Walking through the doors of Seacoast’s North Charleston Campus for the first time, Cindy was on guard, nervous. Would she be accepted? She’d discovered early in life that people sometimes had an opinion about her before she even opened her mouth. In the ‘60s, as a first generation Filipino American, Cindy had witnessed a man refuse her father and uncle entrance to a restroom due to the color of their skin, and at school, kids had often asked her: What are you? because she looked different from them. Eventually, she just said, “I’m brown.”
I’d get dirty looks,” Cindy said, “from people I’d never met. It’s a terrible feeling to be embarrassed, to be ashamed for just having the skin color you do. There’s just so much to the way you’re perceived that has little to do with who you really are.”
Whenever entering a new place, Cindy’s instinct was to be on guard. “I was nervous, but when I went to the worship service at Seacoast, I felt welcomed and comfortable right away,” she said. “I saw such diversity there. There were people who looked like me. And when I started to sing, adding my voice to theirs, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I knew I was home.”
“There’s just so much to the way you’re perceived that has little to do with who you really are.” – Cindy Bunch
Cindy started attending Seacoast regularly with her daughter and began serving in Kidscoast with the 4-5 year-olds. She also invited her son to come with her to church. Since the age of 15, he had struggled with drug addiction and she was desperate for him to find the true source of strength he’d need to free himself. He’d been in and out of rehabs for many years and was now in his thirties.
“You want your kids to have a better life than you did—not have to deal with the same painful things,” she said. “But then you see it happening to them, too. My daughter is pale like her dad who is white, while my son, inherited my father’s darker coloring. My son’s had a harder time and had to deal with racism, which didn’t help his addiction any.”
Her son agreed to go with Cindy to Seacoast, just as he agreed to let her drive him to rehab. “It was so hard to see him hurting,” she said. “At that point, all I could do was pray that going to church would be what finally made the difference. But he was listless, and would drag his feet. He would sit there, hunched over. Often, he would fall asleep during the sermon. Then one day as the worship team sang, “Reckless Love,” she looked over and found him wide awake—and crying.
“No more fake recoveries, Mom,” he said. “Things are going to be different.” Cindy could see it in his eyes, how desperate he was to change, to be rid of this addiction. During the service, he had seen a flash of bright lights, and felt the heaviness lift.
After so many years of waiting for a breakthrough, Cindy was blessed to be with him when it happened. And when he decided to get baptized, Cindy made the decision to get baptized with him. She wanted to walk into the ocean beside him. She saw his newfound joy and realized she needed to proclaim her love for God, for what he was doing in her son’s life. She watched her son lean back in the water and shed the person he was for the person he is now.
Now he stands straight and tall and has been clean for four years.
“I’ve found my place at Seacoast,” Cindy said, “and I’m so thankful to see my children and their children finding theirs.”
If someone asks: Who are you? now, she answers: “A woman who loves God, my church, and my family. I’m a child of God who is a different color, but we all bleed red.”
- Baptism is an incredibly important moment in every believer’s faith journey. It is the public declaration of a person’s commitment to Jesus Christ. If you’re ready to take that next step, join us at our upcoming all campus baptism.
- Just like Cindy, you can find your place at Seacoast. Many opportunities are available for you to serve, get connected into a small group, or join a Bible study. Check out the Update Book for more information.