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August 1, 2021 | Javan Shashaty
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Life isn’t always straight and narrow. Family isn’t always blood—it doesn’t always equal two parents plus a child(ren). In fact, you probably have friends who feel like family, who taught you that love isn’t only found within the home you grew up in.
These special friends are the ones who know all of your dreams and sweet spots, as well as your failures and imperfections. They understand your brain better than anyone else and would race to the moon and back just to make you smile. They’re the ones you text your vent sessions to, followed by a message that says, “What would I do without you?”
To have people in your life who you love like a brother or sister, a daughter or a son, is a gift from God. And that’s something Val and Joyce have discovered at Calvary.
Born and raised in Brazil, Val and Joyce met in Pompano Beach 25 years ago, where each of their families quickly connected with a growing Brazilian community. That taught them that friends that feel like family are the best kind of friends and that daily communication deepens a relationship.
“When we look back ten years ago, we experienced how the church accomplishes its mission of making disciples—by connecting people to people, people to God, and people to outreach. And that’s exactly what we went through. We connected to God when we first got here, and then we got connected to other people, and then to the community. And I think that’s what everybody wants, what our souls want. To belong to a family.”
The happy couple has been married for 20 years and have two daughters: Annabelle, 13 and Alicia, 12, who both attend Calvary Christian Academy. For 10 years, the family has attended Saturday night services, and last year they joined a small group for the first time. “When we took the time to intentionally do community, that’s when we found a group of friends that have become like family,” said Val. “It’s the people you see every week, the people you chat with daily, that become a part of your life.”
The fun, motley crew consists of six married couples, each with kids in elementary and middle school. Every Friday, while the couples are having a Bible study at one of their homes, the kids are having fun of their own. (Yes, they’ve formed a little pack themselves!) The next day, they meet at church and the families gather on the green after service, where they plan which house will play host and what everybody is bringing for dinner that night.
Groups at Calvary are a great way to get connected to other people and build lasting relationships. Join the movement of more than 4,000 people who are part of a group at Calvary. Visit CalvaryFTL.org/Groups to get started!