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Tom and Mai-Britt

My name is Mai-Britt. My husband Tom and I first came to Redeemer with our children in 2015. Tom is an orthopaedic surgeon in the Army. Military life brings with it many challenges, and finding a church after a move is one of them.

Shortly after we had our first child, the military stationed us in Germany. There a friend invited us to attend a small Bible church where we experienced true, relational Christian community. Our faith deepened and Christ became more central to our family life. When we returned to the United States, we were committed to seeking out that kind of community again.

When we moved to San Antonio, we visited a church in our neighborhood and then another church, but still found ourselves feeling a longing for realness and relationships that would extend into life outside of Sunday mornings.

Around that time our neighbor, Anna Phan, invited us to attend her church — Redeemer. Right away we were thrilled with the welcome our four children received. It was refreshing to be in a place where children are celebrated and loved and included in every aspect of the church. We kept coming on Sundays and joined a community group, and began forming the deep relationships we had hoped for.

We told our community group that Tom would deploy to Eastern Africa in the summer of 2016. I was pregnant with our fifth child, and I knew we would need help, but it was extremely hard to ask for it. In the months that followed, God showed me time and again that His church is a family, and He used that family to meet our needs.

Our community group rallied around us, and even people from Redeemer who I had never met signed up to bring us meals, babysit and mow the lawn. I met Stephanie King because she volunteered to babysit for me. Jim and Judy Ritchie, who I had never met before, arrived at my house at 7 a.m. one morning to stay with the kids so I could go to a prenatal appointment. It was not until later that I realized they had driven a considerable distance to do that for me.

When your spouse is deployed, it’s the things they would usually handle that pile up. I kept receiving notices from the city that the bushes in our alley were too tall, and texted our friend Daniel Peavy to ask if I could borrow his chainsaw so I could cut trim them. He didn’t answer my text, but he did come over and cut the bushes for me himself. It was humbling how people served us with so little fanfare. I began to see that it is hard to be the one in need, but our need made space for people to become our friends. Our community got bigger and deeper, and we leaned on it.

Overseas, Tom was also receiving care from Redeemer. Sermons downloaded from the Redeemer Web site were often the closest thing to a church service he could attend for weeks. Men from our congregation reached out to ask how he was doing and say that they were praying for him. It can feel like a small thing to pray for someone, but for our family, hearing over and over that people were praying for us was enormously encouraging. When Tom was prayed for by name in worship services on Sunday mornings, our children noticed.

After returning home, Tom deployed again less than a year later, and Redeemer transitioned from bringing us baby meals after the birth of our youngest child to serving the kids and I through that deployment as well. When I look back on that season, I am glad to have Tom home, but I am also thankful that God gave us the opportunity to depend on Him and to need our brothers and sisters in Christ so much.

Being at Redeemer for the last three years has given us a larger vision of what the church can do to meet the needs of other families in the city. We love that we are invited into the work of organizations God has already raised up, like Strong Foundation, Lavish and Communities in Schools. We love that the church helps us find ways to serve even while our family is young. 

Life as a military family brings with it seasons of change, but whatever God has for us in the future, we want to be part of the work at Redeemer. We are so thankful we were invited here by our neighbor. We want as many people as possible to be invited into this community too.