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I have not always been a Christian. I was Wiccan for about 10 years, from around age 16 to 25. This was not some phase. I took the religion seriously, just as I do my Christian walk today.

I was high priestess in the local group I was involved in. I devoted myself to the pleasing of false gods and goddesses. After some time, though, I found the religion left me empty and nervous. In most pagan religions, you have to constantly appease the gods and goddesses with all kinds of offerings and praise, else they might cause you to have a horrible life and bad fortune.

I did all I could, and in my time of need, I had no comfort from these gods and goddesses, only loneliness and depression. This is the sad lie I lived with for years. I was hopeless. After a very emotional night that brought me to the point of giving up, I prayed for God to answer me, any god or goddess, just something real. I prayed that whatever was real would reveal itself to me, and I would then follow the rest of my life.

The next day, a Bible appeared in my work mailbox without explanation from anyone. In addition, a Christian song came over the radio, and someone also spoke a word of knowledge over me, explaining God had bigger plans for me than I could imagine. I knew my prayer was answered by the one true God and not the manmade gods that could never answer my prayer because they were merely demonic representations to keep me astray.

I searched for churches, going to all kinds and feeling something missing from each one. I came to Foursquare after much research for a denomination that was biblically sound, diverse, focused on missions, and that embraced family.

When I first walked through the doors of Westside Church (Chesapeake West Foursquare Church) in Chesapeake, Va., I not only was embraced as a long-lost sister, but also my whole family felt this was where we were meant to be planted. This was my first real encounter with a Pentecostal/charismatic church, and seeing people so open to the Holy Spirit was refreshing and moving.

Brianna Riley with her family in Virginia

I attend the prayer meetings on Sunday mornings; praying for one another in time of need has opened me up to the Holy Spirit in a way I never imagined possible.

Westside is a true family environment. My four children all love going to church and interacting not just with their own age groups, but also with seniors and other adults. Westside is big on family integration, which means simply doing things as a family and not segregating by age.

Quickly after coming to Westside, we joined and looked for opportunities to serve. My husband and I became the middle school youth leaders. Our aim is to empower them in God’s truth so they will not be led astray as I once was. This has been a blessing to me in that I have really been challenged to dig deeper into the Bible and the timeless message it has for all, no matter the age.

Brianna studies at a Foursquare-aligned college and applies what she learns to her ministry with young adults.

Soon after we began this ministry, I felt God calling me to attend college and become the young adult leader. Leading the young adults has been tremendously rewarding, as I am helping them see how the Bible applies to them and the importance of discipleship in their personal walk.

I am currently attending a Foursquare-aligned college, New Hope Christian College in Eugene, Ore., via their online program for church leadership, and have found my ministry opportunities to relate to my education in uncanny ways. I am able to apply my education while volunteering as a ministry leader in real ways.

This helps my education continually be reinforced and serve the ministries I run and help in to a greater capacity. I am also involved in Westside’s women’s ministry, and I help with the dance ministry, as well.

Westside and Foursquare at large have given me the support to flourish and begin to see how God can use me as I find my place in His big picture. I am so thankful for this church and am pleased to say, “I am Foursquare.”

is a member Westside Church (Chesapeake West Foursquare Church) in Chesapeake, Va.