I had been a computer nerd hermit for, I think, the last eight year. I was 25 when this all started. Some old family friends came to visit me—I hadn’t seen them since I was a little boy. I knew they were Christian, and I had been an Atheist for quite sometime. They had just finished praying for my sister, and they asked me, “Do you want prayer for anything,” and I was like, “Yeah, I want to not be alone anymore.” I had felt alone probably since right after my mom passed away when I was 18. After that night, they invited me to go on a mission trip with them to Colima, Mexico. When I was there I had a bizarre sequence of different dreams and strange feelings that there might be something to this all, and one evening I just said, “Okay, I’m in.” It felt like I had been hugged by the greatest force in the universe, and it was like every molecule in me was just…singing. It was exhausting and amazing.

Immediately after that, though, my Christianity wasn’t very strong. I was stuck with this feeling of knowing a divine creator existed and had to really think about how it worked, how it could exhibit love, etc. I started going sporadically to a couple different churches, and then I moved to Calgary. I eventually moved back to Vancouver and I didn’t have any fire in me. I was really depressed, and I couldn’t find an academic outlet, and I didn’t really care to. I was just like, what’s the point? A good friend invited me to come and check out St. Peter’s, and I felt like I had arrived at a home. I think I almost cried when we sang the Doxology.

I started coming regularly, and joined a community group. I really like the small group setting that St. Peter’s has. It’s really good and really healthy. I think that inwards night [St. Peter’s night of telling true stories about ourselves] is a really important aspect of walking in a community. It’s definitely made me challenge my fear. Before, I would hide aspects of myself, and that tendency is still there, but I’m finding it much easier to release things. If you hide them, they own you, but if you release them, you own them. It helps when there’s a setting that teaches you to forgive and then walk in accountability. There’s nothing better. Being able to challenge each other and have each others’ backs, and then say let’s walk this out together, that’s the healthiest part of it all.

— Nik

St. Peter's Fireside

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