Mountainside Community Church found her voice on Sunday night Jan. 14th as we gathered in a local pub for a worship gathering. The theme of the night was ‘Surprise’, which is the action of the Mountainside value “Neighboring”. I was the unsuspecting recipient of the “Surprise” as it was my 50th birthday. I cannot begin to explain the power of the night for me. First of all, our entire Mountainside Launch Team showed up together for for first time. I was blown away. That was a gift enough. Plus, some our new neighbors came and a few folks from Boone came because of the article in the paper- so, wow! The night was already over the top. Then when I thought we were going to start our worship set, my son Isaac led everyone in singing “Happy Birthday” and my daughter, Elisa came out with a carrot cake with 50 lit candles! I was touched at the sweet gesture and blew out the candles, then my daughter said, “Mom, Look behind you.” I spun around to see piles of my lifetime friends from Highland Christian Church come pouring through the door at which point I collapsed into a puddle of tears and the warmest of hugs from folks I dearly love. It was powerfully moving, healing, encouraging, and just like a little bit of Heaven coming to that little Pub in Boone. Then we all gathered around and my son, Isaac and the Mountainside Band led us in worship- and we all sang our hearts out, celebrating this Good God who will never let us down. The room was filled with the folks who helped us launch Highland and 12 years later, the ones who are helping us launch Mountainside. It was Holy- no really, no other word explains it better. When God’s people gather together to love Him and to love each other- the world just changes. So folks, let me tell you this. I would’ve never imagined in a million years that I would’ve been the first recipient of Mountainside’s ability to surprise! But let me tell you what, she does it well. Loving your neighbor is a force that moves mountains. It moved mountains in me. I cannot wait to be a part of the next time this little Church reaches hard into someone’s heart with the power and surprise of Neighboring. I will never be the same, love is quite overwhelming in its power.