The Power of Example: Lynn Efird’s Faith Journey

In 12 Converts on 2014/12/26 at 12:00 AM

Until Easter 2010, I was a Methodist. My parents were two of the twelve people who started Providence United Methodist Church here in Charlotte and I grew up there – always going to Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and later I was active in the Methodist Youth Fellowship. My husband, George, joined Providence when we were married and we raised both of our sons in the church. Through the years, we were very involved in PUMC and I was fortunate to participate in many of the ministries and committees. I was very happy there, and PUMC was a significant part of my life for nearly 30 years. We moved to Lake Norman in 1998 and, although it was hard to leave PUMC, we joined Davidson United Methodist Church and soon I became very involved there as well.

For several reasons, in 2005, George and I decided to move back to Charlotte and again it was hard to leave “my church”. Of course, Providence Methodist was the first place I visited, but after so many years of being away, it seemed different. I didn’t feel a connection and began visiting other churches. Nothing seemed to feel “right” and I visited church after church for a long time. After a while, I ran out of places to try – never even considered visiting a Catholic church. Growing up in Charlotte, I really wasn’t exposed to Catholicism other than the few times when the youth group at PUMC would share in projects with the kids at St. Gabriel’s across the street. As my faith has always been so important to me, I felt lost without a church home, and after months of feeling nothing in a church here, I stopped going. I didn’t even go on Easter as I felt I had nowhere to go. That was very difficult and, although I continued reading the Bible, etc., there was a spiritual emptiness.

My next-door neighbor, a cradle Catholic, and I had become close friends. She often shared her faith and her spirituality with me in a very special and personal way. Feeling particularly depressed on a Friday late in March of 2008, my friend asked me to have lunch, which I did. She listened as I said over and over, “I wish I had what you do”. We had talked a long time, and it was beginning to get late. As we were leaving, she asked me to “go somewhere with her”. I agreed not knowing exactly where we were going when she said she was taking me to Adoration. I had no idea what Adoration was. We were in separate cars and on the way to St. Matthew at 3:00 on a Friday afternoon (!), and as she was driving, she called friends asking them to pray for me at that moment. My friend led me into the church and she immediately knelt, and told me later that she said, “I brought her here. Now she’s Yours.” As I write this, the incredible emotions come back – the feeling I had when I first saw the Blessed Sacrament. I once read, “When life is more than you can stand, kneel.” Life itself was not more than I could stand, but the fact that I had no church home and no spiritual family, came close. I knelt. Tears came, I truly knew Jesus was there, in that room, and I felt He was there just for me. We stayed almost 2 hours.

Throughout the years at the Methodist church, especially at retreats and mission projects in Appalachia, etc., I had “mountain top experiences” – those warm and fuzzy times when you feel especially close to God, times when you know you are exactly where you should be, and times when you really know He’s there. I will always be grateful to Him for giving me those opportunities to serve, and to love Him at both Methodist Churches.

On that Friday afternoon, I asked my friend if she would take me to Mass, and again, I had no idea what that was either. She and her husband took me to daily mass for several weeks. People were incredibly welcoming, helpful and supportive and I will always remember being invited to join Catholic Scripture Study that summer. When I said I could not because I was a Methodist, our facilitator, said it didn’t matter. Come anyway.

I am now in my third year of CSS and it has meant so much, both in my faith journey as well as in enjoying beautiful friendships. Those people who prayed for me that Friday afternoon have become some of the most special people in my life.

Soon, I asked to visit on Sunday and my husband came also. We both signed up for RCIA right away. We saw too many blessings along the way during those months to list here, but I know in my heart that God led both of us in different ways to His Church.

This has been an incredible and life-changing journey for both of us. Last year, we renewed our vows for our 40th anniversary in the Chapel with Monsignor along with close friends and our family. Our marriage has changed and our lives have changed.

It feels strange to say I am a Catholic after so many active years in the Methodist church, but it feels right. I know it’s right.


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