We hear a lot these days about following your passion and serving others...but what if those could be two halves of a whole? I found out several years ago that there was a calling on my life that I hadn't even considered...well, truthfully, even if I had considered it, I would have thought it was not really "my thing".
In 2009, while planning a trip to Zambia with Hands at Work, my husband and I were planning to put together a team to go and visit and see firsthand the model of care that Hands at Work was implementing in communities across sub-Saharan Africa. Intending that Jason would lead the team, I met with the founder of Hands at Work, George Snyman, who many of you heard speak last spring at Connect. As he left us that morning, in the parking lot of Alexanders, he said to me, "I'll see you in Africa." I sort of laughed and said, "Oh, no, you'll see Jason in Africa." He looked me in the eye and said, "I'll see you. In Africa."
A few months later, with a team of 8 women and one man, I was standing in Zambia. I had no idea how it had transpired or why I was really there but mid morning of the second day, standing in the community of Mulenga, I found myself in one of those moments where you feel you are EXACTLY where God had always planned for you to be. Those moments come along few and far between, but I can remember it like it was yesterday, even now, years later.
I never dreamed that a small community in northern Zambia would allow me to find my calling, nor did I even dare to dream that I would ever return. Now, several trips later, walking into the community is very much like walking into my hometown. I see people I know. I know where people live. I've been in many homes, shared meals, held the hands of the sick, and heard so many, many stories. And it's my job to continue to advocate and share those stories on behalf of the poorest and most vulnerable in that community. It's my calling.
Have you ever wondered where you are called to serve? I think until you find yourself standing in that exact right spot at that exact right time, it's a matter of test driving different opportunities. Perhaps you have always wondered about the possibility of serving on the streets of Saskatoon or supporting single mothers who are leaving unhealthy living situations. Perhaps you have heard someone like Marie Ens from Place of Cambodia speak and felt that sort of nagging in your spirit that perhaps you need to go and see firsthand how her dream of caring for families with AIDS and the children left behind has turned into a beautiful place for children to live and grow up in safety, with an education and a dream to rebuild their broken country. Maybe you are stirred by the stories of those who live on the streets in Saskatoon and the support that they receive from places like the Lighthouse or The Bridge.
Take a few moments this week and figure out what makes you curious or what really makes you take notice when you hear it on the news or in the church or on the street? These can all be indicators leading you to where you are meant to be.
In the coming weeks, you'll hear from our Connect team who travelled to Mulenga, Zambia in July to spend a few weeks working alongside the care workers trained by Hands at Work to care for the most vulnerable children in their community. You'll also hear from Marie Ens at the end of October about the work she continues to do, as she celebrates her 80th year and takes all the "I'm too young, I'm too old, I'm too......" out of our list of excuses. And this week? You'll hear from DeeAnn from the Lighthouse, and the ways that they are meeting the needs of some of our own cities most vulnerable people.
There are opportunities to serve both here in our city and abroad. If you have questions about upcoming trips to Cambodia (Nov 2014), Ethiopia (Feb 2015) or Zambia (2015 TBD) - feel free to email me at anytime at shelly(@)connectchurchyxe.com. I'd love to chat more about finding you a place where you can really connect with your calling to serve others.