My name is Gail DiCuccio. I am originally from Pennsylvania and have lived in The Villages ( 8 months a year) since 2011. I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and spent 28 years in special education and counseling. I have three grown, married children in PA and NJ, and five grandchildren, all under nine years of age.
Colossians 3:10: You are living a brand new kind of life that is continually learning more and more of what is right, and trying constantly to be more and more like Christ who created this new life within you.
To me, this scripture describes sanctification as a continual process of growth and renewal; and our part is the trying constantly to be more and more Christlike. If I am to be “constantly trying,” then I must be intentional. As a United Methodist, I embrace the Wesleyan idea that we learn better in groups with others. As a child I loved Sunday school and VBS, singing in the choir, and later, youth group. As an adult I have served in many capacities in my church in PA as part of a wonderful family of believers. Moving to The Villages, however put me in a place regarding church that I had not experienced in forty years: I didn’t have a church. No matter how many years you have been a Christian, it is difficult to walk into a new church for the first time.
The first Sunday I walked into Lake Deaton, it was like God had preplanned a wonderful experience for me. One of the greeters was a girlfriend that I knew from dancing. The smile and hug from her gave me such comfort! Then when I sat down, I recognized a gal from a group I had joined of all new women to the Villages, called MOAMI (Moving On after Moving In). Another sigh of relief. The service was familiar and positive. I didn’t linger after the service, but two people smiled and told me to have a great week. I knew I had found a new family.
I loved that there was a woman’s ministry as I read the bulletin and I wanted to attend the next one. By then I had met several more people and realized there were more MOAMI gals involved, but it was a personal request from one of them to attend that really made me feel good about it and truly welcome.
Following that, the Holy Spirit nudged me to sign up for a small group book study. There were about twelve wonderful women and a super facilitator. New friendships, lots of sharing, lots of prayer concerns. In six weeks I had grown from the study but also from the collective stories of others, and I had an opportunity to share my story about healing from a horrific accident with the power of prayer.
Bottom line: I was intentional and it has been wonderful growth for me. As the family of Lake Deaton, we must be intentional about providing opportunities to share and encourage.
- What is the Holy Spirit nudging you to get involved in for you to grow and also have opportunity to encourage others?
- Where do we have unmet needs in our community that could lead to opportunities for faith development?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Guide and direct us to cultivate growth in faith in more intentional ways so that we can strengthen Lake Deaton and also invite more people to transforming relationships. In Jesus’ name, Amen