My name is Miri. I'm from Germany. I got married in 2014 to an American and that's why I'm here. Derrick and I met when I was here on vacation in the United States and we were dating for two years long distance, and we got married two and a half years ago in Germany. Ten weeks after we got married, Derrick was killed in a car wreck.

Right after the accident happened, I came here on an emergency visa, but then Birmingham was on my heart the whole time, and I really wanted to come here, and stay here, and go to church here because I just knew that's what I needed. Derrick came to Brook Hills and that's how I ended up at Brook Hills and I always loved it, all the sermons and just the worship and just the people. A lot of people have asked me, "Why are you not going back to Germany or is there a specific reason?" But I really felt like God was calling me to stay in Birmingham and go to Brook Hills. It's what I needed and still need.

I think the first six months, I was at church just crying the whole entire time, but people were there that just let me be who I am and they didn't care if I was crying, or they were crying with me over it or laughing with me when I needed it. I just started off with a great small group where really everyone welcomed me with open arms. I didn't even have to go up to people. Just everyone was like, "Hey, can we do something? Can we help you? You want to hang out?" People offered me a place to stay and just taking me to dinner or do something fun like playing Laser Tag or just crazy things. Like my life's a little bit better.

For example, two weeks after Derrick had passed away, I was here at church and there was preaching on Ruth. We were all just sitting there crying and everyone came to me after the service and were like, "That was for you, that sermon." I was so heartbroken, but then I had so much hope because of that sermon.

What I learned about the church is that we're connected everywhere. For me, it was amazing to experience that I felt so carried and I knew that a lot of people were praying for me and I felt so connected to them. God used all my friends and family through this trial to make me feel carried. And I just learned that He's my everything now and that we are not promised tomorrow and we just have to live for Him and that's what matters.