If you had told us three years ago that it would be difficult to leave Birmingham, it would have been pretty hard to believe you. As natives of southern California, the South seemed like a foreign land, but one that we knew God had called us to so that Rocky could finish up his Seminary degree with the unique program offered at Brook Hills.

And now we are preparing to move again, only this time back to California as part of a church plant with three other families. We’ll be living and serving in the North Long Beach area – in a urban context filled with opportunities to bring the hope that only Jesus can provide.

But it’s hard to leave... even with the confidence in the calling God has given us to go back to California. It is hard to leave this church, and the wonderful people who have lived life with us for the past three years. We are so thankful God allowed our family to have this time in Birmingham.

When we first arrived, having left our families and all that was familiar, our prayer was that we would be intentional in our community and plug into our church, even though we knew God might call us to move again. We didn’t want to live in fear of leaving behind more relationships or be so focused on where God may take us next, that we miss all that He had for us here. And man, did He have a lot!

We have such a good God, and He intimately cared for us in those first few months, reassuring our hearts that we were supposed to be here – even when it felt very lonely at the beginning. It took us some time to stick to our commitment to plug in here (it took Rocky about five minutes... and Jeannette more like ten months!). After a dear friend reminded Jeannette of her commitment, we really started to invest and plug into our small group, and we began to see what it means to be a part of the body – to care for one another with the love of Christ, serve together, to make disciples, pray for one another, to be transparent and share in each others joys and hardships – our small group, accountability groups, and friends have blessed us beyond measure.

The relationships that God has provided us and all that He has taught us through these wonderful people have better prepared us for this next season. We have been loved well. Our kids have been shown the love of Jesus. And it is our prayer that, as we transition again, we can show that same kind of love in our neighborhood and in the new church, and watch our kids do the same.

Although we are sad to leave such an amazing church and our friends who are now family, we can see God’s work in our life. God’s provision and mighty works were on display so many times during our time here in Birmingham, and we are trusting He will do the same in California. We are praying for the people of Long Beach, that God would increase our love for them, for their neighborhood, that we would be bold in proclaiming the gospel. We’re praying God would deepen our desire to quickly plug into our new community and for safety and faithfulness as our family of six makes the move to be messengers and doers of the gospel in this new city – that God would get all the glory as He allows us to be a part of His great work.

Brook Hills, you’ve meant so much to us, and we would love it if you’d join us now by praying as we go. Thank you.

Rocky Mayo is originally from Los Angeles, California and has been a member of Brook Hills since 2013. He and his wife Jeannette have been married for ten years and have four children Madison (6) Gavin (4), Damien (2) and three-month-old Savannah. God called The Mayos to be a part of the IDM seminary partnership that Brook Hills had through Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) of which Rocky graduated in December.