Sunday, May 15, 2016

MY MISSION FIELD - REVEALED - WE ARE CALLED!

After I wrote, "My Mission Field" on March 25, 2015, I continued to seek God's will for my life on this new journey. The "My Mission Field" post ended with the suggestion that joining a new church was on my mind.  My husband and I transferred our membership in December of 2015 from the Lutheran Church where six generations of my family have been baptized to another Christian church within my own hometown.

My Mission Field - Revealed is the result of praying and listening, and answering the Call to become an ordained deacon in the Presbyterian Church.

Twenty-five years ago when I sought God's direction for my life as a missionary to Tanzania or Papua New Guinea, I felt he was responding in this way: that if I couldn't minister, be a missionary to the people in my own town, what business did I have taking the Word of Jesus across the world.  I was disappointed with that response to my prayer, because I had wanted to be a missionary since I was a child.

So I continued to seek God's will, looking at going to seminary, but I didn't have enough education. I enrolled in our synod's Lay School for Mission, training people for lay ministry within their own church or to gain a more in-depth knowledge of the Bible. During this program, my faith was challenged and inspired both by the pastors who taught the classes, and by my fellow students as we shared our faith stories.  I remained active in my church, serving God with my many spiritual gifts.

In "My Mission Field" I experienced a stirring, a nagging even, by God to serve him beyond the walls of my own church and to my community.  I didn't know at first what this meant.  I began worshiping at the United Presbyterian Church where I had served as a lay minister off and on for over a year in between pastors, and it is here where I felt God was opening my mind and heart towards something new.

I asked many questions which mostly came from my life-long knowledge of being a Lutheran, from recent confusion of what that really meant in today's world, and what it meant to be a Presbyterian.  You see, I started to realize that God's plan for me had to do with serving my community somehow through the United Presbyterian Church, but exactly how I didn't know.  I did begin to participate in the needs of the Salvation Army, and with others from this church, helped serve meals at the local homeless shelter.   My questions were many and kept coming, as did the tears of joy.

Then at the annual meeting I was nominated to become a deacon.  I accepted the nomination and was voted in.  Next began a six-week study course with ordained deacons, and with another member who was going to be ordained an elder.  And then it happened.  Many of the questions I had as a child, or as a teen, or over my entire life so far were answered.  The more I studied, the more answers were revealed.  Could this be, I wondered?

 It's not that I had chosen to NOT be Lutheran; or that I had chosen to become Presbyterian.  Now My Mission Field was being revealed to me - as an ordained deacon I would join the others in sharing the salvation of Jesus and serving him in the church, the community and the world.  Deacons are the caring arm of the church.   This is what I have been doing my entire life - looking out for others.  At one time, I tried not to be that way, but it is who I am.  And God has revealed to me - 25 years later - that I won't have to be alone in my efforts to serve, that he has put me right where he can use me to share his love with the world.

When asked why I considered accepting the nomination to be elected and ordained a Deacon, I can honestly say it is because God has called me to serve my community in this way.  By the time you read this post, I gave been presented to the Session members of the church for dialogue and questioning.  I counted on prayers offered on my behalf, which brought peace and knowledge.  Upon being accepted, I stood before my congregation, family and friends on Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the church, to take my vows and make my promises, with God's help. I will serve God as a Deacon for the rest of my life.

So much has fallen into place, and somehow so many worries and concerns no longer matter because as Isaiah 56:6 states, I have sought the Lord while he may be found, and called upon him when he is near, realizing that my mission field has been revealed!

This is also a scripture that keeps coming into my mind:

"Jeremiah 29:11-14 
"...For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord.

Listen online or YouTube to this music by David Haas, which we sing at church.  So often it is what I am feeling in my heart, hope it brings you some joy and inspiration as well.

1. Come, live in the light! 
Shine with the joy and the love of the Lord!
We are called to be light for the kingdom, 
to live in the freedom of the city of God!

Refrain: We are called to act with justice;
we are called to love tenderly. 
We are called to serve one another, to walk humbly with God.

2. Come, open your heart! 
Show your mercy to all those in fear! 
We are called to be hope for the hopeless, 
so all hatred and blindness will be no more!

3. Sing, sing a new song! 
Sing of that great day when all will be one! 
God will reign, and we'll walk with each other as sisters and brothers united in love! 


Here are some of the Ordination and Installation responses:

............I trust in Jesus Christ my Savior, Lord of All, and Head of the Church, and through him believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.............I will fulfill my ministry in obedience to Jesus Christ under the authority of Scripture...............I will seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and love my neighbors and work for the reconciliation of the world.........I will pray for and seek to serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination and love....and be a faithful deacon...........teaching charity, urging concern.......directing people to help the friendless.......and to show the love and justice of Jesus..........

Finding my calling, and knowing it, is so special.  There are no words to describe this contentment in my soul.  Its not an end, but a beginning.


The following words of love and support are so meaningful.  

From my former pastor, "Congratulations Sue! May God bless continue to bless you in this new vocation.

From friends:  "Congratulations. You will be in my thoughts and prayers."  

"How wonderful for you.  Your beliefs are strong.  I know you will be a wonderful addition to that service."  

"It would be an honor and a blessing to share this day with you. I will pray for you, and have complete confidence in you and this journey."

"So happy for you. God has just gained a great evangelist and a wonderful friend to all who enter the doors of your church!" 

" I would be honored to be witness to such a event! "

"So happy for you."

I received a handwritten note from Martha and Swen of the church I spent the majority of my life worshiping in:

"We know your decision was not made lightly.  We wish you the very best in your new calling.  We will always welcome your visit.  May your journey be all that you hoped it to be and may your many talents be used fully."

To my pastor and fellow deacons, members of my congregation, personal trainer, family and friends:  I am so thankful for the role you've each played on my journey, and now my mission field that has been revealed.  I will, with your prayers and the help of God, serve my community with the love of Jesus from this day forward.

Thank you for sharing in my event.  I pray that you will seek God's will for your life and how you can use your spiritual gifts to serve him.  May God bless you!


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