EVEN though they only arrived in Warrnambool last month, the Johnson family says the city already feels like home.
Brent and Heather Johnson, along with their four children Cassie, 13, Jordan, 11, Angel, 7, and Jeremiah, 2, moved to the city so Mr Johnson could take up the role of senior pastor at Gateway Church of Christ, in East Warrnambool.
The family had never been to Warrnambool before Mr Johnson’s interview for the position, but he said it reminded them of Sydney’s western suburbs, where he and his wife grew up.
“It’s kind of weird,” Mr Johnson said. “Even though Warrnambool is nowhere near as big as Sydney, it really has that suburb feel to it. It’s just like the western suburbs where we grew up. It really feels like home.
“The only difference is, people are a lot nicer down here. Everyone talks to you, from the people in shops to people on the street. You don’t get that in Sydney.”
He said he was looking forward to getting to work, building on the strong foundations the church has already established.
“We want to have a big impact on the community. My aim is to help people become the best they can be and to live their life to the full,” he said.
“As Christian people, the Bible helps us do that, but I hope to be able to reach people that are already attached to our church and those who aren’t.
“This is a fantastic church and has a lot of potential. We hope to continue to build on the strong foundations that have already been set.”
Mrs Johnson said she could see people were excited to be part of the next chapter of Gateway.
“The people here are so happy to get out there and do all sorts of things,” she said.
“It’s easy to pick up on the heart of people, and it’s easy to see people here have a big and open heart.
“It’s very exciting for us, we can’t wait to get started properly.”