“I think I’ve gotten Christianity wrong my whole life.”
The Ojo family didn’t expect their lives to be turned upside down as the result of a normal sick visit to the clinic.
The first time they interacted with the church body at Watermark was when their daughter Jada was sick. Being from Nigeria and having recently immigrated, finances were tight and they didn’t have insurance. Samuel had heard from multiple other Nigerians about the Watermark Urgent Care clinic at Skillman and LBJ.
“The clinic is actually very popular among Nigerians. For those who might not have proper documentation or can’t afford an expensive clinic- Watermark Urgent Care is a blessing to so many people. It’s the only option for many.” Samuel shared.
That morning, Samuel waited in line with his daughter Jada, and through every interaction he could tell something different was going on at this clinic. During check in he overheard the front desk praying on the phone with someone. As he registered, someone offered to cover his $10 donation so the visit would be free. The provider shared the word of God with him and gave his daughter a children’s bible.
“I could tell something was different. I kept thinking ‘What’s going on here? It’s a different vibe.’ When I got home I shared what happened with my wife and said ‘this was different.’ We need to go to that church and see first-hand what’s happening there.”
The following Sunday the Ojo family- Samuel, his wife Ade, their 4 year old daughter Jada and 2 year old son Jeremy, made their way to Watermark’s Dallas campus. On the way walking in they ran into the Sheltons.
“That Sunday I was in high heels and we had to walk so far.” Ade laughed. “Rachel told me she could tell I was new because of my shoes; anyone that had been before would know they’re too painful to wear from the parking lot to the worship center. The Sheltons walked with us to the church and helped us register our kids for kids ministry, their two children were there too. Then she and Chris sat with us at service. We exchanged numbers and became friends. We’ve celebrated the 4th of July together the last two years.”
The Ojos continued to build relationships with people they met on Sundays as well as through return visits to the clinic. A second time when Jada fell sick they returned to Watermark Urgent Care and met Scott Breedlove, a pastoral care volunteer. He and his wife Julie met up with the Ojos later that week to go to dinner.
The Ojos began connecting with the church through new friendships, Careers in Motion (Watermark’s job-finding ministry), re:engage (Watermark’s marriage ministry) and eventually began going through the membership process and joined a community group.
As the Ojo’s got plugged into Watermark, it wasn’t just the new relationships and ministries that were transforming their lives. It was also the truth they were hearing from the front.
“We’ve been Christians all our lives.” Ade explains “Back in Nigeria, we used to serve in our church- Samuel was in the minister’s group. We had been working for God- but when we got here and found a local branch of our church from back home it was….different. They were more interested in what you could bring with financial contributions. We didn’t have money so we felt unwelcome.”
As they absorbed the teaching on Sunday mornings, the Ojos noticed many differences from their previous experience to what they were now learning from God’s word.
“One of the first things we noticed that was different at Watermark was there was no time when they passed an offering basket. Back home you used to be very loud about showing what you gave.”
“Before coming to Watermark we had also been taught that if you give enough to God, if you believe in him enough, He will bless you. We used to pray for prosperity, for financial blessing. It’s not wrong to think of God as provider, we can still ask Him. But here, for the first time, I started to think ‘what can I do for God? How can I appreciate everything he’s already done for me.’”
“We started to see Christianity differently. We weren’t blessed by God so that we could grow in prosperity. We are blessed by God so that we can be a blessing to others. In the old churches we would go to we would be taught to pray for our enemies to be destroyed. Now we were being taught to invite our neighbors into our home and to pray for our enemies to come to Jesus.”
“The way they open the scriptures here and show us God’s word has changed us. It’s the bible. We have been calling friends and asking them “did you know this was in the bible?”. It’s been so helpful to learn this way.”
The Ojo’s have had chances to practice their new understanding of Christianity…and the fruit is evident. They went through re:engage as a couple and they’ve seen it change their marriage. They’re now serving on our frontlines and children’s teams. And notably for them- they’ve been challenged to think through how they give of their financial resources to others.
Once Samuel got a job, there was a day where his employer gave him a bonus. All of a sudden, instead of former patterns of thinking how this was God blessing them for their faith, they started to realize this was God blessing them with the purpose of blessing others.
“We sat with that money on the kitchen table and wrestled through how to use it to serve others. We prayed to see how to use it for others.”
The Ojos may not have anticipated that a visit to the clinic for their sick daughter would transform their lives. But it did.
“I am so thankful for that day at Watermark Urgent Care.” Ade reflects. “It has changed everything. My husband is a changed person. My daughter loves going to ‘church school’. We are different people. I think we had gotten Christianity wrong our whole life and now we’re learning a new way. I am grateful to God to be a part of this ministry and a part of this family.”
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