Sunday, August 17, 2014

Welcomed with Open Arms by Dodie and Mel Miller

Our family was living in Columbus, Ohio in 1996 when Nationwide Insurance offered Mel a position in Rock Hill. We had been vacationing at Litchfield ever since our daughters were born so we jumped at the chance to make South Carolina our home. After a family meeting to be certain Andrea, then an eighth grader, and Lauren, a fifth grader, were okay with leaving their friends behind in the middle of the school year, we began to pack our bags! It was February! Who wouldn't be willing to leave Ohio for South Carolina?

We moved into our house, which just happened to be next door to Bill and Mary Jean Ligon. Bill was terminally ill and Ted Brazil, St. John's senior pastor at that time, was visiting them and noticed we had moved in. He knocked on our door, introduced himself and told us we needed to come to his church. The next Sunday we did just that and were welcomed with open arms! We didn't waste much time becoming involved - me with circle #6 and the girls in Methodist Youth Fellowship, or MYF as it was called back then. Mel and I were invited to an MYF parent meeting and walked out as advisors to the middle school group. We never did figure out how that happened but it proved to be an experience we wouldn't trade for anything. 

We were in our fourth year here when Nationwide decided to transfer Mel back to Columbus. We left reluctantly, vowing to make Rock Hill our retirement home when the time came. We continued vacationing in South Carolina, now with our friends from Rock Hill, and every year when visiting St. John's we were asked if we were moving back. After twelve years, we could finally answer yes to that question! 

We have been retired for three years now and it's as though we had never left St. John's. We have replaced our stressful, full time jobs with hobbies and work in all areas of our church. Our daughters, both with jobs they love, remain in Columbus but visit often. It took twelve years but we are finally back where we belong.

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