By Michael Gualtieri
After pioneering for six years and coming back to your home church, you really do see things differently.
I can honestly say that we take what we have for granted and don't appreciate the little things we are blessed with.
Back in 2009 my family and I were sent out to pioneer a church in Apple Valley, California.
It was such a blessing and an amazing adventure.
There's just something about being on the front lines planting a church that is extraordinary.
You meet so many people from different walks of life, and to see them come into our small church and leave changed forever by God's grace is a memory that will always abide in me.
After hard work and involvement in various activities, I graduated high school as valedictorian in 2016, and my dad blessed me with my first car.
One November night as I prayed in my room, God told me that I needed to move back to Arizona in order to further my walk with Him.
I told my parents, and they were in full support of this move. To be honest, at the time I was somewhat taken aback and a bit upset.
I had just enrolled in our local community college to study Computer Science, and I was excited about that.
But now I realize now that if I hadn't have taken that step of obedience, I probably would have lost my relationship with God.
As I kept the move in heavy prayer, God arranged for me to stay with a family in the Tucson church for a few months while I got established in my new area.
But before we could even leave Apple Valley, the transmission went out on my car, and we couldn't find an affordable mechanic.
So we parked it and headed for Tucson anyway.
Once there, my dad blessed me with another car. I can't say enough about how grateful I am for my parents and the support they have provided me!
Within just a week of prayer and searching, God moved and gave me a job at Best Buy.
Things were going well, and I was on my way to Pastor Frank Bravo's house to carpool up to the Men's Discipleship class in Phoenix with him, when I decided that texting while driving was a fine idea.
After running a red light and T-boning a UPS truck at 40 m.p.h. – knocking it on its side on top of yet another vehicle – I walked away without a scratch. Nobody was hurt in any of the vehicles, thank God, and I give Him all the glory for saving my life that day.
I powered through to attend the meetings in Phoenix that night, and I thank God that I did.
Not only did I enjoy some wonderful preaching there, but I was given the opportunity for a better job with better pay. This was great news, since I had new bills due to the accident and was still searching for a place to stay.
That next week I got rides to work with friends and family.
With my dad's help, I sold my car in California, transmission issues and all, for $2000.
My brothers blessed me with some extra cash and I bought a beautiful working car.
I now live in “The House” with some brothers in the Tucson church and I am working a full-time job. Praise God!
I look forward to seeing what God's going to do in my life during the year 2017. Never forget to count your blessings and be thankful for friends, family, and the grace of God .