This past Sunday we interviewed one of our Dream Center power couples, Johnny and Rosa.
TJ: How did you learn about the West Nashville Dream Center?
Johnny: I was going to Cross Point church when we first met and then we started doing bible study, where you host a group for about 6 weeks. I roped her in and said “do you want to be a part of it?”…
Rosa: ….After a couple of months dating by the way. He was like “you wanna do a small group with me?”
Johnny: I was hardly ever at the group because of the travel with my job, but one of the people in our small group said “Hey I went over to the Dream Center, it’s like two minutes from your house. I heard gunshots, but it’s a pretty cool place.”
Rosa: “Where do we sign up!”
TJ: I’m a little hesitant to ask this next question because it doesn’t paint me in a very good light, but Rosa can you tell me what your first impression was when you came here?
Rosa: Yes, I always joke with TJ that the first time I came here I wanted to start volunteering so she showed me around, but she was very like distant and cold. I was like “She hates me. Maybe this isn’t the place for me…”
Johnny: She literally came home and said “There’s this lady TJ; I think she hates me.”
TJ: It’s not true. I did not!
Rosa: I did learn very quickly that they have a lot of volunteers that just sign up but then very quickly leave. So TJ wants people who are showing up and constantly showing up, not just showing up when it’s convenient for them.
TJ: Thank you. That redeemed me a little bit, I guess.
TJ: Next question I have is “When did you want to know more about the center and its ministries. What made you want to do more than just come on Sunday?”
Rosa: So I was raised by a single mom, and when I learned about the single mom program it immediately touched my heart because I know the struggle that they have. They have to be good cop, they have to be bad cop. I always joke that you’re doing an awesome job, you’re gonna raise us just functional enough to make us funny. I wanted to pour into them, and a lot of them have small children and that’s basically a thankless job. You know, you have children then you’re never going to get the gratitude until they’re adults which is along time coming. So I want them to know that were thankful. We know what you had to do, and we love you.
TJ: Rosa has been super committed. Johnny is kind of our honorary single mom group member. Well, because he’s kind of always around. I think he just stays for the lunch; we’re not sure. For those of you that don’t know, if you’re new here, we do have a very thriving mom’s group that meets after the service. Were a little bit rowdy, a little bit wild, but we have a lot of fun.
Rosa: It’s a great place. They feed your kids while you get to go enjoy your food, and not have the constant “Can I have some mom?”
TJ: Yeah, we lock the door.
Johnny: That’s how I got roped in. She goes to the single mom ministry and was like “Hey I need someone to hang with the kids while I’m with the moms” and I said “Okay, I’ll come play with the kids.”
TJ: Did either one of you have hesitations about getting involved up front?
Johnny: So when I first started coming here I was on the road traveling a lot, and I was only here maybe once every four to six weeks. I know from being married to Rosa, how important a male figure is in these kids lives; even a strong female character, but the main thing is consistency. I was very hesitant to be here and get involved if I wasn’t going to be consistent. But I love the place, so Rosa and I found a great way. There were some days when she would facetime me for a couple minutes and I would say hi to the kids, and they’d ask me where I was. But it’s my way of still being here and being involved as much as I could, so if you’re here every Sunday, you could get involved throughout the week, but if you’re only here sometimes there are still ways to get involved.
TJ: Tell us a favorite memory that you have.
Johnny: That would be Miss Anne at our wedding. This is a family here. TJ did our marriage counseling which was great because her husband is on the road like I was. But I remember TJ and some of the other single moms just dancing and having a good time at our wedding. Our wedding is very important to us, but we want our family there and this is our family. (TJ married them as well)
Rosa: Yeah, I’ve never been part of a church that was so intentional about their relationships. The people that you’re in group with, and the moms; there wasn’t even a question to have them there because they are so important to us. They are family, and you have friends and family at your wedding. People aren’t just popping in and out of your life, it’s going to be feeding into it. A lot of the time, it’s feeding into relationships even when we don’t want to because sometimes when you’re in that darkness, you just want to wallow there by yourself. TJ, she’s not going to let you wallow there, were going to look at the ugly with you, so we can bring you to the light.
TJ: What ministry has impacted you all the most?
Rosa: That would be the single mom’s group.
Johnny: I would say honestly for me personally, it’s the ministries that happen outside of the titled one. It’s about walking through life. Being there for the milestones. Going over to the hospital and holding Ava when she’s born. 2017 was a tough year for us, so being able to walk in this place and people walk alongside you like “Hey what’s going on?”, catching up with you, shooting a text message. That’s the ministry that I love. If somebody has walked through what you’ve walked through, so they’re a great resource for you to have. It’s those little things.. 10 minutes here, or 10 minutes here that really pour into your life over time.
TJ: I think you guys have kind of answered this but, do you have a specific moment were you feel like you became a member of the Dream Center Family?
Rosa: I have say probably 3 or 4 months in I really started to feel like the Dream Center family. I feel like the people here are used to having people flip in and out of their lives and there’s no consistency there. So, I always joke with the moms that literally nobody talked to me for like the first month that I was there, and I just kept showing up because everyone kept ignoring me. When I kept showing up, I started having conversations with people, started feeding into their lives, and telling me their story and that doesn’t happen with people who just bounce in and out because of the culture of people here. They want people who are going to feed into their lives and not be gone the next month. This is really a place where if you keep showing up, those people are going to be there.
TJ: As we are about to enter our 5 year anniversary, we think about this place and all that it’s done; What would your reaction be if we had to close the dream center doors?
Johnny: We would be devastated because this is a place that we’re able to come and that pours into us. Last year we were looking at what we were doing with money. We had things happening on the outside but we said look, this is our home and when we donate and invest money here, it comes back to us so really we’re investing in ourselves. This is our home and our family so if these doors were to close, we would lose the people we are doing life with, and that hold us accountable; are there during the hard times. Having that place to be vulnerable, and safe enough to have those conversations with. So we would have to start the whole process over and it would take years.
Rosa: The community that surrounds here, sometimes I only show up on Sundays, and I feel like this is the only day that people get poured into, and without that I can’t imagine what their lives might be like without having people constantly motivating them, and expecting more from them, and just showing up. I don’t know what everybody would do, and it just saddens me to think about this place not being here.
TJ: Well good thing we’re still going, 5 years strong.