Jerenae Raeford

My FUSE journey began earlier than most. Before I got to ECU, I decided to look up churches in the Greenville area. I had heard some scary stories from my older college friends. Stories about how they had a hard time finding a church in their college towns. A lot of them started out trying a different church every Sunday, eventually got tired of church hunting, and stopped trying. I was determined to not let that happened to me, so to Google I went. The first church that caught my eye was Ignite Church, and after browsing the website for a little bit, I came across FUSE. A few weeks later I stopped at the table at new student orientation and got the date for the very first FUSE gathering!

At my first FUSE, I was welcomed with warm smiles and great music. I was hyped up by a few energetic high fives on the way in and went to go take my seat. My month long excitement started to dwindle down a little when I realized I had to either sit by myself or sit with strangers. “I don’t know anyone. Why didn’t I bring someone with me? Maybe I’ll just sneak out and come back next week with a friend… I walked all the way from Scott to come, I guess I’ll stay!” I took a seat next to girl on the back row (that girl became by sorority sister a few months later) and experienced my first FUSE gathering. I had never seen so many people my age be so enthusiastic and on fire for God. Although I knew no one in the room at the time, I felt a sense of belonging. I knew that it was no accident that I didn’t leave and I am so thankful to God for leading me there that night.

The music and messages I heard at FUSE were so great; I did not really see why I needed to go to small group. But after a few short weeks I began to see how much being apart of a small group helped me grow in my relationship with Christ. I got to study the bible with people my age, I felt comfortable asking questions, sharing comments, but most importantly sharing my heart. The people in my small group quickly became friends. Friends I could laugh and have fun with and friends that I could call and confide in during the toughest of times.
The past few years have flown by, so to whoever’s reading this, as uncomfortable as it may be, take that first step out of your comfort zone into community. The connections we make are so important to developing our relationships with Christ. As much as I hear it, the truth still remains – You can’t do life alone.