired, was a first grade teacher for 25 years. Recently, she has tutored a student at Nora Elementary School. While helping the student with a word, “I showed him how to practice so when I’m not there he can go ahead and do it on his own. That’s what you want for your students,” she said. For a teacher it’s all about “finding out what style that person uses to learn.”
Lillian, who has a degree in chemical engineering from Purdue, works in sales in the chemical industry. Jobs throughout her career have moved her to Chicago, Milwaukee, Erie, Houston, and Atlanta. And she and her mother are likely to move again in the near future.
“With the job I have now I was supposed to move last year,” Lillian said. “My sales territory is in the southeast, from Florida to Virginia to Texas. I have been trying to find a place to live and it just hasn’t happened yet. I have known for a while my company wants me to be within my sales territory.”
Whenever that move happens, Monica and Lillian will miss FBC Indy and will try to find a similar church. “For me the big thing is church,” Lillian said. “Are we going to find another church where we are going to be happy?”
For now, they will enjoy FBC Indy for as long as they can and appreciate all that they love about it. Monica says she loves the diversity at FBC Indy. “A couple of times they’ve had everyone stand around the sanctuary, hold hands and sing,” she said. “That’s really impressive to look around to see people of all ages, all types, and various colors and cultural backgrounds all in one place together.”