Rachelle Maassen – January 2022
I have lived in this area of northeast Ohio my whole life and was raised in a small Wesleyan church. I was afraid to try Open Door because of the size, but I was pleasantly surprised when I was so warmly greeted by Cindy & Ken Bublenic several years ago at the Elyria campus and immediately given a tour of the place. My youngest son (a graduating senior this year) was little and needed to be checked into Kid’s Ministry. I liked the security involved and the alert system.
It took me a while to get to know anyone, but I soaked up the teaching and immersed myself in worshiping our God. Later I began to seek a solution for people like me, who just didn’t make connections readily. I believe if you are going to complain about something, you should come to the table with ideas to make it better. The pastor’s wife, Andrea, met me for lunch & took time to listen to my ideas. We worked on a plan, and I eventually joined the Guest Services team. Well, God was not finished yet! I have been serving on Guest Services for over ten years!
In the meantime, my sister Kristi Perna had joined the Tech team and even the Worship team for a short time. She was in a Life Group and encouraged me to join one as well. I met with Jim and Barbara Kantola’s Life Group in Elyria, and in God’s usual awesome way; He proved that He was with me. I discovered that on my first night at Life Group, I already had a connection with everyone there! There was serving with Doug & Audrey on Guest Services, praying with Sharyn at First Sunday, a special moment with Kathleen, the interactions through my sister with Jim, BJ, Ron & Sally, and I could go on. This group is now some of my closest friends.The point is, I felt like I belonged!!
My youngest son still attends most Sundays that I am there (every other because of my nursing job). He loves to smile, give hugs, and make everyone’s day better. We are still praying for my husband and two other sons to experience God the way we have at Open Door. I love serving on Guest Services; it has given me a place to serve guests who are searching for a church to call home, just like I have found. It’s no surprise that our Guest Services shirts display the motto, “You Belong Here,” and that’s just what I have experienced! I want to make everyone who comes to church at Open Door feel like they belong too!!