John & Valerie Morgera with their sons Jackson, Bradley, Colton, and Lucas
Where were you in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began? For many of us, our homes became our gyms, workplaces, and churches when those places became inaccessible for a time. For John and Valerie Morgera, the pandemic brought them into contact with Houston’s First online, and God began changing the trajectory of their family forever.
On Easter morning 2020 while Valerie, a Registered Nurse, was working at a COVID testing tent in Stamford, Connecticut, John and their four boys were home preparing to watch an online Easter service at a church they had recently started attending. After a few minutes of lackluster worship, they tried another church’s online service and were met with the same melancholy spirit. Remembering some of their friends in Texas who attended Houston’s First, they decided to switch streams once more to Houston’s First online. It was then that they found the Houston’s First Worship team singing and praising with enthusiasm and excitement.
“When Val got home I told her that she had to watch Houston’s First because they had it goin’ on!” says John. “After that, we started attending online most Sundays as lockdowns in the Northeast kept churches closed for longer periods of time. Even when we started attending church in person again, we would watch Houston's First services in the evenings. We eventually started hosting other friends and family on Sundays to watch with us. Sometimes, we’d watch multiple services to listen to the different music sets the worship team did.”
Valerie singing in the Choir on Easter Sunday 2023
For a few months, the Morgeras continued tuning in online to Houston’s First. By summertime, they had reached a fork in the road and had a decision to make.
“For us, choosing the right church to raise our family in had always been paramount,” says Valerie. “Right before the pandemic, we left the church we’d been attending for years. That decision was very difficult, but God used that valley to help us realize that the world was bigger and we needed to think bigger in where we would raise our children. We had seen the heart that Houston’s First had for kids and the opportunities for families, so we took a leap of faith and put a downpayment on a house in Katy in July of 2020.”
After a delay on their home due to supply chain issues related to the pandemic, the Morgeras arrived in Houston in May of 2021. They began attending Houston’s First immediately and got plugged in very quickly.
“Val had been heavily involved with church music her whole life both through singing and playing piano,” says John. “From the beginning, she knew she wanted to get involved with Houston’s First Worship. She began singing with the Collective initially and eventually became one of the front line singers on Sunday mornings in worship services.”
The Morgera family on the day they moved to their new home in Katy
In addition to their involvement with Houston’s First Worship, their four boys have found a home at Houston’s First, as well.
“The NextGen ministries have been a huge blessing to us,” says Valerie. “Through Life Bible Study, Vacation Bible School, and summer camps, we can see the positive impact these ministries have had on our sons. They look forward to attending church throughout the week. When we first started attending Houston’s First online, our youngest who was four at the time nicknamed Pastor Gregg “the talker.” About a year later, he was first in line to receive his 1st Grade Bible from Pastor Gregg.”
From Stamford, CT, to Houston, TX, the Morgeras have found a home at Houston’s First and a community of like-minded believers to “do life” with. From states away, God was using our online worship services and Houston’s First Worship to stir their hearts toward the plans He had for them in Houston.
“Both Val and I assumed we’d live in our hometown our entire lives,” says John. “It’s amazing to see how God used the pandemic for good in our lives and moved us across the country by faith to start a new life.”